The expanded military crackdown being orchestrated by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad against his own people has triggered a wave of global criticism and prompted Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Kuwait to recall their ambassadors from the country. The move early this week by regional powers to distance themselves from the Assad government effectively means that Syria has lost the support the Gulf Cooperation Council, notes Andrew Tabler, an analyst with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. “That, combined with the visit to Syria by [Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu] today, is a big loss for the Assad regime,” he told […]
The State Department is currently planning to assume leadership of the U.S. mission in Iraq on Oct. 1, 2011. Yet, recent proposals in Congress to cut further the department’s budget for Iraq, following two reductions in planned spending last year, threaten to defeat a transition plan that, if not quite representing victory, offers the best hope of achieving an outcome acceptable to U.S. interests as well as to the Iraqi people. The planned handoff of the U.S. mission in Iraq from the Defense Department to State includes positioning some 17,000 political, economic and security personnel under the authority of the […]
Three years after war broke out between Georgia and Russia on August 8, 2008, both countries still glare angrily at each other.
Allegations of Russian involvement in a bombing targeting the U.S. embassy compound in Tbilisi, Georgia, have sent diplomatic shockwaves through international policy circles and threaten the Obama administration’s carefully calibrated “reset” program with Moscow. While the details of the incident underscore the Caucasus’ still-smoldering volatility, they are consistent with Russia’s longtime activities in the region. The reactions were quick and vigorous following Eli Lake’s July 22 report in the Washington Times, in which official Georgian sources accused Russian agents of complicity in a September 2010 explosion near the American Embassy in Tbilisi. According to the Georgian Interior Ministry, an Abkhazia-based […]
Police in Mexico have nabbed the boss of a drug cartel’s armed wing in Ciudad Juarez. Nicknamed ‘El Diego’, the head hit-man is linked to many deaths in Mexico’s ongoing bloody drug war.
Despite the rush right now to declare important milestones or turning points in the fight against terrorism, the best handle we can get on the situation seems to be that al-Qaida is near dead, but its franchises have quite a bit of life in them. The implied situational uncertainty is to be expected following Osama Bin Laden’s assassination, as he was our familiar “handle” on the issue for more than a decade. But although it is normal that we now seek a new, widely accepted paradigm, it is also misguided: In global terms we are, for lack of a better […]