Exclusive: Syrian rebels, including dominant jihadist elements, torpedoed Geneva peace talks by setting preconditions to come to the table. But the maneuver also renewed pressure on President Obama to commit to a “regime-change” invasion of Syria alongside Saudi and other Sunni armies, as Joe Lauria explains.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif have built a personal trust that has enabled diplomacy to begin overcoming decades of distrust, but this promising U.S.-Iranian relationship remains fragile and could disappear once a new president takes office, warn Trita Parsi and Tyler Cullis.
Largely because Israel’s right-wing government now considers Iran the great enemy and has a fonder view of Saudi Arabia, U.S. politicians and media have followed that lead, decrying Iranians and tolerating Saudis, but such simplistic thinking does not serve American interests well, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.
Before President Obama’s State of the Union Address, U.S. cable news blasted out bulletins about Iran seizing American sailors, as Obama’s critics blasted him. But the U.S. intrusion into Iranian waters was quickly explained and the sailors returned, a sign of diplomatic sanity, writes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
In a volatile world, predictions are a risky business. But they are required in the intelligence community where analysts are called on not only to assess what happened but to anticipate what will happen, a process that ex-CIA official Graham E. Fuller continues as he assesses his last year’s accuracy.