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

Friday, February 12, 2016

Update for Friday, February 12, 2016

Tim Arango, in the NYT, reports on continued discrimination against Sunni Arabs by the Iraqi government and the dim prospects for a reunified Iraq. Specifically, he notes that inhabitants of "liberated" Ramadi were presumed to be IS sympathizers and treated as criminals.

This article is not very clearly written, but it appears that three Kurdish troops were kidnapped by Shiite militia near Tuz Khurmato, and that other ethno-religious violence is occurring -- not clear who is involved among Kurds, Turkmen and Shiite militias. In any case, just more evidence of the disintegration of Iraq.

Abadi says the assault on Mosul will begin soon, perhaps within a month, and claims the Iraqi military is restored to combat capability after it collapsed in 2014. We shall see.

Iraq and Russia sign a number of economic agreements.

Russia is also trying to sell weapons to Iraq and establish military ties.

(I have to wonder if Dick Cheney is still admiring his handiwork.)