Holdovers from the Bush administration helped sell President Barack Obama on a “surge” for Afghanistan, arguing that a counterinsurgency strategy could still work. However, two years later, the Taliban continues high-profile attacks almost anywhere in the country, reports Gareth Porter.
On Sunday, amid tearful remembrances of 9/11, the U.S. news media avoided any serious criticism of how the U.S. government responded to the attacks with 10 years of slaughter that has left hundreds of thousands dead, the vast majority having had nothing to do with al-Qaeda. Gareth Porter looks at the reasons for this oversight.
The CIA is now “one hell of a killing machine,” said one CIA insider, as lethal drones hunt down “bad guys” selected for death by a ramped-up force of CIA target analysts. This shift in emphasis has transformed the spy agency that new director, retired Gen. David Petraeus, inherits, writes Gareth Porter.
From the start, the United Nations-sponsored inquiry into the 2005 murder of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri has looked more like an agit-prop campaign, first aimed at Syria and now Hezbollah, than an impartial investigation into the crime. Gareth Porter notes the inquiry’s curious blind eye toward an al-Qaeda confession.
The evidentiary standards used by international tribunals to charge people with crimes seem to depend on whether the West favors you or not. A new example is the Hariri case in which four Hezbollah members were indicted based on a bizarrely speculative cell-phone analysis, writes Gareth Porter for Inter Press Service.
Some of our special stories in July explored the double standards regarding “freedom” in the Middle East, exposed new evidence on the 1980 October Surprise mystery, examined the spread of right-wing extremism, and more.
The U.S. commando raid that killed Osama bin Laden on May 2 aroused anger in Pakistan over unilateral American military actions. But bilateral tensions have been growing for years over U.S. drone strikes against Pakistani targets – and have now reached a crisis stage, reports Gareth Porter for Inter Press Service.
In a little-noticed policy shift, the Obama administration renounced “permanent” U.S. bases in Afghanistan, addressing a central demand of the Taliban. Its leaders have signaled that peace talks are possible if the United States agrees to pull out its troops, as Gareth Porter reported for Inter Press Service.
Anti-American Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr has stood in the way of proposals to extend U.S. troop presence in Iraq beyond the end of this year, and some of his backers have attacked American forces as a reminder of the looming deadline. But Gareth Porter reported for Inter Press Service that Sadr may be sending mixed signals.
As chief commander in the Afghan War, Gen. David Petraeus has been desperate to show evidence that his latest “surge” succeeded in degrading the Taliban fighting strength. However, recently compiled figures show more attacks by the Taliban and higher U.S. casualties, Gareth Porter reports for Inter Press Service.