Facing the French, Mali Rebels Dig In and Blend In (NYT)
Using advanced attack planes and sophisticated military helicopters, the French campaign has forced the Islamists from important northern towns like Gao and Douentza. But residents there say that while the insurgents suffered losses, many of them had simply gone into the nearby bush.
Mali conflict: UN backs France’s military intervention
The force will be deployed under UN Security Council resolution 2085, which was passed in December and allows for a 3,000-strong African-led mission to intervene in Mali later this year in the absence of any negotiated solution.
NightWatch January 14th, 2013
India-Pakistan: Update. On Wednesday, Pakistan blamed Indian troops for killing one of its soldiers along the disputed Kashmir border. Details of the ceasefire violation are not available. This is the fourth incident in 10 days.
Pakistan: Pakistan is coping with three major internal political crises and one foreign crisis. Any one of these could prevent the first ever transfer of power in March 2013 between successive constitutional, civilian, elected governments in the history of Pakistan.
Things are popping all over, I’ve seen that there is more trouble over the ethnically mixed Iraqi city of Kirkuk, but I have even had a chance to scan those articles. Concurrent with the map collecting I have been doing I’ve also been looking for good news sources. The ones I am paying attention to at the moment are:
Stratfor – irregular, low volume email updates, often promo offers. I keep this because they occasionally pop out a real gem, such as Avoiding The Wars That Never End. This particular piece addresses how the U.S. view of its global role has evolved over the last hundred years.
KGS NightWatch – a terse, text only nightly update, this newsletter has an excellent reputation. The authors presume a very high level of situational awareness and coverage here precedes the mainstream news anywhere from days to weeks. This isn’t for beginners or occasional readers, but it’s important if you want to stay on top of things.
Foreign Policy magazine gets panned for some aspects of its coverage, which are closer to People magazine than the ponderous, academic style of Foreign Affairs. I happen to find this useful, as some situations can only be explained by knowing the personalities involved. They provide daily mainstream news summaries with commentary, covering the Mideast, AfPak, National Security, and Democracy Lab, which focuses on things like Arab Spring and the heat building for Arab monarchies in 2013.
I am also reading Progressive Congress News: National Security. Similar to NightWatch, this hits a specific niche – Congressional staffers responsible for foreign policy. There isn’t any breaking news in here, this will contain policy prescriptions for well understood (or at least well characterized) problems.
The long term goal here is simple. Neoconservative views have plunged the United States into a losing strategy in our war of necessity in Afghanistan, and we had a miserable adventure in Iraq. We are just beginning to come to grips with the harm they have done to our long term prospects, and this is happening at a time when there are many new conflicts brewing. If we don’t stand over these policy issues we’ll find ourselves in another long conflict that is not in our interests.