Come on Barak. Not again. Will somebody please tell the President that you can’t discuss nuclear missile negotiations on an open microphone; especially not in a press-filled room at a nuclear security conference in a presidential election year? It just doesn’t get worse than that.
But that’s exactly what happened in Seoul, Korea on Monday when President Obama had a private chat with Russian President Dmitri Medvedev at the “2012 Nuclear Security Summit.” Obama told Medvedev and world the following: “On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this, this can be solved but it’s important for him to give me space…This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility.” Medvedev, in a seemingly sympathetic vein replied “Yeah, I understand. I understand your message about space. Space for you…I will transmit this information to Vladimir [Putin].” Continue reading →
“The next 27 minutes are an experiment. But in order for it to work, you have to pay attention.” With those words, on March 5, Jason Russell, Co-founder of Invisible Children, Inc. launched the video “Kony 2012.” Sixteen days and 99 million viewers later, “the experiment” has not only gotten peoples’ attention, it has set off a fire storm of controversy writ large across the globe.
Literally, hundreds of thousands of people: foreign policy think tanks, high school students, bloggers, culture critics, politicians, NGO’s, actors, villagers in Uganda and even President Obama have dived into the debate over whether the film serves a positive social and political purpose.
A new jihadist organization is threatening America’s homeland. But these upstarts aren’t your typical extremists from the Middle East; Boko Haram’s holy warriors hail from Nigeria’s northern badlands.
Two years ago, US intelligence agents described Boko Haram as a local Salafist group attacking Christians and local police stations with machetes and poison tipped arrows in Nigeria’s Northeastern Borno state. By November 2011, the House of Representatives Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence had issued a report stating that “Boko Haram has quickly evolved and poses an emerging threat to US interests and the US homeland.” That quantum leap was magnified by the report’s recommendation that “The Secretary of State should conduct an investigation into whether Boko Haram should be designated a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO).” Continue reading →
The chilling massacre of 16 Afghan civilians reportedly killed by a lone U.S. Army sergeant in the Panjwayi district early on Sunday morning has the Obama administration reeling. They should be. Every imperial war and occupation has an “atrocity crisis,”which galvanizes opposition to the occupying forces in-theater, and opposition in the homeland to end the conflict. It remains to be seen if the Panjwayi Massacre will be that crisis moment; but one thing is clear, President Obama is moving with serious dispatch to contain the collateral damage on both fronts.
This week President Obama silenced the drums of war sounded by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu and Republican leaders to attack Iran; but not for long.
Against the backdrop of the American Israeli Political Affairs Committee (AIPAC) convention, Netanyahu railed that Iran was on the brink of enriching uranium to weapons grade level and threatened to launch unilateral air strikes against Tehran. GOP presidential hopefuls endorsed the call for “Holy War,” and decried Obama’s policy toward Iran as “appeasement.” As expected, Obama told AIPAC conventioneers that he has “Israel’s back,” and implored all to give “sanctions” and “diplomacy” a chance.” We’ve seen this movie before, right? Wrong. Continue reading →
Syrian President Bashar Assad’s “days are numbered. It’s not a matter of if but when,” said President Obama in a March 2 interview with Atlantic Monthly. Obama’s toughest talk yet on Syria was hardly imperial hubris run amok; his ongoing secret war to overthrow the Assad regime is about to escalate.
For months the media has questioned whether the Obama administration has a strategy to depose Assad, and painted a one dimensional portrait of a dictator gone mad slaughtering his own citizens. One might have thought the Fourth Estate would have deployed their considerable corporate resources to report that the administration has been financing Syria’s opposition movement; that the CIA has been training Free Syrian Army forces on Syria’s borders with Jordan and Turkey; that the U.S. is funneling weapons to insurgents inside Syria, and providing them with critical communications equipment. Continue reading →
Since 2011, the Arab Spring revolts have become the source code for “people power movements” across the planet. Little, however, has been said about the indigenous Berber minority risings coursing through the Maghreb; but no more. Oppressed by Arab regimes for decades, Berber (Amazigh) militias have surged to the center of the post-Ghaddfi governance battle in Libya. In Tunisia and even in Egypt, Berber organizations have mounted spirited campaigns to secure recognition of their culture and Tamizight language. Nor have the Amazigh in Morocco and Algeria been pacified by long overdue reforms and concessions hastily granted by their governments in 2011. Continue reading →