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 30, 2017

Update for Monday, October 30, 2017

Editor's note: I have very consciously limited our scope to Iraq and Afghanistan, simply because I felt I needed to keep focus and conserve my resources. However, it has seemed arbitrary to exclude Syria, where U.S. troops are deployed and the same forces that contend in Iraq are also central to the conflict. Now friend of the site Chet urges us to pay more attention to the little-discussed deployment of U.S. troops to other conflict zones, notably Africa. The recent deaths of 4 soldiers in Niger marked the first many Americans even knew of the deployment there -- including members of congress. Now we learn of an Army Green Beret who was found murdered in Mali "on a secret assignment," with suspicion falling on Navy SEALS. If we still want to claim that we live in a democracy, we need a public explanation of why these troops are in these places, and what they are doing there. And we need congress to take responsibility for decisions about war and peace, which the constitution gives them the sole power to do. Somehow we have forgotten that.

In the wake of the failed independence bid, KRG president Barzani resigns. Protesters stormed the parliament building during the closed door meeting in which he made the announcement. Later, in a public statement, he vowed to continue the fight for independence and defended the independence referendum. He accused the United States of betrayal.

The U.S. commends his decision to resign and also parliament's move to devolve presidential powers to other institutions. [I'm not entirely sure what the latter means but it may be an attempt to ameliorate the partition of Kurdish government between the KDP and the PUK. We'll see. -- C]

Offices of the PUK and Goran party are looted and burned in Dohuk. [Goran is a "third way" party that has worked to end tribalist politics. -- C]

Barah Saleh indeed hopes that we will see the end of tribalism in Kurdish politics, but fears Baghdad will not play a sufficiently constructive role.

In light of these developments, Iran will re-open borders with Kurdistan.

Negotiations for new federal arrangements between Baghad and Erbil are ongoing, currently between military representatives who are discussing territorial issues. Border control and aviation [and oil?] will be discussed  by the ministries of interior and finance.

Soldier killed in the helicopter crash in Logar, Afghanistan Oct. 27 is identified as Chief Warrant Officer Jacob M. Sims of Juneau, Alaska. He was assigned to 4th Battalion, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington.


Humaun Kabir said...

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