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

Monday, October 24, 2016

Update for Monday, Oct. 24, 2016


U.S. military spokespeople say U.S.-led coalition has launched more air strikes in the past week than at any time in the battle against IS, in support of the assault on Mosul. U.S. claims to have used 1,776 (sic) items of ordnance including bombs, rockets and artillery shells, and to have killed hundreds of IS fighters and destroyed large amounts of equipment and defenses.

Turkey insists on joining the offensive over the objections of Baghdad. This is really a question of Iraqi sovereignty in Kurdistan. Despite Ankara's conflict with the PKK and Kurdish parties in Syria, it has reached an accommodation with the Kurdish Regional Government in Irbil and appears ready to support the independence of Iraqi Kurdistan. In return, the KRG has repudiated Kurdish parties that have designs on Turkish territory. Turkey of course wants to have influence in Kurdistan and allying with the peshmerga in the assault on Mosul helps to seal the relationship. Of course if the KRG honored Iraqi sovereignty in its territory, this could not happen.

Iraqi forces make gains in Christian towns southeast of Mosul.

Here's the story of two Christian towns recaptured by Iraqi forces.

Peshmerga repel a counterattack in Sinjar.

IS also counterattacks in Rutba in Anbar.

The Economist discusses IS ideology and looks toward potential positive outcomes from the collapse of the self-proclaimed Caliphate.

However, many observers argue that failure to achieve political resolution and stability in Iraq following the conquest of Mosul will allow the IS to continue to operate as a guerrilla organization and lead to continual turmoil.

Renad Mansour discusses these prospects for CNN.

Middle East Eye gives an overview of the state of battle. Iraqi forces are said to be within 5 km of the city.



0 comments: