Enduring America  

Enduring America (formerly Watching America) features blogs and podcasts by Professor Scott Lucas and guest bloggers, analysing developments in the United States, particularly the latest issues and trends in US foreign policy. 

The views and opinions expressed here represent those of the the individual authors and do not in any way reflect those of the University of Birmingham, its institutions and organizations that the authors are involved with.

***This blog has now moved to http://enduringamerica.com/ ***


31 July 2009
Memorial Day in Iran; Assessing Afghanistan-Pakistan

Today on Enduring America

The Latest from Iran (31 July): And Now….?

Rolling updates from inside the country....
 This Wave is already in uncharted waters for the Islamic Republic, and I doubt any of us have the map to indicate where it goes.
Roger Cohen: "It was precisely emotion, and notions of good and evil, that the Obama administration had spent the previous months trying to drain from the charged U.S.-Iranian relationship."

23 July 2009
The Best Iran Coverage; Obama Press Conference; Torturing John Yoo

Today on Enduring America

The Latest from Iran (23 July): Preparing the Front

Rolling updates from inside the country....

Mohammad Abtahi: "The current conservative opposition to the vice presidential choice is in fact an attempt to convince the President that somehow without their presence, it would have been impossible for him to obtain a huge victory in the election."

Iran: Your Easy-to-Use Ayatollah Scorecard

Six Grand Ayatollahs have made statements supporting demonstrations, two have been neutral, and one opposed. Amongst Ayatollahs, nine (including Hashemi Rafsanjani) have been supportive of at least some opposition demands, two neutral, and seven opposed.

Iran: Playing the “National Security” Card

Keeping the Change: How the Iranian Government is trying to use threats to “national security” both to hold off and to denigrate the opposition movement.

Iran: A List of Those Killed and Detained (21 July)

Latest Iran Video: The Protests Continue (21-22 July)

Video: Obama Press Conference (22 July)

Iraq: Transcript and Video of Obama and Al-Maliki Press Conference (22 July)

War on Terror Update: Aussie TV Gives John Yoo Too Much Torture

The Australian television show The Chaser’s War on Everything decided to put Yoo’s Bush-era legal theories into practice in his classroom.

22 July 2009
The Best Iran Coverage; An Arafat "Plot" in Palestine?

Today on Enduring America

The Latest from Iran (22 July): “The Pendulum Swings” Towards Opposition

Rolling updates from inside the country....

Iran: A List of Those Killed and Detained (21 July)

The blog Revolutionary Road, a useful source of information throughout the post-election crisis, has posted a list of names of more than 60 people killed or missing and more than 300 detained since 12 June.

Iran: Playing the “National Security” Card

Keeping the Change offers a concise, effective analysis of how the Iranian Government is trying to use threats to “national security” both to hold off and to denigrate the opposition movement.

Palestine: Was There a Plot to Kill Yassir Arafat?

How the Arafat conspiracy theory was converted into a current political manoeuvre: Hamas is the “democratic” party seeking truth while its rival engages in “tyranny”.

20-21 July 2009
The Best Iran Coverage; Obama Backing Away from Gitmo Pledge?

Today on Enduring America

(Apologies for the break in service as EA staff was scattered between music festivals and house moves this weekend. Check out website for great set of stories 17-20 July. Thanks to Mike Dunn for keeping everything ticking over.)

The Latest from Iran (21 July): The Lull in the Cycle of Protest

Rolling updates from inside the country....


1) Can Khamenei really rely on the “foreign menace” to maintain the support of most of the Iranian population, especially if that means a political showdown with a Rafsanjani or a Mousavi?; 2) How far can the call to “morality” take precedence over the specific concerns over the Iranian system during and after the system?


Iran: Pressure on the Supreme Leader?


More food for thought on Sunday. The website Mowjcamp, associated with Mir Hossein Mousavi, has claimed that “a few high-ranking prominent clergymen of Qom are applying pressure upon Khamenei in order to induce him to accept the protests of the public and clergy and abandon his support of Ahmadinejad”.


LATEST Iran Video: The Rafsanjani Prayer Address (17 July)

The news is unsurprising, but it is still depressing.

16 July 2009
The Best Iran Coverage; The Clinton Speech; Israel and China

Today on Enduring America

Buy Us a Coffee (and Keep EA Growing)

Since its launch last November, Enduring America has grown from an academic blog read by hundreds of contacts to a cutting-edge website for latest news and analysis, read by thousands of visitors and followers on Twitter and Facebook as well as by insiders in politics, media, and academia. But, to be honest with you, we’re now beyond maximum capacity. So we're asking a favour....

The Latest from Iran (16 July): Waiting for Rafsanjani’s Prayers

Rolling updates from inside the country....

Iran: How Friday’s Prayers Might Develop

The wave of green is a second chance given to reformist politicians to redeem themselves and the concept of the Islamic Republic in the eyes of the Iranian public.

UPDATED Iran: How Many Protesters Have Died?

The Clinton Speech: An Immediate Reaction

No reference at all to the essence of today’s problems, for there are God-given values of Americans which are always appropriate for others.

UPDATED Video, Transcript, and Q&A: Hillary Clinton Speech at Council on Foreign Relations (15 July)

Gaza: Did Israelis Use Civilians as Human Shields?

This week, Breaking the Silence, the Israeli human rights organization, published a report, drawn from the statements of more than 30 soldiers, alleging mistreatment of Gazans in the effort to minimise Israeli casualties.

The Urumqi Violence: Chinese Actions and Overseas

15 July 2009
The Best Iran Coverage; A British-Israeli Spat; Singing with Paranoid Larry

Today on Enduring America

The Latest from Iran (15 July): Chess not Checkers

Rolling updates from inside the country....

Iran: Facing the Rubicon of the Supreme Leader’s Authority

While the general position of Supreme Leader is to be respected as the highest authority, that respect does not necessarily have to be given to an individual who does not fulfil the duties of the position, in this case, Ayatollah Khamenei.

