Middle East update: February 3-4 2018

SYRIA Obviously the weekend’s big news was the downing of a Russian Sukhoi SU-25 aircraft over Idlib province on Saturday. Hayat Tahrir al-Sham claimed credit for the shoot down and for killing the pilot, who bailed out and made it to the ground but was killed in a subsequent firefight. Assuming HTS did shoot the plane… Continue reading Middle East update: February 3-4 2018

World update: January 15 2018

ASIA AFGHANISTAN The New York Times has some deep background on the ongoing clash between Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and the fired-but-still-there-anyway Balkh governor Atta Muhammad Nur. Ghani’s supporters portray the ex(?)-warlord as corrupt and unaccountable, while Nur contends that Ghani is attempting to sideline him for political reasons. The US may also have a reason… Continue reading World update: January 15 2018

World update: January 9 2018

ASIA PAKISTAN A suicide bomber killed six police officers in Quetta on Tuesday. No word as to whether this was an Islamist attack or a Baluch separatist attack, but either is possible. A Pakistani court has freed Sufi Mohammad, a militant leader who supported the Taliban after the US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. This… Continue reading World update: January 9 2018

Asia/Africa update: January 8 2018

ASIA MYANMAR The trial of two Reuters journalists accused of revealing state secrets under a colonial-era law is set to begin this week. The use of regressive laws to stifle the press is not going over well with activists: Critics and rights groups say that in some respects, press freedom in Myanmar is more restrictive… Continue reading Asia/Africa update: January 8 2018

World update: January 6-7 2018

ASIA AFGHANISTAN Reuters has conducted an interview with Atta Muhammad Nur, who remains governor of Balkh even though President Ashraf Ghani, uh, “accepted” his “resignation” almost three weeks ago. While there’s every reason to believe that Atta Muhammad Nur is neck deep in corruption in his Balkh fiefdom, he argues–and he’s probably not wrong–that Ghani… Continue reading World update: January 6-7 2018

Why we can’t have nice things, part ∞ of ∞

I’m not a huge avocado eater. Don’t get me wrong, I like avocados–on a sandwich they’re nice, they go really well with scrambled eggs, etc. My issue is that I don’t really like cilantro very much, and consequently I don’t eat a lot of guacamole even though I like everything else in guacamole. And, of… Continue reading Why we can’t have nice things, part ∞ of ∞

Who’s running Boko Haram these days?

The answer? It depends! Something weird is happening to the ISIS affiliate that’s even more destructive than the parent company, Boko Haram (or, as it official calls itself, The Islamic State’s West Africa Province). A couple of days ago, said parent company announced that its Boko Haram operations were being taken over by a new… Continue reading Who’s running Boko Haram these days?