Christopher Ingraham of the Washington Post captures the sorrows of Baltimore with this striking datum:
Fifteen Baltimore neighborhoods have lower life expectancies than North Korea. Eight are doing worse than Syria.
It is bad and we’ve known that for a long time. But if The Wire didn’t make the point emphatically enough, the recent riots certainly should have. But agreement on just how dire conditions are is about all we are likely to get, especially in this political year. One where, incidentally, one of the candidates was actually mayor of that city not very long ago. That will be a tough record to run on but never doubt the creativity of a major American politician.
Baltimore has been a project of the Democratic party political class for years now. It schools (and teachers unions) are lavishly funded. But it has failed to the point where a child born in one of the city’s neighborhoods:
...could expect to die 20 years earlier than another kid who simply had the good fortune of being born just a few miles up the road from you. For Baltimore's poorest, that's the reality they're living in.
A DoD News story, published on Defense.gov, claims that the "Strategy to Defeat ISIL is Working, Military Official Says."
The report reads, "The coalition and Iraqi security forces strategy to defeat and dismantle the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant extremist group is clear and on track, the chief of staff of Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve said today."
The U.S. killed an ISIS leader, Abu Sayyaf, last night in Syria. And, U.S. forces, now have his wife, Umm Sayyaf, in custody. The news was released today by the White House's National Security Council.
The United States is offering big pay outs to anyone who has "information" on key ISIS leaders. "The U.S. Department of State's Rewards for Justice Program is offering rewards for information on four key leaders of the terrorist group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
Kuwait City Here in Kuwait, as in the rest of the Arab states of the Persian Gulf, there is a sense that the Middle East is changing. In the Gulf media, there seems to be a consensus in support of Operation Decisive Storm, the Saudi-led military campaign launched to beat Houthi insurgents and reinstall Yemen's government under President Abdrabbo Mansour Hadi. Almost everyone wants to see Iran and its allies, like the Houthis, cut to size, and almost everyone is excited to see Arab governments flex their military muscles. Even those who are questioning the campaign couch the debate not in terms of regional political doctrines like Arab nationalism or Islamism, but rather in terms of national sovereignty and constitutionality.
When the revolt in Syria began in 2011, many policy analysts and former officials argued that the downfall of the Assad regime would be a major setback to Iran. I was one of them, and the claim was not complicated: Syria was Iran’s only Arab ally, provided its only ports on the Mediterranean, was a land bridge to Hezbollah in Lebanon that allowed Iran an easy means of arming Hezbollah, and via Hezbollah gave Iran a border with Israel. The fall of Assad would deny Iran all these assets and all these possibilities.
Last week, outgoing chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces Benny Gantz told an American audience that it’s important the international community defeat both camps of regional extremists. The way Gantz sees it, on one side there are Sunni radicals, like the Islamic State, al Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood, and the Nusra Front, an al Qaeda affiliate. On the Shiite side are Iran and the Revolutionary Guards expeditionary unit, the Quds Force, as well as Hezbollah and Iranian-backed Iraqi Shiite militias.
In last night's State of the Union, President Obama reiterated his call upon Congress to pass a new "AUMF" -- or Authorization for Use of Military Force -- against ISIS, rather than continuing to wage war pursuant to the original 2001 AUMF against al