Iran Hawks Push Obama on Deadline for Diplomacy

After an uneventful first meeting between U.S. President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that seemed to produce no real breakthroughs, hawks in the U.S. and Israel are seizing upon what they claim is a significant concession by Obama: his setting a "timetable" for negotiations with Iran. Although Obama merely promised a "reassessment" … Continue reading “Iran Hawks Push Obama on Deadline for Diplomacy”

AIPAC Conference Pushes Hard Line on Iran

The annual conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the powerful and hawkish pro-Israel lobby, wrapped up on Tuesday with a speech from Vice President Joe Biden, capping three days that were primarily devoted to the threat of a nuclear Iran. Discussion of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the Middle East peace process took … Continue reading “AIPAC Conference Pushes Hard Line on Iran”

Prominent Lawmaker in AIPAC Spy Scandal

A U.S. government investigation of Israeli spying caught a prominent Democratic congresswoman discussing what is alleged to be a "quid pro quo" deal involving the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), Washington’s powerful, hawkish pro-Israel lobby. Rep. Jane Harman of California was recorded in 2005 on a National Security Administration (NSA) wiretap promising a suspected … Continue reading “Prominent Lawmaker in AIPAC Spy Scandal”

Counterinsurgency Back In Vogue?

As the U.S. prepares to reduce its military presence in Iraq while intensifying its war effort in Afghanistan, hawks within both the Republican and Democratic parties have come increasingly to believe that counterinsurgency (COIN) doctrine offers a solution to the central security challenges Washington will face in the 21st century. Drawing on the perceived, if … Continue reading “Counterinsurgency Back In Vogue?”

New Pentagon Budget: No Fundamental Shift

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates unveiled the U.S.’ much-anticipated new military budget Monday, which aims to reorient the armed forces toward irregular and counterinsurgency warfare while proposing cuts in several major weapons programs. The budget is viewed as a major step in the ongoing debate within the U.S. military about whether to focus primarily on … Continue reading “New Pentagon Budget: No Fundamental Shift”

Afghanistan Pressures Beget Dubious Alliances

Central Asia is shaping up to be an early test of Barack Obama’s foreign policy, as the increased demands of the war in Afghanistan force his administration to decide how far to accommodate or to pressure the region’s autocratic governments. These questions have become more pressing in recent weeks, with news of the closing of … Continue reading “Afghanistan Pressures Beget Dubious Alliances”

Peace Recedes as Israeli Settlements Expand

Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank increased sharply in 2008, despite Israel’s pledge at the beginning of the year to freeze all construction, according to a new report by an Israeli non-governmental organization [.pdf]. The report, released Wednesday by the group Peace Now, found that settlement construction in 2008 increased by almost 60 percent, … Continue reading “Peace Recedes as Israeli Settlements Expand”

US Jewish Peace Lobby Isolated on Gaza

The three-week-old war in Gaza – halted Saturday by an Israeli cease-fire – has had a polarizing effect on the U.S. Jewish community, resulting in a deeper and at times acrimonious split between dovish groups that are skeptical of the Israeli military campaign and centrist and hawkish groups that have been broadly supportive of it. … Continue reading “US Jewish Peace Lobby Isolated on Gaza”

Olmert’s Claims Revive Israel Lobby Controversy

The U.S. State Department fiercely denied claims made by Ehud Olmert about his influence over President George W. Bush, in an incident that has stirred up old debates about the role of the Israeli government and the so-called "Israel lobby" in formulating Middle East policy in Washington. On Monday, Olmert claimed that he demanded and … Continue reading “Olmert’s Claims Revive Israel Lobby Controversy”