Tag Archive for Syria

image_pdfimage_print

How ‘Obscure’ Bureaucrats Cause Wars

Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland during a press conference at the U.S. Embassy in Kiev, Ukraine, on Feb. 7, 2014. (U.S. State Department photo)

Exclusive: Official Washington’s anti-Russian “group think” is now so dominant that no one with career aspirations dares challenge it, a victory for “obscure” government bureaucrats, like Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, as Jonathan Marshall explains.

Blocking Democracy as Syria’s Solution

Secretary of State John Kerry at a press conference on Dec. 4, 2015. (State Department photo)

Exclusive: The long-cherished neocon dream of “regime change” in Syria is blocking a possible route out of the crisis – a ceasefire followed by elections in which President Assad could compete. The problem is there’s no guarantee that Assad would lose and thus the dream might go unfulfilled, writes Robert Parry.

Cornering Russia, Risking World War III

Russian President Vladimir Putin laying a wreath at Russia's Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on May 8, 2014, as part of the observance of the World War II Victory over Germany.

Official Washington is awash with tough talk about Russia and the need to punish President Putin for his role in Ukraine and Syria. But this bravado ignores Russia’s genuine national interests, its “red lines,” and the risk that “tough-guy-ism” can lead to nuclear war, as Alastair Crooke explains.

Putting the ISIS ‘Crisis’ in Context

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who has joined in calling for a "safe zone" in Syria, a euphemism for invasion.

The hysteria over Islamic State terrorism is driving talk of a new U.S.-led ground war in the Middle East – this time an invasion of Syria under the guise of a “safe zone” – but such rash actions would only make matters worse, writes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

Why Syria’s Options Are So Bad

A scene of destruction after an aerial bombing in Azaz, Syria, Aug. 16, 2012. (U.S. government photo)

The incoherence of Western policy toward Syria goes back decades to Cold War covert schemes that thwarted a democratic turn — and to more recent neocon insistence on “regime change,” not negotiations. Those choices have now left the West with a set of unpalatable options, says Ted Snider.

Translating Obama’s Speech into Candor

President Barack Obama.

President Obama’s primetime speech on terrorism sought to calm a jittery nation, but by omitting relevant details, he left many thoughtful Americans scratching their heads. To clarify the unspoken parts of Obama’s speech, Norman Solomon has translated the speech into the language of candor.

The Incredible Shrinking President

President Barack Obama addresses the nation from the Oval Office about terrorism on  Dec. 6, 2015. (Image from Whitehouse.gov)

Exclusive: Trying to soothe American fears about “terrorism,” President Obama glossed over the dangerous contradictions in his own policy, particularly the fact that Saudi Arabia, Turkey and other “allies” have been helping Al Qaeda and ISIS, notes Daniel Lazare.

The Tricky Definition of ‘Terrorism’

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."

The classic definition of terrorism as violence against civilians to make a political point may make sense but the term’s elastic use – even applied to attacks on U.S. soldiers operating in foreign lands – has transformed the word into an epithet that depends on one’s preferred bias, writes John V. Whitbeck.

Real Questions for President Obama

President Barack Obama speaks in the White House press room on April 23, 2015, regarding a counterterrorism strike that accidentally killed an American and an Italian hostage. (Screen shot from WhiteHouse.gov)

Part of Official Washington’s problem is that most journalists – at least those called on at presidential news conferences – represent the same “group think” that pervades the government, meaning President Obama doesn’t get asked truly probing questions, as William Blum notes at Anti-Empire Report.

Obama’s Credibility Crisis

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: Inside Official Washington’s bubble, the Important People believe their “group think” is the envy of the world, but the truth is that their credibility has collapsed to such a degree that their propaganda can’t even match up with the head-chopping videos of the Islamic State crazies, writes Robert Parry.