11 April 2017   Leave a comment

Fortunately there are non-governmental organizations that do incredible research on issues that receive very little public attention.  One such organization is Airwars. It keeps close tabs on civilian casualties in conflict areas.  It recently shifted its attention to focus on civilian casualties caused by US operations in Syria.  The information is quite disturbing: there has been a significant spike in civilian casualties caused by US air strikes in Iraq and Syria.  According to the most recent report:

“The intensity of strikes in 2017 – notably around Raqqa and Mosul – has no precedent. To March 15th, a record 245 alleged Coalition civilian casualty events have been monitored by Airwars – roughly three events a day. At this pace, the number of alleged Coalition incidents this year could surpass 800.”

Needless to say, civilian casualties undermine the US effort to degrade Daesh (the Islamic State).

The French presidential campaign started today with 11 candidates running.  In two weeks, the first round of voting will occur and pare down the number of candidates to two.  At this point, the two leading candidates are Marine Le Pen of the National Front Party and a center-right candidates, Emmanuel Macron, who is running as an independent.  Unexpectedly, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, running on a hard-left platform, is now in fourth place.  The French election will be a significant marker of French dissatisfaction with globalization and the European Union.

India has been engaged with a complex and troubling strategic debate over its nuclear weapons.  Traditionally, India has considered those weapons to be principally a deterrent to aggressive action.  But over the last few months, a number of Indian policy makers and strategic analysts have been thinking out loud about changing the strategy to a “first-strike”.  That change would seek to disarm an opponent (likely Pakistan) before an attack occurs.  The change suggests a growing confidence in the nuclear arsenal as well as in India’s ability to gather and assess intelligence.  Needless to say, such a change would also make strategic decisions significantly more complex and time-urgent.  We would also have to wait and see what Pakistan’s response to the change would be.  Relations between India and Pakistan have recently been very testy over the issue of control in Kashmir.

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Posted April 11, 2017 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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