Middle East update: April 4 2018

THE ISLAMIC “STATE” A bunch of ISIS-related online outlets have published a statement in which the group’s fighters “renew” their loyalty pledges to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi: “To infuriate and terrorise the infidels, we renew our pledge of loyalty to the commander of the faithful and the caliph of the Muslims, the mujahid sheikh Abu Bakr… Continue reading Middle East update: April 4 2018

Europe/Americas update: March 2 2018

EUROPE RUSSIA The Russian government on Friday angrily rejected claims from the Trump administration that its fancy new nuclear weapons that promise to destroy humanity even better than the old ones actually violate international treaties. For the Russians, ironically, it’s America’s decision to abrogate the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in 2002 that’s partly motivating their decision… Continue reading Europe/Americas update: March 2 2018

Middle East update: February 21 2018

SYRIA DEVELOPING: An AP story hit after I posted that’s worth a mention. Sweden and Kuwait are calling for a Thursday vote in the UN Security Council on a resolution that would impose a 30 day humanitarian ceasefire throughout Syria. Russia has reportedly been arguing against it, saying (and this isn’t wrong) that the UN has… Continue reading Middle East update: February 21 2018

Middle East update: February 16 2018

SYRIA As usual, civilians are taking the brunt of the pounding as Turkey tries to grind out more territory in Afrin: One-month-old Heyim Hassan was receiving treatment for a chest infection in the Afrin general hospital in northern Syria when a shell landed a few meters (feet) away. His panicked father whisked him out of… Continue reading Middle East update: February 16 2018

Middle East update: February 8 2018

SYRIA Obviously today’s big story is the fallout from the overnight US airstrike that reportedly killed, well, some members (estimates are varying wildly, from seven to over 100) of a pro-Bashar al-Assad militia in Deir Ezzor province. The Syrian government, citing the highest estimates, is calling the strike a “massacre,” while the US says its… Continue reading Middle East update: February 8 2018

Asia/Oceania/Africa update: February 1-2 2018

ASIA AZERBAIJAN Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev is going to run for a fourth term in October. I know you were all wondering if he would so I thought I’d let you know. AFGHANISTAN An American drone strike in Ghazni province earlier this week reportedly struck a Taliban “meeting” and killed at least 26 of the group’s… Continue reading Asia/Oceania/Africa update: February 1-2 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