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Two years after he was first urged to take action in Syria by his own highest-ranking advisers (as well as critics such as this writer), President Obama has finally done so. The President has now undertaken training and equipping Syrian rebels with a more urgent program, and this week ordered the bombing of ISIS sites inside Syria as well as Iraq. Read more »
What is the mission of the State Department, or more precisely what are its core missions?
Diplomacy? Avoiding war? Solidifying alliances? Explaining American policy?
Here’s a new one:
America’s faith communities, including American Muslims, are sources of strength for all of us. They’re an essential part of our national fabric, and we are committed to deepening our partnerships with them. We’re making these efforts to unite religious communities a core mission here at the State Department. Read more »
The Spanish language uses reflexive verbs more than English, and one of my favorite has always been “se cayo.” Roughly translated that means “it fell itself down” or “it broke itself.” The closest English might be the use of the passive voice, as in “the glass broke” or “the glass fell down” in place of “I broke the glass” or “I dropped the glass.” Read more »
Secretary of State Kerry will go to Cairo on Tuesday, it seems, but it isn’t clear why. To push a Gaza cease-fire, the press reports, but his presence there will not help.
Why not? After all, he was successful just now in Kabul in helping negotiate a deal between the two presidential candidates. That showed energy, determination, and negotiating prowess. Read more »
Israeli prime minister Netanyahu is clearly reluctant to order a ground incursion into Gaza. This has disappointed some of his critics, who think it’s a sign of lack of courage, or of excessive wavering and hedging, or of thinking about domestic politics. Read more »
A recent research project I initiated on Israeli settlement policy seems to have created an unholy alliance. After the findings were criticized by both Yesha Council and PLO representatives, a new voice now entered this debate: Lara Friedman, Director of Policy and Government Relations at Americans for Peace Now (APN). Here’s a generalization with which I am comfortable: whenever the PLO, Peace Now, and Yesha agree on anything, hold on to your wallet. Read more »
Just days after the fall of Mosul, chaos is spreading in Iraq. The New York Times reports that:
Sunni militants extended their control over parts of northern and western Iraq on Wednesday as Iraqi government forces crumbled in disarray. The militants overran the city of Tikrit, seized facilities in the strategic oil refining town of Baiji, and threatened an important Shiite shrine in Samarra as they moved south toward Baghdad. Read more »
Pressure Points tracks developments in the Middle East and democratization and human rights issues globally.