The provost of University College, London, where Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab studied for three years, said that he was "completely shocked" by the news of what the Christmas terrorist had tried to do.
Three years ago, an Israeli jet fighter prowling for one particular Palestinian terrorist just missed Ahmad Dahduh's car. Alongside it was Hamdi Aman's car, which the jet hit. Aman's oldest son, wife, and mother were killed. His daughter Marya was thrown from the car. Marya's spinal cord was broken at the neck. During the Gaza war, Hamas dispatched a rocket into Beersheva. Actually, two rockets. The first one missed. The second one hit Orel, who quite literally lost half his brain. His mother, a surgical nurse, said "I saw his brain coming out ...
Many religions practice self-flagellation rituals. Even today. Catholics in Latin America, the Iberian Peninsula, the Philippines, and ultramontane Roman Catholics of the Opus Dei conviction flagellate themselves on Good Friday in fraternity with the suffering of Jesus. Among Sunnis, it is forbidden. Not so among the Shi'a, where there is no actual uniformity of belief and certainly not in practice.
BIGGEST TACTICAL BLUNDER: Pushing the Israeli-Arab peace process too hard. Obama took office looking for bold strokes at a time when peace seemed as far away as ever: Israel had just finished its punishing military campaign in Gaza last winter, and the Arab world was inflamed, and deeply uninterested in making offerings to Israel. Obama's squeeze on Israeli settlements, meanwhile, managed to a) tick off a backlash in Israel that enabled the Netanyahu government to stand its ground, without b) shaking loose meaningful Arab support.
Jorge Castañeda’s lament ("Adios, Monroe Doctrine," December 28, 2009) about U.S. indifference towards Latin America sounds a familiar theme. His claim that “the United States doesn’t seem to care much what happens in Latin America” has been a constant refrain that has dominated analyses of U.S. regional policy since the mid-1970s. The “new passivity” is not, after all, terribly new. Though often framed in general terms of advancing national interests and values, almost everyone expressing such a lament has been motivated by some particular agenda. Some want the U.S.
The ouster of Honduran President Manuel Zelaya has provided Latin America with a revelatory moment. Beginning with the Monroe Doctrine--and extending through countless invasions, occupations, and covert operations--Washington has considered the region its backyard. So where was this superpower these past few months, as Honduras hung in the balance? More or less sitting on its hands. The fact is that the United States is no longer willing, or perhaps even able, to select who governs from Tegucigalpa, or anywhere else in the region for that matter.
This AP story reminds us that it's going to be tough to defeat the Taliban in Afghanistan so long as they have a safe haven across the border in Pakistan: SHAKTOI, Pakistan (AP) -- A top Pakistani Taliban commander says he sent thousands of fighters to neighboring Afghanistan to rebuff incoming U.S.
As President Obama arrives empty-handed at the end of his year-long attempt to persuade Iran to address the international community’s concerns about its nuclear program, a curious paradox has emerged. Even if intensified--and highly costly--sanctions were to force the regime to comply with Western demands, an agreement between Tehran and Washington would benefit one party above all: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the illegitimate government that he now leads.
Apparently I found Newsweek's interview with Henry Kissinger and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton more interesting than Isaac did. Clinton makes what I think are a couple of interesting observations, including this one, about diplomacy in the modern world: What I have found hardest to balance is the amount of travel that is expected today. One would think that in an era where communication is instantaneous, you would not have to get on an airplane and go sit in a meeting.
I'm no expert, but the more I think and learn about Pakistan, the more I wonder whether there's any hope of a healthy long-term relationship between our country and theirs.