Stuff is still happening in (the sequel)…

I really don't know how many times I'll be able to use that title, but given that the American audience has become so distracted by the Washington debt ceiling battle, I decided to check on some old favorites and post a quick update on goings on elsewhere.  

Libya:  Apparently Libyan rebels have made "significant" gains in the past week, taking control of some key cities on the way to Tripoli.  NATO planes have damaged or destroyed over 150 targets in the past week alone.  However, who really knows what qualifies as a "military target" for these purposes.  Sources in the article also indicate that some of Ghadaffi's forces have begun consolidating in Tripoli and have begun removing their uniforms, apparently gearing up for a transition in tactics.  It will be interesting to see what the next month brings.  

Syria:  It sounds like the body count in Syria is continuing to rise steadily.  Syrian security forces are apparently combating "armed gangs" in an effort to protect the people.  This includes firing into Palestinian refugee camps as well it seems.  The article also mentions a Youtube video that has surfaced, purportedly showing some pretty graphic scenes from the crackdown.  I've not seen it, but it sounds pretty unsettling.  

Bahrain:  It sounds as though things have quieted down for the time being, but Bahrain is still dealing with the fallout from the previous protests and crackdowns.  Quiet doesn't necessarily mean good, however, as the BBC is reporting that hundreds of people are still in jail and there are reports of widespread torture.  Not terribly surprising, but it's important to keep in mind the fact that the violence carries on even once the streets have cleared.    

Michael Flynn

About Michael Flynn

Michael Flynn is currently an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science at Kansas State University. He received his Ph.D. in Political Science from Binghamton University in 2013. His research focuses on the political and economic determinants of foreign economic and security policy, security issues, and state repression.

3 Replies to “Stuff is still happening in (the sequel)…”

  1. And let’s not forget Iraq. According to the NYTimes, violence this week calls into question whether anything has actually changed since 2006 after all. Not that anyone saw *that* coming.
    I wonder if they’ll just copy, paste, and change a few proper nouns when they write the same story about Afghanistan in 2013 or 2014.
    As to the title, if it ain’t broke… 🙂

  2. I’m developing a concern that the timestamp on your comment has betrayed just how early you get into the office in the morning.
    I hadn’t read the Iraq piece, but I guess it shouldn’t surprise me. I really wouldn’t be surprised if the mission “label” changes and the troop presence persists for a while longer. And surely you couldn’t be so jaded as to believe journalists would do something so callous!
    I’ll be curious to see how this plays into the campaigning and the election. If Obama were to continued to draw down troop levels I think he’d face further backlash from Republicans, in spite of the complaints about spending. Although, I’m getting the sense that the Republican party is going to be experiencing some growing rifts over these sorts of questions in the coming months. I think the traditional internationalist wing is still there, but their voices are being drowned out at the moment by the more conservative elements of the party. Ultimately I guess it depends on how the issue is spun for the Republican voters. The economy and government spending have been dominating the debate thus far, but I think the most entertaining stuff will come out when/if foreign policy gets back on the front burner. Admittedly I missed the recent Republican debate, so I’m not sure how much of the spotlight was on foreign affairs for that, but I haven’t heard much since then to indicate that it was.

  3. I was up early today. I’m not normally. In fact, I’m more of a night owl than anything.
    I’m sure the journalists wouldn’t actually copy and paste the story. That would imply they sometimes go back and read what was written a few years ago. Which it seems they either do not, or, if they do, they have a veritably charming inability to notice how often rhetoric does not match reality.
    It’ll definitely be interesting to see how it plays out. My sense is he can afford to ignore criticism about being “soft” on Iraq in a way he can’t with Afghanistan, for various reasons, but who knows.

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