Blog Archives

Reconciling Iraq’s Shias and Sunnis

With city after city in Shia-governed Iraq being overrun by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS)––a Sunni Qaeda-affiliated terrorist organization whose stated objective is to unite Iraq and Syria, and perhaps eventually more of the Levant (Lebanon, for instance), into a single large fundamentalist caliphate––the threat of a sectarian civil war in the region is heightened.  In response, the U.S. is now considering a military intervention similar in scope to its 2011 military intervention in Libya. Read the rest of this entry

Nigeria’s Hostage Crisis: A Symptom of U.S. Inaction

Last week, a team of U.S. experts arrived in Nigeria to assist the government there in its floundering search for 234 schoolgirls kidnapped by Islamic extremists on Apr. 14. One can hope that America’s involvement in the ongoing search for these innocent young women, snatched from their classrooms in the dead of night, will ensure that they are returned safely to their families. However, despite that the U.S.’s intervention in Nigeria is much welcome, its timing strikes me as long overdue. Read the rest of this entry

What’s Missing in the U.S.-Afghan Bilateral Security Agreement?

Even as Hamid Karzai, Afghanistan’s outgoing president, continues to refuse to sign a crucial Bilateral Security Agreement with the U.S., claiming that the Afghan military protects 93 percent of the country and therefore is more than prepared to take over from the U.S. military come January 2015, the ten candidates to take his place at Afghanistan’s helm have all pledged to sign the agreement. But in spite of the fact that I readily appreciate Washington’s insistence to secure a long-term military partnership with Kabul––to abandon Afghanistan now would reverse any gains made by the U.S. in its twelve-and-a-half-year struggle against the Taliban, and render futile the sacrifices of all American servicemen and women ever deployed to the region––I am likewise convinced that Karzai’s recalcitrance, however frustrating and seemingly undue, has some merit. Afghanistan does, after all, get the short end of the stick in this bargain. Read the rest of this entry

The Case for a De-centralized Olympic Games

The Olympic Games held at Sochi have only just begun, and already they are marred by their exorbitant cost, much of it owing to corruption and the threat of terrorism by Chechen jihadis.  Environmentalists balk at the industrial stain to Sochi’s pristine ecology, while political activists protest the harassment of homosexuals and the wrongful imprisonment of anti-Putin demonstrators.  Even geologists, namely one Dr. Sergei Volkov, a former consultant to the Russian Olympic Committee, express their concern that a new 31-mile road and railway system between the mountainous Krasnaya Polyana (where the Olympic snow events are to be held) and the nearest airport in Sochi could aggravate a region prone to landslides. Read the rest of this entry

Fighting the Bad Fight: The War on Terror Revisited

Twelve years have passed since President George W. Bush declared before a nation traumatized and enraged by the events of 9/11 the start of a “crusade . . . on terrorism,”[1] a so-called war on terror, after which he authorized the invasion of Afghanistan, where al Qaeda was known to have established itself.  The War in Afghanistan, which still rages unabated, presaged a greater U.S. military presence in the Middle East, and was eventually followed by the Iraq War in 2003.  Today, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, combined, have cost the U.S. a staggering $6 trillion, nearly a third of the nation’s $17 trillion national debt, and the lives of 6,772 of its soldiers.  To what end? Read the rest of this entry

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