Tag Archive for Middle East

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A ‘Free Press’ and Double Standards

The slogan used to show support for the Charlie Hebdo journalists killed by Islamist terrorists in Paris on Jan. 7, 2015.

The Western reaction to last week’s terror attacks in Paris has been rife with double standards as U.S. and European politicians and pundits reinvent themselves as purists on freedom of the press and compound the hypocrisy by ignoring the longstanding slaughter in the Middle East, John V. Walsh observes.

Sinking Deeper into the Mideast

President Barack Obama and White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough. (This White House photo by Pete Souza was taken when McDonough was deputy national security adviser.)

The deserts of the Middle East and North Africa have become a kind of quicksand for U.S. policymakers, the more they thrash around violently the faster they sink, with the latest round of warfare against the Islamic State worsening matters, not improving them, as Phyllis Bennis told Dennis J. Bernstein.

Rushing to War in the Wrong Places

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)

Official Washington’s “group think” is that President Obama is “weak” because he doesn’t rush into wars with the abandon that talk-show favorite John McCain would like. But Obama may actually be “weak” because he gets pushed into conflicts that ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar says only make matters worse.

Obama Distorts ‘Just War’ Principles

In assessing the consequences of the decade-plus “war on terror,” President Obama sought to place his continued — albeit more targeted — use of violence within the context of just-war principles, stressing self-defense and proportionality, a point that religious ethicist Daniel C. Maguire disputes.

Romney’s Middle East Militancy

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney put some space between himself and President Obama on Middle East policies by suggesting a return of U.S. troops to Iraq and drawing the “red line” for Iran around the fuzzy concept of nuclear “capability,” notes Adil E. Shamoo for Foreign Policy in Focus.

The Mystery of Neocon Influence

The neocons – despite the disastrous Iraq War and other harm they have caused – remain influential in Official Washington, given time on talk shows and space on op-ed pages to expound on their latest dreams of American intervention in the Middle East. But ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar asks, why are they still listened…

Did Anti-Muslim Film Cross Legal Line?

The makers of an anti-Islamic propaganda video achieved what they apparently intended, inciting a violent reaction among Muslim and creating new tensions between Islam and the West. But the killing of four U.S. diplomatic personnel raises questions about whether legal lines were crossed, maintains Lawrence Davidson.

Why the Mideast Exploded, Really

Exclusive: The new conventional wisdom, in the wake of angry protests roiling the Middle East, is that Muslims are either way too sensitive or irrational. How else to explain the fury over an offensive anti-Islam video? But the video was just the spark that ignited a long-smoldering fire, says ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

Over-Simplifying Mideast Turmoil

Simplistic journalism, especially about misunderstood parts of the world and complex conflicts, can do grave harm by reinforcing biases or deepening anger. The U.S. news media has demonstrated this point with its coverage of the current Middle East unrest, writes Erin Niemela.

Misreading the Arab Street’s Anger

The neocon response toward the anger against the U.S. on the Arab and Muslim “street” is to lash out at those countries and to chastise President Obama for his early efforts at out-reach. But Middle East specialists Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett say the real problem was the lack of follow-through.