The bloody assault on Egyptians protesting the ouster of democratically elected President Mohamed Morsi has the look of madness – as the military pushes Islamists toward more violence – but there is a sick logic if the generals see more Islamic extremism as their lock on U.S. aid, writes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
The resumption of peace talks between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators is widely cheered, but it will result in a positive result only if the genuine interests of both sides are treated fairly, a prospect that is undercut by the pro-Israeli bias of the U.S. government, says Lawrence Davidson.
Getting Israelis and Palestinians to the negotiating table may be a diplomatic accomplishment but it can’t be an end in itself. And while no one has lost money betting against an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal, there are some reasons that the odds are better this time, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar notes.
The Egyptian military has ousted President Morsi and Syria is in a civil war, but Secretary of State Kerry has invested much of his time on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Some pundits question Kerry’s priorities but they ignore how corrosive the Israeli occupation has been to U.S. interests, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
Despite U.S. government pressure, Russian President Vladimir Putin is balking at demands that he extradite Edward Snowden from Moscow to face espionage charges for leaking secrets about America’s global surveillance operations. Still, Snowden’s status remains dicey, as Marjorie Cohn explains to Dennis J Bernstein.
Russia and the Obama administration have made some moves toward seeking a peace settlement in Syria, even as Russia bolsters its support for Bashar al-Assad’s embattled regime. But an obstacle has emerged as the deeply divided Syrian rebels balk at meeting with Assad’s representatives, ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar notes.
The pro-Israel lobby has been so effective dominating U.S. policy toward the Middle East that the success, paradoxically, has made Washington increasingly irrelevant to the peace process. That has created a vacuum that China and other nations may try to fill, notes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
As Israel changes “the facts on the ground” through settlement of Palestinian land, the prospects of a two-state solution fade from unlikely to impossible. That has made the Palestinian Authority into a “stooge” organization and helps explain the resignation of Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
In President Obama’s first term, he built a national security “team of rivals” and got mouse-trapped into a dubious Afghan War escalation. For his second term, he’s opted for people who share his views on more restrained military power and faces criticism for “group think,” says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
President Obama’s lethal drone program raises many troubling questions, such as the quality of evidence used to justify the killings and the lack of judicial review. But another concern is simply its effectiveness, whether it creates more terrorists than it eliminates, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar writes.