Earlier this month, the Pentagon issued a directive (.pdf) raising “irregular warfare” (IW) to the same level of importance as conventional battles. The December 2008 directive defines IW as operations to fight terrorists and insurgents, enhance the defense capacity of foreign governments, and promote stability in conflict-prone regions. It asserts that it is now Department of Defense policy “to recognize that IW is as strategically important as traditional warfare.” Although the U.S. armed forces have long performed these tasks, most recently in Afghanistan and Iraq, the military has often done so only with great reluctance. The Pentagon developed considerable expertise [...]
SOLEMN REMEMBRANCES, HOPE MARK DECLARATION ANNIVERSARY — The world community marked the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on Dec. 10, with calls for stronger international institutions and remembrances of those around the world currently deprived of their rights. The U.N. General Assembly awarded the 2008 U.N. Prizes in the Field of Human Rights to several individuals, including slain Pakistani leader Benazir Bhutto and former U.N. Human Rights Commissioner Louise Arbour, as well as to the group Human Rights Watch. Meanwhile, critics slammed the U.N. and the world community for their failures to address [...]
Former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s chances of returning to power in Israel received an unexpected and potentially devastating blow following Tuesday’s primary vote by members of his party. Likud voters watered down their party leader’s entire electoral strategy, thus reviving the chances that Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and her Kadima party will have another opportunity to form a government. The conventional wisdom — and what all opinion polls still predict — is that Netanyahu will become Israel’s new prime minister after next February’s election. And yet, conventional wisdom is often wrong, and this may well prove one of those times. [...]
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