Afghanistan expects U.S. aid to flow without interruption for six more years following the final U.S. troop withdrawal at the end of 2014 - three years hence. By itself, the U.S.-trained and U.S.-fielded Afghan army will require $5 billion to $7 billion a year in U.S. support to field an army of 350,000 in a country the size of France. Nothing is less certain.
With major defense cuts now in the works, the Pentagon will have insufficient funds to maintain current force levels in the Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force. It certainly won't have the wherewithal to fight a two-front war as it did in Iraq and Afghanistan.… Seguir leyendo »
In the wake of a trillion-dollar war that gave Iran more say than the United States in Iraq's future, and the longest war in U.S. history in Afghanistan that seems headed for another trillion dollars and is yet to shrink the Taliban insurgency, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates wisely said those who would want to take on a third military operation - against Libya's Col. Moammar Gadhafi - should have their heads examined.
But some hawks are agitating for action against the Libyan pariah, beginning with a no-fly zone (NFZ). That's easier said than done. Col. Gadhafi isn't friendless. For a couple of hundred dollars a month per volunteer, he can get more mercenaries from African states to his south - Niger, Chad and Mali.… Seguir leyendo »
Groupthink that portrays "dangerous" as "innocuous" has led to censorship by omission. The Muslim Brotherhood, according to the conventional wisdom on the left, is now a responsible Egyptian political organization that will compete in the first free elections Egypt has known since the late 1940s.
Until now, the Brotherhood has done well under a different name and still managed to pull 20 percent in elections rigged to favor the now-deposed President Hosni Mubarak's party. Now the Brotherhood plans to enter candidates under its own name, and straw polls indicate it may muster up to 40 percent.
Not to worry, says the Brotherhood's liberal admirers in the United States and other Western countries.… Seguir leyendo »
With institutional memories a rare commodity in the nation's capital, the clamor of pealing hosannas for Tunisia's Jasmine Revolution and the flight of strongman Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali's into Saudi Arabian exile concealed the return of Islamist extremists.
Within 10 days of Ben Ali's exit, demonstrators, waving Tunisian and Egyptian flags, clashed with police in Cairo (population 15 million) and other Egyptian cities, where most of the country's 80 million (75 percent under age 35) subsist close to the United Nations' global poverty level of $2 a day - and where 26 new billionaires spawn a blend of envy and hatred.… Seguir leyendo »
The fourth issue of Inspire, al Qaeda's online English-language magazine, appears to be running out of ideas to provoke mayhem among the heathen nations and the Muslims who do their bidding.
Female jihadis are praised for their courage, and men chastised for sitting on their hands. Singled out is Roshanara Chaudry, sentenced to life in prison last year, for stabbing a British member of Parliament last year who backed the Iraq War. "A woman has shown [Islam's] men the path of jihad! A woman, my brothers! Shame on all the men for idling while one of our women took up the individual jihad.… Seguir leyendo »
For years, the new Hong Kong was Dubai, one of seven United Arab Emirates and a one-time smuggling port on the Persian Gulf, now the latest casualty of "Wild East" casino capitalism. It was all fevered speculation, with little oil and no gas to back it up. An indoor ski slope where the outside temperature hovers above 100 all summer, the world's tallest building - twice the height of the Empire State Building - and a downtown golf course couldn't prevent the implosion of Dubai's speculative bubble.
Thirty minutes away by air, you're in the Arab El Dorado, no longer the imaginary place of great wealth and opportunity that eluded 16th-century explorers in South America.… Seguir leyendo »
When President Obama endorsed the Afghan war as his own, the reason he gave was "because that's where al Qaeda is." In point of fact, al Qaeda skedaddled out of Afghanistan shortly after U.S. troops invaded the country on Oct. 7, 2001. The bulk of the Afghan-based al Qaeda terrorists, led by Osama bin Laden and his family, pushed through the Tora Bora mountain range that straddles the Afghan-Pakistani border on their way to what they knew would be safe havens in Pakistan's tribal belt.
On Dec. 6 that year, Ajmal Khattak, the head of the Khattak tribe, who commanded about 600,000 pairs of eyes and ears in the area, advised this reporter and his Pakistani associates to be on horseback at the exit of the Tirah Valley as soon as possible.… Seguir leyendo »