Iran’s Culture Protest: Singer Shajarian Turns Government to Dust

LATEST Iran Video: Mousavi, Rahnavard with Sohrab Arabi’s Family (14 July)

Iran: Scott Lucas on “Sea of Green Radio”

A disucssion of the manoeuvres behind this Friday’s prayers, with Hashemi Rafsanjani presiding and a mass march which may include Mir Hossein Mousavi, Mohammad Khatami, and Mehdi Karroubi, and stories of possible compromise within the Iranian system.

British Revokes Arms Licenses to Israel: Does It Matter?

As the other 177 export licenses for arms to Israel proceed without restriction, one suspects that this affair is simply a little local difficulty.

Song of the Day for Our “War on Terror” (or Whatever We Call It Now)

Paranoid Larry's ditty from 2006 might still have some relevance.

14 July 2009
The Best Iran Coverage; France in Middle East; Dick Cheney's Secrecy

Today on Enduring America

The Latest from Iran (14 July): Ripples on the Surface

Rolling updates from inside the country....

Beyond the Election: Talking Turkey to Iran?

UN Security Council members and Germany must turn to Turkey to successfully negotiate with Iran.”

LATEST Iran Video: Sohrab Arabi Funeral (13 July)

Israel and the Middle East: France Jumps In

If true, French Foreign Minister Kouchner has just set up a two-way message to Israel and Iran: while Tehran has its deadline — negotiate by September or face tougher economic sanctions — the Israelis are now on notice over the Palestinian process.

The Secrecy of Dick Cheney: Scott Lucas on the BBC

Video: Obama is a Dirty Old Man (or Maybe Not)

Far from being a Dirty Old Man, it seems Obama was a Polite, Courteous Chief Exective, helping another lady step down. Instead, it’s Mr Carla Bruni, a.k.a. French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who may want to be watching both his headlines and his domestic situation.

12-13 July 2009
The Best Iran Coverage; Iraq, Afghanistan, and Israel Intrigues

Today on Enduring America

The Latest from Iran (13 July): Challenge Renewed

The Latest on Iran (12 July): When Is Normal Not Normal?

Rolling updates from inside the country....

Iran Opposition Alert: Friday is the Day?

The perfect storm of the opposition from “without”, the public challenge symbolised by the leadership of the Presidential candidate Mousavi, and the opposition from “within”, the private manoeuvring of former President Rafsanjani, may be imminent.

Iran: Tehran’s Immediate Response to the G8 Summit

Britain’s Foreign Office and the White House have avoided giving immediate responses so far. Instead, the “5+1″ (the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and Germany) await Tehran’s next step.

The Habitat Effect: Twitter, Spammers, and #iranelection

Twitter, having recognised its important role in post-election Iran, now needs to act against the spam. If it does nothing, the spammers might succeed where the Iranian authorities have failed, and silence online opposition.

Iran Idiocy of the Day: Bushmen Claim Credit for “Regime Change”

John Hannah, one of the advisors to Vice President Dick Cheney trying to remake the world in the Bush years, looks to claim the Iranian protest movement as Dubya’s legacy.

US-Iran-Iraq: Why Were the “Erbil Five” Released?

The release of the five Iranians points to the emergence of an Iraqi Government that is no longer subject to the demands of the US military.

Afghanistan: The Irresistible Illusion of an Unobtainable Victory

Rory Stewart: "After seven years of refinement, the policy seems so buoyed by illusions, caulked in ambiguous language and encrusted with moral claims, analogies and political theories that it can seem futile to present an alternative.”

Israel: Livni Challenges Prime Minister Netanyahu’s 100 Days

The more ground that the Netanyahu Government gives because pressure from the Obama Administration, the better placed Tzipi Livni will be within the context of a Washington-led settlement.

11 July 2009
The Best Iran Coverage; G8 Summit; US-Israel Conflict

Today on Enduring America

Rolling updates from inside the country....

Iran: Rebellion of the Clerics? Not So Fast

Mehdi Khalaji: "While a handful of marginal clerics and religious groups dispute the official result of Iran’s recent presidential election, the Shiite clerical establishment as a whole currently supports Iran’s top leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei."

Getting Iran (Loudly) Wrong: Posturing for Mr Ahmadinejad and Mr Hitchens

A couple of fine examples of how to wedge events in Iran into personal and political prejudices and agendas.

Iran Video: Mr Ahmadinejad and His Wonderful, Brightly-Coloured Charts

A post-election special in which President Ahmadinejad proposes the reform of the Iranian military to 331 B.C. with the help of, um, charts. Brightly-coloured charts. Including one about genies. And Robin Williams.

Iran: Protest Through “The Rooftop Project”

One of the distinctive features of the post-election protest has been the nightly calls from rooftops of “Allahu Akhbar” (God is Great).

Iran: How Strong is the G8 Statement on the Nuclear Programme?

It’s not the statement of the G-8 Summit that poses the questions over future relations with Iran. Those are in the post-summit positions now being considered in Washington and Paris, not to mention Moscow and Beijing.

Transcript: Obama Press Conference After G8 Summit (10 July)

Keeping Israel in Check: Washington Says No Warplanes to India

Israel may be India’s second-largest arms supplier after Russia, but she is feeling a bit of pressure from Washington.

10 July 2009
Iran, Sarah Palin, and the Google Bomb

Today on Enduring America

Rolling updates from inside the country....
We’re not certain about the extent of the marches in Tehran yesterday (and, to be honest, I think the symbolic significance of the show of opposition outweighs any number), but others are trying to establish the size of the rallies.
What is Tel Aviv’s next step in the manoeuvres between the US and Iran?
You can't keep a good woman down....
"These Weapons of Mass Destruction cannot be displayed"

7-9 July 2009
From Iran to Israel to China to Russia to British Torture

Today on Enduring America

The Latest from Iran (18 Tir/9 July): Day of Reckoning?

The Latest from Iran (8 July): The Day Before….?

