The military situation in Syria has turned against the U.S.-supported opposition over the past year, due mainly to Russian intervention. Now, the failed coup in Turkey and subsequent crackdown there stand to reduce the capabilities of a key U.S. ally. Without some rebalancing now in favor of the opposition to Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, the prospects for a satisfactory negotiated political transition are dim.
In a dissenting internal memo last month, 51 State Department diplomats advocated attacks on Syrian government forces to end their aggression against the country’s civilian population, alter the military balance and bring about a negotiated political solution.… Seguir leyendo »
The mood in Iraq has shifted with the uprisings across the Arab world. Frustration over jobs, corruption and services inspired Iraqis to take to the streets last Friday and over the weekend, precipitating the resignations of at least three provincial governors and prompting calls for long-promised local elections. While turnout was not overwhelming, Iraqis across the country demonstrated. The government tried to stifle the demonstrations by claiming they would be infiltrated by al-Qaeda. Security forces reacted violently, killing at least 17.
The forecast, however, is not all bad. When I was in Baghdad in January, just as Tunisia's revolution was unfolding, Iraqi politicians were pleased with the "national partnership" government that was taking power.… Seguir leyendo »
As NATO, the United States, the European Union and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe prepare for summit meetings this fall, the Balkans may yet spoil the party.
The peace-building process there boasts remarkable successes — the end of the Bosnian war, the fall of Slobodan Milosevic and the rise of democratic Serbia, the independence of Kosovo, impending Croatian membership in the E.U. But failure in the Balkans is still a possibility and would embarrass Europeans and Americans alike.
There are three issues that haunt the region: Bosnia and Herzegovina is a country that remains mired in continuing — though currently nonviolent — ethnic tension; relations between Serbia and Kosovo remain unsettled; and Macedonia is unable to join NATO or the European Union until Greece’s objection to its name (which Athens claims for Greece) is resolved.… Seguir leyendo »
While President Obama is surging troops into Afghanistan and money into Pakistan, plans are being laid for a negotiated settlement to be reached before the beginning of the American drawdown in July 2011. Gen. David Petraeus's appointment this week as U.S. commander in Afghanistan increases the urgency of defining the terms of such a settlement.
For those of us who listen carefully to silence, the most interesting part of the president's West Point commencement address last month was his failure to declare any end state for the war in Afghanistan and Pakistan. He was clear he wanted "an Iraq that provides no safe haven to terrorists; a democratic Iraq that is sovereign, stable and self-reliant."… Seguir leyendo »
The Post asked foreign policy experts for their views on American troops' pullback from Iraqi cities. Below are contributions from Danielle Pletka, Daniel P. Serwer, Michael O'Hanlon, Andrew J. Bacevich and John A. Nagl.
Danielle Pletka, Vice president for foreign and defense policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute.
It will be tempting to judge today's pullback of American troops from Iraqi cities by the relative calm -- or lack thereof -- that ensues in its wake. That's how al Qaeda wants the world to judge the scene, and, accordingly, the group and its allies have pulled out all the stops to step up violence on the ground.… Seguir leyendo »