Too little of the constant hum of the Arab-Israeli conflict breaks through in the United States. Occasional shocking attacks and sustained battles creep onto the pages of major papers but then fade back into obscurity.
But on the morning of Oct. 7, Hamas broke through—attacking Israel on multiple fronts, killing and kidnapping civilians and soldiers, and unleashing a barrage of thousands of rockets. By nightfall, hundreds of Israelis and Palestinians were dead. Dozens of Israelis were being held hostage inside Gaza. This, said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is war.
Right now, what may well be the most substantial attack on Israel since the 1973 Arab-Israeli War looks like a massive intelligence failure.… Seguir leyendo »
On Sept. 11, 1962, German rocket scientist Heinz Krug disappeared from his office in Munich, never to be seen again. Like several other veterans of the Nazi missile program, Krug was working for the Egyptian government of Gamal Abdel Nasser, whose nation had already fought two wars with the young state of Israel. The backstory is long and complicated—involving Benito Mussolini, Eva Perón, and hidden Nazi gold—but the short version is that the Mossad, Israel’s chief intelligence agency, recruited a Nazi once close to Adolf Hitler to knock Krug off.
But, although it might have been Israel’s most film noir-worthy tale of assassination, it certainly wasn’t its last.… Seguir leyendo »
Last month, the United States government issued sanctions against eight Chinese companies for complicity in the crackdown on Chinese Muslims in Xinjiang. As many as a million Uighurs, Kazakhs and other ethnic minorities have been “interned” — wrenched away from families and dumped into harsh detention camps that the government insists are merely re-education centers. In light of those sanctions, why haven’t the California State Teachers’ Retirement System and other American funds announced that they would stop investing in companies under sanctions? And why is the federal employee retirement fund poised to move retirement assets to an index fund that includes Chinese companies in 2020?… Seguir leyendo »
CNN Opinion asked a range of contributors for their take on last week's attacks in Paris and how the war on ISIS must change if the U.S. and its allies want to defeat it. The opinions expressed in these commentaries are solely those of the authors.
Fareed Zakaria: What does ISIS want?
The barbarism of the attacks in Paris mark a new low in terror. The attacks were not directed against national symbols or government targets, but designed simply to kill innocent men, women and children. The murderers did not even bother to issue demands.
French President Francois Hollande has called Friday's attacks an act of war.… Seguir leyendo »
After 20 months of negotiations, a deal has been announced over Iran's nuclear program. But is it a good deal? And if so, for whom? CNN asked a range of contributors for their take on what it means, and what to expect next. The views expressed are the writers' own.
The deal of the century -- for Iran
There's no question the Obama administration got what it wanted out of this deal: a slower, smaller Iranian nuclear program more easily monitored and constrained for at least a decade. No chance now of a pre-emptive Israeli strike, and no need for an American one.… Seguir leyendo »
Notwithstanding the polls, the valiant efforts of the Obama White House, a new unity on the Israeli left and a controversial term, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party appears to have swept to victory in Tuesday's Israeli elections.
For many in Israel, the election turned on domestic economic issues and on personality. Pollsters had believed that the combination of rising prices, slowing growth and a controversial leader at the helm of the incumbent Likud would finally doom the man who was looking to notch a historic fourth term as premier on his belt. Not so much.
While it will likely take some time for Netanyahu to form a new government, the reverberations of his victory will be felt fast in Washington.… Seguir leyendo »
CNN Opinion asked a range of contributors to assess the impact of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's speech to Congress. The opinions expressed in these commentaries are theirs.
Obama administration fumbled
The Obama administration effectively has had a six-week public tantrum as it tried to stop Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from addressing a joint meeting of Congress. Now we know why. Netanyahu destroyed the administration's argument in favor of signing a nuclear deal with Iran.
We've continuously heard from the Obama administration that no deal is better than a bad deal. Anyone watching Netanyahu's speech with even the slightest objectivity was, at the very least, left questioning whether this is that bad deal.… Seguir leyendo »
The immolation of a Jordanian pilot is only one of many signs of a Middle East collapsing into brutal disorder. Leaders have fallen, civil wars are spreading and terrorism is thriving. It’s tempting to yearn for the relative security of years past, when the United States’ client dictators kept the region quiet, and to look for another candidate to play the role.
Of course, the lore of the old, stable Middle East is more myth than reality — the half-century before the Arab Spring saw multiple governments fall, the rise of Islamist terror, three Arab-Israeli wars and civil wars in Yemen and Lebanon.… Seguir leyendo »
Many of us are tempted to look backward and replay the myriad mistakes President Barack Obama has made in managing the now extraordinarily obvious crisis in the Middle East. I've done it, plenty of my fellow analysts do it, and now Obama's own Democratic Party members are doing it too. But sunk costs are irrelevant; the president's mistakes are made. The better question is, what does he plan to do now?
The President will take to the airwaves on Wednesday to announce to the nation his strategy to confront the growing threat of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, variously known as IS, ISIS and ISIL.… Seguir leyendo »
After months of bloodshed, some in Washington continue to suggest that Syria’s fight has little to do with the United States. They’re wrong. Principle aside, we have interests in ensuring the stability of a pivotal country in the Middle East — and not simply because Bashar al-Assad’s regime has nuclear- and chemical-weapons programs.
The question is: How does the United States make a difference, in spite of the international community’s paralysis and the Obama administration’s reluctance to support the Syrian opposition?
