Iran, Kerry and Israel’s existential challenges
Mar02

Iran, Kerry and Israel’s existential challenges

Israel will have to start thinking differently about its long-term security and existence, extrapolating from current indications about Secretary John Kerry’s nuclear negotiations with Iran’s Mohammad Javad Zarif this week in Montreux, Switzerland. Mindful of Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu’s address to the joint meeting of Congress tomorrow, Kerry told a press conference in Geneva: “Any deal must close every potential pathway that...

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Yes Indeed: Venezuela Coup Attempts are Aided by Washington (La Jornada, Mexico)
Mar01

Yes Indeed: Venezuela Coup Attempts are Aided by Washington (La Jornada, Mexico)

Since Hugo Chavez was first elected president of Venezuela in 1999, the country’s leaders have charged the United States with overtly and covertly working to undermine its government, which Washington regards as hostile to its interests. Never mind that according to former President Jimmy Carter, Venezuela has ‘the best electoral system in the world.’ For Mexico’s La Jornada, columnist Angel Guerra Cabrera...

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Justifiable Fear of a Creeping Police State (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Germany)
Mar01

Justifiable Fear of a Creeping Police State (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Germany)

The recently reported theft by American and British intelligence of SIM card codes for potentially billions of smart phones around the world may be a tipping point in thinking about how much crime a democracy is willing to allow its spies to commit. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung columnist Jasper von Altenbockum writes that ‘If even American or British intelligence agencies are so unscrupulous, others will be even more...

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West Must Absorb: For Islamic State, the ‘End of Days’ has Begun (de Volkskrant, The Netherlands)
Feb26

West Must Absorb: For Islamic State, the ‘End of Days’ has Begun (de Volkskrant, The Netherlands)

When it comes to combating the Islamic State, what is the West missing? For de Volkskrant, author Adjiedj Bakas writes of what the word ‘Caliphate’ means to followers of so-called ‘Caliph’ Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi: ‘It is the duty of a caliph to conduct war and continue to conquer territory until a select group of chosen believers establish utopia on earth. An important part of this jihad is the terror...

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‘American Sniper’ Shooter Found Guilty
Feb25

‘American Sniper’ Shooter Found Guilty

‘American Sniper’ Shooter Found Guilty Eddie Ray Routh murdered Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle and friend Chad Littlefield, a jury decided in a Stephenville, Texas, courtroom Tuesday. The verdict was announced at 10:20 p.m. EST, less than three hours after the defense and prosecution rested their cases, NBC News wrote. He was sentenced to life in prison without parole. Routh...

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Guantanamo: Interview with Joseph Hickman
Feb22

Guantanamo: Interview with Joseph Hickman

Joseph Hickman spent most of his life in the military, first as a marine, then as a soldier in both the army and the National Guard. He has deployed on several military operations throughout the world, sometimes attached to foreign militaries. The recipient of more than twenty commendations and awards, Hickman was awarded the Army Achievement Medal and the Army Commendation Medal while he was stationed with the 629th Military...

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UPDATE: The Upcoming Battle for Mosul: Are We ‘Telegraphing’ Too Much?
Feb22

UPDATE: The Upcoming Battle for Mosul: Are We ‘Telegraphing’ Too Much?

UPDATE: Reactions to the Pentagon’s announcement of plans to retake Mosul have ranged from “so what,” to surprise to dismay and anger. Among the latter are the reactions by Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham who, according to the New York Times, sent “an angry letter” to President Obama arguing that the disclosures “not only risk the success of our mission, but could also cost the lives of U.S., Iraqi, and coalition forces.” The...

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Do Americans want to send ground troops to fight ISIS? CBS Poll: Y-e-s
Feb19

Do Americans want to send ground troops to fight ISIS? CBS Poll: Y-e-s

Do Americans want to send ground troops to fight ISIS? A CBS poll finds the answer is yes, with the numbers growing: Amid more executions by the militant group ISIS, Americans increasingly see the group as a threat to the U.S. Now, 65 percent of Americans view ISIS as a major threat – up from 58 percent in October – while another 18 percent view it as a minor threat. Majorities of Republicans (86 percent), Democrats (61...

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With ‘Nuclear Taboo’ Broken, Putin Threatens the Whole of Humanity (Rzeczpospolita, Poland)
Feb18

With ‘Nuclear Taboo’ Broken, Putin Threatens the Whole of Humanity (Rzeczpospolita, Poland)

This much is clear, the ceasefire agreed to in Minsk has done little to dampen the alarm felt by most east Europeans about what they perceive as Russian expansionism. In this column from Poland’s Rzeczpospolita, senior commentator Janusz Rolicki writes that Russia’s new military doctrine fails to renounce the first use of nuclear weapons, which until recently was the centerpiece of the contemporary world. Rolicki believes...

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A Record-Breaking Snow Removal Job – The Guard Is There
Feb18

A Record-Breaking Snow Removal Job – The Guard Is There

Record-breaking snowfalls and temperatures — low ones that is — have brought about a lot of snow shoveling for hundreds of National Guardsmen in several states, from the North-East all the way down to Arkansas, North Carolina and Virginia. The photos and captions say it all: Soldiers clear snow from the Ashmont/Peabody Square Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority station in Dorchester, Mass., Feb. 15, 2015. U.S. Army...

