Night Watch

Posted October 30, 2014

In some provinces, the Taliban appear to be trying to make substantial gains before winter sets in. In others, they are probing and testing the strength and reaction time of Afghan forces.

Posted October 29, 2014

Russians might have gotten control of all of Ukraine by proxy had it simply supported new general elections.

Posted October 28, 2014

The pace of both Kurdish and government forces in launching counter-attacks is glacial. The extent of the ISIL threat from south of Baghdad has not been described in detail, but it seems less serious than the threat from ISIL forces west of Baghdad.

Posted October 25, 2014

On 23 October Libyan army troops returned to Benghazi, the first time in two months. The city has been under the control of Islamist militias.

Posted October 24, 2014

Iraqi Kurdish leaders have agreed to send fighters to help defend Kobani, now that Turkey said it would allow them to cross Turkish territory.

Posted October 23, 2014

One analysis judged that "lone wolf" domestic attacks such as this attest to the weakness of home-grown Islamic terrorists in Canada, or in the US. That judgment seems premature for several reasons.

Posted October 22, 2014

The siege of Kobani is forcing actors to cooperate who would otherwise be enemies. It also is forcing the enemies of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) to ignore established state boundaries in the interest of blocking ISIL.

Posted October 17, 2014

ISIL's emergence has captured the imagination, fervor and energy of a younger generation of jihadists. ISIL also is more appealing than the newly declared al-Qaida in South Asia.

Posted October 16, 2014

The Turkish government is cleaning up old security problems under the umbrella of US and Coalition airstrikes. No party seems to consider the ISIL threat more serious than longstanding security problems.

Posted October 15, 2014

The Syrian Kurds are still hoping for a miracle, courtesy of US forces. That simply will not take place. For one thing, Turkey will not allow the US to save Kobani, even if the US wanted to. Secondly, it is too late.

Posted October 11, 2014

On Thursday, Hong Kong called off talks with protesting students. Authorities said that the students' call for an expansion of an uncooperative movement undermined the basis for talks and made it impossible to have a constructive dialogue.

Posted October 10, 2014

In a briefing in the Pentagon, the press spokesman said air strikes alone were "not going to save the town of Kobani." The US administration said that stopping the takeover of Kobani is not a priority.

Posted October 09, 2014

All the major Middle Eastern states and actors linked to the crisis with ISIL appear to be hedging their short term commitments but focusing almost exclusively on the end game.

Posted October 08, 2014

Kobani's loss would undermine the morale and confidence of the other ground contingents. It is no longer a tactical or even an operational contest. ISIL's determination to seize the town demonstrates its appreciation of the stakes.

Posted October 07, 2014

Syrian Kurdish refugees protested and clashed with Turkish authorities because Turkey is not doing anything to stop ISIL at Kobani.

Posted October 04, 2014

One senior official said Turkey is unlikely to permit armed aircraft to use the bases for attacks.

Posted October 03, 2014

Turkey has the trained manpower and resources to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). It is not clear it has the will.

Posted October 02, 2014

Stability, both in the internal and in the external environment, is one of China's highest national policy priorities. It guides nearly every Chinese policy initiative, from managing Uighur militants to managing South China Sea claims.

Posted October 01, 2014

Twenty-five years have passed since the Tianmen Square massacre in June 1989. That period is time enough for a new generation of activists to reach maturity believing they can achieve what their forbears could not using the same tactics.

Posted September 30, 2014

The most ominous feature of the Ajristan attack is that the Taliban leaders adopted the practice of beheading. That is an export from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).