The Latest from Iran (7 July): Sitting Out a Storm

Rolling updates from inside the country....
How significant is the challenge to the regime and the role of Mojtaba Khamenei on and after the 12 June elections?
"The Iranian authorities are using prolonged harsh interrogations, beatings, sleep deprivation, and threats of torture to extract false confessions from detainees arrested since the disputed June 12 presidential election."
The best parts of the President's speech on Tuesday...
Solving the mystery of the Vice President's words on Sunday....
 Is the US acceptance of the 2500 units due to the specifics of private contracts and Israeli law on settlements, or have the two sides found common ground where both sides meet with some concessions?
This two-way message is being laid out to maintain a balance between Iran and the US.
In a series of case studies Ian Cobain of The Guardian shows how torture has become a standard method of interrogation for the British intelligence services, and how everyone involved- from personnel on the ground to high-ranking government ministers- may be complicit.

6 July 2009
 The Best Iran Coverage; Joe Biden and Israeli Military Action

Today on Enduring America

4-5 July 2009
The Best Iran Coverage; Stories and "Non-Stories" in Israel-Palestine

Today on Enduring America

The Latest From Iran (5 July): Treading Water

The Latest from Iran (4 July): Breaking the Reformists? Not So Fast….

Rolling updates from inside the country....

LATEST Video: “Keeping the Peace” (30 June-2 July)

Iran Text: Keyhan Editorial “Put Mousavi, Khatami on Trial”

"[This] corrupt movement has been implementing a foreign mission in order to encourage unlawful activities, kill innocent people, create a rebellion, plunder public property and weaken the power of the Islamic system."

Iran: 12 More Martyrs

Human rights activists have released details on 12 more people killed in post-election violence in Iran, bringing the total to 26.

Video: U2’s Concert Song for Iran

Video: “An Iranian Atomic Bomb Can Wipe Israel off the Map in a Matter of Seconds”

The US Ambassador to Israel, Michael Oren, diverts attention from Palestine.

Transcript: Benjamin Netanyahu’s 4th of July Message for the US (and Iran)

Video and Transcript: President Obama’s “Independence Day” Address

Video: Sarah Palin Resigns as Governor of Alaska (3 July)

Video: All the Best Bits of Sarah Palin

3 July 2009
The Best Iran Coverage; Stories and "Non-Stories" in Israel-Palestine

Today on Enduring America

The Iran Crisis (Day 22): What to Watch For Today

The Latest from Iran (3 July): The Long Haul?

Rolling updates from inside the country....

LATEST Video: “Keeping the Peace” (30 June-2 July)

Iran: The Statement of “The Mourning Mothers of Iran”

"To our boys and brothers in the security forces! We are your mothers. We treat you with respect as mothers. Respect us and our wishes and refrain from inflicting harm onto your mothers. Our sighs will follow you if you treat us with violence."

The Doctor Killed Neda: Your Press TV Guide to the Latest in Iran

A Song for Iran? “Free My Land”

Hiding Gaza, Hiding Israel: The Jailing of Cynthia McKinney (and 20 Others)

As McKinney and others continue to refuse deportation, no doubt hoping that their jail stay will eventually be noticed, and as Israeli authorities just hope the incident will disappear, expect the New York Times and Washington Post to ignore a story that is not fit to print.

Video and Text: Amnesty International Report on Gaza “War Crimes”

1-2 July 2009
The Best Iran Coverage; Afghanistan; Iraq; Waiting for Bin Laden

Today on Enduring America

The Latest from Iran (2 July): The “Gradual” Opposition

The Latest from Iran (1 July): The Opposition Regroups

Rolling updates from inside the country....

Iran: The Post-Election Challenge from Qom’s Clerics

In the furour over the Presidential election, the most intriguing political contest may have taken place, behind the street scenes, in Iran’s religious centre, south of Tehran in the dusty city of Qom.

Iran Audio and Text: The “Ghaffari Tape” Criticising the Supreme Leader

An unprecedent clerical attack on Ayatollah Khomeini.

Iran: 14 Latest Facts and Possibilities from “The Green Brief”

How to get to the truth behind stories and rumours from Iran....

Iran: Text of Mousavi’s Statement to Supporters (1 July)

Iran: Scott Lucas Audio Interview with Fintan Dunne

Afghanistan Strategy: Obama “WTF?” to His Military

The Obama camp makes a move to pre-empt additional military demands.

Iraq: Day One of the “Post-American” Era

Juan Cole's immediate guide to the situation behind the US "withdrawal"

Video: “The only chance we have as a country … is for Osama bin Laden to detonate a major weapon in the United States.”

Glenn Beck and Michael Scheuer recommend salvation through destruction.

30 June 2009
The Best Iran Coverage; Israel; Obama on Energy

Today on Enduring America

The Latest from Iran (30 June): Opposition, It’s Your Move

Rolling updates from inside the country....

LATEST Video: Rally at Ghobar Mosque, Resistance, Violence (24-28 June)

Iran: To Its People, To The Future (A Daily Show Tribute)

Iran: Identifying the Killed and Detained

The Guardian of London has launched an appeal to put a face to the names of the hundreds of people killed and detained in Iran since 12 June.

Iran: More on “Two Twitterers” (and on the Idiocy of “The Times”)

Updates on bravery in new media and craven sniping in old.

What Israel Needs from Iran: Threat, Not Democracy

Head of Israel Defense Forces: "The reelection of the Iranian president, his remarks on his intention to harm Israel, and his efforts to obtain unconventional weapons, require us to be prepared to deal with every threat, far away and nearby."

Video and Transcript: Obama on the “Clean Energy Economy” (27 June)

28-29 June 2009
The Best Iran Coverage, Iraq, and "Monkey Business"

Today on Enduring America

The Latest from Iran Crisis (29 June): The Challenge Survives

The Latest from Iran (28 June): The Regime Fails to Wrap Up the Election

Rolling updates from inside the country....

