World update part 1: February 9-10 2019

Tonight’s updates didn’t really fit into any of my usual groupings, but they were too long for one post, so I mashed them together as best I could. MIDDLE EAST SYRIA The Syrian Democratic Forces, with US help, announced late Saturday that they’ve begun the “decisive battle” to wipe out the last remnants of ISIS’s “caliphate” in eastern Syria. ISIS still controls a small piece of territory around two villages in Deir Ezzor province, small enough that it can still… Continue reading World update part 1: February 9-10 2019

World update: February 7 2019

MIDDLE EAST SYRIA The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the US military plans to withdraw its forces from Syria by the end of April. It’s unclear whether this is a firm schedule or if there’s flexibility in case there’s some unforeseen complication in the anti-ISIS operation or the Trump administration hasn’t negotiated an arrangement to prevent… Continue reading World update: February 7 2019

Asia/Africa update: February 5 2019

ASIA KAZAKHSTAN Nursultan Nazarbayev on Tuesday denied reports that he’s planning to call a snap election. Nazarbayev had set off speculation by inquiring as to the constitutional length of his presidential term. Apparently, though, he wasn’t doing so in order to stand for reelection. Instead, Nazarbayev wanted to know what powers he would retain after… Continue reading Asia/Africa update: February 5 2019

Asia/Africa update: January 25 2019

ASIA AFGHANISTAN At the World Economic Forum in Davos on Friday Afghan President Ashraf Ghani substantially revised the number of Afghan security forces who have been killed fighting militants since he became president, to 45,000 from a previously cited figure of 28,000. Ghani, who seems increasingly irritated that he’s being completely cut out of peace… Continue reading Asia/Africa update: January 25 2019

World update: January 23 2019

I’ll be out much of this evening, so we’ll have to make do with a short update today and more detailed stuff tomorrow. MIDDLE EAST SYRIA Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan met in Moscow on Wednesday to talk about Syria. While speculation was that Erdoğan would try to win Putin’s support for a Turkish… Continue reading World update: January 23 2019

Asia/Africa update: January 19-20 2019

ASIA AFGHANISTAN The Taliban carried out a car bombing in Logar province on Sunday morning that killed at least eight Afghan security forces. Meanwhile, in northern Afghanistan’s Sar-e Pul province, a recent surge in Taliban activity has displaced about 40 families from the province’s Kohistan hinterland into the provincial capital. The Taliban is trying to… Continue reading Asia/Africa update: January 19-20 2019

World update: January 14 2019

ASIA AFGHANISTAN A car bombing near the international area of Kabul killed at least four people and wounded another 90 on Monday. There’s been no claim of responsibility. The Taliban later claimed responsibility. Further talks between US and Taliban representatives are now at risk over the site of the negotiations. The Taliban, which has a diplomatic… Continue reading World update: January 14 2019