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Should Israelis Be Declaring Victory After Today's Summit?
September 22, 2009

After much anticipation of this week's meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas, early reports indicate that President Obama spent most of his time "sternly urging Israeli and Palestinian leaders to do more to make Mideast peace talks possible." It's an unimpressive message from a president that has been urging the sides "to do more" for quite a while now, to no avail. Israel has refused the "total settlement freeze" that U.S.

The Limits of Afghanistan Analogies
September 22, 2009

Last week, Taliban leader Mullah Omar issued a taunting statement warning America about its prospects in Afghanistan. Here's a choice excerpt: The former Soviet Union claimed, the Red Army was invincible but faced defeat at the hands of the Afghans and completely disintegrated. Many other countries got independence thanks to that. Today USA, the Britain and their allies are bent on subjugating Afghanistan. They are in a total self-delusion and their brain seems not working normally. This is a season of historical analogies.

The Dostum Chronicles
September 09, 2009

Shiberghan, Afghanistan (one day before the election)—There was no mistaking the general’s “castle.” Its pastel-colored two-storey walls and lapis cupolas shocking amidst the drabness of the surrounding neighborhood. Somewhere inside the compound was General Abdul Rashid Dostum, the most notorious of Afghanistan’s warlords. In almost three decades as a militia leader, Dostum has earned a reputation for ruthless brutality towards enemies, as well as an opportunist’s disregard for alliances, which have shifted without notice.

Howard Dean, Afghanistan Hawk
September 08, 2009

I'm a bit late getting to this, but over the holiday weekend famous Iraq war opponent Howard Dean visited Fox News Sunday and weighed in on Afghanistan: CHRIS WALLACE: Governor Dean, the president will reportedly decide in the next few weeks whether or not to send more troops to Afghanistan. As a leader of the anti-war movement when it came to Iraq, will the liberal wing of the Democratic Party will you support the president if he deepens our commitment in that war? HOWARD DEAN: I'm not so sure I'm the liberal wing, but... I've supported the president on this one.

A Moister, Flakier Leader For Today's Angst-Ridden Conservative
September 08, 2009

There's chatter among the political media today about Fox News commentator Glenn Beck's having successfully nailed green-jobs czar Van Jones' scalp to his wall.

Unsettled
August 24, 2009

The Gush Katif Museum in Jerusalem was a fitting venue for U.S. presidential hopeful and Republican leader Mike Huckabee this past Wednesday. The museum is a monument to the Gaza disengagement, which most Israelis see as a failure--and which looms large in their minds as they anticipate demands from Obama for further settlement evictions. Huckabee has come to the Holy Land this week to present Israelis with a completely different vision, spending much of his trip condemning Obama's pressure to halt settlement construction.

Down Under
August 24, 2009

SYDNEY, Australia--The hardest slogan to sell in politics is: "Things could have been a whole lot worse." No wonder President Obama is having trouble defending his stimulus plan. If governments around the world, including our own, had not acted aggressively--and had not spent piles of money--a very bad economic situation would have become a cataclysm. But because the cataclysm was avoided, this is an invisible achievement. Many whose bacon was saved, particularly in the banking and corporate sectors, do not want to admit how important the actions of government were.

Unsettled
August 21, 2009

  The Gush Katif Museum in Jerusalem was a fitting venue for U.S. presidential hopeful and Republican leader Mike Huckabee this past Wednesday. The museum is a monument to the Gaza disengagement, which most Israelis see as a failure--and which looms large in their minds as they anticipate demands from Obama for further settlement evictions. Huckabee has come to the Holy Land this week to present Israelis with a completely different vision, spending much of his trip condemning Obama's pressure to halt settlement construction.

From the TNR Archive: The Lockerbie Bombing
August 20, 2009

 This morning the Scottish government released the only person convicted in the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi, after only serving eight years of a minimum 27-year-sentence for his role in the terrorist attack that killed 270. Megrahi, who suffers from terminal prostate cancer and whose release has been strongly and publicly opposed by the U.S., will return to Libya today to die in his home country.

Khamenei vs. Khomeini
August 20, 2009

During his August 3 speech formally endorsing Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned protesters that “by imitation of Ayatollah Khomeini, they cannot deceive people.” Khamenei was mocking the opposition’s claim to be to reviving “the values of Ayatollah Khomeini”--the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran and Khamenei’s predecessor as Supreme Leader. Ironically, Khamenei made this statement while seated below a large, framed picture of Khomeini. This scene provides a stark illustration of the fact that politics in Iran are largely defined by attempts to claim Khomeini’s legacy.

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