U.S. President Barack Obama makes a point at the National Defense University at Fort McNair in Washington, D.C., on May 23, 2013. Larry Downing / REUTERS Can Obama End The War On Terror? — Michael Crowley, Time In his broad address on drone strikes, al Qaeda terrorists, and the prison at Guantanamo Bay Thursday, Barack Obama wrestled with some of the hardest moral questions that have defined national security policy since September 11: Who is the enemy? Who can we kill, and where, and how? What to do with suspected terrorists we hold in captivity? And when, if ever, will this war as we know it end? Along the way, Obama issued a strong defense of his reliance on drones to kill suspected terrorists in places where other military means are infeasible or risk more civilian deaths. He announced higher standards for drone strikes, limiting them to situations where the confidence about a target’s location is extremely high and the possibility of civilian casualties is virtually nil. He reiterated his belief that the Guantanamo prison is a stain on America’s honor and image around the world and should be closed, and vowed new action to make that long-delayed goal a reality. Read more …. More Commentary And Opinions On President Obama’s Goal To End The War On Terror Obama seeks end to perpetual U.S. ‘war on terror’ — Reuters Obama Sees Sunset on Sept. 11 War Powers in Drone Limits — Bloomberg Businessweek Obama’s six-point plan to wind down the ‘war on terror’ — Timothy B. Lee, Washington Post Obama pulls back in fight against al Qaeda — Thomas Joscelyn & Bill Roggio, Threat Matrix President Obama dreamily wants to scale back the war on terror — New York Daily News Obama thinks we won the War on Terror and it’s time to move on — K.T. McFarland, FOX News What Mattered in Obama’s Speech Today: Ending the Open-Ended ‘War on Terror’ — James Fallows, The Atlantic Bush’s war on terror is over — Peter Bergen, CNN Obama Lays Out Plan To End The War Against Al Qaeda — Hayes Brown, Think Progress My Comment: What’s my opinion …. as I had mentioned in the previous post …. I am deeply skeptical.
Syrian Government Agrees To Attend Geneva Conference, Says Ally Russia — The Guardian Assad regime agrees ‘in principle’ to conflict resolution initiative as Syrian opposition comes under pressure to take part as well The Assad government has agreed to take part in next month’s international conference in Geneva aimed at resolving Syria’s civil war, according to ally Russia, as the Syrian opposition came under pressure to also commit to the initiative. Russia’s foreign ministry spokesman, Alexander Lukashevich, said: “We note with satisfaction that we have received an agreement in principle from Damascus to attend the international conference in the interest of the Syrians themselves finding a political path to resolve the conflict.” Read more …. More News On Reports That Syria Has Agreed To Attend Peace Talks Syria crisis: Government ‘to attend Geneva conference’ — BBC Russia says Syrian government agrees to take part in US-Russia proposed conference in Geneva — Washington Post/AP Russia says Assad agrees ‘in principle’ to join Syria peace talks — Washington Post Syria Agrees to Attend Peace Talks Next Month, Russia Says — Bloomberg Businessweek My Comment: So they agree to meet …. but with no guidelines/agenda on what to discuss and/or bargain over …. this peace conference is going to fall apart. My advice …. the Russians and Americans better get together quick and iron out what will be discussed before this “peace conference” starts, and make sure that all parties know what is expected from them. Update 14:20 EST: It looks like both Russia and the U.S. are now rushing to meet and arrange what will be discussed at next month’s peace talks in Geneva. Talk about doing everything at the last moment. Update 14:50 EST : The Syrian rebel movement is now also trying to get their act together before next month’s peace talks …. but I doubt that the more radical members of the rebel movement will be invited … and they are the ones who are now doing most of the fighting.
Gen. John Allen, in a July 2012 photo. Photo by Reuters Gen. John Allen Appointed U.S. Security Envoy In Peace Process — Haaretz Former commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan to formulate U.S. security policy in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. Gen. John Allen has been appointed special U.S. envoy on security issues in negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. He will not mediate between the parties; his work will almost exclusively involve contacts with Israel. Allen will deal with the U.S. position on Israeli security needs and the security arrangements that would accompany the establishment of a future Palestinian state. Senior U.S. and Israeli officials note that while U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel made the appointment it was coordinated with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who is leading the effort to restart Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. Read more …. My Comment: I have read this story twice …. and I still do not know/understand what he will be doing. Officially …. they are saying that he will deal with the U.S. position on Israeli security needs and the security arrangements that would accompany the establishment of a future Palestinian state …. OK …. ignoring the fact that the probability of a Palestinian state being established in the next few years is next to zero …. one has to ask the question …. what is he really going to do. What’s my take …. he needed a job and there were none available …. so they made one up for him. It is moments like this that I like to quote the great American General Douglas MacArthur …. ” old soldiers never die; they just fade away .” It is time for Gen. John Allen to fade away. Mind you …. if all-out war breaks out in the Middle East between Israel/Syria/Iran/etc.. …. General Allen may find himself in the center of it all very quickly …. and quoting General Patton …. Better to fight for something than live for nothing .
Obama Speech Suggests Possible Expansion Of Drone Killings — Mcclathcy News WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama on Thursday defended his administration’s use of drone strikes to kill terrorists as effective, lawful and “heavily constrained,” but he also appeared to be laying groundwork for an expansion of the controversial targeted killings. In remarks at the National Defense University in Washington, Obama cast the use of such operations as a necessary part of an overall national defense strategy, even as he acknowledged targeted killings risk “creating new enemies” and could “lead a president and his team to view drone strikes as a cure-all for terrorism.” He said the U.S. is at a crossroads of national security issues with a diffuse array of terrorist threats that require a recasting of a war on terror. Read more …. My Comment: Nope …. I do not see an expansion happening. He wants to limit drone strikes …. and he was blunt about it in his speech.
Iranians are seeking gold as their currency – the rial – plummets in value. Gold Crush: U.S. Ready To Shut Down Gold Sales To Iran — FOX News The U.S. is trying to stop the gold rush to Iran in a bid to undermine the Islamic Republic’s plummeting currency, but critics say the move is more likely to hurt ordinary citizens than the rogue regime’s leadership. A top Treasury Department official told lawmakers that, starting July 1, the U.S. plans to crack down on all transfers of gold to the Iranian government or its citizens. The move appears aimed largely at banks and gold brokers in Turkey and the United Arab Emirates. Companies operating from within those nations have shipped large amounts of gold to Iran as Tehran attempts to stabilize its currency, the rial, amid increasing international economic isolation. Read more …. My Comment: On one hand there is a movement (as in the case of imposing sanctions on gold sales to Iran) to have even more sanctions against Iran …. on the other hand …. the U.S. moves to undermine it.