April 26, 2012
Weary as Americans are of the war in Afghanistan, it has been obvious for some time that the United States would continue to play a role in that country after Afghan forces assume full control of security in 2014. So it isn't surprising that Washington and Kabul have reached a draft "strategic partnership" agreement under which the U.S. will continue providing military, economic and other aid to Afghanistan for another decade. In principle, a continuing relationship is perfectly defensible, but it needs to be circumscribed to prevent a re-escalation ofU.S.
February 26, 2012 |
The criminal trial of 16 American pro-democracy workers opened in Cairo on Sunday as U.S. and Egyptian diplomats attempted to resolve a deepening crisis between longtime allies that have grown increasingly estranged since the uprisings that have swept the Arab world in the last year. The politically charged case, punctuated by bruising rhetoric on both sides, is a sign of Washington's ebbing influence in the region and a test of Egypt's ruling military council's ability to finesse an end to a drama that could result in the curtailment of $1.3 billion in annual U.S. military aid. Contradictory signals from the Egyptian government and perceived U.S. arrogance have hampered a resolution.
January 30, 2012
When Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was overthrown last year, there was immediate concern in Washington about the future of U.S. relations with Egypt. Mubarak, though a tyrant, had been a reliable ally, which explained why the Obama administration temporized about whether he should step down. Once he was gone and a supposedly transitional military council promised elections, a new concern arose: that the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist groups would dominate a new elected government and - in the worst-case scenario - renounce the 1979 Egyptian-Israeli treaty.
January 26, 2012 |
The son of a U.S. Cabinetofficial and other Americans working for a democracy rights group have been stopped from leaving Cairo as part of a criminal investigation of foreign funding of nongovernmental organizations operating in Egypt. The move is certain to intensify a diplomatic rift between Cairo and Washington over American aid to human rights and democracy groups that are viewed with suspicion by Egypt's military rulers. The U.S. government said it was outraged by recent police raids on the Egyptian offices of three American-backed organizations.
January 5, 2012
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos is asking lawmakers in his country to approve sweeping changes in the judicial system. The most controversial of these would expand the military's jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute alleged human rights crimes committed by security forces. Currently such cases are handled by civilian courts and judges. That's not the kind of reform Colombia needs. This is a country, after all, where a decades-long armed conflict has led to repeated massacres and human rights violations by government forces.
October 25, 2011 |
The macabre and divisive drama over the decomposing remains of Moammar Kadafi appears to have concluded with his anticlimactic and anonymous burial deep in the Libyan hinterlands. Kadafi's body was interred early Tuesday in a secret grave, Libyan officials confirmed. Also buried were the remains of his son Mutassim and a former chief military aide, Abu Bakr Yunis. The Associated Press reported that a cleric and several relatives of the dead were present for a brief prayer service in the coastal city of Misurata before the bodies were whisked away in wooden coffins for predawn burial at an undisclosed site.
August 10, 2011 |
Six months after pro-democracy protesters ousted longtime Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, U.S. efforts to help promote democratic reforms have created unexpected turmoil in Washington's relationship with one of its closest allies in the Arab world. The Obama administration's plan to pour $65 million into Egypt this year to help organize new political parties has sparked a powerful backlash from Cairo's interim military government, its Islamist parties and even some reform-minded activists.
July 13, 2011
A decision by the United States to suspend $800 million in military aid to Pakistan is both understandable and regrettable. Understandable because this country clearly feels the need to respond to provocations unworthy of an ally, but regrettable because the suspension could have the effect of increasing anti-Americanism in Pakistan and complicating joint efforts to fight terrorism. In discussing the cutoff, White House Chief of Staff William Daley said that Pakistanis "have taken some steps that have given us reason to pause on some of the aid which we were giving to their military.
July 12, 2011 |
Washington's decision to hold back $800 million in military aid to Pakistan probably won't prod Islamabad into clamping down on militancy, and instead could imperil a fragile alliance at a time when the United States needs Pakistan's cooperation in securing a peaceful end to the war in Afghanistan, experts said Monday. The decision to suspend the funding, more than a third of the $2 billion in yearly aid to Pakistan's military, comes amid growing frustration in Washington over Islamabad's refusal to pursue Afghan Taliban militants who launch attacks on U.S. and North Atlantic Treaty Organization forces in Afghanistan from strongholds in Pakistan.
April 24, 2011 |
A trio of U.S. senators redoubled calls on the Obama administration Sunday to step up U.S support for Libyan rebels in their battle against the regime of Moammar Kadafi, even targeting Kadafi directly if necessary. "I think the focus should now be to cut the head of the snake off. That's the quickest way to end this," Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.) said on CNN's "State of the Union. " "Let's get this guy gone. " Graham was joined by Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who just completed a visit to Libya, and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.)