LATEST Video: Rally at Ghobar Mosque, Resistance, Violence (24-28 June)

UPDATED Iran: A Tale of Two Twitterers

A story of politics, new media, and bravery.

Iran: For Those Still Detained (A Daily Show Tribute)

Jason Jones interviews three people — former Vice Presidents Ibrahim Yazdi and Mohammad Ali Abtahi and journalist Maziar Bahari — who have all been detained by the Iranian authorities.

Making Links: Extract from Martin Luther King’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”

Transcript: General Raymond Odierno on CNN’s “State of the Union” (28 June)

"[Iraqi] security remains good. We’ve seen constant improvement in the security force, we’ve seen constant improvement in governance."

Sex and Politics: Putting “Monkey Business” in the Right Perspective

John Matlin: "Maybe I’m too old and jaded, maybe I’ve reached the age of pure cynicism but give me a politician any time who can get the investment banks to behave properly and lawfully, who can reduce loutish behaviour so we can walk city centres at night, who can find ways to reduce teenage pregnancies and who, if an American, can get guns off the streets. Find him or her and he or she can have as many affairs as he or she wants."

26-27 June 2009
Iran, Palestine, and Trippin' Wallabies

Today on Enduring America

The Latest from Iran (27 June): Situation Normal. Move Along.

Rolling updates from inside the country....

The Iran Crisis (Day 16): What to Watch For Today

Iran: Hammer and Handshake

While Ayatollah Ahmed Khatami was wielding the public hammer to smite the demonstrations, Ayatollah's Makarem-Shirazi's statement is an indication of reassurance to key individuals. But whom?

Israel-Palestine: Hamas’ Meshaal Makes His Move

Assuming the Cairo discussions between Fatah and Hamas proceed, the Obama Administration might use Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal’s message as leverage if Israel does not move beyond symbolic developments.

Video: Obama-Merkel Press Conference (26 June)

Trippy Skippy: Opium-Eating Wallabies and Their Crop Circles

We could not have made this story up.

25 June 2009
Full Iran Coverage; Iraq is Back; Israel-Palestine

Today on Enduring America

The Iran Crisis (Day 14): What To Watch For Today

The Latest from Iran (25 June): The Sounds of Silence

Rolling updates from Iran.
"Doubtlessly, these events had another big victory for our people and that was the possibility to talk to the world and exhibit their real face, demands, and goals."
Iraq has been pushed back into the news because of a series of deadly bombings.
The moral may be that moving detainees about might buy time and a bit of breathing space, but it is no substitute for firm agreements.

23-24 June 2009
Full Iran Coverage; Israel-Palestine;
Soviet Union Meets Sweet Home Alabama

Today on Enduring America

The Latest from Iran (24 June): Peering Through the Clouds

Rolling updates from Iran.

LATEST Video: The “Neda” Protests (20-23 June)

Iran: More than Khamenei v. Rafsanjani? (Gary Sick and a Response)

"Iranians prefer chess to football, and a 'win' may involve a negotiated solution in which everyone saves face."

Iran Latest: A Khatami Action Plan?

"We are no longer going to waste our energy. We have said what needed to be said to the world, however now it’s time to act rather efficiently."

Iran: New Technology, New Protest, New System?

Colette Mazzucelli: "The aftermath of the Islamic Republic’s national elections are a testament to the will of a people to protest in unprecedented ways against the results of the June 12 vote."

Iran and Britain: Diplomatic Breakdown?

Shirvin Zeinalzadeh: "The act of sitting down and talking or even being in the same room – far from minor successes — may now be lost."

Video and Transcript: Obama Press Conference (23 June)

Israel-Palestine: Netanyahu-Mitchell Talks Postponed

Here’s a news item that, amidst other crises, slipped under the radar....

After the Cold War: The Red Army Choir and “Sweet Home Alabama”

Brings a whole new meaning to Redneck.

22 June 2009
The Latest from Iran and Beyond

Today on Enduring America

The Latest from Iran (22 June): Waiting for the Next Move

Rolling updates from Iran.

Iran: Who Was “Neda”?

On Saturday, a woman was watching demonstrations on Karegar Avenue in Tehran when she was shot in the chest by a paramilitary Basiji. A 40-second video captured the killing; within hours, “Neda” became an icon — witting or unwitting — for the political movement in Iran.

Latest Video from Iran: The “Neda” Protests

Iran: The “Mousavi Revolutionary Manifesto” for Change

Gary Sick on Mousavi: “It is apparent from this statement that Mousavi’s movement — and Mousavi himself — have evolved enormously in the past week….[This] is truly a revolutionary statement.”

Iran: Can Speaker of the Parliament Ali Larijani Prompt a Solution?

Text: Mohammad Khatami Statement (21 June)

Video: Obama’s Weekly Address “Washington Will Fight For Consumers!”

President Obama’s latest weekly address was on new consumer protection legislation, which was described as important for the recovery of the economy as well as for action against those companies that have benefited through abuses of consumers’ rights.

Video and Transcript: Netanyahu on US TV “Meet the Press” (21 June)

On Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared for 13 minutes on US television, speaking to NBC’s “Meet the Press”. However, it is a remarkably tangential interview, with host David Gregory spending 12 1/2 minutes on Iran and 1/2 minute on Palestine.

Video and Transcript: US Ambassador on “Fragile” Iraq

As we were focused on events in Iran, news came through of the deadliest attack in Iraq this year, with 80 people dying in a suicide truck bombing in Kirkuk.

21 June 2009
Full Iran Coverage; Latest in Iraq; Super-Obama

Today on Enduring America

The Latest from Iran (21 June): Does the Fight Continue?

Rolling updates from inside the country....

LATEST Video: The “Neda” Protests (20-21 June)

Iran: EA’s Chris Emery in The Guardian on Khamenei and Mousavi

The Supreme Leader’s defiant rejection of any wrongdoing in these elections has put the ball firmly in Mousavi’s court.

