As America’s efforts to “degrade and ultimately destroy” Islamic State militants extend into Syria, Iraq War III has seamlessly morphed into Greater Middle East Battlefield XIV. That is, Syria has become at least the 14th country in the Islamic world that U.S. forces have invaded or occupied or bombed, and in which American soldiers have killed or been killed. And that’s just since 1980.
Let’s tick them off: Iran (1980, 1987-1988), Libya (1981, 1986, 1989, 2011), Lebanon (1983), Kuwait (1991), Iraq (1991-2011, 2014-), Somalia (1992-1993, 2007-), Bosnia (1995), Saudi Arabia (1991, 1996), Afghanistan (1998, 2001-), Sudan (1998), Kosovo (1999), Yemen (2000, 2002-), Pakistan (2004-) and now Syria. Whew.
With our 14th front barely opened, the Pentagon foresees a campaign likely to last for years. Yet even at this early date, this much already seems clear: Even if we win, we lose.
Even if we defeat the Islamic State, we’ll still lose the bigger war - The Washington Post
Girls still sent to Kashmir for forced weddings
According to the United Nations’ news agency, IRIN, “hundreds of cases of forced marriage are thought to take place annually, involving British nationals married against their will in Kashmir, particularly in and around the industrial town of Mirpur.”
Pakistan cannot afford to be entering into an arms race with India. We can never match them, tank for tank, missile for missile, aircraft for aircraft or gun for gun. All we want is to regain the credibility of our deterrence.
said General Ehsan Ul-Haq, Former Director of Pakistan’s Inter-services Intelligence. He spoke to Senior Editor Tom Hundley as part of Tom’s Pulitzer Center project on India and Pakistan’s nuclear arms race. (Watch a video compilation of some of Tom’s interviews here and continue reading for a synopsis.)
India thinks Pakistan uses its nuclear capability as a shield to hide behind while allowing proxy extremist attacks on India. Both the US and India are concerned about what would happen to the nuclear weapons if Pakistan should fail as a state, but nuclear disarmament looks like a far-off prospect.
Rajah Mohan of the Observer Research Foundation in New Delhi voices his concern by asking a question which he says no one has been able to answer for the last 20 years: “How does India change Pakistan army’s strategic calculus?”
— Source: Senior Editor Tom Hundley’s video within his larger project on India and Pakistan’s nuclear arms race.
IRIN: Growing risks for aid workers in Pakistan
“NGO security threats are at an all-time high. I have never in almost 20 years known things as bad as this,” Chris Cork, country security adviser for the UK-headquartered Abaseen Foundation, an NGO working chiefly in Pakistan’s Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Province, told the United Nations’ news agency, IRIN.
IRIN reports that over the past few weeks there “has been an upsurge in attacks on aid workers, many of them linked to a national polio eradication campaign in one of the world’s last three countries where the disease remains endemic.” This is thought to, at least partially, be fallout from the U.S. effort to kill Osama Bin Laden. IRIN goes on to state:
"In 2011 Shakil Afridi, a government-employed doctor, collected DNA samples from a residential house in Abbotabad which helped the US Central Intelligence Agency identify the whereabouts of Bin Laden, who was killed in a US raid. It is alleged that Afridi, since sentenced to 33 years in jail, masqueraded in his native Khyber Agency as a polio vaccinator in order to collect the samples.
Ehsanullah Ehsan, a spokesman for militant group Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, told IRIN: ‘Afridi was a traitor and naturally people now suspect all anti-polio workers of being US agents.’”
Agence France-Presse reports that “more than 300 Pakistani children died of measles last year, a staggering increase on the previous 12 months and a result of three consecutive years of flooding.”