Friday, November 04, 2016

Warning Update: Russia Prepares to Escalate Military Intervention in Syria -ISW

Key Takeaway: Russia is preparing to escalate its military operations in Syria in order to tout its standing as a great power, reinforce its claims to be a credible partner against violent extremism, and reinvigorate domestic support for its continued participation in the Syrian Civil War. Russia has set conditions for a major demonstration of its military might following the completion of the latest in a long series of ‘humanitarian pauses’ in Aleppo City set to end on November 4. Russia’s sole aircraft carrier, the Admiral Kuznetsov, is expected to arrive off the Syrian Coast in the coming days. The arrival of the Kuznetsov with its accompanying fleet of cruise missile-equipped submarines and frigates signals Russia’s likely intent to conduct a new wave of strikes against strategically significant targets in Syria. The deployment comes amidst a recent opposition offensive to break the pro-regime siege of Aleppo City as well as continued pro-regime gains in the Eastern Ghouta Suburbs of Damascus. Russia will likely exploit opportunities in both Aleppo City and Damascus to highlight its ability to project force against "terrorism" and demonstrate the continued legitimacy of its client regime.

-bth: This would probably explain the recent RT posts highlighting the accidental death of 8 civilians in US led bombings of Mosul. I would view the emphasis on that incident as an indication of RT that Russian government which controls RT has plans for civilian casualties in the coming Aleppo offensive. ISW article is worth a read in full.

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Brief thoughts on timing of Mosul battle, reconstruction governance and US election cycles

This Brookings Institute article from Pollack is worth a read regarding the post battle plan for Mosul, if there is one. Certainly a lot of moving pieces.

My take is that the post battle plan for Mosul is not resolved. My fear is that it could be another 'failure to plan for the victory' scenario for the US like we experienced under Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld in the post invasion world of 2003.

On the other hand it appears that Iraq may be a little better governed that it was in 2014 with some prospect for resolution with the central government, the Kurds and some Sunni Arab tribes post battle.

US military appears to be throttling the pace of events by allocating air power selectively. It is also possible that there isn't enough airpower dedicated to the mission at present which could be a big problem as the battle moves toward the urban area of Mosul.

Also given the timeline relative to the US elections it appears to me that Raqqa is essentially off the table for the Obama administration and it will concentrate its remaining time and resources on the protracted battle in Iraq. Perhaps this is due to the poor relations with Russia in regards to Syria and the uncertainty created by Erdogan in Turkey.

In any event, it may be that the Obama administration has decided that given the timing of events, the issue of post occupation Mosul will be kicked like a can to the new administration.

https://www.brookings.edu/blog/markaz/2016/11/01/iraq-in-the-eye-of-the-storm/

Monday, October 31, 2016

Irrigation minister says ‘Egypt has entered water poverty era’ - Al Arabiya

Egypt’s minister of irrigation and water resources warned on Saturday that his country has entered “an era of water poverty,” with a current yearly shortage of 23 billion cubic meters, Al Ahram newspaper reported, citing the MENA news agency.
“Egypt has entered the era of water poverty,” Hossam Moghazi said during a ministry event to celebrate the international day of water.
He added: “We have to rationalize consumption so we are accountable to Egypt’s agricultural, industrial and drinking water needs.”
The minister said Egypt’s current yearly consumption of water was about 83 billion cubic meters while its share of Nile water amounts to 55.5 billion cubic meters.
An additional 4 billion cubic meters Egypt receives from rain and groundwater....
With Egypt’s population expected to reach 150 million in 2050, the country will likely need an additional 21 billion cubic meters of water per year to meet its projected demands, Egypt's National Planning Institute has said.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Everything Doesn't Happen For A Reason - The Adversity Within

.... bth: well worth reading in full. There is an audio link and the full text at the link below.

http://www.timjlawrence.com/blog/2015/10/19/everything-doesnt-happen-for-a-reason

.... When a person is devastated by grief, the last thing they need is advice. Their world has been shattered. This means that the act of inviting someone—anyone—into their world is an act of great risk. To try and fix or rationalize or wash away their pain only deepens their terror.
Instead, the most powerful thing you can do is acknowledge. Literally say the words:
I acknowledge your pain. I am here with you.
Note that I said with you, not for you. For implies that you're going to do something. That is not for you to enact. But to stand with your loved one, to suffer with them, to listen to them, to do everything but something is incredibly powerful.
There is no greater act than acknowledgment. And acknowledgment requires no training, no special skills, no expertise. It only requires the willingness to be present with a wounded soul, and to stay present, as long as is necessary.
Be there. Only be there. Do not leave when you feel uncomfortable or when you feel like you're not doing anything. In fact, it is when you feel uncomfortable and like you're not doing anything that you must stay.
Because it is in those places—in the shadows of horror we rarely allow ourselves to enter—where the beginnings of healing are found. This healing is found when we have others who are willing to enter that space alongside us. Every grieving person on earth needs these people.
Thus I beg you, I plead with you, to be one of these people.
You are more needed than you will ever know.
And when you find yourself in need of those people, find them. I guarantee they are there.
Everyone else can go.

I'm Tim, and The Adversity Within is a blog dedicated to examining the topic of resilience in the face of adversity, while inspiring readers to stand headstrong in their grief and fight for their own evolution. Living with cerebral palsy and epilepsy, I explore topics like post-traumatic growth, survival, and self-reliance. No one should face adversity alone. Subscribe to my mailing list below for free weekly writings delivered to your inbox, and follow me along on Facebook and Twitter.