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, July 16, 2018

Update for Monday, July 16, 2018

Protests erupt throughout southern Iraq over failure of public services and unemployment. Grand Ayatollah Sistani has endorsed the protests. Two demonstrators are killed by security forces in Samawa while dozens of people are injured in Basra.

Sixty-five protesters are arrested in Muthanna where one was killed on Sunday.

Protesters gather at a natural gas field in Basra while others storm the airport in Najaf.

PM Abadi deploys security services to the south to protect jails.

The situation is exacerbated as Iran suspends electricity exports to Iraq, due to its own shortages.

Several airlines suspend service to Najaf due to the security situation.

PM Abadi threatens to shoot "saboteurs" and provacteurs among the protesters, as blockage of Internet and social media make it difficult to monitor the situation in the south.

Protesters set fire to Hezbollah HQ in Najaf. (No indication of why.)

Meanwhile, U.S. troops withdraw from Fire Support Base Um Jorais south of Sinjar after providing artillery support to operations against IS. (What the U.S. is not doing is providing significant support for the rebuilding of the country. -- C)


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