Archive for October, 2010

19
Oct
10

How to Handle Hamas (3)

By Daniel Byman
Foreign Affairs. New York: Sep/Oct 2010. Vol. 89, Iss. 5; pg. 45

(Daniel Byman is a Professor in the Security Studies Program at Georgetown University and a Senior Fellow at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution. He is the author of the forthcoming book A High Price: The Triumphs and Failures of Israeli Counterterrorism.)

Cease-Fire Calculus

If Hamas cannot be uprooted, can it be calmed enough to not disrupt peace talks? Maybe-and the chance is worth pursuing. Although often depicted as fanatical, Hamas has shown itself to be pragmatic in practice, although rarely in rhetoric. It cuts deals with rivals, negotiates indirecdy with Israel via the Egyptians, and otherwise demonstrates that unlike, say, al Qaeda, it is capable of compromise. Indeed, al Qaeda often blasts Hamas for selling out. Hamas has at times declared and adhered to cease-fires lasting months, and some leaders have speculated that a truce lasting years is possible. And although Hamas has refused to recognize Israel’s right to exist, its leaders have also said they would accept the UN-demarcated 1967 borders between Israel and the Palestinian areas as a starting point for a Palestinian state. Perhaps the most important sign of pragmatism has been Hamas’ general adherence to its cease-fire after Operation Cast Lead.
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18
Oct
10

How to Handle Hamas (2)

By Daniel Byman
Foreign Affairs. New York: Sep/Oct 2010. Vol. 89, Iss. 5; pg. 45

(Daniel Byman is a Professor in the Security Studies Program at Georgetown University and a Senior Fellow at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution. He is the author of the forthcoming book A High Price: The Triumphs and Failures of Israeli Counterterrorism.)

The Isolation of Gaza

Israel, Egypt, and the international community have put Gaza under siege to isolate and weaken Hamas. Israel has sealed off Gaza from the sea, and the crossing points into it from Israel and Egypt have usually been closed to normal traffic. Humanitarian aid goes in, but there is a long list of prohibited goods. Ironically, however, Israel’s humanitarian concerns have prevented it from truly pressuring the Gazan people. Israel has tried to coerce Hamas without causing mass starvation, an approach that Israeli officials have described as “no prosperity, no development, no humanitarian crisis.” Although Israeli policies are pushing Gaza closer to the brink, the threat of even more misery simply is not credible.
Continue reading ‘How to Handle Hamas (2)’

17
Oct
10

How to Handle Hamas (1)

By Daniel Byman
Foreign Affairs. New York: Sep/Oct 2010. Vol. 89, Iss. 5; pg. 45

(Daniel Byman is a Professor in the Security Studies Program at Georgetown University and a Senior Fellow at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution. He is the author of the forthcoming book A High Price: The Triumphs and Failures of Israeli Counterterrorism.)

The Perils of Ignoring Gaza’s Leadership

The biggest obstacle to peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians is not the Palestinians’ demand that Jewish settlements in the West Bank be dismantled, the barrier separating much of the West Bank from Israel, or the recent rightward shift of the Israeli body politic. It is the emergence of Hamas as the de facto government of the Gaza Strip, where 1.5 million Palestinians reside.
Continue reading ‘How to Handle Hamas (1)’

15
Oct
10

Obama’s Wars: Chapter 1 (C)

The problem was sending American forces across the border into Pakistani cities where drones could not strike. Just two months earlier, on September 3, a day after McConnell had given candidate Obama his first briefing, President Bush authorized a cross-border operation into Pakistan. It was supposed to be a quiet, in-out Special Forces ground raid by about two dozen Navy SEALs on a house believed to be used by al Qaeda in the town of Angor Adda in the FATA. The plan was for the SEALs to seize al Qaeda’s documents and computers, their “stuff,” as McConnell called it.
Continue reading ‘Obama’s Wars: Chapter 1 (C)’

14
Oct
10

INSIDE TALIBANISTAN

INSIDE TALIBANISTAN

FROM A DISTANCE, YOU MIGHT THINK THE TALIBAN IS A MONOLITHIC ENEMY. FAR FROM IT.

By Peter Bergen, Biran Fishman, and Katherine Tiedemann

After a summer ot souring reports on Ihe state of the war in Afghanistan, the “surge” of 30,000 additonal U.S. troops now in place. And not a moment to soon: U.S. President Barack Obama has already pledged to make a decision in July 2011 about how many trops bring home. So the window of time in which to contain or sufficiently weaken the taliban is rapidly closing. The problem is, the “Taliban” doesn’t really exist-or least, not in the way the term is normally used.

The original movement was a pakistan-supported militia built around a core of well-armed Afghan religious students (“Taliban” means “students” in Pashtun) that took power in the mid-1990s. But today the term has become meaningless, used to describe virtually any militant organization in Afghanistan and many in Pakistan-though they sometimes diverge widely in their allegiances, targets, and strategies.

Here’s a guide to understanding one’s enemies: not the Taliban, but the Talibans.
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14
Oct
10

Obama’s Wars: Chapter 1 (B)

In his September overview, McConnell also discussed strikes by small unmanned aerial vehicles such as Predators that had sophisticated surveillance cameras and Hellfire missiles. The covert action program authorized by President Bush targeted al Qaeda leadership and other groups inside Pakistan. Although classified, the program had been widely reported in the Pakistani and American media.
Continue reading ‘Obama’s Wars: Chapter 1 (B)’

13
Oct
10

Obama’s Wars: Chapter 1 (A)

On Thursday, November 6, 2008, two days after he was elected president of the United States, Senator Barack Obama arranged to meet in Chicago with Mike McConnell, the director of national intelligence (DNI).
Continue reading ‘Obama’s Wars: Chapter 1 (A)’




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