A few developments of note since I last posted.
In Iraq, a major defeat for the Iraqi government as IS captures Ramadi, the capital of Anbar (and a city where many Americans died). From The Economist:
THE DAY before Islamic State (IS) swept Ramadi, the largest city in western Iraq and the capital of Iraq’s biggest province of Anbar, the head of the province’s 13 Sunni tribes warned that its loss was a foregone conclusion. From his seat of exile across the border in Jordan, Tarik Alabdullah al-Halbusi protested that the government had broken its promises. It had reneged on earlier commitments to arm and integrate Anbar’s Sunni tribesmen into Iraq’s Shia-dominated security forces and turned to its allied Shia militias to fight IS instead. This was a huge mistake. Fearful of being overrun and expelled by the Iran-backed militias, his Sunni tribesmen have been turning in droves to IS. “They give jobs to the unemployed and pay salaries on time,” Mr Halbusi said.In other words, nothing has changed. Abadi is no different from his predecessor -- he will not arm Sunni Arabs or incorporate them into the national army. He is not the Prime Minister of Iraq, but of Shiite Iraq. As long as that continues, there will be no Iraq and IS will continue to win victories.
U.S. Special Forces kill an IS commander in Syria. They raid a compound in Deir Ezzor, intending to capture Abu Sayyaf, but he is killed in a firefight. U.S. troops suffer no casualties, according to Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter. They capture Sayyaf's wife, and rescue a Yazidi captive. According to Carter, "Abu Sayyaf was involved in ISIL's military operations and helped direct the terrorist organization's illicit oil, gas, and financial operations as well." [However, this is not a war the U.S. can fight and win. As long as there is no such thing as Iraq, the Sunni Arabs of Iraq will have nowhere else to turn but IS. That appears to be where matters stand and as far as I'm concerned, the only interest of the U.S. in this mess is to protect Kurdistan. C]
In Afghanistan, Taliban justify Wednesday's attack on a guesthouse in Kabul in which 9 foreigners, including 1 American, were killed. “Every foreigner from an invading country especially NATO is considered an invader. We don’t classify any of them as civilian,” Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said in a Twitter posting on Friday. [However, I note that 5 Afghan citizens were also killed, along with 4 Indians and 2 Pakistanis. Neither of those countries has invaded Afghanistan.]
Taliban kidnap 27 people in Paktia.
U.S. drone strike kills 4 militants in Nangarhar.
Ministries offer the usual implausible body count for the past 24 hours, 138 insurgents and 16 government soldiers. Believe what you will. Still, that's a higher government toll than they generally admit to.
Air strike kills 5 militants in Nangarhar. Presumably U.S.
Chief prosecutor for Paktia is shot dead in Kabul.