I've got some interesting stories/articles to share for you to peruse at your leisure this weekend and/or while you are trying to avoid interacting with family during Thanksgiving. Some of this news is good, some is neutral, and some is bad. Spoiler alert: it's all going to end up bad in the long term. There I go being pessimistic again.
News out of Afghanistan is that the leader of the Taliban, Mullah Omar, is dead. The information is coming from the Afghan National Directorate of Security (NDS) so I'm going to take it with a grain of salt. Having said that, I tend to believe NDS reporting over some of the crap the US puts out concerning the Taliban. The NDS also claim that due to Mullah Omar's death, Taliban leadership has split into three groups and "differences" have arisen.
Here's my perspective: Mullah Omar hasn't been credibly seen since fleeing Kandahar on a motorbike back when the US invaded Afghanistan. There have been many reports saying he's dead and many reports saying he's alive. On occasion Mullah Omar has issued written statements but those statements could just be some senior Taliban leader claiming to be Mullah Omar. As for Taliban infighting, that's probably pretty likely. During my brief time in Kabul there was information out there about senior Taliban members splintering off or creating discord due to difference of opinions. It's a slight glimmer of hope I have for Afghanistan that the Taliban can't/won't be organized enough to completely over-run the country again.
For some actual optimism, the Somali president claimed that by the end of the year Al Shabaab fighters would be pushed out of all the remaining territory the group holds. For awhile on this blog I was predicting every few months that Al Shabaab only had about 6 months left until it was defeated. Well screw it, I'm saying it again: by the middle of next year Al Shabaab will hold no territory and be nothing but a small terrorist group that is merely a thorn in the side of the Somali government and the African Union.
Feel free to call me out on that in June.
ISIS just captured the Syrian town of Derna...wait did I write Syrian? I meant Libyan. THE FUCK IS ISIS DOING IN LIBYA??!! Calm down, no need to panic. Apparently some punks called the Islamic Youth Council changed their name and flag and pledged their allegiance to ISIS. It helps that members of that particular militia just returned from Syria after fighting for ISIS; so it's not so much as ISIS suddenly expanding and more like ISIS attempting to set up a colony. Eastern Libya was already pretty extremist to begin with (think Alabama/Mississippi of Libya) and the whole country is just a mess so I'm not overly concerned.
I'll become concerned when ISIS can actually make some real friends.