Video and Transcript: The Moment of Truth? Mousavi’s Speech at Saturday’s Protests

Video and Transcript: US Ambassador on “Fragile” Iraq

Christopher Hill: "I don’t want to sound Pollyannish about that because these are trends that are fragile and ones that need to be nurtured every day.”

Sunday Special Video: Obama the Super-Hero

20 June 2009
Full Iran Coverage; Obama is Osama?; Bear Story of the Day

Today on Enduring America

The Latest from Iran (20 June): Will The Rally Go Ahead?

Rolling updates from inside the country....

Iran: The 7 Lessons of the Supreme Leader’s Address

Saturday’s rally could yet be the greatest challenge the Islamic Republic has ever seen.

Iran: An Iranian Live-Blogs the Supreme Leader’s Speech

"Overall, it does not look good, worse than it ever was...."

Transcript: Ayatollah Khamanei’s Speech at Prayers (19 June)

Twittering Iran: What the “New Media” Means for Politics, Protest, and Democracy

Henry Giroux: “The uprising in Iran not only requires a new conception of politics, education, and society; it also raises significant questions about the new media and its centrality to democracy.”

Video: Obama Statement on Iran (19 June)

"I’m very concerned, based on some of the tenor and tone of the statements that have been made, that the Government of Iran recognize that the world is watching.”

Obama is Osama? It’s All in the Eyes

Why have Osama bin Laden and Barack Hussein Obama never been photographed together?

“If the Bear Were Real”: Local News Story of the Day

This video of a Ohio television station’s news story on a bear in a back garden still has me crying with laughter.

19 June 2009
 Iran - The Supreme Leader Speaks

Today on Enduring America

The Latest from Iran (19 June): The Supreme Leader Speaks

Rolling updates from inside the country....

Iran: Live Blog of Supreme Leader’s Address (19 June)

The speech as it happened today...

LATEST Video: The Protests in and Beyond Tehran

Iran Eyewitness: The Wednesday and Thursday Demonstrations in Tehran

"Today made it very clear that the dynamics of the movement are constantly evolving. From the first march where the only focus was on Mousavi/ people’s vote to Mousavi, today’s slogans touched on issues of freedom/justice/innocent people dying for a just cause."

Iran Eyewitness: More Audio from “Alive in Tehran”

Small World News have posted their second audio, an interview this morning with an Iranian eyewitness reporting on the Thursday demonstration in Tehran, the forthcoming Friday prayers, and the plans for a large Saturday protest.

Text: Mousavi Speech to Tehran Rally (18 June)

The Message from the Israeli Public: ‘No Concessions!’

According to a Jerusalem Post-sponsored Smith Research poll, most Israelis view outposts and settlements in the West Bank far differently than they are seen by the US Government.

Iran: What’s Happening? Sifting Information from Rumours on Twitter

How to read a conflict...

18 June 2009
 Iran; US-Israel Relations

Today on Enduring America

Video and Transcript: Clinton and Israel’s Lieberman on Settlements and Iran

While the US has yet to convince Israel on the settlements issue, Clinton did indicate that Washington had succeeded in another important area: keeping Iran in the background, rather than at the forefront, of US-Israel discussions.

Iran after the Elections: Confession, Accusation and Warning from Israel

After  the Guardian Council announced its decision to review the vote in the Iranian Presidential election, a confession, an accusation and a warning came from Israel on Tuesday.

LATEST Video: The Protests in and Beyond Tehran

Iran: What’s Happening? Sifting Information from Rumours on Twitter

How to read a conflict...

Iran: EA’s Chris Emery in The Guardian – “Khamenei’s Supreme Dilemma”

It is unlikely that public pressure, combined with the efforts of a politically powerful clique, will remove Ahmadinejad from power. This crisis is, however, as much a clash of competing cultures in Iran as it is about political transparency.

Iran: Reading the Supreme Leader’s Politics

Two provocative analyses of the politics behind the recent decisions of the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

Iran: Worst Political Analogy of the Day

Winner: Representative Pete Hoekstra (Republican, Michigan)

17 June 2009
Iran Special

Today on Enduring America

The Latest from Iran (17 June): Uncovering the News on Attacks, Protests, and the Supreme Leader

Rolling updates throughout the day from inside the country....

LATEST Video: The Protests in and Beyond Tehran

Iran: The First Audio from “Alive in Tehran”

Our friends at Small World News, who broke new ground with “Alive in Baghdad” and “Alive in Gaza”, have just posted their first recording with an Iranian witness to events.

Enduring America’s Scott Lucas on Al Jazeera English

Video of a panel discussion on the Iran situation on Tuesday afternoon’s Inside Story with Dr Seyed Mohammad Marandi of Tehran University and Professor Anoush Ebteshami of Durham University.

Iran: An Alternative View of the Election and Demonstrations

Shirvin Zeinalzadeh: "The strength of Ahmadinejad has been forgotten over the last few days as we see the almost one-sided views of the Moussavi supporters walking the streets of Tehran."

Video: President Obama’s Statements on Iran (16 June)

The Daily Show on “Irandecision 2009″

Jon Stewart’s take on the Iran election controversy, linking the special qualities of President Ahmadinejad with the special qualities of….US Vice President Joe Biden?

16 June 2009
Crisis in Iran; A World of Arms

Today on Enduring America

The Latest from Iran: Marches, Deaths, and Politics (16 June)

Rolling updates on fast-moving developments in Iran....

LATEST Video: The Protests in and Beyond Tehran

First-Hand (Iran) Story: How Twitter is Changing Broadcasting

An experience from a Monday interview with EA's Scott Lucas on the BBC World Service....

Iran: Video and Transcript of President Obama’s Remarks (15 June)

Iran’s Elections: Shirvin Zeinalzadeh on Al Jazeera

Boom: A Few Global Facts on Military Expenditures for Your Kind Consideration

It seems that the economic global crisis has not shattered the balance of demand and supply in the military-industrial complex.

