Daesh, reportedly, is holed up in northern Afghanistan, getting ready for a new assignment.
In recent months, I've had personal reason to become more aware of Central Asia, particularly Uzbekistan. So, I located a map of the "stans" that once were part of the Soviet Union.
It's been over 30 years since the great Soviet Union embraced "glastnost" and was later reduced to a "federation" as the stans struck out on their own. I can still hear Actor Ronald Reagan in his great role as a president, dramatically reading his line: "Mr. Gorbachov, tear down that Wall."
Under the thumb of leader Islam Karimov daily life for the Uzbeks was much the same as during the old Bolshevik regime, but there also developed a kind of economic stability. Now that Karimov has died, it appears that big change is on the horizon, and some of it rather ominous.
Uzbekistan is a tiny country with a population roughly the size of Canada's. More than 40% are under the age of 25, and unemployment is high, so the kids have had to leave not just home, but country as well. Russia has accepted a large number of them, so it appears that Uzbeks are not anti-Russia.
From the website of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace:
What I'm gathering from the news analysis sites is that Daesh retired to northern Afghanistan to regroup, and now is in a position from whence it can move through the stans toward Russia to provoke a reaction, as it did in Syria and Iraq.
Just across the Caspian Sea (see map above) NATO is prominent in Georgia and Azerbaijan, and Armenia, which has heretofore been pro-Russia, has just experienced what amounts to a western-backed coup designed to alienate it from Russia - at its own peril, I might add.
It may be that Azerbaijan is having premonitions, since it backed out of the NATO exercises held last July with no explanation apparently offered. As it stands, it would appear now that Armenia has swung - or was pushed - away from Russia while Azerbaijan is having second thoughts about NATO.
So it does look as if the US is going to upend all those tiny countries to get at Russia and, no doubt, Iran. What did any of them do to deserve this, except to survive under difficult conditions?
And whatever happened to the accusations of pal-ship between Trump and Putin?
Well, it does appear that all this was planned a long time ago. It may have seemed imminent when Obama signed an anti-protest bill in 2012, but later had second thoughts when the protests were all about police brutality. But the beast has returned.
Slate says: [It] all depends on what you want to protest and where.
From the National Lawyer's Guild (NLG)
As for pipeline protests (people have just got to understand that war requires oil):
From The Intercept:
From US Protest Law Tracker:
In other words, if you thought Iraq, Syria, Libya etc. were horrific, you may not have seen nuthin' yet. In the Land of the Free, however, you can look but, like Uzbekistan under its former leader, you'll be okay if you just keep quiet.
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