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Middle East

How Birthright Israel Works its Magic | The Nation

According to Benjamin Netanyahu, if you go on a Birthright trip to Israel, “you’ll discover who you are, discover your connection to the land of your fathers, you’ll discover that in many ways you have come home.” The Nation’s Kiera Feldman decided to see what Bibi was talking about, so, in 2010, she packed her recording gear and joined a ...

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Joe Catron: Gaza’s New Youth Movement | CounterPunch

On a warm, sunny afternoon, I met Eman Sourani and Rana Baker in an airy outdoor café several blocks from the port of Gaza. Both are members of the Palestinian Students’ Campaign for the Academic Boycott of Israel (PSCABI). Sourani, a 22-year-old English literature student at Al-Aqsa University, cofounded the group after Operation Cast Lead in January 2009, while Baker, ...

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Taliban onslaught undermines peace effort | Asia Times Online

A recent spate of insurgent attacks has intensified the criticism of official attempts to engage the Taliban in peace talks. The High Peace Council set up by President Hamid Karzai last autumn is beset on all sides. Some accuse it of being too ready to make concessions to terrorists, while others say the unrelenting wave of Taliban attacks indicates it ...

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Kabul’s cash-for-peace plan paying off | The Express Tribune

As the US-led Nato forces in Afghanistan are preparing for a scheduled drawdown next month, President Hamid Karzai’s administration has stepped up its efforts to win over Taliban insurgents as part of its ‘reconciliation and reintegration plan’. Over the last eight years, hundreds of insurgents have renounced violence for a financially-stable and peaceful life under the Kabul initiative, which has ...

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Yorgos Mitralias: The Revolt of the Aganaktismeni | CounterPunch

Two weeks after it started the Greek movement of ‘outraged’ people has the main squares in all cities overflowing with crowds that shout their anger, and makes the Papandreou government and its local and international supporters tremble. It is now more than just a protest movement or even a massive mobilization against austerity measures. It has turned into a genuine ...

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Liaquat Ali Khan: Rising Anti-Americanism in Pakistan | CounterPunch

On May 14, after deliberations of over 10 hours, the democratically-elected Pakistan Parliament in a joint session of both houses passed a unanimous resolution to reclaim Pakistan’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, and national security against U.S. military actions. Invoking the U.N. Charter, international law, and humanitarian norms, the resolution specifically condemns “the continued drone attacks on the territory of Pakistan,” which ...

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Gareth Porter: Faking Success in Afghanistan | CounterPunch

90% of Petraeus’ Captured “Taliban” Were Civilians During his intensive initial round of media interviews as commander in Afghanistan in August 2010, Gen. David Petraeus released figures to the news media that claimed spectacular success for raids by Special Operations Forces: in a 90-day period from May through July, SOF units had captured 1,355 rank and file Taliban, killed another ...

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U.S. pressuring Netanyahu to accept Obama’s peace plan | Haaretz

Washington is pressuring Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to accede to its proposal to resume Israeli-Palestinian peace talks on the basis of U.S. President Barack Obama’s May 19 speech. An Israeli source who spoke recently with senior officials in Washington said the Americans were very frustrated with Netanyahu’s behavior, feeling that he was impeding America’s efforts to keep the Palestinians from ...

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Will the US really withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan? | Simon Tisdall, guardian.co.uk

Retreating armies make easy targets, as the British learned to their cost when falling back from Kabul in 1842. Barack Obama, unlikely heir to bumbling General “Elphy Bey” Elphinstone, now faces two not dissimilar challenges: how to get US forces out of Afghanistan and Iraq with the minimum of bloodshed and the maximum of dispatch. Avoiding descent into post-withdrawal chaos ...

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Taliban likely focus for Karzai Pakistan visit | ReliefWeb

Afghan President Hamid Karzai is to hold talks in Pakistan on Friday likely to focus on stepping up efforts to negotiate peace with the Taliban after nearly a decade of conflict in both countries. The visit comes six weeks after US Navy SEALs killed Osama bin Laden in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad on May 2, which has heightened calls ...

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