Video: Netanyahu on US Television (NBC “Today” Programme – 15 June)

15 June 2009
Crisis in Iran; Netanyahu on Israel-Palestine

Today on Enduring America

Rolling updates throughout the day....
Updated throughout the day....
"The priorities of the Obama administration are also still the same. Resolving the Israel-Palestine conflict means Iran cannot be pushed to the forefront as the immediate challenge. And in the longer term, the demands on the US from Afghanistan and Central Asia to relations with the wider Islamic world still mean that engagement is the preferred alternative. Irrespective of the outcome of the presidential election in Iran, there is no reason to suggest these will not be potentially effective strategies."
Enduring America’s Chris Emery on BBC News 24 on Saturday, giving one of the first reactions in Britain to the unfolding events in Iran....
“Talks with Iran are not a reward for good behavior; they’re only a consequence if the President makes the judgement that it’s in the best interests of the United States of America…. to talk to the Iranian regime. Our interests are the same before the election as after the election.”
Netanyahu’s magic? At the same time that he supposedly accepted the “two-state” peace process, his carefully-framed speech — for the moment — made it disappear.

14 June 2009
Rolling Coverage of Iran

Today on Enduring America

Latest Updates from Iran: Protests and Rumours (14 June)

LATEST Video: The Protests in Tehran

Video: Iran Protests Spread to Shiraz and Mashhad

Iran: Text of Mousavi Letter to His Supporters (13 June)

Iran’s Election: Ten Indications That The Results Were Altered

13 June 2009
Rolling Coverage of Iran After the Election; Crisis in Pakistan

Today on Enduring America

Iran’s Election: Latest News

Regular updates on the latest from the country after the disputed outcome of the Presidential election....

Iran’s Elections: Surprise and Uncertainty

The least that could be said this morning is that the overnight outcome of Iran’s Presidential election was unexpected, to observers outside the country and I suspect many inside it. It is the more that might be said — and done — that now occupies attention.

Iran’s Election: “Ahmadinejad Victory!”

Shirvin Zeinalzadeh: "It really comes as no surprise that his victory was so big. Many fail to realise the supporters of Moussavi were the young elite rich of Northern Tehran."

Pakistan: The Conflict Continues

Asia Times Online: "Pakistan’s month-long military operation in the Malakand Division of North-West Frontier Province (NWFP), which includes the scene of especially heavy fighting in the Swat Valley, has, per official figures, cost the lives of over 1,300 militants and led to the displacement of 3.5 million civilians.

The battle is far from over."

12 June 2009
Iran Votes

Today on Enduring America

Iran Elections: Will the Results Be Accepted by All?

Robert Dreyfuss: "The reality is that Khamenei and his all-powerful Council of Guardians has approved all four candidates, and virtually everyone says that the Leader will be happy if either Ahmadinejad or Mousavi wins."

Iran Elections: Mousavi on US/Israel, Nuclear Programme, Dress Code

On the eve of today’s elections, Presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi spoke with Al Jazeera. The clip is less than three minutes but packed with important declarations:

How Not to Cover Iran’s Elections: The Awards Ceremony

Including misleading labels, the yelps of Bushmen, "Iran's Michelle Obama", and "“Mousavi the Illiterate US Stooge”

Palestine’s Path to Peace: Orwellian Lines of the Day

Arrests as part of the "road map"...

11 June 2009
  Election Past (Lebanon), Election Future (Iran)

Today on Enduring America

Iran: A Preview of Tomorrow’s Presidential Election

No one could forecast how dynamic — and potentially important — this campaign has become.

Lebanon’s Elections: 10 Essential Lessons

Rami Khouri: "None of this really mattered much, however, because the balance of power in Lebanon (as in the entire Arab world) is not really anchored in parliament, but in power relations that are negotiated elsewhere."

Lebanon’s Election: Text of Hezbollah’s Concession Speech (8 June)

Afghanistan Magic: How to Turn Mass Killing Into Public-Relations Victory

Thomas Barnett: "It is both amazing and a credit to our military that we can so swiftly (just a month) and so readily admit serious operational mistakes in the field."

10 June 2009
  US-Israel Negotiations, Lebanon and Iran Elections

Today on Enduring America

We claim that Israeli Prime Minister is trying to take control of the Palestine issue from Washington.

How can we dare to be so bold? Because of Netanyahu’s own officials.

Israel-Palestine: US Envoy Mitchell Talks, Netanyahu Tries to Seize Control

President Obama’s envoy to the Middle East, George Mitchell, visited Israeli leaders on Tuesday and again established why he is an outstanding diplomat. Only problem? Someone is trying to out-flank him, and that someone is Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Lebanon and Iran Elections: It’s All About (The) US

The US and British media’s misreading, simplifications, and exaggerations spread like kudzu.

How Not to Cover Iran’s Election: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Becomes Sid Vicious

The Daily Telegraph: “Rather like the punk rock group the Sex Pistols, or the singer Pete Doherty, it is not unusual, apparently, for the president to plan a gig but then fail to show.”

Developing Story: Peshawar Bomb Attack

9 June 2009
  Lebanon's Elections, Russia-Israel Ties, and Obama Seen from Iran

Today on Enduring America

Lebanon’s Elections: From Global “Showdown” to Local Reality

The danger is not that a Lebanon led by Hezbollah, and behind Hezbollah its “masters” in Iran, will emerge to challenge Israel and the US. Instead, the political knife cuts the other way: external rhetoric of the Hezbollah danger, a rhetoric which can always be escalated not to advance the regional peace process but to block it, would simply add to Lebanon's internal tensions.

An Alliance of Interests? Russia and Israel in Obama’s New World

In the Middle East, Russia becomes one of the first beneficiaries of the “soft power” of the US.

Obama’s Cairo Speech: A View from Tehran

Dr. Mahmoud Reza Golshanpazhooh: “The Obama speech is an undeniable turning point. But the most important part of the story is to put these words into action."

Cases of (Non)-Engagement: From Iran and Saberi to North Korea and Ling-Lee

The point is that — whatever North Korea’s motives — the possibilities for a humanitarian resolution are far more limited, if they exist at all, than they were in the case of Iran.