First, Washington must stop subcontracting Syria policy to the Turks, Saudis and Qataris. They are clearly part of the anti-Assad effort, but the United States cannot tolerate Syria becoming a proxy state for yet another regional power.… Seguir leyendo »
The Post asked experts what America should do about unrest in the Middle East. Below are responses from Steven Heydemann, Stephen J. Hadley, Aaron David Miller, Danielle Pletka, Hussein Agha, Robert Malley, Marina Ottaway, Andrew Albertson and Ed Husain.
Arab regimes are reeling from the aftershocks of events in Tunisia. Governments in Egypt and Yemen are the focus of mass protests expressing the anger that many Arab citizens feel toward their leaders. Surprises are possible, but it is most likely that the Egyptian and Yemeni regimes will survive these "days of rage."
After the truncheons have done their work, what are U.S.… Seguir leyendo »
Despite the fact that Afghanistan is slowly making its way to success, many Americans believe the war is unwinnable - and most want out. Perhaps many of them suspect that the president of the United States shares their view. He has done little to disabuse them of the notion.
General disaffection with war is common, particularly with one as drawn out as the almost decade-long battle to secure Afghanistan. But the outlook in Afghanistan has improved: Afghans or allies control large swaths of territory, and while President Hamid Karzai has proved that he lacks certain Jeffersonian qualities, he is certainly no worse than many U.S.… Seguir leyendo »
The Post asked former officials and policy experts whether there is a divide between the Obama administration and the Jewish state. Below are responses from Elliott Abrams, David Makovsky, Aaron David Miller, Danielle Pletka, and Hussein Agha and Robert Malley.
The current friction in U.S.-Israel relations has one source: the mishandling of those relations by the Obama administration. Poll data show that Israel is as popular as ever among Americans. Strategically we face the same enemies -- such as terrorism and the Iranian regime -- a fact that is not lost on Americans who know we have one single reliable, democratic ally in the Middle East.… Seguir leyendo »
Iran is proceeding with an aggressive nuclear weapons program, and a few dogged holdouts notwithstanding, much of the Obama administration has come to terms with that reality. Official Washington has resigned itself to pursuing a containment policy that some argue will limit Iran's ability to proliferate, terrorize and otherwise exploit being a nuclear power. But it is wrong to think a nuclear Iran can be contained.
The containment argument runs along Cold War lines: The price of breakout is too high; the regime cares only about power, not about using weapons; containment will be simple because the Arabs are so scared of Iran they'll do anything to help us; President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad doesn't have his finger on the button.… Seguir leyendo »
The Post solicited opinions on what the president should say when accepting the Nobel Peace Prize on Thursday. Below are contributions from Scott Keeter, Danielle Pletka, Strobe Talbott, Jessica Mathews, Ed Rogers, Randy Scheunemann, Donna Brazile and Wangari Maathai.
Hanging over President Obama's appearance in Oslo will be reminders that a majority of the U.S. public does not think he deserves the award, as well as the irony of accepting a peace prize just days after announcing a major escalation in the Afghanistan war. But the president's main challenge -- in the speech and long afterward -- will be in persuading a skeptical American public that the world needs robust leadership from the United States.… Seguir leyendo »
The Post asked foreign policy experts if Obama's trip was a success or an embarrassment. Below are contributions from Michael Auslin, Michael Green, Victor Cha, Danielle Pletka, Douglas E. Schoen, Richard C. Bush, Elizabeth C. Economy, David Shambaugh and Yang Jianli.
The optics of the president's trip fulfilled his stated intention of announcing that the United States was "back" in Asia, but the lack of tangible policy results suggest it was a success of style over substance.
Meeting with the leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and a statement that the United States will "engage" with the free-trade Trans Pacific Partnership does not substitute for a full trade policy.… 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 »
Just after Iran’s rigged elections last week, with hundreds of thousands of protesters taking to the streets, it looked as if a new revolution was in the offing. Five days later, the uprising is little more than a symbolic protest, crushed by the elite Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. Meanwhile, the real revolution has gone unnoticed: the guard has effected a silent coup d’état.
The seeds of this coup were planted four years ago with the election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. And while he has since disappointed his public, failing to deliver on promised economic and political reforms, his allies now control the country.… Seguir leyendo »
Yesterday in Cairo, President Obama underscored his desire to "move forward without preconditions" and negotiate with Iran "on the basis of mutual respect." So far, no takers from Tehran. But even if there were, the bottom line is that whether it's Iran, North Korea or the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, there has been little to show for years of jawboning. Worse, the history of such negotiations should give pause to the public and to Congress. Too often, U.S. negotiators have become unwitting advocates for their adversaries, getting so caught up in the negotiating process that they cannot countenance its collapse -- or their own failure -- even in the face of undeniable evidence that the discussions are not succeeding.Consider… Seguir leyendo »
With President Obama's trip to Canada, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton touring Asia, The Post asked foreign policy experts to assess the expectations on the Obama administration. Below are responses from Danielle Pletka, Daniel P. Serwer, Aaron David Miller, Rick Barton, Karin von Hippel, Shannon Hayden and David Shambaugh.
Danielle Pletka, vice president, foreign and defense policy studies, at the American Enterprise Institute.
It's foolish to expect too much from a maiden voyage overseas. But if we are filled with an unreasoning hope for change, the blame lies at the feet of candidate Barack Obama, who led us to believe his ascent would do miracles for America's global influence.… Seguir leyendo »