Tag Archive for Pakistan

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Drone Warfare’s Costs and Benefits

A Predator drone firing a missile.

Lethal drones are President Obama’s weapon of choice in striking at suspected Al-Qaeda terrorists in remote areas, but – as with any weapon of war – there must be a cost-benefit analysis, including whether drone strikes create more enemies than they kill, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.

Saudi Arabia’s Nuclear Bluster

President Barack Obama shakes hands with His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al Sabah, Amir of the State of Kuwait, as Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) leaders prepare to have a group photo with the President outside of the Laurel Cabin at the conclusion of a summit meeting at Camp David, Maryland, May 14, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Saudi Arabia and Israel keep ratcheting up the pressure to kill the deal for constraining Iran’s nuclear program with the latest gambit a renewed Saudi threat to obtain its own nuclear capability if the Iran deal isn’t scrapped, a warning that may be more bluster than believable, writes Jonathan Marshall.

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.

The CIA’s Drone-Strike Revenge

Hakimullah Mehsud, who was killed in a reported CIA drone strike on Nov. 1, 2013.

Despite President Obama’s plan to curtail the use of lethal drones, he assented to a CIA strike this month against a Taliban leader as part of the CIA’s revenge for a 2009 suicide bombing that killed seven of its people, reports Gareth Porter for Inter Press Service.

Geopolitics of the Drone

The U.S. drone program has decimated the leadership of al-Qaeda and other Islamic militant groups, but it also has alienated people and governments in countries on the front lines by killing civilians and disrupting political alliances, a complexity often missed by the U.S. media, as Gareth Porter reported for Inter Press Service.

Forgetting the Threat from Nukes

In recent weeks, international attention has focused on the apparent use of chemical weapons in Syria. But nuclear weapons represent an even greater threat to human life, and the countries possessing these fearsome weapons continue to press ahead in modernizing them, writes Lawrence S. Wittner.

US Finds Influence Hard to Buy

For decades the U.S. government has ladled billions upon billions in military assistance to countries that either don’t need it or use it to suppress popular uprisings. But all that money has bought very little in terms of genuine influence with the recipients, ex-CIA analyst Melvin A. Goodman writes.

New Hope from Pakistan’s Vote

Many of the U.S. problems in Afghanistan stem from a misguided relationship with pro-Islamist elements of Pakistani intelligence dating back to the 1980s. But Pakistan’s recent election offers new hope if Official Washington can step back and see the bigger picture, writes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

America’s Excessive Nuke Arsenal

Slashing the U.S. nuclear stockpile – and still having plenty of bombs left over for “deterrence” – would represent a huge saving to the American taxpayers and could help leverage more cooperation on nuclear proliferation in other countries, writes ex-CIA analyst Melvin A. Goodman.

Breeding Anti-US Suspicions

When U.S. policymakers throw their weight around internationally, they may think their actions are justified – and perhaps in a narrow sense some are – but the U.S. also building up a reservoir of resentment and suspicion that hurts American interests in the long term, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.