8 June 2009
 The Signals on Israel and Palestine

Today on Enduring America

Meanwhile, the Saudi Arabian (and US?) Proposal: Cut Aid to Israel

Perhaps the great unnoticed paradox of Barack Obama’s Middle Eastern trip came before his Cairo speech, when he stopped in Riyadh.

Palestine: Is Hamas Digging Away Its Political Ground?

Israel’s need for some political breathing space, perhaps ironically, is met not in Washington but in the streets of Palestine.

Video: Iran-First or Palestine-First? A Turning Point Debate on CNN

Yesterday, there was a turn of debate on CNN’s GPS which may be symbolic of the shift in US foreign policy. This was a clash of “Iran-first” vs. “Palestine-first” in the US approach towards Israel. And Palestine-first won, 16 hands down.

Video and Transcript: Hillary Clinton on “This Week” (7 June)

7 June 2009
 Israel-Palestine After the Speech, Updates from Iran, Obama in Europe

Today on Enduring America

Perhaps the most striking response to President Obama's speech is coming from Hamas officials, who are cautiously signalling that they are ready for discussions.
It may be less than 48 hours since the Obama speech, but the US and Israel are already manoeuvring — and testing each other — over Palestine.
Given the US delay in moving its Embassy, how does Benjamin Netanyahu — facing a difficult position in his Cabinet and with Israeli public opinion — respond?
Wednesday’s election debate between Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and one of his challengers, Mir Hossein Mousavi, is still sending ripples through and outside Iran.
There have been a few dramatic (and misleading) headlines, but the gist of the IAEA’s conclusions are the same: no imminent Iran nuclear weapon and a call for transparency on the programme.

6 June 2009
Revelations on Iran and Afghanistan,
Obama's Cairo and Germany Speeches, The Danger of Liberals

Today on Enduring America

Creating Iran’s Nuclear Weapon: The US, Israeli Intelligence, and “The Laptop Documents”

Putting together reports and interviews, Gareth Porter claims that Israeli intelligence played a key role in assembling the Iran “laptop documents” and then feeding them to Washington.

Afghan Airstrike Deaths: US Military Admits Errors

Despite previous denials, "A military investigation has concluded that American personnel made significant errors in carrying out some of the airstrikes in western Afghanistan on May 4 that killed dozens of Afghan civilians."

Obama in Cairo: Press Reactions

While al-Jazeera believes that it points to a ‘welcoming’ reaction from Israel, Press TV focuses on an apparent Israel ’snub’ to Obama over settlements. One short statement, two very different responses.

Video and Transcript: Obama and Merkel Remarks at Dresden Press Conference (5 June)

Video and Transcript: Obama, Merkel, and Wiesel Statements at Buchenwald (5 June)

Saturday Video Funnies: How Fox News Saw Obama’s Cairo Speech

“These people…have a very unfavorable view of the United States….So why are we wooing them?”

Saturday Video Funnies: Liberals Now More Dangerous than Terrorists

Representative Lamar Smith: “The greatest threat to America is not necessarily a recession or even another terrorist attack. The greatest threat to America is a liberal media bias.”

5 June 2009
A Speech in Cairo, Debates in Iran

Today on Enduring America

Obama in Cairo: A “Challenging, Thoughtful Speech”

The significance of the immediate responses to Obama's world-view from Cairo

Video: Meanwhile in Iran - The Significance of (Presidential) Debates

I do not think it is an exaggeration to call the developments in Iran’s Presidential campaign “extraordinary”.

4 June 2009
Obama Speech in Cairo,  Inside Stories on US-Iran Talks,
British Medics in Sri Lanka and Egypt

And so the paradox of Cairo: at the end of Obama’s hour, his exaltation of values across faiths comes to Earth in those buildings in East Jerusalem and across the West Bank. It is their spread, rather than the spread of goodwill or religious blessings, that will determine the fate of this President’s “right path”.
In a dramatic non-move that will disappoint devoted readers of Conservapedia and the Weekly Standard, the still-not-Muslim President did not kneel down before the very-Muslim King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia.
As American and Britain news agencies continue to misunderstand and misrepresent President Obama’s strategic approach on Iran, Foreign Policy's The Cable offers an essential view from inside the Administration.
The wars may have ostensibly ended in Gaza and Sri Lanka, but the conflicts and hardships continue. As hundreds of thousands of residents languish in detention camps or endure a protracted siege, British medics trying to help also find themselves hindered — and worse — by Government officials.

3 June 2009
Obama's Middle East, First-Hand from Pakistan's Swat Valley,
Iran's New Allies

One useful way of considering tomorrow’s grand Middle Eastern speech by President Obama is to recall that it was supposed to be delivered three or four months ago.
Last Sunday there was an important summit, in symbolism and possibly in policy, in Tehran. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad welcomed his Afghan and Pakistani counterparts, Hamid Karzai and Asif Ali Zardari.
Karina Bracken: "It is in a cafe in Dublin that I meet Salman Ashraf, far from his native Swat Valley in Pakistan. He is gently spoken but speaks with sincerity and conviction about the recent events in his hometown of Mingora."
Last week, Enduring America’s John Matlin set out the British mega-scandal over the expenses of its Members of Parliament. Readers have noted that John’s analysis is complemented by that of two other Jons/Johns — Stewart and Oliver — as The Daily Show surveys English stiff-upper-lip anger, Sacklesschester, and The Eternal Wonder of the Great British Moat.
In a slight shift from his campaign trail promise, President Obama announced Monday that his administration’s message of “Change” has been modified to the somewhat more restrained slogan “Relatively Minor Readjustments in Certain Favorable Policy Areas.”

2 June 2009
Obama on the Middle East, Scott Lucas on Al Jazeera,
Fox Asks Israel to Bomb Iran

Today on Enduring America

Video: Obama Interview with BBC (1 June)

There was one significant passage where Obama called on Arab States to make concessions so Israel would engage in negotiations with the Palestinian Authority and other countries.

