Miliband Visits Pakistan Ahead of Conference

Success in Afghanistan heavily relies on the successes of its neighbor,Pakistan. Recognizing this important relationship, British ForeignSecretary David Miliband visited Pakistan ahead of the AfghanistanConference in London. During his time in Pakistan, Miliband heldmeetings with Pakistani government officials as well as private sectorprofessionals.

A year ago, Christian Brose penned a provocative article for Foreign Policy entitled “George W. Obama.” In it, the former speechwriter for Condoleezza Rice asserted that “Obama ran against a caricature of Bush’s first term” during the 2008 election, rather than the Bush foreign policy of the second term. Moreover, of the latter, he predicted that Obama would “largely continue it.” In large measure, Brose has turned out to be right. Despite the rhetoric of “change we can believe in,” there has been a high degree of continuity between the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations. Take the most […]

COIN in Berlin

In a WPR Briefing from earlier this week, Nicolas Nagle discussed some of the tensions Germany’s Afghanistan deployment is causing within Chancellor Angela Merkel’s new coalition government. This Der Spiegel article offers some further detail, and suggests that there’s essentially open warfare between Foreign Minister Guido Westerwalle, who is hostile to any troop increase, and Defense Minister Theodor zu Guttenberg, who is pushing to add up to 2,000 more troops. This goes a long way to explaining why Germany insisted on waiting until the Afghanistan Conference in London later this month before responding to President Barack Obama’s call for more […]

This Week’s WPR Video Highlights

Here are a few of this week’s highlights from WPR’s video section: – As Yemen’s stability comes into question, experts identify more than just Al Qaida as a threat to the crumbling nation. WorldFocus interviews military analyst Anthony Cordesman about the U.S. role in Yemen in this video. – Bosnia and Herzegovina continue to be plagued by ethnic tensions. WorldFocus talks about the issues with Ivana Howard of the National Endowment for Democracy in this video. – The Afghan parliament turned down a majority of President Hamid Karzai’s cabinet picks, but is this a step backward or forward for democracy […]

Afghanistan Attack on CIA Carried Out By Double Agent?

NewsHour talks to the Washington Post’s David Ignatius and authorJarret Brachman about the alleged Jordanian double agent whosuccessfully completed a suicide mission against CIA operatives inAfghanistan. The incident has brought to light long-standingintelligence ties between Jordan and the United States.

Military Intelligence Goes Civilian

There’s a lot to digest from Gen. Michael Flynn’s internal report (.pdf) on the U.S. intelligence effort in Afghanistan, not least of which is that it was released by CNAS. Flynn, after all, is the acting commanding general of the . . . U.S. intelligence effort in Afghanistan. When I first saw the report mentioned in a blog post, my mind’s eye inserted a ghost “(ret.)” after his name. Given Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ recent remarks about airing policy debates in public being a career-ending offense, one wonders whether that won’t, rightly or wrongly, soon be the case. As for […]

Karzai Frustrated by Foreign Forces

Afghan President Hamid Karzai is accusing NATO and U.S. forces of taking the fight against the Taliban too close to home. In an interview with Al Jazeera’s Hashem Ahelbarra, Karzai said that if night raids continue on Afghan civilians, foreign military forces will have more than just the Taliban to deal with. Karzai says that he wants Afghan sovereignty returned to the people.

Afghanistan’s Cabinet and Attempted Reform Efforts

Afghanistan’s parliament rejected 17 or President Hamid Karzai’s 24 cabinet nominees. NewsHour’s Margaret Warner speaks with Afghanistan’s ambassador to the U.S., Said Jawad, about what the vote means for his country’s political future. Said says that though the rejections could be seen as a setback, the parliament’s decision is a step in the right direction for the democratic process in Afghanistan.

The governments of the United States and its NATO allies routinely characterize Afghan President Hamid Karzai as corrupt and incompetent. These unjust accusations come after the West grossly mishandled Karzai for years, often placing damaging and contradictory pressures on him since he assumed the presidency in 2004. Karzai’s recent decision to expel two ministers tarnished by graft allegations is a positive sign of his efforts to improve the effectiveness and transparency of his administration, one that warrants recognition from the often-critical international community as a concrete example of good governance. The silence from the West following these firings speaks volumes […]

Immediately after President Barack Obama announced on Dec. 1 that he would deploy 30,000 additional U.S. troops to Afghanistan, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen declared that the alliance would also step up with a miniature surge of its own. While Rasmussen’s announcement may have been a deft political move, many of the 7,000 troops he cited were pledged well in advance of Obama’s West Point speech, with some of those forces already on the ground. Also, the figure does not take into account planned near-term withdrawals by frontline contributors like the Netherlands and Canada. Finally, although the specific country-by-country breakdown […]

Among the questions raised by Germany’s elections in September 2009 was the impact Chancellor Angela Merkel’s new coalition partners would have on Berlin’s foreign policy orientation. A number of developments since then have provided hints of areas of continuity, as well as others of potential change and even internal conflict. Among the areas of continuity is Germany’s approach to the internal politics of the European Union. In the recent race to secure the EU’s top post-Lisbon Treaty jobs, Berlin remained circumspect, preferring to leave the more powerful portfolios to other countries. The main struggle ended up being between London and […]

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