The United States as a great Power is facing a large number of challenges in the Muslim world, and Israel’s Gaza campaign is endangering both American diplomacy there and the very security of the US.
Given the series of setbacks for the US in the Middle East, in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and Egypt, Israeli PM Binyamin Netanyahu could scarcely have chosen a worst time to kill hundreds of Palestinian civilians in the full light of world media.
As security deteriorates to unprecedented lows in Libya, the US has had to pull its ambassador and her staff from Tripoli. Fundamentalist radicals in Benghazi and elsewhere, already suspicious of the US, are seeing blood because of America’s statements in support of the Israeli military campaign.
Even long-term allies of the US in the region are disturbed by the Israeli campaign. Turkey is a member of NATO, there is even a possibility that Turkey will send another Mavi Marmara-style aid ship to Gaza, this time flanked by Turkish destroyers.
In many parts of the Middle East, Israel’s war on Gaza’s non-combatants could easily provoke an anti-American reaction. In some places, including Iraq and Afghanistan, it could result in American troop deaths.
Taliban fighters are scoring early gains in several strategic areas near the capital this summer, inflicting heavy casualties and casting new doubt on the ability of Afghan forces to contain the insurgency as the United States moves to complete its withdrawal of combat troop
The Taliban have found success beyond their traditional strongholds in the rural south and are now dominating territory near crucial highways and cities that surround Kabul.
The capital, in strategic provinces like Kapisa and Nangarhar.
Their advance has gone unreported because most American forces have left the field and officials in Kabul have largely refused to talk about it.
The Afghan ministries have not released casualty statistics since an alarming rise in army and police deaths last year.
At a time when an election crisis is threatening the stability of the government, the Taliban’s increasingly aggressive campaign is threatening another crucial facet of the American withdrawal plan, full security by Afghan forces this year.
Taliban are growing bolder just two months into the fighting season, at great cost to Afghan military and police forces.
There are only anecdotal reports to help gauge just how deadly the offensive has been.
The Afghan defense and interior ministries stopped releasing casualty data after a shocking surge of military and police deaths in 2013, by September, with more than 100 soldiers and police officers dying every week, even the commander of the International Security Assistance Force suggested the losses could not be sustained.
More significantly, for the first time, the highest number of casualties came from ground fighting between the Afghan forces and insurgents rather than from roadside bombs.
Hamas is celebrating the “success” of the mortar shelling at the Eshkol region, and says it has been firing at areas where IDF troops gather.