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, May 3, 2016

Update for Tuesday, May 3, 2016

A U.S. service member is killed by enemy fire near Erbil. While CentCom has not identified the military branch of the deceased, given the location it is likely army special forces. Update: Sorry, Navy SEAL. The death result from direct fire after IS fighters got behind peshmerga front lines.

The Iraqi government is holding some 1,000 people in appalling conditions, without charges, in Anbar. They were essentially arrested because they were found in villages that had been held by IS. The Shiite-led Iraqi government continues to regard all Sunni Arabs in IS-held territory as suspects, making eventual reconciliation unlikely.

Iraqi forces relieve the siege of Haditha, after 18 months.

Human rights watch strongly criticizes the Iraqi government's closure of al Jazeera's Iraq bureau.

Security in the capital is extremely tight as Shiite pilgrims mark the martyrdom of Imam Moussa al-Kadhim. In spite of the tight security,  an attack on Monday killed 18 pilgrims.

In Afghanistan (I have to link to this because believe it or not it is the biggest news out of the country), a little boy who became famous after he was photographed wearing a homemade Lionel Messi jersey has been forced to leave the country with his family due to threats.

Low-level fighting continues around the country, I'll post tomorrow a representative sample of what is being reported.