Dissolution of Egypt’s parliament and doubts about the upcoming presidential election have undermined the country’s once-promising transition to democracy. Now the question is, can any likely outcome justify the hopes of last year’s Arab Spring, asks ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
Led by the neocons, a growing chorus of Washington pols and pundits are clamoring for President Obama to “do something” militarily to remove the Assad regime from power in war-torn Syria. But the real-life options remain fraught with risk, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
President Obama has taken personal command over lethal drone strikes against alleged al-Qaeda operatives in Yemen and other countries. To some, this is an inappropriate use of presidential power. But ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar sees some benefit in Obama accepting direct responsibility.
The Washington Post and other neocon outlets are demanding an ever harder line against Iran in negotiations over its nuclear program. Yet, so far, the West has offered little in exchange for Iran’s concessions, writes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
So far, the West is taking a hard line in talks with Iran, responding to its concessions on its nuclear program with only modest rewards and, indeed, with new threats of sanctions. U.S. politicians, in particular, are bending to Israeli demands for either Iranian capitulation or war, a worry to ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
Israel has subjected thousands of Palestinians to detention without trial, a tactic that finally provoked a hunger strike and at least modest concessions from Israeli authorities regarding prison conditions, as described by ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
By definition, “terrorism” applies to attacks on civilians for political ends. But the U.S. government has revised the term to cover any attack on Americans, including soldiers fighting anywhere in the world, a misuse of the concept that is hampering a deal to free a U.S. POW, writes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
To build support for “regime change” in Iran, neocon operatives and U.S. officials have tried to link al-Qaeda to Iran by exaggerating intelligence and ignoring evidence of mutual hostility, including new data in Osama bin Laden’s captured files, writes Gareth Porter for Inter Press Service.
Much of Europe has swallowed the bitter medicine of austerity on orders from conservative economic theorists, only to find that the supposed cure has made matters worse. Now, elections in France and Greece indicate that Europeans want a new approach that stimulates growth, ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar notes.
The long U.S. war in Afghanistan is finally being wound down by an agreement that removes U.S. combat troops in 2 1/2 years but lets a small contingent of Special Forces remain. The larger reality is that the war has gone on way too long for the American and Afghan people, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.