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.
Three decades ago, the Reagan administration followed Israel into the middle of the Lebanon civil war with disastrous results, including the deaths of 241 U.S. servicemen and a U.S. withdrawal. Now, the Obama administration faces a similar choice regarding the Syrian civil war, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar writes.
In assessing murky terrorism cases in the Middle East, one must take into account the political pressures on investigators and journalists to push the conclusion in a favored direction. That truism has surfaced again in a bombing at the Bulgarian resort of Burgas, says Gareth Porter for Inter Press Service.
One problem in assessing blame for terror attacks in the Middle East is that governments have political interests in linking these outrages to enemies and then pushing that case in public forums. That dynamic may now be influencing the probe of a terror bombing in Bulgaria, reports Gareth Porter for Inter Press Service.
Exclusive: For decades, Israel and its Arab neighbors fought wars rather than make the difficult compromises that peace would require. However, over the past decade, Israel’s security perimeter has expanded, now reaching nearly 1,000 miles to Iran and entangling the United States in widening conflicts, warns Morgan Strong.
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.
Exclusive: The U.S. news media regularly rallies the American public to outrage when a U.S. adversary or some unpopular group is linked to a heinous crime. But a different standard applies to U.S. allies even when there is strong evidence of a similar offense, observes Robert Parry.