Iraq Is About To Remove the “I” From “ISIS”

The Global Coalition against Daesh announced Iraq's final offensive today: The Coalition welcomes the commencement of the Iraqi Security Forces' offensive to liberate Al Qaim district from Daesh Oct. 26. Al Qaim is Daesh’s final stronghold in Iraq and approximately 1,500 Daesh fighters are estimated to remain in the immediate vicinity. Al-Qa'im is a dusty … Continue reading Iraq Is About To Remove the “I” From “ISIS”

Coming Crawling Back: ISIS Seeks Alliance with Al-Qaeda

From Reuters: Islamic State is talking to al Qaeda about a possible alliance as Iraqi troops close in on IS fighters in Mosul, Iraqi Vice President Ayad Allawi said in an interview on Monday. Allawi said he got the information on Monday from Iraqi and regional contacts knowledgeable about Iraq. "The discussion has started now," … Continue reading Coming Crawling Back: ISIS Seeks Alliance with Al-Qaeda

Reuters: U.S. Allies Cuts Road to Islamic State Capital

From Reuters: U.S.-backed Syrian militias cut the last main road out of Islamic State-held Raqqa on Monday, severing the highway between the group's de facto capital and its stronghold of Deir al-Zor province, a militia spokesman said. The rapid collapse of the Islamic State's territory is no accident.  It took months to build up steam … Continue reading Reuters: U.S. Allies Cuts Road to Islamic State Capital

The Race to Destroy the Islamic State Is On: Associated Press

As reported by the Associated Press: After the battlefield of Iraq's Mosul, the next major campaign against the Islamic State group will be to take its de facto capital, the Syrian city of Raqqa. The Pentagon has drawn up a secret plan to do that, likely leaning on local allies with stepped up American support. … Continue reading The Race to Destroy the Islamic State Is On: Associated Press

Turkey Goes Into Syria: Or, Understanding How To Influence People With Tanks

Nature abhors a vacuum; so too does geopolitics.  The nation-state has conquered the world, and it cannot abide an empty place on the map for long. The collapse of the Syrian state has left behind such a vacuum.  The question has never been if it will be filled; short of human extinction, that is inevitable. … Continue reading Turkey Goes Into Syria: Or, Understanding How To Influence People With Tanks

The Islamic State Works, But That’s No Reason for Peace

It's hard to be fair to totalitarians.  The vast majority of us English-reading folks have no concept of totalitarian systems beyond the hard-jawed stereotypes of Nazi movie villains, Thought Police boogeymen of 1984, or Kim Jong Un-like buffoonery.  We take for granted the innate moral superiority of our systems so often that we rarely think about the … Continue reading The Islamic State Works, But That’s No Reason for Peace

What the upcoming battle of Mosul tells us about the Iraqi state

As battles go, it was a real shocker: less than 1,500 Islamic State fighters defeating perhaps 30,000 Iraqi police and troops.  In the course of 6 days, from June 4th to June 10th, 2014, IS militia conquered Iraq's second largest city using little more than suicide bombers and pick-up trucks. They should have been butchered: … Continue reading What the upcoming battle of Mosul tells us about the Iraqi state

Staying Rational in the Wake of Orlando

A highly individualistic culture like the United States lends itself quite readily to bursts of emotion; citizens feel compelled, rightly or wrongly, to show that they feel as much as anyone else, if not more. In the wake of the massacre in Orlando, this pattern reasserts itself once again in America. But succumbing to anger, … Continue reading Staying Rational in the Wake of Orlando

Why the Free Syrian Army Never Went Anywhere

As the Syrian civil war embarks upon an odd cease fire - one replete with exceptions and violations - it's worth looking back at some of the failures that led up to this point.  There are plenty to choose from, and that long sad path is better detailed elsewhere.  Instead, we'll focus on just one: … Continue reading Why the Free Syrian Army Never Went Anywhere