Qatar crisis and the deadline extension

The 48 hour extension should be up beginning Wednesday.   The extension was not offered for Qatar or the Saudi led coalition time to reconsider the list of  demands.   It had nothing to do with negotiations, because there really are none.

The blockade isn’t going as the Saudi’s thought it would.  This is the real reason for the 48 hour delay.   The Saudi’s and allies need more time in considering their next step.   How far do they push the blockade before other friendly countries condemn it?

The US is not backing the Saudi’s actions, nor condemning it.  Trump is still talking about how the Arab countries need to stop funding terrorism, while Tillerson’s position is to  urge all parties to negotiate.

The three blocks have emerged.  The Saudi group, includes Egypt,  Yemen, Bahrain and the UAE.   Also, the Tobruk government of Libya and a number of other states support the Saudi’s.   Then there’s the opposition group, which includes including Qatar, Turkey, Iran and Russia.   Finally, the neutral group of the GCC,  Oman and Kuwait.

This isn’t beneficial to any group.  It certainly weakens an concerted effort to combat terrorist groups.   Iran and Turkey may eventually  emerge as the winners in the conflict, for standing up for little Qatar, unfairly isolated by the Saudi’s and GCC allies.

Stay tuned,

Dave

Marawi and a bullet in the throat

What gets on the front pages of most newspapers are events which are the most bloody and closest to home.   A third element, at least for the US newspapers, is some American must be involved.

For this reason, Mosul and Raqqa may get some notice, but the conflicts in Tora Bora and Marawi are no where to be found.  By the way,  in case you are totally lost, this is about active fighting against ISIL involving the  US military in Iraq,  Syria,  Afghanistan, and the Philippines.  Yes, the US is involved in the ISIS attack in the Philippines.

Marawi City in the Philippines was a vibrant city of 200,000 residents, but now it is a ghost town, according to the New York Times.    The fighting has been going on since May 23, 2017.  The US Special Forces are providing “security assistance and training”  and not involved in combat.  They are stationed within Camp Ranao, near Marawi.   The brave Philippine  military is doing the fighting.

I suspect the bullet lodged in throat of the Adam Harvey, reporter from ABC, Australia, will spark a bit of attention to this fight.

One would think that the President Duterte would be  very appreciative that the US is using its technology, particularly the P3 Orion spy planes, to help pinpoint air strikes and minimize civilian casualties.   Instead, he said on Sunday, that he never approached America for help and was unaware of American military assistance in Marawi.

Marawi is a long distance from Manila, but Duterte seems even further away,  oblivious to anything but radical action against drug traffickers.  Donald Trump could help the situation by sending the Philippine president a copy of the New York Times.  Not likely.

ISIS, I’m afraid, is on the prowl for the next city to seize.  Everyone expects a major advance in Indonesia,  but towns in  Malaysia are also a hot spot for attacks.

ISIL is not a Middle East problem, at least not now.   The land grabs and control of cities have occurred in the Middle East, Asian and Africa.   The terrorist attacks are obviously worldwide.  I am in strong support of an increased role for the US, and as we step up our assistance, the leaders of these countries need to recognize and appreciate our assistance.  We used to think that the US could at least dominate the air war, in any conflict.  Recent reports from Raqqa indicate ISIL are using drone attacks against its attackers.  So, it is critical to step up the conflict with anti drone weapons.

Adam Harvey tweeted that he was lucky and will recover.  I hope his luck continues.   I hope Felipe Villamor and other NYT reporters such as Richard Paddock continue their invaluable services in Marawi.   Wikipedia is also to be commended for keeping a chronology of events (see links).

Stay tuned,

Dave

Adam Harvey shot in the neck

Wikipedia on Marawi 

NYT, In Indonesia and the Philippines, militants find a common bond, ISIS

NYT,   Destroying a city to save it from ISIS