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 An unpublished official history of the Iraq reconstruction says it was crippled before it began and bungled in execution.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?
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.
Is the threat from Russia missing from the Russia meddling probe? There's much being made about the Trump administration's possible ties with Russia. But the bottom line is Russia's effort to influence American democracy. Do the President and his aides care enough to take action before voters go back to the polls?
White House budget proposal slashes and burns President Trump's first budget request is considered dead on arrival in Congress — a familiar development in Capitol Hill. We hear what it reveals about the priorities of the new administration. What's likely to die… and what might survive?
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?