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, July 5, 2016

Update for Tuesday, July 5, 2016

With the official death toll from Saturday's bomb attack in Karrada at 175, Iraqi Interior Minister Mohammad Ghabban has offered his resignation. Prime Minister Abadi has not said whether he will accept it.

At the same time, calls are rising for Abadi to step down, as this one from visiting DePaul professor Laith Saud.

The UN accuses government-allied Shiite militia Kataeb Hezbollah of kidnapping, torture and murder of civilians in the battle for Falllujah. Some 900 people are missing.

CBC news has a round-up of what appears to have been IS inspired or directed violence around the world in the past few days. Speaking for myself, the strategic thinking behind these actions seems incomprehensible. The attack in Turkey was entirely counterproductive, as Turkey had heretofore seemed more concerned with Kurdish separatists and the Assad government than with IS, and had been criticized as reluctant to join the fight against IS. Obviously that will change now. Similarly the attacks in Saudi Arabia seem pointless. All of this disordered violence seems to have no intended effect other than to unite the world against the perpetrators. Indeed, it has already led to expressions of common cause between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Tomorrow we'll learn what's in the Chilcot report. More political turmoil for the UK will likely ensue, but will there be real fallout in the U.S.?