Foreign Policy

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The Bin Laden Murder Mystery

Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden

Seymour Hersh, a great journalist with superb sources and the courage to challenge conventional wisdom, has presented a counter-narrative of the 2011 raid that killed Osama bin Laden, but Hersh’s story – compelling in many respects, even to the New York Times – has some elements that stretch credulity, says John Gardner.

A Summer of War or Peace

An Iranian man holding a photo of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. (Iranian government photo)

After the final deal to restrict Iran’s nuclear program is finalized – expected in June – a crucial series of votes will follow in Congress as Republicans and some Democrats seek to scuttle the deal, a prospect that Jamal Abdi and Trita Parsi of the National Iranian American Council warn could mean war.

The Saudis’ Hurt Feelings

President Barack Obama meets with King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia during a bilateral meeting at Rawdat Khuraim in Saudi Arabia, March 28, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Republicans are slamming President Obama for strained relations with the Saudi royals and other Persian Gulf sheiks, but U.S. relations with these oil-rich monarchs have been tense before and – given their support for Sunni terrorism – should be tenser still, as Jonathan Marshall explains.

Sacrificing Yemen to Appease Saudis

map-yemen

In pandering to the Saudi royals, President Obama has tolerated and even aided their aerial pummeling of their poverty-stricken neighbor Yemen. But the Saudi rush to bomb the Houthis may have destroyed a promising UN peace accord — and killed hundreds of civilians, writes Joe Lauria.

US Politics Gives Saudis an Edge

President Barack Obama holds a bilateral meeting with His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al Sabah, the Amir of Kuwait, in the Oval Office, Sept. 13, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

If President Obama were speaking solely for U.S. national interests, he would offer a stern rebuke, not gentle reassurance, to Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States during a Camp David summit, but domestic politics and Israeli pressure will constrain any frankness, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.

Obama Panders to Gulf State Sheiks

Saudi King Salman meets with President Barack Obama at Erga Palace during a state visit to Saudi Arabia on Jan. 27, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States have given crucial support to Al-Qaeda and other Islamic extremists, but President Obama will pander to them anyway at a Camp David summit, a sign of a muddled foreign policy, say Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett.

Punishing Another Whistleblower

Former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling.

Exclusive: Just weeks after ex-CIA Director David Petraeus got a no-jail-time wrist-slap for divulging secrets to his biographer/lover, ex-CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling got 42 months in prison for allegedly alerting a U.S. journalist to a dubious covert op, a double standard of justice, says ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

Failing to Hide Israel-Iran-Iraq Secrets

President Ronald Reagan with Secretary of State Alexander Haig and National Security Advisor Richard Allen during a meeting with Interagency Working Committee on Terrorism in the Cabinet Room on Jan. 26, 1981. (Photo from Reagan Library archives)

Exclusive: Many Americans think secret U.S. documents become public after, say, 30 years, but many are hidden indefinitely to conceal inconvenient truths that could enlighten public debate, as Robert Parry discovered in getting a redacted version of a “top secret” paper from 1981 that he had already found in unredacted form.

Saddam’s Green Light

Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

From the Archive: An article from the first investigative series published at Consortiumnews in early 1996 revealed top-secret “talking points” used by Secretary of State Haig in 1981 to brief President Reagan about the Middle East, including an alleged U.S. “green light” for Iraq to invade Iran. Journalist Robert Parry found the document in old congressional files.

Two Approaches toward Nationalism

Wanted Poster of the Palestine Police Force offering rewards for the capture of Stern Gang terrorists: 1. Jaacov Levstein (Eliav), 2. Yitzhak Yezernitzky (Shamir), 3. Natan Friedman-Yelin

Despite a difficult history, Scotland and England have approached their modern differences within the democratic process – with Scottish nationalists sweeping recent parliamentary elections – but Israel has chosen cruel repression toward the Palestinians leading to a very different result, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.