Janine Davidson

Defense in Depth

Janine Davidson examines the art, politics, and business of American military power.

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Weekend Reader: Afghan Election Turmoil, Dam Warfare, and the Geopolitics of the World Cup Final

by Janine Davidson
July 11, 2014

afghanistan-election-defense-us Afghan presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah speaks during a gathering with his supporters in Kabul, July 8, 2014. Abdullah told thousands of supporters on Tuesday he was the winner of last month's run-off election, putting himself on a collision course with his arch-rival, Ashraf Ghani. (Omar Sobhani /Courtesy Reuters)


Grim dispatches from Afghanistan’s “increasingly troubled” presidential election. With the world distracted, the news out of Afghanistan keeps getting worse. The likely loser, Abdullah Abdullah, has accused the government of “industrial-scale” fraud—and threatened not to accept the results. Meanwhile, a new United Nations report on civilian casualties in Afghanistan shows a sharp increase beginning in 2013, drawing the fate of the nation into deeper question.

Elsewhere, a brief history of dam warfare. War is Boring has the story, from the Mongols’ medieval assault on the Central Asian city of Gujang to ISIS’ capture and sabotage of the Nuaimiyah Dam in western Iraq in April of this year. As conflict increasingly gravitates to sources of water, the practice could become more common.

And in the World Cup, a “fitting finale” between Argentina and Germany. The two nations last faced each other in 1990—where Argentina suffered a questionable penalty and a bitter loss. Beyond the sports, however, World Cup conduct of the Argentine government has left some citizens more than skeptical. Regardless, the match is on Sunday. Watch it.

Weekend Reader bonus: the coolest place to take photos. This photographer is taking some of the most intense shots in the world—all from the back of a U.S. Air Force Thunderbird.

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