Russia is partially withdrawing its troops from Syria. It will maintain its naval and air bases there but will remove some unspecified amount of troops and equipment. Every reason you can think of has been offered in the speculation as to why and why now. Here’s a reasonable interpretation from Randa Slim, who has been involved in Track II discussions with Russia. Also from Mark Galeotti. How much will Russia continue to support Assad? Will Assad support the peace process with his protector partially gone? And how will other parties to the conflict respond? Nobody really knows. Here’s an article about strained relations between Russia and Iran.
Added later: A good summary of possible reasons why Putin is withdrawing forces from Syria.
Russia and China are putting pressure on North Korea to return to talks to limit its nuclear capabilities. They don’t want to have a crazy nuclear neighbor. Jeffrey Lewis reminds us that we really do need to stop North Korea’s progress toward a nuclear arsenal.
Mikhail Lesin, a former advisor to Vladimir Putin, was beaten to death in Washington, D.C., last November. Not much more is known. Here’s one of the more complete articles on him.
Neil deGrasse Tyson made some odd remarks about biology recently. I did a tweetstream on the obligations of public scientists in response. Here are Tyson’s and my tweets. My tweetstream caused enough of a stir that it was included in a Twitter Moment.
Top photo from Tass.