June 18, 2014
There are no good options in Iraq right now. But some are worse than others. Three of the worst, unfortunately, are also the most popularly debated in Washington today: launch U.S. airstrikes without U.S. boots on the ground; work with Iran to fight ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria; and/or break up Iraq into separate Shiite, Sunni Arab and Kurdish states. All three options are alluring, but their appeal is fool's gold.
By Max Boot and Michael Doran
June 17, 2014
The growing disaster in Iraq has triggered anguished debate over two fundamental questions: What went wrong? And what do we do about it?
Mosul has fallen, and al Qaeda is on the march towards Baghdad
June 23, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 39
Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, has long been hard for the central government to control because of its combustible mix of Arabs and Kurds. The first time I visited Mosul was in August 2003 when a tenuous calm was maintained by the 101st Airborne Division. Its commander, a then-obscure two-star general named David Petraeus, had on his own initiative opened the Syrian border to trade, struck deals with Syria and Turkey to provide badly needed electricity, restored telephone service, and held elections to elect local leaders. Along the way he also managed to kill Saddam Hussein’s poisonous offspring Uday and Qusay.
A biography of a legendary covert operator killed in the 1983 U.S. Embassy bombing in Beirut
June 7, 2014
Last year, the historian Hugh Wilford published "America's Great Game," a joint biography of three of the CIA's early Arabists. They were impressive, these spies of the 1950s, with their deep knowledge of Middle Eastern languages and societies. They had one big blind spot, however: They were rabidly anti-Israel, convinced that American interests were better served by an alliance with the big Arab states than with the tiny Jewish upstart.
He ignores Congress to release terrorists from Gitmo but seeks congressional approval when it's politically expedient.
June 5, 2014
President Obama has been thrown on the defensive to explain why—in making a deal to free suspected deserter Bowe Bergdahl—he released five senior Taliban commanders without complying with a legal requirement to provide Congresswith 30 days' notice of any transfers from Guantanamo. The White House response, in essence, is the president's unilateral constitutional authority to act on this matter.
The Wrong Enemy: America in Afghanistan, 2001–2014
By Carlotta Gall
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 352 pages
Has any foreigner spent as long a time in Afghanistan over the past decade as the New York Times reporter Carlotta Gall? She arrived in the fall of 2001, as the Taliban were falling, and did not leave until 2011. She then returned for nine months in 2012 and 2013 to write this book. Her connections to the country stretch back even further: Her father, a British television journalist, reported from Afghanistan in the 1980s and later set up a charity for disabled Afghans. Gall herself had traveled to the country in the 1990s while the Taliban were coming to power.