FROM Roy Gutman
The plot thickens in Syria Secretary of State John Kerry said last year that Syria's Assad regime helped create ISIS — to distract the US by aiding alternative enemies in the region. Defectors from his regime now claim Assad has even attacked his own facilities — using agents he sent to infiltrate both Al-Qaeda and ISIS. Donald Trump insists that, “Syria is fighting ISIS,” hinting at closer US relations with Syria -- and with Russia, Assad's ally in bombing so-called “moderate” rebels. We look at the possible consequences of changing American policies in the Middle East, where nothing ever is what it seems to be.
The battle over Aleppo brings new pleas for intervention Rebel forces in Syria won a rare victory this month by getting some food to 300,000 starving citizens trapped by constant bombing in the city of Aleppo. The US reportedly looked the other way while moderates teamed up with a former affiliate of al Qaeda. Nevertheless, a crisis of massive proportions is still growing. America's Holocaust Museum, is among those demanding action. President Obama's legacy has already been called into question. But, despite speculation that Russia's involvement is timed to the US election, the Trump and Clinton campaigns have had very little to say.
Presidential Transition and Accountability The Senate Armed Services Committee report says "abusive" interrogation techniques were not the work of a few low-level "bad apples" at Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo Bay. Top Administration officials, including Donald Rumsfeld, Air Force General Richard Myers and Condoleezza Rice, signed off on water-boarding and other practices some call torture. All committee members from both parties agreed that was wrong. Vice President Cheney says he personally approved those practices , and calls them effective — and legal.
New Reports Raise Questions About Bush's Iraq Legacy With a month left in office, the Bush Administration is getting reviews and voicing its own assessments of the past eight years. An unpublished official history of the Iraq reconstruction says it was crippled before it began and bungled in execution. John McCain and other Republicans signed a unanimous Senate report that so-called "abusive" interrogation techniques in the war on terror were not the work of a few low-level "bad apples" at Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo Bay, but that top Administration officials, including Donald Rumsfeld, Air Force General Richard Myers and Condoleezza Rice, signed off on water-boarding and other practices some call torture. Now, Vice President Cheney says that's true . Should he and others be praised for protecting the country or investigated for possible crimes?
GOP 'Nukes' the Senate filibuster on SCOTUS nominees Senate Democrats today blocked Judge Neil Gorsuch's appointment to the US Supreme Court… but just for the moment. The Republican majority has changed the rules to force a likely confirmation as soon as tomorrow.
"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."
Nuclear crisis on the Korean Peninsula slowly coming to a head North Korea did not conduct a nuclear test this weekend, but it did show apparent progress in developing a missile that that could strike the United States. The Trump Administration says it has lost its "strategic patience." We hear what that might -- or might not -- mean for North Korea, China and the prospects for diplomacy.