Friday, September 30, 2011

The Short List - September 30, 2011

We don't believe in filler baby, even on a Friday.


International
  • Anwar al-Aulaqi, the U.S. citizen and radical cleric responsible for inspiring the Fort Hood shooting and for planning the attempted Christmas underwear bombing has reportedly been killed in an airstrike.  At this time, it is uncertain if al-Aulaqi was killed by a drone or ceonventional airstrike.  In April 2010, the Obama administration authorized the killing of this U.S. citizen.  DCExile editor, Ben, has written about the legality of the continuous targeting of a U.S. citizen by his government.  Rep. Peter King had a rare word of praise for President Obama following the announcement of al-Aulaqi's death.  While your editor believes that al-Aulaqi was a consistent threat to U.S. security, I am unsure if the man was an immediate threat and I'm concerned about the legal precedent set by the targeted killing of a U.S. citizen.

  • The Pakistani street seems to think the U.S. is gearing up to attack the country in light of Admiral Mullen's comments about Pakistani government support for the Huqqani network.  The Pakistani government has passed a resolution calles Adm. Mullen's statements "baseless."  Admiral Mullen will step down from his position as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs today.

  • Afghan ethnic groups are jockeying for position in what they see as the coming civil war once U.S and NATO ground forces withdraw.

  • In Libya, the NTC is investigating reports of the capture of Qaddafi spokesman, Mussa Ibrahim.  News outlets claim to have video of him detained, dressed as a woman.

  • Friend of DCExile, @kangnick, was on CNBC talking the DOJ investigation of Chinese firms.
Domestic

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Rolling Back the TTP

Sean Mann at FP considers the turning tide in Pakistan's war against Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan -- the unified front of Pakistani militant organizations, separate from (though sometimes aligned with) the Afghan Taliban. 

By mid-2008, the local branches of the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) had forced out Pakistani security forces and taken power in large portions of Mohmand and Bajaur, the northernmost of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). For three years the militant group exercised open territorial control, levying taxes and administering its own brand of justice in the mountainous areas along the Afghan border. Pakistani military operations aimed at destroying the TTP insurgency came in regular cycles, yet each declaration of success was followed by the swift resurgence of militant power. Hundreds of thousands of civilians fled the violence to reside in Internally Displaced Person (IDP) camps or with family members elsewhere in Pakistan.
Recently, however, the tide in Mohmand and Bajaur has turned decisively in the Pakistani military's favor. For the first time in four years, militants have lost the territory they once openly controlled. Whether the tide turns back, or whether these tribal areas even matter given the larger challenges Pakistan faces, is another question entirely.
The TTP figured prominently in an article I coauthored last year discussing the legal implications of U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

What Kind Of Day Has It Been

International

Domestic

The Short List - September 27, 2011

In a West Coast state of mind, so we're posting a bit late.

International
Domestic

Monday, September 26, 2011

What Kind Of Day Has It Been

International

Domestic

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Short List - September 23, 2011

International

Domestic

Thursday, September 22, 2011

What Kind Of Day Has It Been

International

Domestic
  • A day of videos--h/t Jenny & Nick, respectively:


  • There is yet another Republican debate tonight. This Editor trembles at the prospect of what new lows we'll reach tonight in pandering and deception. He further trembles at the idea that this will continue for another three months at least. 
  • Ah, McCain's campaign '08, the gift of gossip that keeps on giving. I will never forgive you for this, Senator. 

The Short List - September 22, 2011

International

Domestic

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

What Kind Of Day Has It Been

International

Domestic

The Short List - September 21, 2011

International
Domestic

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

What Kind Of Day Has It Been

International
Domestic


The Short List - September 20, 2011

International
Domestic

Monday, September 19, 2011

What Kind Of Day Has It Been

International

Domestic
  • BHO takes it to the GOP, calling spades spades and strikes strikes. Good on ya, Mr. President. DCExile supports this new recognition of political reality and--hopefully--an avoidance of future Lucy and the Football scenarios. Ezra Klein comes rather late to this conclusion; maybe he should start reading DCExile archives.
  • As if to prove the point, the GOP is attacking the White House plan as "'[p]itting one group of Americans against another.'" This Editor does not recall the GOP taking that position as they claimed the banner of "Real Americans" who were defined as being 'not Democrats'.
  • More Rollins on Bachmann.


Message Discipline

In honor of the White House's new found message discipline--and new found recognition of political realities--DCExile has installed a counter (over on the right, below the Twitter stream) that records the number of days of White House message discipline.

Friday, September 16, 2011

What Kind Of Day Has It Been

International

Domestic
  • Politico highlights Bachmann staff concerns about her misstatements. I'm concerned that Politico gives credence to the notion that they're misstatements--as opposed to a willingness on her part to ignore facts, truth, and reality. That is to say, bald face lies.
  • A debate over the legal use of force by the United States has been quietly ongoing within the administration. This is an issue of particular interest to this Editor, as he has published on it.


The Short List - September 16, 2011

International
Domestic

Thursday, September 15, 2011

What Kind Of Day Has It Been

International

Domestic

The Short List - September 15, 2011

International

Domestic

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

America’s Palestine Problem

As the 66th General Assembly opens, the Palestinian Liberation Organization is set to request that the United Nations admit Palestine as a member. Because only states are able to be members of the United Nations, such admission would require, necessarily, that Palestine be a state. And, therefore, admission would serve to recognize Palestine’s statehood. It is likely that, should the United States be unable to wrangle enough votes on the Security Council to delay action on the Palestinian application, the U.S. will be forced to veto the U.N Security Council Resolution granting Palestine’s admission as a U.N. member-state.

Normally, the alignment of American and Israeli interests renders a U.S. veto of a resolution that contravenes Israeli policy goals unworthy of comment. However, because the Arab Spring has provided the United States with the opportunity to improve its standing in the Arab world—and because the United States has actually availed itself of this opportunity—vetoing Palestine’s application for statehood is a singularly unpalatable proposition.

One can imagine few more effective ways for the United States to squander its newfound position in the Arab world than by vetoing Palestine’s application for statehood. There is no better way for the United States to transition from liberator of Libya and friend of free Egypt back to oppressor of Arabs than by denying Palestine’s statehood.

Beyond merely losing standing, however, such action is likely to breathe life back into the al-Qaeda brand. That brand has suffered tremendously in the Arab Spring. Largely, the devaluation of al-Qaeda as a brand has both to do with Arab (and Muslim) rejection of terrorism and violence, as well as the stunning success of the Arab Spring’s alternative narrative—namely, that non-violent protest movements seeking dignity and humanity can bring down the same repressive, autocratic regimes that al-Qaeda has targeted but wholly failed to dislodge. It has been this counter-narrative that has provided the United States with space to change its perception in the Middle East. By standing with the protestors in Tahrir Square, with the NTC, and ever so slowly with Syrians, the United States is seen to be siding with oppressed rather than with the oppressors, as it has since at least Mossadegh. But, by vetoing Palestinian statehood, the United States will in the span of time required to cast a vote, squander a wealth or regional political capital it has been unable to garner since the Suez crisis. It will be a tremendous waste and one that is likely to haunt U.S. policy in the Middle East for at least a generation.

The only hopeful signal coming out of the U.N. is that the United States is working feverishly to avoid the vote altogether. While this is no substitute for unwillingness to veto Palestinian statehood, it at least signals that U.S. policymakers are aware of the stakes associated with this particular veto. But, as a good friend recently opined, this may be an example of old policy for a new world—old policy that leads to the same old problems for the United States.