Intelligence

The Still-Sketchy Intel on Syria

Exclusive: In the mainstream U.S. news media, the bomb-Syria debate is focusing on how the politics might play out and what may happen after the expected U.S. missile strike, having brushed past lingering doubts about the sketchy intelligence regarding the Aug. 21 chemical weapons attack, as Lisa Pease explains.

Should We Fall Again for ‘Trust Me’?

Exclusive: Forgetting lessons from the Tonkin Gulf to the Iraq War, the U.S. news media has mostly elbowed past doubts about whether the Syrian government launched the Aug. 21 chemical weapons attack and now is focused on the political drama of congressional approval for war, a big mistake says ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

Putting a Rush to War on Pause

By seeking congressional approval before bombing Syria, President Obama may have recognized a political reality – the danger from pressing ahead unilaterally on a risky mission – but the move also offers a valuable breather in the hasty rush to war, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.

Understanding the Syrian Civil War

With President Obama asking Congress to back a military strike to punish Syria for alleged chemical weapons use, the U.S. is lurching toward a new war. Beyond doubts about what happened and whether a U.S. missile attack will help, there is scant public understanding of the Syrian conflict, notes Mideast expert William R. Polk.

Getting Syria-ous About Peace Talks

Exclusive: President Obama’s decision to seek congressional approval before attacking Syria may represent a needed breather, slowing Official Washington’s stampede into another war, but the only way to stop the bloodshed is to get the various sides into peace talks – and it is the U.S.-supported rebels who won’t go, notes Robert Parry.

The Risk from Distorting Intelligence

The Obama administration’s emotional reaction to the alleged chemical attack in Syria may be understandable given the human toll, but the high-level clamor for action put pressure on intelligence analysts assessing the evidence. It also could have distorted their judgments, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.

Ignoring Bloody Mideast Lessons

The Obama administration appears blind to the history that when U.S. officials have lashed out in anger at Middle East adversaries, the consequences have usually been bad and bloody. The Iraq War is an obvious cautionary tale but so too is Ronald Reagan’s shelling of Lebanon in 1983, as Ann Wright recalls.

A Dodgy Dossier on Syrian War

Exclusive: President George W. Bush misled the world on Iraq’s WMD, but Bush’s bogus case for war at least had details that could be checked, unlike what the Obama administration released Friday on Syria’s alleged chemical attacks – no direct quotes, no photographic evidence, no named sources, nothing but “trust us,” says Robert Parry.

An Appeal to Gen. Dempsey on Syria

Gen. Martin Dempsey,  Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, has spoken soberly about the dangers from any military strike on Syria, but press reports indicate President Obama is still set on launching cruise missiles in the coming days, an action that former U.S. intelligence professionals say should prompt Dempsey’s resignation.

The Saudi-Israeli Superpower

Exclusive: Egypt’s counterrevolution and Syria’s civil war could herald the arrival of a new superpower coalition, an unlikely alliance between Israel and Saudi Arabia, one with great political clout and the other with vast financial wealth, together flexing their muscles across the Middle East, writes Robert Parry.