News Dump Thursday: The Post-ISIS Future Edition
Submitted by gjohnsit on Thu, 04/20/2017 - 3:19pm
Having announced the end of Operation Euphrates Shield in Syria on March 29, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan shortly thereafter declared a pending new stage of the operation, but on Iraqi soil. Any such operation is expected to exacerbate the myriad conflicts in the area.
Erdogan announced the new operation in an April 4 television interview with the Anadolu Agency. Identifying Turkey's targets, he said, “There are the Tal Afar and Sinjar situations. We also have kin in Mosul.” The “kin” Erdogan referred to are Turkmens. During an April 7 TV interview, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu confirmed the government's plans for an Iraq campaign and explained Sinjar's importance. “The PKK [Kurdistan Workers Party] wants to build its own camp in Sinjar, which we cannot allow,” he said. “We will undertake a [military] intervention, or they [PKK forces] will cross our borders to launch terrorist attacks.”
...Turkey already has military forces in Iraq, at Bashiqa, a situation that has caused tensions with Baghdad. Turkey claims the troops are there merely to help train fighters in prepartion for taking Mosul from IS. Baghdad claims they are violating Iraqi sovereignty and has called for their withdrawal.
Iraq's Shi'ite ruling coalition would oppose Kurdish plans to hold a referendum on independence after the defeat of Islamic State, its president, Ammar al-Hakim, has said.
Speaking to Reuters in an interview in Cairo, Hakim advised the Kurds against any unilateral move to annex a disputed oil-rich region which they had gained during the war against the jihadists...
Iraq's main Kurdish parties announced this month a plan to hold a referendum on independence this year.
The Kurds say the expected "yes" outcome will strengthen their hand in talks on self-determination with Baghdad and would not mean automatically declaring independence.
In March, Hashim al-Musawi, spokesman for the Iran-controlled militia known as the Islamic Resistance Movement in Iraq (al-Nojaba), indicated at a news conference in Tehran that his and other Iranian-affiliated Iraqi Shi'ite militias wanted to take on a more expansive role in the region once the Sunni IS militants were defeated.
He mentioned taking military action against Turkish forces based near Mosul if they didn't withdraw, and forming a brigade on the Golan Heights, controlled by the Assad government, as a means to strike at Israel. IRGC units already are thought to be stationed on the Golan Heights.
At a joint news conference April 5 in Washington with Jordan's King Abdullah, President Donald Trump was asked what he thought about the Iran-loyal militias when it comes to Syria and their support in propping up Syria's Assad.
"Will you go after them?" he was asked. "You will see," he replied. "They will have a message. You will see what message that will be."
The American military’s use of the most powerful conventional bomb in its arsenal on an Islamic State cave complex in Afghanistan has stirred up political trouble for the Afghan government, as former President Hamid Karzai on Saturday called his successor “a traitor” and declared that he wanted the Americans gone from the country.
In an interview with The New York Times, hours after he said he intended to work toward “ousting the U.S.,” a fuming Mr. Karzai said there was no justification for the United States to drop the powerful bomb in Afghanistan.
Roughly 300 Marines are en route to Afghanistan to help Afghan troops stop the Taliban from swallowing more of the hard-fought territory for which so many Marines have bled and died, Marine Corps Times has learned.
The deployment of Marines from the II Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, will be the largest Marine deployment to Afghanistan since 2014, when the U.S. military's combat mission known as Operation Enduring Freedom officially ended.
By the end of April, the Marines will be in Helmand province as Task Force Southwest, replacing the Army’s Task Force Forge.
Afghanistan is the world’s premier producer of opium, but that fact did not prevent the country from receiving a spot on a U.N. drug control board Wednesday.
Afghanistan received a four-year term to sit on the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), an international group responsible for overseeing international drug control agreements. The board falls under the the U.N. Economic and Social Council, which voted to give Afghanistan the spot despite its known status as a major producer of opium.
Pentagon officials have been making clear for weeks that they are eager to directly join Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen, and have excitedly laid out plans for deeper involvement in the conflict to the rest of the administration, centering on joining the invasion of Hodeidah, a Red Sea port which is where most humanitarian aid enters the country.
Hodeidah’s vitalness to the already shaky aid supply to northern Yemen isn’t sitting well with aid workers, or even with State Department and USAID officials, who were quick to note that cutting off Hodeidah to the northern Yemenis would lead directly to a full-blown famine.
In the past year, sovereign notes from emerging markets under autocratic rule have returned 15 percent on average, compared with just 8.6 percent for securities from developing countries considered democratic, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. They also have better returns over the past two years, though beyond that the advantage fades.
For all the ugliness that often comes with authoritarian governments -- the human rights abuses, the curbs on free expression -- they often can be very rewarding for bondholders willing to turn a blind eye.
"Investors typically view the bonds of an autocratic regime very negatively and assign a very high default probability," said Victor Fu, the director of emerging-market sovereign strategy at Stifel Nicolaus & Co. But "in an autocratic regime, the government remaining in power is considered more important than people’s welfare. Since a bond default likely will raise the risks for the government to be thrown out, the ruling party will do its best to prevent a credit event."
...“Obviously, investors love Russia with Putin in power," Jim Barrineau, the co-head of emerging markets debt for Schroder Investment Management, said Monday on Bloomberg TV. "It’s not necessarily the case that it’s a necessary and sufficient condition that there be democracy.”
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