NATO

Arabs, Russia Pat Themselves on Back over Syria

March 13, 2012 by

Russia has again demonstrated its diplomatic ability to gloss over differences even when none of the sides are prepared to make concessions. Although the positions of Russia and Arab countries on Syria are very different and the crisis in Syria is growing worse, it seemed after the weekend that peace is just around the corner – after all, everybody is actively pursuing peace.

More Bad News on the Afghan Front

March 13, 2012 by

While U.S. officials insisted their counterinsurgency strategy is still working, Sunday’s pre-dawn massacre by a U.S. staff sergeant of 16 people, including nine children, in their homes in Kandahar province has dealt yet another body blow to Washington’s hopes to sustain a significant military presence in Afghanistan after 2014.

Following Shooting in Afghanistan, Overall Question is Whether the Mission is Doable

March 12, 2012 by

The shooting of 16 Afghan civilians on Sunday by a U.S. soldier and the Koran burning on the Bagram air base several weeks ago have American officials questioning whether these two events will make it next to impossible for coalition forces to carry through with the mission as planned until 2014, when the U.S. is expected to leave Afghanistan.

Grasping the Syrian Quagmire

March 7, 2012 by

One of the most significant and enduring consequences of the Arab Spring has been the bloody uprising in Syria. For almost a year cities across the Levant have been defying the iron grip of the Assad regime and challenging the police state of the Ba’ath party. Of all the countries engulfed by the revolutionary fever encompassing the Arab World, Syria, a country of 23 million, epitomizes the toughest case.

Reciprocity, Lawfare, and Self-Defense: Targeted Killing

March 6, 2012 by

There is an emergent Israeli/American controversy on the lawfulness of targeted killing. Although the policy has not yet attained the status of being a national debate, there are signs that it may be about to happen, especially in light of the Attorney General, Eric Holder’s Northwestern Law School speech on March 5, 2012 outlining the Obama’s administration’s controversial approach to targeted killing in some detail.

Just Plain Stupidity Or A Failure By Design?

March 4, 2012 by

The explosion of national anger in Afghanistan after the revelation that U.S. soldiers dumped and burned copies of the Quran in an incineration pit has an uncanny familiarity with the history of previous foreign occupations of the country. Despite the ceaseless official media campaign through the decade of the U.S.-led war to convince us how well things were going for NATO, the battle for the hearts and minds in Afghanistan has not been won.

Syria: A Way Out

March 3, 2012 by

There are two tales about the crisis in Syria. In one, the vast majority of Syrians have risen up against the brutality of a criminal dictatorship. The government of Bashar al Assad is on the ropes, isolated regionally and internationally, and only holding on because Russia and China vetoed United Nations intervention. U.S. Secretary to State Hillary Clinton describes Assad as “a war criminal,” and President Barak Obama called him a “dead man walking.”

Growing Pessimism on Afghanistan After Quran Burning

February 29, 2012 by

While top officials in the Barack Obama administration insist that U.S. strategy in Afghanistan is working, the violent aftermath of last week’s apparently inadvertent burning of copies of the Quran at a military base is fuelling growing pessimism about the U.S. and NATO mission there. Some three dozen Afghans were killed in anti-U.S. protests that drew tens of thousands of people into the streets in Kabul and other cities around the country following news of the incineration at Bagram Air Base and despite a series of apologies from U.S. commanders all the way up to President Obama himself.

Iran, Israel and the U.S.: The Slide To War

February 23, 2012 by

Wars are fought because some people decide it is in their interests to fight them. World War I was not started over the Archduke Ferdinand’s assassination, nor was it triggered by the alliance system. An “incident” may set the stage for war, but no one keeps shooting unless they think it’s a good idea. The Great War started because the countries involved decided they would profit by it, delusional as that conclusion was.

Cold War in Warm Waters: US-China’s Dangerous Contest for Asia-Pacific

February 22, 2012 by

On two occasions in my life I found myself living close to the South China Sea. The sea became my escape from life’s pressing responsibilities. But there is no escaping the fact that the deceptively serene waters are now also grounds for a nascent but real new cold war. China takes the name of the sea very seriously.

Bagram riots expose Afghanistan’s shifting allegiances to the masters of war

February 22, 2012 by

The only thing surprising about yesterday’s riots outside of Afghanistan’s Bagram air base is that these things don’t happen more often. What is fascinating about Afghanistan is how its infrastructural capacities – hardware, pools of unskilled labour, airports, marketplaces – add to the country’s tacit support for each new game-player on its territory: be it Britain, Soviet Russia, the US or the Taliban.

Why is Iran interested in Latin America?

February 20, 2012 by

In January of 2012, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad conducted a four nation tour of Latin America, with stops in Venezuela, Ecuador, Nicaragua, and Cuba. From the time that this trip became public, US government officials began asking “Why Latin America?”

The Fight within Albania

February 15, 2012 by

The Republic of Albania marks its centennial this year since it proclaimed independence on 28 November 1912 in Vlorë, where the Declaration of Independence was adopted after a decade of fighting. Today, Albania is a member of NATO and is on its way to gain the status of a EU candidate country this year. However, in order to achieve that goal, Albania has to implement numerous reforms, especially in the justice system.

Revealing the Obvious

February 12, 2012 by

The conflict in Syria continues to take lives on both sides in what increasingly looks like a civil war. The bloodshed in Homs has captured most attention in recent days, but we should not forget violence in the capital Damascus and other Syrian towns, under government control, where lives have been lost and a climate of fear prevails. Twenty-four hour news coverage means unlimited hunger for detail, factual, exaggerated or invented.

The Continuation of Unnecessary American Nation-Building Missions

February 9, 2012 by

A common occurrence within the discipline of international relations is various schools of thought being subjected to criticism. A school of thought that has faced a considerable amount of scrutiny in recent years is realism. One of the reasons why realists have been inundated with criticism is because they place so much emphasis on the state. This preoccupation with the state is thought to be unnecessary in the eyes of realism’s detractors since this actor is not as influential as it used to be.

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