FX – Syria

The view from our side:

Obama Administration Ends Pentagon Program to Train Syrian Rebels

US-backed Syrian rebels appeal for antiaircraft missiles

Drezner – The 10 things that worry me about Russian airstrikes in Syria

Zakaria – In Syria, whose side is the United States on

Kurdish efforts:

Ross – The Kurds’ Democratic Experiment – Syria

ISIS actions:

One Syrian Family’s Agony, Caused by ISIS’ Chemical Weapons


FX – Russia

…and their Syrian adventure.

Figuring out Putin and his motives:

Gessen – Vladimir Putin’s Guide to World History

Putin Plunges Into a Caldron – Saving Assad

In Putin’s Syria Intervention, Fear of a Weak Government Hand

Pincus – Putin’s intervention in Syria may bog down Russia and vindicate Obama

Why Russia’s Syria war is bad news for the US (and why it isn’t)

Details on the ground:

Russia’s airstrikes in Syria mark a huge departure for Moscow

Kremlin Says Russian ‘Volunteer’ Forces Will Fight in Syria

Russian Soldiers Join Syria Fight

Russian Military Uses Syria as Proving Ground, and West Takes Notice

FX – Israel

Do the Oslo Accords matter now?

What the Oslo Accords Accomplished

Ross – Mahmoud Abbas’s Bombshell Fizzles

Man without a plan – Palestinians don’t hate Abbas, but they’re tired of him

Intifada, anyone?

Fears of New Intifada Accompany Surge in Mideast Violence

Historical Certainty Proves Elusive at Jerusalem’s Holiest Place

Leaderless Palestinian Youth, Inspired by Social Media, Drive Rise in Violence in Israel

East Jerusalem, Bubbling Over With Despair

Jerusalem Grows More Grim and Polarized With Clampdown

What drives the Palestinians who attack Jews with kitchen knives

From the Atlantic, what it looks like in pictures – and as a disclaimer, it’s not pretty.

Weeks of Violence Between Israelis and Palestinians

Israeli racism and collateral damage:

Killing of Eritrean Migrant Shakes Israeli Confidence Amid Surge of Violence

Opportunities lost?

Zakaria – Will Israel miss its moment

Neighborhood issues.

As Syria Reels, Israel Looks to Expand Settlements in Golan Heights

As Egypt Floods Gaza Tunnels, Smugglers Fear an End to Their Trade

FX – Afghanistan

The Taliban’s Kunduz offensive, and the aftermath.

A Taliban Prize, Won in a Few Hours After Years of Strategy

Taking Hold in Kunduz, Afghanistan, New Taliban Echoed the Old

For Afghans in Kunduz, Taliban Assault Is Just the Latest Affront

In this country, we talk about a figurative war on women; in Afghanistan there’s nothing figurative about it.

Taliban Waged a Calculated Campaign Against Women in Kunduz

Fear of Taliban Drives Women Out of Kunduz

An expanded reach.

Taliban’s New Leader Strengthens His Hold With Intrigue and Battlefield Victory

After Kunduz, Taliban is now targeting other Afghan cities

Afghan Taliban’s Reach Is Widest Since 2001, UN Says

Taliban Threats to Afghan Journalists Show Shift in Tactics

All politics is local/regional/global:

Afghan Plan to Expand Militia Raises Abuse Concerns

Ahmadi – Kunduz and the Many Failures in Afghanistan

Zakaria – The key to solving the puzzle of Afghanistan is Pakistan

Obama outlines plan to keep 5,500 troops in Afghanistan

I have to wonder about the Kunduz gambit – the Taliban left after something like 15 days, with, apparently, no small amount of loot. Was it just to prove they could (the new leader theory, playing to his internal audience), was it to get rid of certain activists (read: female), or was it part of a new and larger strategy?

And if things weren’t complicated enough…

Afghan ISIS Branch Makes Inroads in Battle Against Taliban

The Islamic State is making these Afghans long for the Taliban

LD – N/D ’15 Jury Nullification

I checked the back files last night, and did have a couple of articles on Jury Nullification. The first is from February 2011, the second from October 2013.

Jury Nullification Advocate Is Indicted

Metro billboard advocating jury nullification concerns local prosecutors

The following is a response to the February 2011 incident/article.

Suppression of Jury Nullification Advocates’ Speech Outside Courthouse

We’ve come to the conclusion that filling our prisons with non-violent drug offenders isn’t the right way to go (thus the sentencing reform efforts and even some presidential pardons); this would seem to support jury nullification advocates who put the idea forward as a means of stopping the application of overly restrictive drug laws. But the history of the misuse of jury nullification in cases of white on black violence during the civil rights era stands as a serious counterpoint.

Denver Post articles on the recent issues with jury nullification advocates:

Denver DA charges man with tampering for handing out jury nullification flyers

Second Denver man wanted in jury tampering case

Denver activists file federal lawsuit over jury nullification arrests

Jury nullification is not a crime, Denver – editorial

Arrest of Denver activists promoting jury nullification (2 letters)

Denver city attorney tells cops to stop arresting courthouse activists

Federal judge’s injunction allows jury activists at Denver courthouse

Officers remove activists’ tent after clash at Denver courthouse

Federal hearing scheduled in dispute between Denver and activists

Legal battle over First Amendment plays out at Denver courthouse

Denver police won’t be held in contempt in dispute with activists

Colorado AG wants permanent ban on protests at Denver courthouse

Men accused of felony jury tampering plead not guilty in Denver

Keegan – A history of hate against America’s police

If you read through these, the question of jury nullification is almost secondary. The anti-police nature of the protests suggests other possible motives for being pro-jury nullification, and the legal battles center around freedom of speech issues. At the same time, the attacks on jury nullification advocates, with regular charges of jury tampering as a means of suppressing free speech, are a major concern and lead to the question of why such tactics would be used by jury nullification opponents.

FX – Iraq

When you just can’t catch a break:

Amid battle against IS, Iraqis face cholera outbreak

Outlook, and responses:

Military Analyst Again Raises Red Flags on Progress in Iraq

Iraq fears a ‘brain drain’ as educated young people head to Europe

These two go together:

Russian Intervention in Syria Excites Iraq’s Disillusioned Shiites

Younis – Iraq Should Fear Russia’s Help

As a footnote, Iraqi Shiite militia forces are in Syria, fighting with Assad’s forces under an Iranian general and with Russian air support (for the latest assault on Aleppo).

FX – China

Is this inevitable?

Destined for War – Can China and the United States Escape Thucydides’s Trap – The Atlantic

Players and positions:

Jerome Cohen – The insecurity underpinning Xi Jinping’s repression

Xi Jinping’s Inner Circle Offers Cold Shoulder to Western Officials

Chinese Colonel’s Hard-Line Views Seep Into the Mainstream


Chinese Embrace America’s Culture but Not Its Policies


This is where China’s future will be decided

Ethnic issues:

In a Region Disturbed by Ethnic Tensions, China Keeps Tight Lid on a Massacre

I’ve posted about China in Africa before, but that’s not their only economics outreach region.

China’s Ambitious Rail Projects Crash Into Harsh Realities in Latin America

I’m inclined to think that this next one is a one-off after the recent state visit. I doubt that the arrests involved (or will involve) those hacking for the Chinese government.

In a first, Chinese hackers are arrested at the behest of the US government

And now we circle back to the theme of the first article posted…

US Briefing Asian Allies on Plans for Naval Patrols in South China Sea