Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Headline Roundup

News respects no holiday season ...

Over the past year people in our pages (virtual and online) have been warning about instability in Nigeria. The pipeline explosion in Lagos is yet another reminder of the potential for instability in a country with a declining infrastructure, uncertain political future and emerging militias who are learning how to target the oil industry.

Pakistan announces it will mine its borders with Afghanistan in an attempt to stem the flow of militants across the border.

Ethiopia presses its attack in Somalia, as Addis Ababa has no desire to see a hardline Islamist state take root on its borders and perhaps begin to stir up Ethiopia's own Muslim population. Taking a page out of the Israeli playbook?

So we now have a sanctions package against Iran, but 1) will they be effective and 2) will we get anything more? I think no on both counts.

Correct on Iran: sanctions: "Phyrric victory". I am frustrated by the stupidity of this - now any settlment between US & Iran has become that much more difficult.

Karazai already has publicly accued Paksitan that it wants to kill him and gain control of Afghanistan. Pakistan is no longer useful in the war against Al Qaeda need not be cuddled. The center of gravity of Al Qaeda has moved out of the Northwest Frontier province. Pakistan might be able to provide useful security and political help to the stablization of Afghanistan but I do not see them doing that.

Ethiopia has no chance of success. Islamic Somalia is a fait accompali. It is not the Israel playbook that they are pursuing but rather Inida-Russia-Iran approach in Afghanistan (supporting the Northern Alliance aganist Taliban). So they might succeed in keeping a small enclave alive politically (a very big IF) but the cannot reverse the gains of the Islamists.
Good point about Ethiopia playing the Northern Alliance strategy--whether or not they'll get any traction here in Washington remains to be seen.
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