ASIA GEORGIA It’s nice to see, centuries after it was founded, that Russia is still finding ways to keep the empire growing: Just before President Donald Trump and President Vladimir Putin’s tête-à-tête at the G-20 on July 7, Russia quietly annexed “about 10 hectares” of Georgian territory on behalf of the Republic of South Ossetia, a… Continue reading Asia/Africa update: July 12-13 2017
ASIA PAKISTAN This is a few days old, but the University of Sydney’s Hussain Nadim suggests that America’s ability to really sway Pakistani behavior vis-a-vis its support for Afghanistan’s Haqqani Network is fairly limited: For coercion to work, it has to be credible and the United States needs to have the capacity to deliver sufficient punishment.… Continue reading Asia/Australia/Africa update: July 3 2017
IRAQ The commander of Iraq’s elite Counter Terrorism Service, Lieutenant General Abdul Ghani al-Assadi, says the full liberation of Mosul will be over “in a few days,” and given that “few” is a pretty vague term, I guess he’s probably right. The Iraqis estimate that about 350 ISIS militants remain in the Old City, and Assadi… Continue reading Middle East update: June 26 2017
PHILIPPINES Fighting between government forces and ISIS-aligned Islamist militants is ongoing in the southern city of Marawi, with yesterday’s government artillery barrages and airstrikes apparently having done little to dislodge the insurgents. Philippine officials say that Abu Sayyaf boss Isnilon Hapilon, whose arrest they were seeking in the raid that started this whole situation earlier… Continue reading Asia/Africa update: May 26 2017
UNITED KINGDOM Normally I would lead this with whatever lunacy just broke in the Trump mess, but unfortunately something genuinely terrible appears to have happened in Manchester this evening: A number of people have died and others have been injured following a reported explosion at Manchester Arena. Witnesses said they heard two loud bangs, reported… Continue reading World update: May 22 2017
Middle East analyst Kyle Orton has an op-ed in The New York Times today, called “How Saddam Hussein Gave Us ISIS,” that, as you might imagine, is raising some eyebrows on the internets. I have to say, though, as somebody who has read Orton’s work (the growth of ISIS out of the wreckage of Saddam’s… Continue reading ISIS, brought to you by…Saddam Hussein?