8 October 2015   Leave a comment

A new word has entered our vocabulary: deconflict.  It apparently is a verb used by the Pentagon to discuss the process of making sure that Russian and American pilots do not accidentally bomb each other.  Russia has unabashedly entered the Syrian civil war and the US is loathe to coordinate its military plans with the Russians since the Russians support Syrian President Assad and the US wants Assad to leave.  But the risk of an accident or miscalculation in such a restricted battlefield is quite high and the consequences for both sides would be significant.  Nonetheless, it is difficult to figure out how President Obama wishes to play Putin’s gambit.

Much of Southeast Asia is covered in a heavy smog caused by fires, primarily in Indonesia.  The smog is an annual affair which has gotten worse every year as many acres of Indonesian forest are burned to make way for agriculture (largely palm plantations).  The winds determine where the smog goes, but Malaysia is often the recipient.  This year may be much worse because a strong el Niño is typically associated with drought conditions in Indonesia and Australia.

Over the last few weeks there has been a steady stream of violent acts in Israel, in the Occupied West Bank, and in the city of Jerusalem as Palestinians protest Israeli policies.   The protests do not seem to be highly coordinated or centrally directed, but, instead, reflect a generalized discontent among many Palestinians.  It is hard to predict how these protests might unfold–they could dissipate over time, or they could coalesce into a more sustained campaign.  But the number of incidents suggest a very high level of frustration among the general population.

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Posted October 9, 2015 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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