Rays of Hope in Egypt

by Ahmad Shokr | published July 17, 2013

Three days before the coup that removed Muhammad Mursi from the presidency, I marched with tens of thousands of Egyptians to the presidential palace. A sea of protesters had filled Cairo’s streets, waving flags and chanting for the downfall of the regime.

As we passed a military compound, two soldiers leaned out a window and waved to the crowds. A man next to me joked, “The state is revolting against itself.”

True Democrats Don't Bankroll Juntas

by Joshua Stacher | published July 12, 2013

The military’s coup in Egypt has placed the American political establishment in a bind. Many observers insist that the Obama administration must either formally condone the military takeover or call it a “coup,” which would require a cutoff of American aid, as Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) has advocated.

How to Help Syria Now

by Chris Toensing | published May 29, 2013

The appalling civil war in Syria is well into its third year. With upwards of 70,000 dead, countless numbers maimed and injured, and millions of refugees, there are recurrent calls for the United States to “do something” to end the mayhem. That “something” is usually defined as military intervention -- imposing a no-fly zone, arming the rebels, even sending the Marines.

The Obama administration should have the wisdom to resist these calls. There are other “somethings” that have a better chance of doing good.

Futile Military Financing

by Chris Toensing | published April 3, 2013

One of the more regrettable things that Uncle Sam does with your tax dollars is sending $3.1 billion in military aid to Israel every year. He’ll be doing that until 2018 -- and probably after, unless Americans decide enough is enough.

When President Barack Obama traveled to Israel in March, he was keen to “reaffirm the unbreakable bond between our nations” and “to restate America’s unwavering commitment to Israel’s security.” Over the years, Washington has displayed this resolve in several ways. One of the most consequential has been the continuous stream of taxpayer dollars that has kept Israel armed to the teeth and reduced the prospects for Middle East peace.

State of the Drones

by Lisa Hajjar | published February 13, 2013

During his State of the Union Address last night, President Barack Obama said:

We don’t need to send tens of thousands of our sons and daughters abroad, or occupy other nations. Instead, we will need to help countries like Yemen, Libya and Somalia provide for their own security, and help allies who take the fight to terrorists, as we have in Mali. And, where necessary, through a range of capabilities, we will continue to take direct action against those terrorists who pose the gravest threat to Americans.

Zero Dark Thirty's Losing Premise

by Chris Toensing | published February 6, 2013

Zero Dark Thirty is a movie the CIA wants you to see.

It tells a tale of the search for Osama bin Laden wherein the key lead comes from a man softened up by waterboarding, sleep deprivation, confinement in a coffin-like box and other forms of pain and humiliation. It shows CIA agents extracting subsequent clues by similar means or the threat thereof. It alludes to other evidence supplied by “the Paks” and “the Jords” that was also obtained from detainees under duress. It twice depicts CIA officials asking the higher-ups how they are to find bin Laden when, after Barack Obama’s election, “the detainee program” is taken away.

Reverse the Exodus from Eritrea

by Dan Connell | published February 1, 2013

Last week, soldiers in one of Africa’s most closed and repressive nations -- Eritrea -- occupied the country’s Ministry of Information and issued demands. The pattern was a familiar one. News spread quickly that a coup was underway.

But feisty little Eritrea, which got its independence from Ethiopia in 1991 after defeating successive US- and Soviet-backed armies in a 30-year war, has never fit the mold of post-colonial African states, and it was not doing so now.

Argo and the Roots of US-Iranian Tensions

by Narges Bajoghli | published December 26, 2012

The box-office hit Argo brings back long-faded memories of the Iran hostage crisis for many Americans.

News in November 1979 that US diplomats had been taken hostage in Tehran shocked the United States. Students stormed the US embassy, blindfolding 52 Americans and threatening them at gunpoint. The hostages, held captive for 444 days, immediately became the nation’s top news story and dogged President Jimmy Carter’s unsuccessful reelection campaign.

Iran in the Campaign's Crosshairs

by Chris Toensing | published October 10, 2012

The war of words over Iran's nuclear program keeps expanding.

It’s now a multi-sided melee pitting Iran against the West and Israel, Israel against the Obama administration, Mitt Romney against Barack Obama, and neo-conservatives like William Kristol against the rest of the US foreign policy establishment.

The rhetoric is more heated, too. President Obama swears that his administration “will do what we must to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.” It’s his clearest indication to date that he would, if he deemed it necessary, order military strikes on Iranian nuclear facilities.

Explaining Obama's Deference to Israel

by Chris Toensing | published September 1, 2012

It is a truism that President Barack Obama inherited a mess from his predecessor in the White House. The United States was bogged down in two foreign wars of dubious provenance; Wall Street gamblers had flung the economy into deep recession; and, not least, the US had seemingly abandoned its self-appointed role as seeker of peace between Israel and the Palestinians.