Middle East update: May 24 2017

IRAQ Iraqi authorities are starting to climb down from their predictions that they would have Mosul fully liberated by the start of Ramadan, which is likely to be sundown on Friday. The assault on the Old City, ISIS’s main remaining stronghold, hasn’t even begun, and it would be a complete shock if the Iraqis were… Continue reading Middle East update: May 24 2017

Conflict update: May 3 2017

WELL, AT LEAST HE’S BEING HONEST Rex Tillerson gave a talk at the State Department today and I think he might have said the quiet parts loud: “I think it is really important that all of us understand the difference between policy and values,” the secretary of state, a former oil executive, said as part… Continue reading Conflict update: May 3 2017

Conflict update: May 2 2017

AFGHANISTAN UPDATE/BREAKING: Right after I hit post on this, as often happens, I saw this Reuters report that a “large explosion” had reportedly occurred in central Kabul, near the American embassy. Al Jazeera is reporting that it was a suicide attack and that there are “several” casualties. Earlier, a suspected Taliban attack in Faryab province late on Monday reportedly killed five… Continue reading Conflict update: May 2 2017

Conflict update: February 22 2017

TRUMPLAND Yesterday Reuters reported that a week before Mike Pence spoke at the Munich Security Conference and assured all those in attendance that Donald Trump is totally in to Europe and, like, when he keeps giving Europeans swirlies in the White House bathroom that’s just because he doesn’t want them to know that he like-likes… Continue reading Conflict update: February 22 2017

Conflict update: January 17 2017

Nigeria Easily the single worst thing that happened today was the Nigerian air force’s mistaken bombing of a government-run displaced persons camp in Rann, in the northeastern part of the country. Pilots were apparently looking for a Boko Haram force reportedly amassing in the area, and instead wound up bombing a camp full of people… Continue reading Conflict update: January 17 2017

Arbaʿeen: bigger than ever

Arbaʿeen, for those who aren’t familiar, is the second Shiʿa holy day that is centered on the Battle of Karbala, and thus the death of the early Shiʿa leader Husayn b. Ali, in 680. The first, Ashura, is commemorated on the day (per the Islamic calendar) of the battle, while Arbaʿeen (Arabic for “forty”) occurs… Continue reading Arbaʿeen: bigger than ever

The Saudi-Iran feud gets more ridiculous

I hope you’ll forgive the light posting the past couple of days. I’m back at it, but “back at it” has meant writing for LobeLog instead of here. For example, as you know, the annual Hajj took place over the weekend. This year, contrary to most years, there weren’t any Iranians making the pilgrimage (at… Continue reading The Saudi-Iran feud gets more ridiculous