The Morning News Let's try to guess how Trump will lead America's military engagements.
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A fortune-telling game (1650-1750). Credit: Collection of the British Library.

The conflict in Yemen is not one that can be fixed easily. Trump's botched military raid certainly didn't help matters.

As the consensus around Trump's raid in Yemen—his first military operation, one that killed 25 civilians (including nine children) and a Navy SEAL—seems to be that it was badly planned and ultimately botched (perhaps that's what comes of late-night strategy sessions over dinner with Bannon and Miller), it now creates, as everything Trump has done so far, a negative ripple effect.

For instance: The Yemeni government summarily withdrew permission for the US to carry out operations on its soil, only to immediately backtrack after what can only be assumed to be orderly diplomatic negotiations with the Trump administration.

There were no signs that Trump had any inclination to do any humanitarian work in Yemen, where strikes from American ally Saudi Arabia have killed thousandsa third of them civilians—with little recognition from our government. Meanwhile shortages of everything from food to cancer medicine are slowly killing the rest of the population, all of whom are banned from visiting the US, it's worth remembering.

Feb 13, 2017

A new report from Human Rights Watch documents extensive use of chlorine gas and other chemical weapons on the part of the Assad regime, that were "integral" to its retaking of Aleppo.

See also: An in-depth Atlanic Council report on the retaking of Aleppo that details, in part, the Assad regime's Kafkaesque disinformation campaign. Page 59 of Breaking Aleppo:

It's difficult to say with confidence that Trump will have any patience for the nuances involved in America's longest-running war.

What will Trump will do in Afghanistan? He boasts that he wants to leave the country, but many of his military advisers likely want to maintain a US presence to help act as a bulwark against ISIS.

Again, little word on the humanitarian aspect of America's actions in Afghanistan and its neighbors. Meanwhile, Pakistan forces the return of hundreds of thousands of Afghan refugees, with the complicit assistance of the UN Refugee Agency.

Feb 13, 2017

Trump's main comments on the Iraq War since taking office have mostly been to bemoan the money wasted on it—which, fair—but also to complain that America never profited from Iraq's oil, even though that would have broken the Geneva Conventions. But he doesn't know what those are anyway.

It is impossible to distinguish bellicose rhetoric from real operational planning. A confrontation with Iran will probably not come soon; but in a year or two, when previous policies conceived under Obama have run their course, Trump may well feel that he has to show how much tougher and more effective he is than his predecessor.

Oh, good: Patrick Cockburn predicts President Trump's war with Iran is not too far away.
↩︎ The Independent
Feb 13, 2017
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