11 August 2014   Leave a comment

The World Health Organization has issued a report on the Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa.  The situation is dire and continues to deteriorate.  Nigeria has just recorded its tenth confirmed case of Ebola, and there are efforts to seal the borders among the West African states.  But all of these countries lack to the means to mount an effective response, and the international community has to step in and help.

Russian President Putin is apparently playing a game of “chicken” with the Western powers in Ukraine.  Russia announced that it is sending a “humanitarian” mission into Ukraine.  Both the US and the European Union had warned that any intervention in Ukraine without the consent of the government in Kyiv would be considered a hostile act.  The Kremlin said that the mission would be conducted in conjunction with the Red Cross, but the Red Cross said that it would not intervene without the consent of all parties.  There is some inkling of Ukrainian consent (the UN estimates that 1,700 people have died in recent fighting), but the terms are unclear.  If Russia does send in a force, it is doubtful that the West would respond in kind, but the pressure for some sort of response would be intense.

The Obama Administration has made the decision to arm Kurdish forces directly in their effort to contain the threat from the Islamic State.   The US and the Kurds have a long-standing relationship and are close allies.  But the decision undermines Iraqi authority and complicates US relations with Iran which fears that an independent Kurdistan would serve as a US base for anti-Iranian activities.  Meanwhile, the Iraqi Parliament has installed a new Prime Minister, but there is no indication that Nouri al-Maliki will step down voluntarily.

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Posted August 11, 2014 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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