I realize that it is that time of year where people like to think of peace and good will toward men….well that is not happening…..while we are wishing people the best of the season the rest of the world is going to crap…..so you feelings of goodwill mean nothing in the larger scheme of things.
Let me give you the rundown of what is happening during your lapse into a joyous season……..
After a more than four-year absence, Jund al-Islam (JAI) has returned to the forefront in Sinai, marking a new chapter in the fierce conflict between al-Qaeda and the Islamic State (Daesh, ISIL, ISIS). The group published an audio recording in which it took credit for an attack targeting ISIS affiliates in Sinai known as Wilayat Sinai (WS). Jund al-Islam deemed them Kharitjites or those that defected from the group, and demanded that WS leaders turn themselves in. This attack raises many questions related to the sudden timing of Jund al-Islam’s emergence, its relationship with al-Qaeda, and the likely impact of the renewal of old hostilities between Wilayat Sinai and Jund al-Islam.
Libya has not made the news lately….let me catch you up……….
When the Obama administration led a 2011 NATO military intervention on behalf of rebels seeking to overthrow Libyan dictator Muammar el-Qaddafi, there was considerable optimism that the move would produce a much better country. Although U.S. officials and their media cheerleaders acknowledged that significant challenges remained for a post-Qaddafi Libya, they argued that the outcome could scarcely be worse than the oppressive status quo. Events over the past six years have proven their assumptions spectacularly wrong. Libya is now a cauldron of turmoil and Islamic radicalism.
Syria has some dealings with the peace process and as usual the US is not there…..
Russian President Vladimir Putin welcomed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to Sochi on Tuesday to discuss efforts to end the Syrian civil war. The presidents of Iran and Turkey are scheduled to meet Putin on Wednesday as Russia promises to scale back its military presence in Syria and push for a diplomatic solution.
But wait there is more……
As 2017 comes to a close, the warring parties in Syria are moving towards reconciliation—but the U.S. is not among them.
The Islamic State is all but defeated, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and its allies are now closing in on the few remaining pockets occupied by other extremists, and Iranians, Russians, and Turks are mapping out the peace to come.
Then there’s America. Donald Trump may have hinted at changes up his sleeve, but he’s treading the same tired path as his predecessor on Syria.
The aftershocks of the combat deaths of four U.S. special operations soldiers in Niger on Oct. 4 are still shaking the Pentagon two months later.
The deaths prompted a familiar refrain from the American public: “Why are we there?” This expected, if fair, question reminds us of the precisely opposite question asked about Afghanistan after the shock of 9/11: “Why aren’t we there?”
To be there or not to be there? Either way you answer, you’ll find risk.
The devastating ambush in west Niger occurred on the 24th anniversary of another bloody day in modern military history. The Battle of Mogadishu in Somalia occurred on the third and fourth day of October 1993, leaving 18 American soldiers dead and 73 wounded. This ambush also triggered surprise, then outrage, then investigation — the “why are we there?” inquiry. As the grim tactical details of this mission-gone-bad come to light, a broader strategic question looms: Where exactly does the United States need to project power abroad to prevent strategic surprise?
Now to Afghanistan……
President Ashraf Ghani looks set to mobilize a new 20,000-strong militia to fight the Taliban in Afghanistan. The story of militias loyal to his former running mate and current vice-president, Abdul Rashid Dostum, should give him pause. Many of Dostum’s former commanders, who were armed to fight the Taliban, are now joining both the Islamic State and the Taliban.
Such defections are hardly the exception. Militias, once mobilized, are hard to disarm. When resources dwindle, they often seek new patrons and switch sides. By mobilizing a new force Ghani risks reinforcing, over time, the ranks of the very enemy he hopes to defeat. Today’s allies risk becoming tomorrow’s insurgents.
There is so much more….there is always more……to be continued in another post…..chuq