Tag Archive for Paul R. Pillar


The Missed Lesson on Terrorism

French President Francois Hollande, center, with British businessman Chris Norman, left, U.S. student Anthony Sadler, U.S. Airman First Class Spencer Stone and U.S. National Guardsman Alek Skarlatos during a ceremony at the Elysee Palace in Paris honoring the men who helped thwart a terror attack on a Paris-bound train last week. (Pool photo)

Whenever there’s a terrorist attack – even a botched one like last week on a Paris-bound train – the debate turns to tightened security and retaliation. But a key part of a realistic campaign to reduce terrorism is to address underlying causes that fuel the rage behind the violence, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

Propaganda and the Iran-Nuke Deal

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

For years, the anti-Iranian propaganda in the U.S. media has been unrelenting, at times aided by the idiocy of certain Iranian officials. That one-sided presentation and the ignorance that it has engendered are now adding to the public confusion about the Iran nuclear deal, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar describes.

Iraq’s Off-Point ‘Reforms’

Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi.

After a U.S.-engineered “regime change” comes the dreamy period of “reform” — redrawing organizational boxes, slashing government programs and “privatizing” national assets, but rarely a commitment to realistic compromise among rival ethnic and political forces, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar describes in Iraq.

The Flimsy Case Against Iran-Nuke Deal

Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tennessee, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Between Republican partisanship and Israeli pressure, the ranks of U.S. politicians and pundits opposed to the Iran nuclear deal are growing. But their arguments, including from Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Corker, remain logically flimsy and counter-factual, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

How Netanyahu Outsmarted Himself

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s brash intervention into U.S. politics to frighten Americans about Iran’s alleged pursuit of a nuclear bomb created an unintended dynamic that led to the recent Iran agreement and now to a historic strain on U.S.-Israeli relations, writes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

Neocons Falsify Iraq War ‘Lessons’

Washington Post's editorial page editor Fred Hiatt.

Having escaped accountability for the Iraq War disaster, U.S. neocons are urging the use of more military force in the Mideast, in line with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s demand to block the Iran nuclear deal. From their important perches of power, these war hawks also twist the history of their catastrophic misjudgments, writes ex-CIA analyst…

Spreading the Syrian Chaos

Turkish President Recep Erdogan.

Nearly two decades ago, U.S. neoconservatives put Syria on their “regime change” list and have maintained that goal to the present day, placing it ahead of even blocking the spread of Al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorism. That chaos has now drawn in Turkey as it advances its own geopolitical agenda, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.

The Disastrous Neocon Mindset

A Predator drone firing a missile.

The neocon mindset, which envisions U.S. military force remaking the Mideast at the point of a gun or the warhead of a drone, has confronted a string of disasters and faces a new challenge from President Obama’s successful diplomacy with Iran, but the mindset will likely survive, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

Bolton’s Creative Attack on Iran-Nuke Deal

Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton.

The neocon foes of the Iranian nuclear accord are reaching for any argument imaginable but few have been as creative as John Bolton, a longtime enemy of the UN who fears the Iran deal might somehow erode the principle of Security Council vetoes, notes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

Mideast Alliances Shift Again

King Salman of Saudi Arabia and his entourage arrive to greet President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Jan. 27, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Like shifting desert sands, the volatile Middle East is going through a new, though subtle, realignment of adversaries and allies, with Turkey’s political tensions shaking up one area while Saudi Arabia makes moves of its own, as recounted by ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.