FROM Ryan Crocker
The US Leads an Arab War on Terror; How Committed Are They? President Obama has assembled a coalition against the Islamic State that includes 5 Arab countries—which could face internal backlash from sympathizers with extremist jihadists. You can’t bomb an ideology, and, there’s already support on social media for jihadist groups—including ISIL, the so-called Islamic State. Is “soft power” more important than bombing--especially to win the hearts and minds of young Muslims worldwide?
Is the White House Playing a Waiting Game? US plans to punish Syria with military action may be on hold for the moment. President Obama says he has not made a decision, and Republicans and Democrats in Congress are demanding a consultation. Last night, on the PBS News Hour, the President discussed the possible consequences of the kind of action he's contemplating. Meanwhile, the British parliament is balking at providing support. Military experts and diplomats agree that a limited strike won't change the course of Syria's civil war, and could lead to retaliation. Many questions remain: what's the evidence of crimes against humanity? Is Syria a threat to the US? Will intervention lead to a wider war?
Who Benefits from WikiLeaks' Release of Military Documents? On Saturday WikiLeaks released almost 400,000 classified reports about the Iraq war and promised more to come about the war in Afghanistan. At a London news conference, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was joined by Daniel Ellsberg , who leaked the Pentagon Papers almost 40 years ago. Ellsberg called Assange "the most dangerous man in the world" because he has the courage to challenge the US government.
Who Benefits from WikiLeaks' Release of Military Documents? On Saturday WikiLeaks released almost 400,000 classified field reports about the Iraq war, and promised more to come about the war in Afghanistan. Those reports are now on the Internet and in newspapers worldwide. The Pentagon says WikiLeaks has put lives at risk and given adversaries valuable information. Others say official distortions and wrong-doing have been exposed. What's new about contractors, sectarian executions and civilians killed by American soldiers? What about Iraqi stability after US soldiers stand down? Should the whistle-blowers who were the source of the records be treated as criminals or public servants?
Trump plays scolder-in-chief with NATO allies At the opening of NATO’s dramatic new headquarters in Brussels today, President Trump acknowledged that Article 5 — promising that “an attack on one nation is an attack on all” -- has only been invoked one time: in the aftermath of September 11. But the President failed to provide what 27 other Alliance members have been waiting for: a re-commitment by America’s new leader to Article 5. Instead, they got a scolding.
The longest US war: Will Trump send more troops to Afghanistan? The Trump White House is divided over the Pentagon's request for more troops in Afghanistan—where the US has been fighting for the past 16 years. Is there a formula -- either for "victory" or a political settlement? Is there an end in sight for America's longest war?
The Trump agenda: where's the beef? President Trump says big things are happening. After celebrating a House bill on health care, he doesn’t yet have Senate agreement. With James Comey’s public testimony scheduled tomorrow, the President today tweeted his selection of a new FBI Director. Is the Chief Executive all style and no substance? Later, terror attacks in Iran and conflicting claims about who’s behind them.