The bottom line is clear: Our vital interests in Afghanistan are limited and military victory is not the key to achieving them. On the contrary, waging a lengthy counterinsurgency war in Afghanistan may well do more to aid Taliban recruiting than to dismantle the group, help spread conflict further into Pakistan, unify radical groups that might otherwise be quarreling amongst themselves, threaten the long-term health of the U.S. economy, and prevent the U.S. government from turning its full attention to other pressing problems. -- Afghanistan Study Group

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Update for Tuesday, February 25, 2015

Today I'm actually going to return to Iraq, with some in-depth analyses regarding the so-called Islamic State.

First, this essay has been much discussed around the blogosphere, but in case that was in precincts you don't visit, here is Graeme Wood's reporting on the organization's ideology. I'm not going to say much about it because if you're really interested, you'll read it. But the pistachio shell version is that they're conception of Islam is that it can only truly exist as a worldly power, i.e. the Caliphate; and that restoration of the Caliphate will bring about the end time. This is in fact an orthodox interpretation of Islam, although few, obviously, would endorse their tactics.

Zack Beauchamp, in Vox, wants us to know that they are not actually doing very well either militarily, or in their efforts at governance, and he sees the ultimate demise of the group as inevitable, although it's likely to take a long time. One reason is precisely their ideology, which compels them to take pragmatically ill-advised actions.

Maybe so, but meanwhile we're back to the plague of bombings of civilian targets reminiscent of the height of the previous civil war, with 40 people killed in various attacks in and around Baghdad.

But, the U.S.-led bombing campaign continues apace, with 16 strikes in Syria and 9 in Iraq in the past 24 hours. Weirdly, however, Texas congresscritter Lamar Smith is apparently unaware that this is happening. He is also apparently unaware of the substantial arms the U.S. has provided to the peshmerga, along with close air support, which has allowed them to regain territory previously lost; and of the thousands of Marines and special forces who are acting as trainers, advisers and spotters, and who may be involved more directly in the upcoming assault on Mosul.

Because the U.S. is once again involved in combat in Iraq, I'll keep the updates coming here.

3 comments:

whisker said...

One Resolute Support (RS) service member died as a result of an attack in Kabul today
http://www.rs.nato.int/article/casualty-report/resolute-support-casualty-feb.-26-2015.html

Dancewater said...

So sorry for your loss.

Dancewater said...

I'm sorry - I thought you had said "OUR" Resolute Support service member.... which is why I typed the above.

my eyes are tricking me......