World update: June 23-24 2018

I’m going to be away for most of the next two weeks so these will be our last major updates until July 5. ASIA AFGANISTAN Though the Taliban declined to extend their recent mutual ceasefire with Kabul, there is hope among some analysts that the brief truce may have improved the conditions for negotiating a… Continue reading World update: June 23-24 2018

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

Middle East update: April 3 2018

Hey, how’s it going? Long time no see. As usual when I take an extended break, there’s a lot to get through here and I’m not even going to try to cover every single thing that happened while I was gone. This update is mostly going to consist of stuff that’s happened in the past… Continue reading Middle East update: April 3 2018

Middle East update: June 14-15 2017

SYRIA As the Raqqa battle intensifies, civilians–naturally–are paying the heaviest price. UN investigators reported Wednesday on the “staggering” loss of life seen in Raqqa since heavy coalition bombing there began in March. Hundreds of civilians have been killed so far and the battle for the city is really still in its opening stages. ISIS is… Continue reading Middle East update: June 14-15 2017

A good con is all in the prep work

Hey, kids, if you want to know how to seed the ground for a bit of a wintertime con job, check out what Vladimir Putin is saying today: Russian President Vladimir Putin warned Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday of the risk of Ukraine siphoning off Russian gas destined for Europe, the Kremlin said. In… Continue reading A good con is all in the prep work

Russia’s Asian pivot gets a big boost

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a piece for LobeLog on Russia’s move to expand its presence in Asian energy markets and overall to boost its economic engagement with China. Yesterday that plan got a major boost when Gazprom and the Chinese government reached an agreement that was literally years in the making, setting… Continue reading Russia’s Asian pivot gets a big boost