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

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Update for Wednesday, November 29, 2017

New U.S. strategy in Iraq will have 1,000 U.S. troops conducting combat operations against Taliban and IS. This has happened with essentially no public discussion in the U.S. and no debate in congress.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will go to Europe to try to convince NATO allies to put more troops into Afghanistan but will face resistance:

“The allies can do more,” said Shashank Joshi, a security analyst at the Royal United Services Institute in London. “The issue is they don’t want to do more. They have a much more cynical, pessimistic view of the country. For all those reasons, I don’t think you will see European allies pile in with the expectation that a final push is going to turn things around.”
British PM May visits forces in Iraq, and discusses security cooperation with PM Abadi.

U.S. forces deploy to a base in Kirkuk but they are not expected to intervene in ongoing ethnic conflicts in the area. The reason for the move is unclear.

Shiite militias are said to continue to attack Kurdish civilians in Tuz Khurmatu.

U.S.-led coalition (probably meaning the U.S.) attacks targets in Anbar, claims to have killed "a number" of militants and destroyed a weapons cache.

DynCorp workers plead guilty to engaging in a corrupt scheme with an Iraqi general. So what else is new?

Pentagon report puts the number of U.S. troops in Iraq and Syria higher than previously stated. There are nearly 9,000 in Iraq and 1,720 in Syria, according to the report. "Pentagon spokesman Rob Manning said on Monday that security concerns and political sensitivities prohibited full disclosure for the time being, but he pledged to be "as transparent as" possible." Again, this is happening with no public discussion in the U.S. and no debate in congress. Note that the source is the BBC -- I have not seen this reported by major U.S. media.






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