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Obama’s Afghan Mission Creep | The Nation

In announcing at the November NATO summit that US combat forces would remain in Afghanistan at least until 2014, President Obama has short-circuited a much-needed debate about his administration’s strategic review. In so doing, the president has missed yet another chance to begin to end a war that has become an increasingly costly liability. Advance reports of the review indicate ...

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Draft on settlements ready for UN–Palestinians

BETHLEHEM, West Bank, Dec 22 (Reuters) – A Palestinian draft resolution condemning Israel’s West Bank settlement activity is ready to be presented to the United Nations Security Council, a senior Palestinian official said on Wednesday. Read more here: Draft on settlements ready for UN–Palestinians | Reuters

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U.S. Plan for High-Risk Raids into Pakistan Is More Than Psywar

WASHINGTON, 22 Dec (IPS) – This week’s leak to the New York Times of a proposal for U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF) raids against Afghan insurgent sanctuaries in Pakistan may be intended to put more pressure on the Pakistani military to take action against those sanctuaries. But the proposal for such cross-border raids also reflects a real demand from the ...

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Afghanistan ‘Review’ Shows Need for Journalism on Classified Information

Today, the Obama administration is announcing the results of its promised “review” of Afghanistan policy, a year after President Obama acceded to the demands of the Pentagon to send 30,000 more troops. The top line of the story the administration is presenting is “progress,” and the main evidence for that “progress” is the say-so of General Petraeus and his subordinates. ...

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Q&A — Matthew Hoh’s Afghanistan: An Insider Talks

Matthew Hoh has impeccable establishment credentials. From 2004 to 2007 he served first as a Defense Department civilian on a reconstruction team and then as a Marine company commander in Iraq. In 2009 he was the State Department’s senior representative in Afghanistan’s Zabul province and political officer in Nangarhar province, areas of fierce fighting against the Taliban insurgency. But in ...

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Israel faces tougher line from EU after former heads call for Palestinian state

Twenty-six European grandees have urged the EU to adopt a tougher stance towards Israel including taking “concrete measures” and exacting “consequences” over continued settlement building on occupied land, which they say is illegal under international law. The former EU leaders said that in the face of “the ongoing deterioration of the situation on the ground”, the EU, in co-operation with ...

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US Middle East peace plan flounders

The White House has abandoned its attempts to pressure Israel to halt Jewish settlement construction as a means to kickstart peace talks after three weeks of failed negotiations. The collapse of the talks is a frustrating blow to the Obama administration which offered billions of dollars in financial and diplomatic inducements to persuade the Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, to ...

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Israeli fighter jets attack Gaza

Israel has bombarded the Gaza Strip with airstrikes in retaliation to rocket attacks launched from the territory. Up to seven different Gazan targets were hit overnight on Monday and on Tuesday, according to the Israeli military. Read more here: Israeli fighter jets attack Gaza | aljazeera.

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How the Afghan Counterinsurgency Threatens Pakistan

Given that most ordinary Taliban fighters, as expressed in a survey organized by Graeme Smith of the Toronto Globe and Mail, want the exit of Western troops and a Muslim (but not necessarily Taliban) government, it’s likely that the rejection of such terms by the Taliban leadership would undermine their support on the ground. This solution would, however, be heavily ...

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Missiles are but a symptom | Editorial, Jerusalem Post

Defense officials voiced concern at the weekend over France’s apparent willingness to sell 100 HOT antitank missiles to the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF). One of the most advanced of its kind in the world, the HOT missile has a range of up to 4 km. and the ability to penetrate about 1,000 mm of armor. It can be installed on ...

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