Foreign Policy

Entangled in Sunni-Shiite Wars

President Obama and King Salman Arabia stand at attention during the U.S. national anthem as the First Lady stands in the background with other officials on Jan. 27, 2015, at the start of Obama's State Visit to Saudi Arabia. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza). (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Early U.S. presidents warned against “entangling” foreign alliances, but they never suspected America might be drawn into squabbles between Sunnis and Shiites dating back to the Seventh Century succession of Prophet Muhammad. But that now seems to be the case, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar describes.

Gifting Russia ‘Free-Market’ Extremism

Russian President Vladimir Putin laying a wreath at Russia's Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on May 8, 2014, as part of the observance of the World War II Victory over Germany.

Exclusive: Official Washington’s Putin-bashing knows no bounds as the Russian president’s understandable complaints about U.S. triumphalism and NATO expansion, after the Soviet collapse in the 1990s, are dismissed as signs of his “paranoia” and “revisionism,” writes Robert Parry.

US Media Shields Saudi War on Yemen

King Salman of Saudi Arabia and his entourage arrive to greet President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Jan. 27, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

The U.S. news media always seems to have an excuse for the actions of the Saudi-Israeli alliance, now trivializing Saudi Arabia’s open aggression against Yemen as simply one side of a “proxy war” with Iran, a misleading depiction, says Gareth Porter.

The War over the Vietnam War

ABC TV News cameraman Jim Dysilva at the Citadel in Hue at Tet 1968. (Photo credit: Don North)

Exclusive: The Pentagon has retreated somewhat from its recent campaign to rewrite the Vietnam War history to push the discredited theory that the military strategy was sound, just undercut by disloyal war reporters and a misled public, a modest victory for truth, as war correspondent Don North describes.

Papering Over Extra-Judicial Killings

A Predator drone firing a missile.

The Obama administration, like its predecessor, holds that the “exceptional” U.S. has the right to enter other countries to kill “terrorists,” but it would never tolerate, say, Cuba targeting CIA-trained terrorists harbored in Miami, one of many double standards posing as international law, as Coleen Rowley notes.

Might Israel Ever Surrender Its Nukes?

A photograph of a control room at Israel's Dimona nuclear weapons plant in the 1980s. (Photograph taken by nuclear technician Mordechai Vanunu, who was later kidnapped and imprisoned by Israel as punishment for revealing its secret nuclear arsenal.)

Just as apartheid South Africa once secretly possessed nuclear weapons and vowed to hold down its black majority forever, Israel is approaching a crossroads where it must decide if it will accept Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza as citizens and then what to do with its nukes, a dilemma that Joe Lauria explores.

Why Iran Must Be America’s Enemy

Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei sitting next to President Hassan Rouhani and addressing the cabinet.

Though Iran is arguably the major regional bulwark against Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State, the Saudi-Israeli alliance insists that Iran is the Mideast’s bête noire, so the Obama administration falls in line with that narrative even as it seeks a peaceful nuclear deal, as Gareth Porter explains.

WPost Blames Obama for Syrian Mess

Journalist James Foley shortly before he was executed by an Islamic State operative.

Exclusive: As Al-Qaeda forces advance in Syria – with the help of the Saudi-Israeli alliance – American neocons are shielding themselves from the blame if Damascus falls to the jihadists by preemptively faulting President Obama for not intervening for “regime change” earlier, Robert Parry reports.

Climbing into Bed with Al-Qaeda

King Salman greets the President and First Lady during a state visit to Saudi Arabia on Jan. 27, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Exclusive: President Obama is tolerating the smuggling of high-tech U.S. weapons to a Syrian rebel coalition led by an Al-Qaeda affiliate, as these Islamists — supported by the Saudis and other U.S. allies — mount a new offensive to topple the secular government in Damascus, as Daniel Lazare explains.

The Lasting Pain from Vietnam Silence

Scene from the Vietnam War

Exclusive: Many reflections on America’s final days in Vietnam miss the point, pondering whether the war could have been won or lamenting the fate of U.S. collaborators left behind. The bigger questions are why did the U.S. go to war and why wasn’t the bloodletting stopped sooner, as ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern reflects.