Tag Archives: Afghanistan

Trump’s ‘Arab Force’ More Closely Resembles a Farce

On Syria, the confused state of American policy persists.

This month, the president, Donald Trump, authorised strikes, in tandem with Britain and France, to punish the regime of Bashar al-Assad for its use of chemical weapons in Douma, eastern Ghouta. That might be taken to suggest that the United States and allies were prepared to act – to restrain brutality, to support stability, and to prevent the eruption of general chaos. Continue reading

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ISIS, Insurgent and Resurgent

The Islamic State (IS) has been militarily defeated in its attempt to create a ‘caliphate’ in Iraq and Syria. Its de facto capitals of Mosul in Iraq and Raqqa in Syria were wrested from the terror group after long, grinding campaigns fought by local forces with extensive international assistance.

After the rapid capture of Tal Afar and a pocket around Hawija from IS last year, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared that the war against IS was over, that it had been won. Continue reading

John Bolton Is Only as Dangerous as His Boss

Amid the routine chaos surrounding the Trump administration, one recent change in personnel, among many in recent weeks, stands out.

After months of rumour, always followed by denial, Donald Trump announced that John Bolton, once upon a time the American ambassador the United Nations, will shortly replace General H. R. McMaster as the president’s national security advisor. Continue reading

After the Fall of Its Caliphate, the ISIS Threat Goes Global

The capture of El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexander Kotey, two British men attempting to flee Syria for Turkey, was a brief moment for celebration. The men had formed part of a brutal Islamic State (ISIS) cell, dubbed ’the Beatles’, which had executed foreign hostages on camera and become the global face of the terror group. Continue reading

Technical Difficulties

At this very moment across the world, analysts, journalists, policymakers and ordinary people are identifying sensitive military sites. They are doing so from their own homes and offices, thanks to an unintended consequence of the proliferation of wearable fitness technology. Continue reading

America First, Everywhere Else Second, Afghanistan Last

Erik Prince, the founder of controversial security firm Blackwater, has a new big idea. As before, this involves privatising the business of fighting wars and peacekeeping, in effect outsourcing military and foreign policy. Continue reading

Of Tyranny and Violence

The people disappeared in Syria’s military prisons do not have graves, but they do have names. They may not have been accorded funeral rites, but they have faces and stories and their families have memories of their presence. The war which has destroyed much of Syria can be localised: to a family, to a single person, to a face. And within the wider war lurk stories of cruelty and barbarism which affect individuals but whose effects spiral outwards. These specific instances of savagery become institutionalised. Continue reading