Tag Archive for Paul R. Pillar

Should NATO Protect the Palestinians?

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas

Israeli hardliners have long rejected the idea of a foreign peacekeeping force on the West Bank because it might restrict Israel’s freedom to attack Palestinians. But such a proposal is now on the table and has put Prime Minister Netanyahu on the spot, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.

Is US Military Spinning Out of Control?

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)

The United States was built on the idea of civilian control of the military, but – as the burden of fighting overseas wars is carried disproportionately by a sliver of the population – that control seems to be slipping, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar reflects.

Still Trying to Sink an Iran Deal

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the United Nations in 2012, drawing his own "red line" on how far he will let Iran go in refining nuclear fuel.

President Obama has vowed to veto a Senate bill pushed on behalf of the Israeli government that could sink negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program by weighing them down with even more sanctions, a move that could put the region on course for another war, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.

An Afghan War for Drones?

A Predator drone firing a missile.

Amid the Afghan government’s growing resistance to an extended U.S. military stay, the Obama administration is trying out a new rationale: the need for a launching pad for drones. But it may be a case of a weapons system causing more trouble than it’s worth, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

Egypt’s Coup Enflames Extremism

Al-Qaeda leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri.

By ousting elected President Morsi – and seeking to root out his Muslim Brotherhood supporters – Egypt’s military has touched off a wave of violence that threatens to deepen tensions across the region, including in the Gaza Strip and Israel, writes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

The Why Behind Egypt’s Coup

Egyptian General Abdul-Fattah el-Sisi as shown on official Egyptian TV.

Egypt’s military coup meshed with the geopolitical interests of Saudi Arabia and Israel, but the toppling of the country’s first democratically elected government was driven by other factors, including the history of a politically powerful military, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar notes.

The Fragile Process for Engaging Iran

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon.

The diplomatic fracas over inviting and disinviting Iran to the Syrian peace talks only makes sense if you factor in President Obama’s fragile consensus for engaging Iran over its nuclear program – while influential neocons keep pressing for confrontation. That mix has made for a messy process on Syria, writes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

In Case You Missed…

Some of our special stories in December 2013 focused on the Saudi role in terrorism, the importance of national security “leakers,” the collapsing case pinning an infamous Sarin attack on Syria, and the renewed war over “the war on Christmas.”

Who Can Use Nazi Comparisons?

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Israeli lawmakers are debating a bill to criminalize the careless use of the word Nazi, but face a problem since Prime Minister Netanyahu is one of the worst abusers when denouncing Iran and comparing a deal on its nuclear program to Munich, notes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

Is Government Inept or Sinister?

George Orwell's image of Big Brother.

The image of a bumbling government, fumbling the Healthcare.gov rollout, clashes with the image of NSA running a terrifying Big Brother dystopia. But these sharp contrasts often reflect the viewer’s opinions – or political needs – more than the shaded realities, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.