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Jeb Bush’s Satire: ‘I’ll Be Different from my Brother’
Feb18

Jeb Bush’s Satire: ‘I’ll Be Different from my Brother’

In a speech planned for Wednesday at an event hosted by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, Jeb Bush is expected to hammer home the theme that he is “his own man,” and that while he admires the services to the nation by his father and brother, he will not “be captive” to their foreign policies. The Washington Post, based on prepared remarks provided by Bush’s aides in advance, reports Bush’s planned remarks this way: I...

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History Lessons Forgotten
Feb17

History Lessons Forgotten

A quote from the philosopher George Santayana’s writing- “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”- is frequently used when someone is trying to make a point for or against war, or halting a nation’s aggressive behavior. One of the reasons for this is the ambiguity of the quote, as it can be interpreted to support different positions. Yet, there is truth in what Santayana wrote. National leaders tend to ignore...

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Updates: Ukraine Ceasefire ‘Largely Holding…’ (Perhaps Not So)
Feb16

Updates: Ukraine Ceasefire ‘Largely Holding…’ (Perhaps Not So)

Update II: And here is the State Department’s take on the crumbling ceasefire: The United States is gravely concerned by the deteriorating situation in and around Debaltseve in eastern Ukraine. The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission confirms that attacks continue in this area as well as other locations, including Sievierodonetsk, Luhansk, and Donetsk city. The Government of Ukraine reports that its forces have been fired on 129 times in...

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Obama’s ambivalent war logic
Feb13

Obama’s ambivalent war logic

WASHINGTON — President Obama’s request to Congress for authority to use military force against the Islamic State explains his view of why to fight this war. But it doesn’t really tell us how. Obama has asked to be liberated and constrained at the same time. He wants no geographical boundaries placed on his ability to go after the Islamic State and “associated persons or forces.” But he also asks that...

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President Obama  Signs the  Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention Act: ‘The Stigma Has to End…’
Feb12

President Obama Signs the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention Act: ‘The Stigma Has to End…’

A bill aimed at reducing military and veteran suicides and improving their access to quality mental health care and a bill that was doggedly opposed and blocked by a lone, “support-the-troops” Republican Senator was finally signed into law by President Obama today. The bill, the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act, or SAV Act, is named after Clay Hunt, a decorated Marine veteran who, upon his return from combat in...

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Munich Security Conference: U.S. and Germany Clash Over Salmon Canapés (Die Welt, Germany)
Feb10

Munich Security Conference: U.S. and Germany Clash Over Salmon Canapés (Die Welt, Germany)

U.S. and German leaders may pretend that disagreements over arming Ukraine have done nothing to shake relations between them, but reporting on the behind the scenes maneuvering at the ‘gastronomic highlight’ of the Munich Security Conference, Die Welt special correspondent Anna von Bayern informs that an icy atmosphere between U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and German Defense Minister Defense Minister Ursula von der...

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UPDATED – Royal Jordanian Air Force: ‘Message Delivered’
Feb06

UPDATED – Royal Jordanian Air Force: ‘Message Delivered’

Below is a video of Jordanian air strikes against ISIL storage and staging facilities near Al Hasakah, Syria, on February 5. ISIL claims that a Jordanian air strike against the city of Raqqa, where ISIL alleges American Kayla Mueller was being held, killed her. Jordan has denied that Mueller was killed in one of the country’s air strikes: TheDailyBeast.com: A Jordanian official denied ISIS’ claims that Mueller was killed in one...

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Fighting ISIS: Four Takeaways After the Death of the Jordanian Pilot
Feb06

Fighting ISIS: Four Takeaways After the Death of the Jordanian Pilot

Islamic State’s savage burning of Jordanian pilot Muath al-Kasasbeh demonstrates the strengths and the weaknesses of an organization whose state-like structure makes its vulnerable yet resilient in a turbulent Middle East. The main takeaway from this latest atrocity is that the fight against ISIS will be a long war, measured not in terms of “defeat”...

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Breaking News: A King Strikes Back
Feb05

Breaking News: A King Strikes Back

Although, as had been reported, he may not have personally flown one of the Jordanian fighter bombers, Jordan’s King Abdullah II ibn al-Hussein is keeping his promise, made after the barbaric burning alive of one of his pilots, to deliver “merciless retribution” to the ISIL terrorists who committed the horrific crime. Fox News: Jordanian fighter pilots carried out devastating sorties against ISIS early Thursday, making good on...

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(Updated) Super Vigilance XLIX
Feb02

(Updated) Super Vigilance XLIX

UPDATE: WOW! Wasn’t that a great game! “Thank you” to all those who helped to keep it safe. Don’t know about all the much-touted, multi-million dollar commercials. The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds fly over during opening ceremonies for Super Bowl XLIX at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz.., Feb. 1, 2015. Original Post: It is good to know that the footballs that will be used in Super Bowl XLIX...

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