Baiting Obama to ‘Shock and Awe’

At the start of the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, President George W. Bush ordered the U.S. military to conduct a devastating aerial assault on Baghdad, known as "shock and awe."

Official Washington’s armchair warriors are pounding their drums again, demanding a larger U.S. invasion of Syria and decrying President Obama as “feckless” for showing some restraint. But these hawks offer little thinking about the consequences of another long-term occupation, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

Neocons Make Rubio Their Favorite

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida.

With Sen. Marco Rubio surging in the polls – closing the gap on Donald Trump and easily besting Hillary Clinton in some general-election match-ups – the neocons have found their favorite candidate, a fresh face who would put them firmly back in the driver’s seat of U.S. foreign policy, as JP Sottile explains.

Falling into the ISIS Trap

President Barack Obama meets with his National Security Staff to discuss the situation in Syria, in the Situation Room of the White House, Aug. 30, 2013. From left at the table: National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice; Attorney General Eric Holder; Secretary of State John Kerry; and Vice President Joe Biden. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Special Report: The Islamic State has entered into “phase two” of its plan. After establishing a rudimentary “caliphate” in Syria and Iraq (phase one), it is now seeking to provoke the West into a self-defeating overreaction, a trap that “tough” politicians are falling into, as historian William R. Polk describes.

The Need for a Syrian Deal

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad

In the wake of the Paris terror attacks – and other mass killings in Beirut and aboard a Russian airliner – there are new demands for military action. But the one step that might help matters is a more pragmatic approach to resolving the political crisis in Syria, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.

Obama’s Gitmo Failure

Some of the original detainees jailed at the Guantanamo Bay prison, as put on display by the U.S. military.

As President Obama approaches his final year in office, he has yet to fulfill one of his earliest promises, closing the Guantanamo Bay prison. It remains a grievance used by terror groups as a recruiting tool, but the prison has other legal and political problems, writes Marjorie Cohn at TeleSUR.

How Saudi/Gulf Money Fuels Terror

Prince Bandar bin Sultan, then Saudi ambassador to the United States, meeting with President George W. Bush in Crawford, Texas, on Aug. 27, 2002. (White House photo)

Exclusive: With the death toll in the Paris terror attacks still rising, French President Hollande is condemning an “act of war” by the Islamic State, but the underlying reality is that France’s rich friends in the Persian Gulf are key accomplices in the mayhem, writes Daniel Lazare.

Can Obama Level with the People?

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)

Exclusive: Another terrorist outrage – this one in Paris – is spreading fear and fury across Europe. Which makes this a key moment for President Obama to finally level with the American people about how U.S. “allies” — such as Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar — have been aiding and abetting extremists, reports Robert Parry.

Carpetbagging ‘Crony Capitalism’ in Ukraine

Ukrainian Finance Minister Natalie Jaresko.

Exclusive: Ukraine’s Finance Minister Natalie Jaresko and other key officials were given overnight Ukrainian citizenship — with the law requiring them to renounce their old allegiances — but the American-born Jaresko has balked at that mandate, raising questions about her true motives, reports Robert Parry.

Netanyahu Ups the US Ante

President Barack Obama talks with advisers, including National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice and Secretary of State John Kerry, prior to meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel in the Oval Office, Nov. 9, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu continues to play the tune to which U.S. politicians, including presidents and presidential candidates, dance. Now, his price for a future swirl around the dance floor is being raised to $4.5 billion a year, as retired Army Col. Ann Wright explains.

New Pressures for Mideast Peace

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

With hardliners controlling the Israeli government and the Mideast ablaze, prospects for an Israeli-Palestinian peace seem as dim as they have in decades, but the worsening conflict and its regional impact also create new pressures for some kind of resolution, writes Alon Ben-Meir.