Tag Archive for Paul R. Pillar

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.

Keeping War Hopes Alive on Iran

Secretary of State John Kerry arriving in Paris on Jan. 12, 2014, for diplomatic meetings on the Middle East. (State Department photo)

The Israel Lobby and the many U.S. politicians in its thrall keep trying to sink President Obama’s negotiations limiting Iran’s nuclear program and thus keep hope alive for another Mideast war. But progress toward an agreement keeps moving forward, notes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

Robert Gates’s Blame-Shifting Memoir

Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

A core myth about Robert Gates was that he was an “adult” who would bring wisdom and order to the administrations of George W. Bush and Barack Obama. But the reality was always different as his score-settling memoir reveals, writes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

Israel’s Elusive Search for Security

President Obama speaks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu outside the White House on May 20, 2011 (White House photo by Pete Souza)

Israel has made its security the sin qua non of negotiations with the Palestinians, including insistence on military control of the Jordan River valley. But these escalating demands ignore questions of Palestinian security and the greater risk to Israel – from worldwide opprobrium, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.