Conflict update: April 5 2017

SYRIA I’ve already written most of what I had to write about Syria today, but there are a couple of additional updates. Well, one, really. President Trump spoke in public, which seems inadvisable but I guess you make do with the president you have, and anyway after we spent last week (and, off and on,… Continue reading Conflict update: April 5 2017

Conflict update: March 15 2017

SECOND VERSE, SAME AS THE FIRST Well, that was fast. Donald Trump’s Muslim Ban 2.0, which is totally not about religion, you guys, just got blocked by a federal judge in Hawaii for being, you know, pretty much about religion. In his ruling, District Judge Derek Watson in particular rejected one of the administration’s favorite… Continue reading Conflict update: March 15 2017

Conflict update: March 8 2017

WIKILEAKS I haven’t been able to read much more about the Vault 7 CIA hacking data dump today, and at any rate I readily admit that cybersecurity is out of my purview, but I think Herb Lin makes a good point here in arguing that from the CIA’s perspective, the damage wrought by this leak–at… Continue reading Conflict update: March 8 2017

Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory

Over the weekend, ISIS finally completed its capture of Ramadi, the capital of Iraq’s (if it can even still be said to be part of Iraq) Anbar Province. You may recall that a few weeks ago, Martin Dempsey argued that Ramadi wasn’t as important as, say, the oil refinery at Baiji, and in a sense… Continue reading Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory

One step back

Ramadi, capital of Iraq’s Anbar Province, finally appears to be falling to ISIS: IS “now occupies the government centre in Ramadi and has also raised its flag over the police HQ for Anbar”, a police major told the AFP news agency. The militant group itself issued a statement confirming it had taken control of the… Continue reading One step back

Winning a battle at the cost of the war

The good news in Iraq is that the Iraqi army, with outside assistance, was finally able to dislodge ISIS from the city of Tikrit last week in what is easily the paramilitary group’s worst defeat since its major Iraqi offensive began early last year. It’s almost always better to win a battle than to lose… Continue reading Winning a battle at the cost of the war

Today in “things that happened faster than expected”

Regular readers will recall that I’m skeptical that the current Iraqi campaign to drive ISIS back is sustainable, but I’ll confess that I didn’t expect things to bog down so quickly. The offensive to retake Tikrit has “stalled”: The Iraqi offensive on the city, supported by the Shia-majority Popular Mobilisation Units (PMU), had initial success,… Continue reading Today in “things that happened faster than expected”