FROM Barney Rubin
War and Diplomacy in Iraq and Afghanistan Violence is down in Iraq, but it's up in Afghanistan, with American soldiers and diplomats caught in between. After months of painstaking negotiations, the US and Iraq appeared to have reached a deal last week on extending the presence of American forces beyond the end of this year. That's when the UN mandate runs out. But now, Iraq's cabinet is demanding changes in what's called the Status of Forces Agreement . In Afghanistan, allied leaders say more troops are needed, against an insurgency fueled in part by the presence of foreign forces. Can the Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds in Iraq resolve their competing political interests and agree on terms for US withdrawal? Will the US and NATO have to sit down with the Taliban to avoid mistakes made in Afghanistan by the former Soviet Union?
The US gets deeper into Middle East wars. What's the endgame? President Trump welcomed Egypt's President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi to the White House today… just one of the changes in America's approach to the Middle East since Barack Obama left office. We hear about that and the escalation of warfare as well as civilian casualties.
"Tough on crime" rhetoric sees a revival at Sessions' DOJ The pendulum swings between treatment-focused approaches to drug abuse and tough law enforcement. Now, after years of Obama-era "reforms," President Trump’s Attorney General, Jeff Sessions wants local police freed from federal restrictions to fight another "war on drugs."