26 December 2015   Leave a comment

Iraqi forces have taken back major parts of the city of Ramadi, a city held by Daesh (the Islamic State) for nearly a year after a humiliating defeat of the regular Iraqi army.  The city is apparently laced with booby traps, so the Iraqis are moving quite slowly to recover the entire city.  Defeating Daesh in the city would be a major psychological victory for the Iraqis, and could lead to the liberation of the city of Mosul, a significantly more strategically important city.

There has been major flooding in the US south, in the north of England, and in Paraguay, Argentina, Uruguay, and Brazil.  These floods has been especially destructive and many believe that they are all related to the intense El Niño in the eastern Pacific.   More than 100,000 people have been forced to evacuate in the South American countries.

Flooding in Asuncion, Paraguay

For the first time, China has sent an armed naval vessel into waters near the disputed islands called Diaoyu by the Chinese and Senkaku by the Japanese.   Much attention has been given to the maritime disputes in the South China Sea, but this dispute in the East China Sea has been simmering for some time.  As the chart below indicates, the pace of challenges over the disputed islands has been elevated for some time.

Number of Chinese vessels sighted near the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands (Source: Japan Coast Guard)

000102823

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Posted December 27, 2015 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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