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Archive of Articles in the "Syria" Category

Friday Talking Points [446] -- Pardon Me?

[ Posted Friday, July 21st, 2017 – 15:51 PDT ]

We awoke to the breaking news that spinmeister Sean Spicer is out, and Sarah Huckabee Sanders is in as White House press secretary. Trump finally found a communications director as well, Anthony "Mooch" Scaramucci, whose main qualification for the job seems to be his world-class standing in the Olympic event entitled "kissing Trump's ass." We personally lost count, during his debut press conference, of how many times he used the phrase "I love Donald Trump" or some variation thereof. Trump, according to Mooch, is a demigod who strides the Earth and can do no wrong, ever, on anything.

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Friday Talking Points [445] -- It's Raining Shoes!

[ Posted Friday, July 14th, 2017 – 17:13 PDT ]

In normal political crises, everyone waits for "the other shoe to drop." The Russia/Trump scandal was upgraded earlier this year (by Senator John McCain) to "a centipede, because there are so many shoes left to drop." We thought that was rather clever, at the time. But we've now entered a whole new realm of scandal -- one where it is simply raining shoes down from the sky. Americans can barely go outside before they are clobbered by a falling workboot. Somebody needs to design a much stronger umbrella to protect public safety, and quick!

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Post-ISIS Strategy Needed In Both Iraq And Syria

[ Posted Monday, July 10th, 2017 – 17:54 PDT ]

Within days, the Iraqi city of Mosul will be declared completely liberated from the Islamic State. Within weeks (a few months, at most), the battle for Raqqa in Syria will also be over, driving the Islamic State from their biggest strongholds within their self-proclaimed caliphate. Much will be made of these two victories on American television, no doubt. Both victories were long-planned and hard-fought, so the celebrations will indeed be well-earned. Today it was reported that the celebrations in Mosul have already begun. But the fall of Mosul and Raqqa mean that the fight against the Islamic State will have truly entered its end stage, in both Iraq and Syria. What Americans should be asking during this period is what are we going to do after the Islamic State becomes truly stateless? A military and diplomatic strategy needs to be in place when this happens, and so far few in Washington seem to want to address it.

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Friday Talking Points [444] -- To Insanity And Beyond!

[ Posted Friday, July 7th, 2017 – 16:52 PDT ]

Sometimes, even when reading professional journalism, you have to connect the dots on your own. This week both the president and the vice-president interacted with NASA, and the results were... well... kind of spacey.

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Travel Ban Ruling Mishmash

[ Posted Tuesday, June 27th, 2017 – 16:37 PDT ]

The Supreme Court just issued a ruling on Donald Trump's Muslim ban, and it is something of a political Rorschach test, because how you see it really depends on how you see politics in general. Trump, for instance, is claiming he won a total and sweeping victory. But so can the actual plaintiffs in the case -- the people who sued the Trump administration over the ban. The reason both sides can claim victory is that the ruling was issued on specific legal grounds, not political grounds. And legally, there was something for everyone, in a sort of a grand mishmash of an outcome.

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Three Court Cases Worth Noting

[ Posted Monday, June 12th, 2017 – 17:11 PDT ]

There are three separate court cases which are making news today, so I thought it'd be worthwhile to take a quick look at all of them, to see the potential impact they might have. The three cases are in very different stages of completion. One was just filed in federal court. One got a just got a ruling from the Ninth Circuit of Appeals. And one is about to be ruled on by the Supreme Court. So let's take them one at a time.

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Islamic State's State Nearing An End

[ Posted Wednesday, June 7th, 2017 – 17:06 PDT ]

The Islamic State (also known as ISIS, ISIL, or Daesh) always differed from other radical Islamist movements in their willingness to create a "caliphate," or a geographical state of their own. At their strongest, they swept through large portions of Iraq and Syria, taking over and holding territory that at one point reached almost to the outskirts of Baghdad. But we are now at the point where the end is in sight for the group's territorial holdings. The opponents of the Islamic State have been rolling back their borders and soon will liberate all of the Islamic State's territory. The aftermath, both for the Islamic State and for the territories involved, is going to be even more complicated than the fighting has so far been. But it's now time to consider what will happen when the Islamic State no longer has a state.

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From The Archives -- The How-Many-Years' War

[ Posted Monday, May 29th, 2017 – 17:10 PDT ]

Being in the midst of history sometimes mean events are not seen in the "big picture" view that historians often later take, when looking back at the period. Case in point: what will America's ongoing war eventually be known as? To date, we've been at war since October 2001, or a mind-boggling period of 15 years. This war was initially called "The Global War On Terror" by the Bush administration, which lumped in the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq with all the skirmishes in various other North African and Middle East countries. The Obama administration has dropped the term, but they've never really replaced it with anything else. But what I wonder this Memorial Day is what it will be called in the future. Right now, it'd be the "Fifteen Years' War" -- but few expect all conflicts will end by the time the next president is sworn in, so eventually that number will likely be higher.

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Friday Talking Points [438] -- A Week Of Bad Numbers For Trump

[ Posted Friday, May 26th, 2017 – 17:22 PDT ]

President Donald Trump went on a tour of foreign countries this week, and World War III did not erupt. So things could have been worse.

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Trump's Exhausting First Road Trip

[ Posted Monday, May 22nd, 2017 – 16:41 PDT ]

President Donald Trump has only just begun his first road trip outside the United States, and he's already "exhausted," according to one of his own advisors. This may or may not be true, since anything either Trump or any of his spokespeople say at this point has to be taken with a grain of salt -- especially considering the "exhausted" comment was given as an excuse for a Trump gaffe (more on that in a bit). But this week's calendar for Trump seems to have been constructed on the theme of: "Any Trump campaign promises left unbroken? Well, let's see how many we can break in a single week!"

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