The Next ISIS Goal? An Iran-Saudi War

How the mighty have fallen. Like the Axis of World War II, once the Islamic State stopped winning battles, it seems it could only lose them. Just what was the turning point in the battle against IS?  Was it the defeat at Dabiq, the Syrian town central to its ideology as the site of the … Continue reading The Next ISIS Goal? An Iran-Saudi War

The World Won’t Let Kurdistan Or Catalonia Come Quietly Onto The Map

Catalonia and Kurdistan couldn't seem farther away. One is nestled in the peace and prosperity of Western Europe, the other swims in the chaos of a dissolving Middle East. Yet the two independence referendums of these would-be nation states are revealing. Both raise questions about the meaning of their regional orders and have provoked pushback … Continue reading The World Won’t Let Kurdistan Or Catalonia Come Quietly Onto The Map

Are The Russians Sneaking Troops Into Belarus?

From Reuters: Russia has left troops behind after staging war games in Belarus despite promising not to, Ukraine’s Commander in Chief Viktor Muzhenko told Reuters. His comments could increase tension between the two neighbors and contradict the Belarussian defense ministry spokesman, who said the last train of Russian troops and equipment had left Belarus on … Continue reading Are The Russians Sneaking Troops Into Belarus?

The Saudi Driving Ban and the Shadow of the Ikhwan

Reuters reports the historic driving ban reversal: “Saudi Arabia will never be the same again. The rain begins with a single drop,” Manal al-Sharif, who was arrested in 2011 after a driving protest, said in an online statement. King Salman announced the historic change on Tuesday, ending a conservative tradition which limited women’s mobility and … Continue reading The Saudi Driving Ban and the Shadow of the Ikhwan

The Many Scenarios of an (American) Republican Civil War

(This post originally appeared at American Politics Made Super) The Many Scenarios of a Republican Civil War In August 2016, I was penning an article titled “The Coming Republican Civil War.” The premise was simple: after a self-inflicted Trumpian defeat in November, the party of Lincoln would tear itself asunder assigning blame and shedding factions. But Hillary … Continue reading The Many Scenarios of an (American) Republican Civil War

The Future of an Unwieldy Iraq

As if Iraq didn't have enough to worry about, now come reports of its once-secured southern regions rumbling with unrest.  From Reuters: Worsening clashes among tribes and a political void is threatening security at oil installations in Iraq’s main southern oil producing region, officials and security sources said. Iraq has concentrated security forces in the … Continue reading The Future of an Unwieldy Iraq

North Korea, America, China, And The Credibility Gap

Why would anyone "beg for war," in the words of American ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley?  Why would anyone say such a thing, when they seem to gain so little from war? The consequences of a general war on the Korean peninsula are obvious to anyone who's bothered with half an article from a … Continue reading North Korea, America, China, And The Credibility Gap

The Good News, Bad News Coming From Kenya

The bad news is that someone tried to steal yet another African election.  The good news is that it looks like they're not going to get away with it. The recently annulled election in Kenya is a tale of state development, post-colonialism, and institution building.  It's the story of how tough it is to build … Continue reading The Good News, Bad News Coming From Kenya

Why America Finds It Impossible To Abandon, Or To Win, In Afghanistan

The pundits were not kind to Trump's "new" strategy. "Trump risks the worst of both worlds: leaving the US and its allies neither up nor down, without a clearly defined mission, and stuck in the middle of a worsening conflict," wrote The Guardian. "Yet another US president continues, at the cost of tens of thousands of … Continue reading Why America Finds It Impossible To Abandon, Or To Win, In Afghanistan

Saudi Arabia Tries The Waters Of Retrenchment

In 2015, Saudi Arabia's new Minister of Defense Mohammed bin Salman sent the Kingdom's armies to Yemen.  In 2017, shortly before usurping the position of Crown Prince, Salman organized a blockade on little Qatar, who had dared defy the Kingdom's geopolitical priorities.Both were bold moves fraught with risk.  The Yemen war was meant to roll … Continue reading Saudi Arabia Tries The Waters Of Retrenchment