FROM Bruce Riedel
The US is warming up to Saudi Arabia President Trump and warming relations with America's oldest ally in the Middle East: Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia's Deputy Crown Prince and Minister of Defense Mohammed bin Salman speaks with then-Secretary of Defense Ash Carter at the Pentagon June 16, 2016. DoD photo by Senior Master Sgt. Adrian Cadiz President Trump didn't shake hands with German Chancellor Angela Merkel last week – at least in front of reporters in the Oval Office, but he did provide that courtesy to another visitor: Saudi Arabia's 30-year-old Deputy Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman. Afterwards, the Saudis called the meeting a "historic turning point," and supported the President's travel ban. Bruce Riedel, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution where he directs the Intelligence Project, says the Saudis are experiencing a historic first, both with the Trump Administration and within their own government.
India Tests Nuclear Missile Less than a week since North Korea's spectacular failure , India said today it successfully launched a ballistic missile capable of carrying a nuclear weapon 3100 miles in any director. Bruce Riedel is a former CIA officer, now senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.
Kurdistan: New Drums of War in the Middle East The US will have to choose between its wife and its girlfriend. Will it be Turkey or Iraqi Kurdistan? Meantime, Iran is hanging around the back door. That's a crude metaphor that fits all too well with 100,000 Turkish troops on the Iraqi border in an already violent region. At stake are: stability in the only tranquil part of Iraq; US relations with a NATO ally; and the global price of crude oil. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is on her way to Istanbul for a conference originally called to talk about Iraq's internal security; Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki has asked Iran to help resolve the crisis; Turkey's President will meet President Bush on Monday. Can they calm an escalating crisis?
Al Qaeda on the Rise? President Bush has linked the attacks of September 11 to the war in Iraq--even though Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda did not exist in Iraq before the American occupation. Today, the Bush Administration declassified part of a National Intelligence Estimate saying al Qaeda has increased its ability not just in Iraq, but as a training ground for operatives to be sent to the US. From his safe haven on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, Osama bin Laden is marshalling new resources. Although Pakistani President, Pervez Musharraf made a controversial agreement with local leaders in the western part of his country, where al Qaeda is now said to be stronger than ever, but is he doing all that he can? How close is al Qaeda in Pakistan to al Qaeda in Iraq? Is the war in Iraq protecting America or making it more vulnerable than it was before?
"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."
Is Venezuela becoming a dictatorship? Venezuela may have the world's largest oil reserves, but it's a nation in trouble… economically and politically. Is a populist promise to rescue democracy turning out to be a prelude to dictatorship?