Foreign Policy

Demonstration Project

This, by Thom Shanker of the NY Times, is a very good analysis of Stanley McChrystal’s strategy in the battle for Marjah. It is, to be sure, a new kind of warfare–a major battle as demonstration project–that isn’t counterinsurgency, but complements it. Helmand Province isn’t the center of gravity of the Taliban insurgency; Kandahar …

Morning Must Reads

–Here’s some trivial President’s Day trivia: The folks at Smart Politics figured out that 20 percent of U.S. presidential elections (that would be 11) have been won by a candidate born under the astrological sign Aquarius. Before anyone gets too excited, it’s worth noting that one of the five presidents contributing to this number is …

Obama in the Briefing Room

The president made a surprise visit to the daily press briefing Tuesday, only the third time he has made such an appearance to date. He reported back on today’s talks with congressional leaders from both parties, and took wide-ranging questions from the press.

Obama said he asked Republican leadership this morning to end the practice …

Jack Murtha, 77, Dies

Pennsylvania Rep. John C. Murtha, died today of complications relating to a gallbladder surgery. He was 77.

A decorated Vietnam War hero, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi credited Murtha — who was her first choice for majority leader — with helping to turn public opinion against the war in Iraq after he announced his opposition to the war …

The World’s Worst Negotiators–Continued

Iran continues to play games with the rest of the world with regard to its nuclear program. This weekend, we’ve had the Foreign Minister claiming that a nuclear deal was close. And Ahmadinejad threatening the exact opposite: a further augmentation of its highly enriched uranium for use in a nuclear reactor to produce medical isotopes. …

The Latest Iran Outrage

Apparently, Iran’s military dictatorship is now moving to arrest its opponents–and there are many–among the Mullahs in the holy city of Qum. Word comes that Ayatullah Mohammed Taqi Khalaji has been arrested. His family does not know where he is being held.

Khalaji is a follower of the late reformist Grand Ayatullah Montazeri, whose …

Iran Nuclear Physicist Killed

This is one for the spy novels…in fact, David Ignatius’ most recent offering, The Increment, had a very similar situation: An Iranian nuclear physicist is killed. The Iranians blame the Great Satan, of course, but then we learn:

Massoud Ali-Mohammadi, 50, was described by colleagues as a respected Tehran University nuclear physicist.

Meanwhile, U.S. Intelligence in Afghanistan Gets A Failing Grade

The senior military intelligence officer in Afghanistan has penned a stinging evaluation of his team’s ability to collect the right kind of information. In a paper for the Center For New American Security, Maj. Gen. Michael T. Flynn writes:

Eight years into the war in Afghanistan, the U.S. intelligence community is only marginally

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