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    Take Off Rose-Colored Glasses when it comes to Taliban Reconciliation

    Before concluding that today’s New York Times article on Taliban outreach to Karzai means that an Afghan settlement is on the horizon, consider today’s other news from Afghanistan, which includes a suicide attack that killed the Deputy Governor of Afghanistan’s Ghazni province. The point is the Taliban may be reaching … More

    Not-So-Friendly Skies

    On Monday evening, Dutch authorities detained Ahmed Mohamed Nasser al Soofi (of Detroit) and Hezem al Murisi when their United Airlines flight from Chicago landed in Amsterdam. It’s always a big mistake to jump to “instant analysis” based on preliminary press reports. But it shouldn’t come as much of a … More

    Gates Going

    In the coming months, lots of people will be cranking up their computers and burning up the airwaves with commentary on the just-announced departure of Secretary of Defense Robert Gates sometime in 2011. Evaluating his legacy as SECDEF when he ultimately leaves next year will be important for the historical … More

    Seeing Pakistan through Flood Crisis

    Pakistan is facing what may turn out to be its worst natural catastrophe ever. The U.S. must focus on providing maximum relief assistance over the coming weeks and plan to partner with Pakistan in leading an international effort to rehabilitate and reconstruct the flood-affected areas over the longer term. A … More

    A Newsless Wikileak: New Afghan Strategy Still Sound

    The posting of over 90,000 classified US government documents by Wikileaks has raised fresh questions about the US strategy in Afghanistan. Leaking of classified information, particularly on this scale, has the potential to damage US national security interests and in general should be discouraged. Much of the information from the … More

    Morning Bell: Time to Dump the Afghanistan Timeline

    The Washington Post reports today that Gen. Stanley McChrystal, U.S. commander in Afghanistan, apologized for an upcoming article in Rolling Stone magazine that portrays him and senior officials on his team as dismissive of top Obama administration officials. As a result, General McChrystal has been summoned to the White House … More

    Need for U.S. Leadership on Afghanistan-Pakistan Reconciliation

    A front-page story on Afghan-Pakistani relations in today’s Washington Post indicates that Afghanistan and Pakistan are discussing a peace settlement for Afghanistan. While a genuine thaw in relations between the two countries would be welcome, the idea that the U.S. would take a back seat in any effort to negotiate … More

    Will the Taliban Learn a Lesson From Hamas?

    Heritage Middle East analyst Jim Phillips makes a pretty good case that the Israeli confrontation with a convoy at sea bound for Gaza was a set-up by Hamas to provoke an incident that would draw intense criticism on Israel. The Taliban has every reason to try the same tactic by … More

    Pakistan Attack Plans - What Is Wrong With This Picture?

    According to Reuters, “U.S. military leaders are reviewing options for a unilateral strike in Pakistan if there is a successful attack on American soil tied to the country’s tribal areas, The Washington Post reported in its Saturday edition.” Problem One–military contingency planning is supposed to be secret. Why this information … More

    The Shahzad Email and the Need to Understand Violent Islamism

    An email purportedly written by Times Square bombing suspect Faisal Shahzad four years ago reveals that he was motivated to attack the U.S. partly by radical Islamist ideology. In the email, Shahzad questions democracy (which he refers to as “human made laws”) and favors an Islamic system of governance in … More