Tag Archive for Al-Qaeda

Obama’s Much-Conflicted Syrian Policy

President Barack Obama in his weekly address on Sept. 13, 2014, vowing to degrade and ultimately defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. (White House Photo)

President Obama’s policy toward Syria is getting pulled in so many directions that it lacks any coherence, especially since the U.S.-backed Syrian “moderate” rebels are in a tacit alliance with al-Qaeda’s offshoots that are the target of the U.S. airstrikes, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar describes.

Forgetting Lessons of Terrorism

President George W. Bush announcing the start of his invasion of Iraq on March 19, 2003.

Terror tactics have always been partly theater designed to elicit public reaction, whether to draw attention to a grievance or to draw the U.S. military into a conflict. Yet, American pols and pundits seem to have forgotten this reality and thus continue to get manipulated, writes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

Hoping Bombs Will Solve Iraq/Syria Mess

The guided-missile cruiser USS Philippine Sea launches a Tomahawk cruise missile as seen from the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush in the Persian Gulf, Sept. 23, 2014.  (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Eric Garst)

Contradictions beset the U.S. war over Iraq and Syria. The principal target ISIS wouldn’t even exist but for the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, and al-Qaeda affiliates in Syria have benefited from defections of U.S.-backed “moderates.” But now warplanes and missiles are supposed to fix things, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

Obama’s Novel Lawyering to Bomb Syria

President Barack Obama talks with Ambassador Samantha Power, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, following a Cabinet meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Sept. 12, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Exclusive: The U.S. government likes international law when it serves Washington’s purposes, but not when it constrains U.S. desires to use military force. Then, the rules are bent, ignored or subjected to novel lawyering, as President Obama is doing with airstrikes into Syria, reports Robert Parry.

Blocking a ‘Realist’ Strategy on the Mideast

President Barack Obama talks with President Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine and Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker following a bilateral meeting in the Oval Office, Sept. 18, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Exclusive: Official Washington’s influential neocons appear back in the driver’s seat steering U.S. policy in the Middle East toward a wider conflict in Syria and away from a “realist” alternative that sought a Putin-Obama collaboration to resolve the region’s crises more peacefully, reports Robert Parry.

Reported US-Syrian Accord on Air Strikes

President Barack Obama in his weekly address on Sept. 13, 2014, vowing to degrade and ultimately defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. (White House Photo)

Exclusive: A problem with President Obama’s plan to expand the war against ISIS into Syria was always the risk that Syrian air defenses might fire on U.S. warplanes, but now a source says Syria’s President Assad has quietly agreed to permit strikes in some parts of Syria, reports Robert Parry.

Off on Another ‘War’ Against ‘Terror’

President Barack Obama shakes hands with U.S. troops at Bagram Airfield in Bagram, Afghanistan, Sunday, May 25, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

The original post-9/11 “war on terror” rejected a targeted police-oriented response toward al-Qaeda, which also would have focused on root causes of Sunni extremism, and instead demanded a military “war.” Now, 13 years later, few lessons have been learned, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

How Rep. King Aided Leak He Decried

Rep. Peter King, R-New York

Washington insiders like to swap around sensitive information to show how important they are, but some then protest loudly when a journalist lets the broader public in on the secrets. That can lead to obvious hypocrisies as occurred with Rep. Peter King, writes Marcy Wheeler.

Confronting Terrorism with Peace

A U.S. Army soldier provides security at a school in Farah City, Afghanistan, on Aug. 1, 2012. (Photo credit: U.S. Navy Lt. Benjamin Addison)

Violent counterterrorism rides the wave of public outrage over the cruel behavior of terrorists, which is often exactly what the terrorists want, a downward spiral into more killing and mayhem. Some experts see the need for a more constructive approach, says Erin Niemela.

Why Take the Neocons Seriously?

President Barack Obama, with Vice President Joe Biden, attends a meeting in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Dec. 12, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Exclusive: The Sunni extremist offensive into central Iraq appears to have stalled, but the political battle rages in Washington where neocons see an opening to pressure President Obama into recommitting the U.S. military in support of neocon goals in the Middle East, writes Robert Parry.