Death at a Distance: The US Air War

According to the residents of Datta Khel, a town in Pakistan’s North Waziristan, three missiles streaked out of Afghanistan’s Pakitka Province and slammed into a madrassa, or Islamic school, this past June. When the smoke cleared, the Asia Times reported, 30 people were dead. The killers were robots, General Atomics MQ-1 Predators. The AGM-114 Hellfire … Continue reading “Death at a Distance: The US Air War”

Kurdish Powder Keg
Primed to Explode

There are few areas in the world more entangled in historical deceit and betrayal than northern Iraq, where the British, the Ottomans, and the Americans have played a deadly game of political chess at the expense of the local Kurds. And now, because of a volatile brew of internal Iraqi and Turkish politics, coupled with … Continue reading “Kurdish Powder Keg
Primed to Explode”

Nostalgic for the Cold War? Good News

The current brouhaha over a U.S. plan to deploy anti-ballistic missiles (ABM) in Poland has nothing to do with a fear that Iran will attack Europe or the U.S. with nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM). It has a great deal to do with the Bush administration’s efforts to neutralize Russia’s and China’s nuclear deterrents and … Continue reading “Nostalgic for the Cold War? Good News”

Fanning Sectarian Fires
in the Middle East

In 1609, a terrible thing happened: not terrible in the manner that great wars are terrible but in the way that opening Pandora’s Box was terrible. King James I of England discovered that dividing people on the basis of religion worked like a charm, thus sentencing the Irish to almost four centuries of blood and … Continue reading “Fanning Sectarian Fires
in the Middle East”

The Najaf Massacre: Annotated

As the fables about Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction and clandestine ties with al-Qaeda began to unravel following the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, the flagship of U.S. news reporting, The New York Times, took itself to task for its failure to challenge its news sources. “Information that was controversial then, and seems questionable … Continue reading “The Najaf Massacre: Annotated”

Iran: Thinking the Unthinkable

Is Israel, supported by the Bush administration, preparing to launch an atomic war against Iran? On Jan. 7, the London Sunday Times claimed that the Israeli government is planning to attack Iran’s uranium enrichment facilities with tactical nuclear weapons. While the Israeli government denies the story, recent statements by top Israeli officials and military figures … Continue reading “Iran: Thinking the Unthinkable”

The Persistence of
Mideast Illusions

The Middle East has always been a place where illusion paves the road to disaster. In 1095, Pope Urban’s religious mania launched the Crusades, the reverberations of which still echo through the region. In 1915, Winston Churchill’s arrogance led to the World War I bloodbath at Gallipoli. In 2003, George Bush’s hubris ignited a spiral … Continue reading “The Persistence of
Mideast Illusions”

Cambodia All Over Again?

In the wake of a United Nations investigation implicating a number of Syrian and Lebanese officials in the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, the Bush administration is calling for international sanctions, and leaking dark hints of war. But the United States is already unofficially at war with Syria. For the past six … Continue reading “Cambodia All Over Again?”

The Dragon and the Chrysanthemum

At first glance, the growing tension between China and Japan seems almost inexplicable. Massive anti-Japanese demonstrations in China over events that took place more than half a century ago? A heated exchange filled with mutual threats over an offshore petroleum field that Western oil companies think is not worth exploiting? Have a Shinto shrine and … Continue reading “The Dragon and the Chrysanthemum”