At this year’s United Nations General Assembly in New York, it was good to see a focus on stopping the global threat posed by radical Islam. Yet the U.N.’s plan of action isn’t nearly sufficient.
Since the 1970s, militant Islamists have carried out mass-casualty attacks and beheadings against civilians worldwide with no sign of letting up. Now that the so-called “Islamic State” is waging genocide against Christians and other minority groups while attracting some 30,000 fighters to reconstitute a caliphate that stretched from Afghanistan to Spain some 1,300 years ago, the brutality is sure to increase.
But wait, it gets worse.… Seguir leyendo »
As world leaders gather for the NATO summit in Wales during the first week of September, they’ll need to do some collective soul-searching on the alliance’s future.
NATO served its original purpose in preventing the Soviet Union from overrunning Western Europe, but the world isn’t much safer today. Everywhere we look, deadly threats abound — from radical Islamist terrorist groups and a future nuclear-armed Iran to a resurgent Russia focused on restoring an empire to the rise of China, and more.
Despite these shared security challenges, the continued alliance isn’t guaranteed as most member nations balk at budget expectations equaling 2 percent of national gross domestic product, while sharply disagreeing on policy matters, including what constitutes a mutual threat.… Seguir leyendo »
Much has been written about the Muslim Brotherhood’s disastrous influence in Egypt and the Obama administration’s unwise foreign-policy decisions throughout the Arab Spring, but both are merely byproducts of larger underlying problems that threaten Egypt and its neighbors.
To better grasp these problems, it might be useful to look at Egypt from a broad, strategic view and discuss key factors of economics, population density, literacy and geography that have been mostly absent from the dialogue.
For the sake of comparing Egypt’s land area, apart from an immense swath of the Sahara Desert, the inhabitable section consists of the Nile Valley and Delta, which fans out into the Mediterranean Sea.… Seguir leyendo »
In his rush to pull out of Afghanistan, close Guantanamo and declare the fight against “violent extremists” over, President Obama is again pressing for Taliban peace talks just days after releasing a complete list of Gitmo detainees, finally identifying 46 of 166 men held in indefinite detention.
Though his broader strategy is highly suspect, the timing is impeccable. Orchestrating peace with the Taliban and efforts to dismantle indefinite detention at Gitmo naturally go hand in hand.
To help kick-start the process, the Taliban want to trade five Gitmo detainees who are top leaders for one U.S. soldier, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who went missing from his post near Pakistan in 2009.… Seguir leyendo »
As Egypt continues its tumultuous transition to democracy two years after the Arab Spring swept strongman President Hosni Mubarak from power, Washington must weigh its next moves carefully.
For decades, U.S. policy in the region has been picking the least bad option in supporting partner governments, leading to autocrats such as Mr. Mubarak, who maintained an unpopular peace with Israel and ensured the free flow of oil in exchange for military aid and other support.
Bad options became worse when simmering resentment from the Arab Spring toward the status quo exploded, toppling long-term allies in Tunisia, Egypt and Yemen, causing disaster in Libya and threatening more than a dozen other nations.… Seguir leyendo »
With the ebb and flow of major clashes in Cairo’s Tahrir Square since the Arab Spring began nearly two years ago, it’s easy to get bogged down in the details of who’s doing what to whom on any given day. Americans must take a step above the fray and look at Egypt and beyond from a broader, strategic level.
What we’re seeing unfold in Egypt — similar to what took place in Libya, Tunisia and Yemen with leaders toppled by the “Arab Street” — represents the most significant geopolitical shake-up since the Russian Revolution of 1917 ushered in the Soviet Union and Iran’s Revolution of 1979 gave us the Islamic Republic of Iran.… Seguir leyendo »
The next Benghazi could occur in many places: Tunis. Cairo. Sanaa. Karachi. Or a less obvious place such as one that was attacked by terrorists in years past, such as Buenos Aires, Jakarta or Manila. It could be where Iran is seeking a stronger foothold, say in Caracas or La Paz.
Though we don’t know where radical Islamists will strike next, we do know that conditions leading to the Benghazi attack haven’t changed. More importantly, President Obama remains ill prepared — and now for four more years, no less.
We recently learned what the White House knew in the weeks leading up to the Sept.… Seguir leyendo »
June – ‘tis the season of report cards and graduations – a time to celebrate for some, to reflect upon what went wrong for others. Now six months into the Arab Spring, it’s also an opportune time for analysis and grading through the lens of key academic subjects. Though promising opportunity and better lives in the Middle East and North Africa – unless the Arab Spring delivers sweeping societal change and meaningful economic improvements along with democracy, it’s likely headed for disaster.
Let’s take a look at its report card:
History – D
A cursory glance over the past 100 years shows that while popular uprisings may topple autocrats, they don’t necessarily yield positive outcomes.… Seguir leyendo »
While President Obama battles Republicans in Congress over federal budgets, spiraling debt and out-of-control spending, another out-of-control phenomena – namely piracy, continues to wreak havoc on the world economy with an estimated cost of $15 billion by 2015.
Attacks on shipping have skyrocketed to 142 incidents worldwide just within the first three months of 2011 – 18 vessels were hijacked and 344 crew taken hostage. The United Arab Emirates is holding emergency talks this week with representatives from more than 50 countries to address the continuing menace.
Virtually invisible in the shadow of U.S. “kinetic military action” in Libya and other chaos brought about by the Arab Spring, 13 Somalis and a Yemeni were quietly brought to Norfolk, Va., where they were indicted on piracy charges last month and remain in local jails pending trial later this year.… Seguir leyendo »
Though celebrity Western journalists like CNN’s Anderson Cooper, ABC’s Christiane Amanpour and Fox News’ Greg Palkot thrust the press into the limelight by being attacked by pro-government mobs in Cairo, the role of Arabic media in the current crisis has been much less reported.
This is not insignificant because the Middle Eastern press arguably has been a key force in sinking Hosni Mubarak’s presidency and setting off a chain reaction of unrest throughout the region.
Though the world rightly applauds a free press, the concept of free doesn’t necessarily equate to truthful, accurate or ethical.
This is particularly the case in the Middle East, where journalistic standards can be decidedly different from those in the United States and Europe.… Seguir leyendo »
Guantanamo has been at thecenter of intense political and security debates for the past decade, yet many commonly held perceptions of its detention operations and interrogations are not based upon the facts.
From the outset, Department of Defense officials characterized Guantanamo as the “least worst place” for holding al Qaeda and Taliban suspects picked up in the aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001. It was far from the battlefields of Afghanistan, where the fighting raged. It was outside the United States, making it less prone to terrorist attacks.As foreign enemy combatants held outside the country, detainees were not entitled to the same legal protections granted to American citizens.… Seguir leyendo »