Tag Archive for Syria

Obama’s Options on Iraq

Coffins of dead U.S. soldiers arriving at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware in 2006. (U.S. government photo)

Instead of sending U.S. troops back to Iraq to fight a resurgent Sunni jihadist insurgency, the Obama administration should put the squeeze on Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states to stop pouring billions of dollars into these radical groups, says Adil E. Shamoo.

Obama’s Half-Billion to Syria’s ‘Moderates’

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad

President Obama’s plan to spend another half-billion dollars on Syria’s “moderate” rebels will add more fuel to the destructive violence just as the killing was finally dying down. It’s also hard to see how this investment will promote serious negotiations, notes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

Understanding Islamic Fundamentalism

Sayyid Qutb, a philosopher of Islamic Fundamentalism.

Islamic Fundamentalism frightens the West and that fear has motivated a fierce retaliation deploying more weapons and inflicting more slaughter. But in not understanding what drives the jihadists the military strategies may be making matters worse, observes ex-U.S. diplomat William R. Polk.

Iraqi Chaos May Give Kurds a State

French diplomat Francois George-Picot, who along with British colonial officer Mark Sykes drew lines across a Middle East map of the Ottoman Empire after World War I, carving out states with boundaries that are nearly the same as they are today.

Millions of Kurds live in Iran, Iraq, Turkey and Syria but the British-French imperial division of the region left them without a state of their own, adding to the region’s tensions. But some Kurds see the current chaos in Iraq as a pathway to nationhood, as scholar Edmund Ghareeb told Dennis J Bernstein.

The Wisdom of Lawrence of Arabia

Thomas Edward Lawrence, better known as Lawrence of Arabia, a British intelligence officer who recruited Bedouin tribesmen during World War I.

A century ago, during World War I, a British intelligence officer known as “Lawrence of Arabia” deeply understood the Mideast and saw hope for rational politics, but Western imperial ambitions intervened to ensure regional instability, as Bill Moyers and Michael Winship recall.

America’s Blunderbuss Wars

Barack Obama, then President-elect, and President George W. Bush at the White House during the transition.

U.S. policymakers and pundits proclaim that America’s role in the world is all for the good. But more objective observers see a pattern of clumsy and brutal interference that can touch off cascades of chaos and death, as ex-State Department official William R. Polk describes.

Obama’s True Foreign-Policy ‘Weakness’

Prominent neocon intellectual Robert Kagan. (Photo credit: Mariusz Kubik, http://www.mariuszkubik.pl)

Special Report:  President Obama has shied away from confronting Washington’s neocons who continue to exercise undue influence at think tanks, on op-ed pages and even inside Obama’s administration. With the new Iraq crisis, Obama’s timidity is coming back to haunt him, writes Robert Parry.

Avoiding the Iraq-Syria Abyss

The image of the Earth rising over the surface of the moon, a photograph taken by the first U.S. astronauts to orbit the moon.

The urge to expand wars in the Middle East, rather than find pragmatic ways to tamp them down, is even more absurd when set against the potential for peaceful cooperation in the region and the desperate need for the world to address existential threats like global warming, as Winslow Myers notes.

Misreading Benghazi and Terrorism

The U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, burning on the night of Sept. 11, 2012. (Photo credit: Voice of America)

The Republican case of a Benghazi terror “cover-up” never made much sense because President Obama immediately called it an “act of terror.” But now other parts of the GOP’s contorted narrative are collapsing as well, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar observes.

Obama at a Crossroad of War or Peace

President Barack Obama uncomfortably accepting the Nobel Peace Prize from Committee Chairman Thorbjorn Jagland in Oslo, Norway, Dec. 10, 2009. (White House photo)

Exclusive: The dramatic spread of Sunni extremism into the heart of Iraq may force President Obama to finally make a choice between simply extending a slightly less violent Bush Doctrine and charting his own innovative course in the name of peace, Robert Parry writes.