Audio: Obama Interview with National Public Radio (1 June)

The questioning was blunt, opening with, “Do you have to change or alter in some way the US support for a strong Israel?”, but Obama held his line.

Scott Lucas on Al Jazeera: Israel’s Military Drills

A spirited discussion on Israel’s military exercises and their significance for Middle Eastern politics with Mark Heller of Israel’s Institute for National Security Studies and retired General Hisham Jaber of the Lebanese Army

Video: The Fox News-Israel Alliance (It’s All About Iran)

Israel's Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon holds out for economic sanctions against Iran’s “existential threat” as Fox’s anchorman presses for a military response.

Video: Former President Carter on Detainee Abuse

Speaking on CNN, Jimmy Cartermade a gentle but challenging contribution to the debate over the release of photographs of detainee abuse and an investigation of the Bush Administration’s torture programme.

Obama and National Security: “This Guy Has to Show Some Stones Somewhere Along the Line.”

Matt Taibbi: "Obama is on his way to doing exactly the wrong thing. He’s going to make a show of closing the base, but retain the underlying idea by keeping some of the prisoners in indefinite legal purgatory."

Today’s Bush’s-Glorious-Iraq-Surge Story: We Can Kick North Korea’s Butt

In the never-ending fantasy game of Why George Bush Really, Really Got It Right on Iraq, even as the casualty level for US troops reach their highest point since September 2008, former Bush official Peter Feaver takes today’s top prize.

1 June 2009
More on the Torture Photos, Accounts from Gaza

Today on Enduring America

Last week, there was another series of developments — some illuminating, some confusing, all disturbing.
“I’ve done work in prison,” she said. “This is worse than being in prison. How people can be so cruel to other people– I don’t understand, I just don’t understand it.

The aim is to keep Gaza at subsistence and offer a contrast with the West Bank, which in theory benefits from foreign aid and economic and political development. Hamas supporters will then realize their mistake. The plan has not gone well, however.”

31 May 2009
Dialogue in Syria, Facebook in Iran, Rapping for a Conservative America

Today on Enduring America

Damascus Matters: Syria, the US, and the New Middle East

In contrast to the Bush Administration’s attempt to get the “right” Middle East through exclusion of those whom it did not like or trust, the Obama Administration in four months has rebuilt relationships with key leaders. Still, the outcome of those initial breakthroughs awaits an even bigger signal: the US President’s speech in Cairo next Thursday.

Video: Palestine Latest - Settlements and Blockades but No Reconstruction

UN Humanitarian Coordinator: “Blockades continue in order to protect Israeli settlements.”

Iran: The People’s (Facebook) Revolution

The Facebook revolution is one of dialogue and engagement. It may face further bumps along the political road, but a return to a full block is unlikely. The illusion that Iran is cut off from “the West” — just as the illusion that Iran is or should be just like “the West” — is now well and truly shattered.

Video: Secretary of Defense Gates on North Korea’s Nuclear Programme

Fight the Power: Rapping for Lower Taxes and Waterboarding

Two freshmen at Dartmouth College, “Serious C” and “Stiltz”, having grown up on the mean streets, have styled themselves as “The Young Cons”....

Just think of this as the love-child of Vanilla Ice and Sarah Palin.

29-30 May 2009
Israel-Palestine; Iran; Fear and Loathing in London

Today on Enduring America

After The Obama-Abbas Meeting: A Palestinian Stuck between Washington and Tel Aviv

Obama, less than a week before his Cairo speech, still has nothing — not even a modest Israeli concession — to anchor his general wishes for peace. Stiil, in comparison to others, he might be considered fortunate. For Mahmoud Abbas does not even have the trappings of authority as the non-peace process drags on.

Video and Full Transcript of Obama-Abbas Meeting (28 May)

Israel on North Korea’s Nuclear Test: It’s All About Iran

It took less than a day after Pyongyang’s second nuclear test on 25 May for Israel to identify the real significance: Iran.

Video: Brzezinski — “This is the Last Chance for Peace in the Middle East”

Speaking on MSNBC this week, Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Carter’s National Security Advisor, declared that President Obama found himself between two options/schools of thought: Israel’s official perspective of delaying the peace with Palestinians, by presenting the Iranian danger as the priority of “existential threat”, and the demand for a two-state solution.

Fear and Loathing in the British Parliament: An Explanation for my US Friends

John Matlin on the expenses scandal: "The beauty of American democracy is that no one needs to trust anyone else. Checks and balances take care of that."

23-28 May 2009
Holiday Stories from Iran to Palestine to The Apocalypse

On Enduring America

28 MAY

22 May 2009
Obama and Cheney Speeches; Israel Undoes Obama's Grand Plan

Today on Enduring America

A Gut Reaction to the Obama National Security Speech: Getting Stuck in A “Long War”

Halfway through the speech, Obama got into trouble. Because it was then that he had to move from his powerful abstract of “values with security” to the realities of the Bushian policies that had wrenched them apart.

Video and Transcript: Obama Speech on “National Security” at the National Archives (21 May)

Video: Dissecting the Cheney Speech on National Security

Keith Olbermann: “Thank you, Sir, for admitting, obviously inadvertently, that you did not take a serious first look in the seven months and 23 days between your inauguration and 9/11. For that attack, Sir, you are culpable, morally, ethically. At best you were guilty of malfeasance and eternally-lasting stupidity. At worst, Sir, in the deaths of 9/11, you are negligent.”

Video and Transcript: Dick Cheney Speech on “National Security” at American Enterprise Institute (21 May)

EA Exclusive: Israel Unravels Obama’s “Grand Design” for the Middle East

President Obama, contrary to our earlier assessments, may have had a grand plan to offer on 4 June in Cairo. And Israeli officials, publicly and privately, have spent the last 96 hours ripping that plan apart.

UN Special Envoy to the Middle East: “Let’s Wait and See”On Gaza

A BBC interview with Robert Serry, the UN Special Envoy to the Middle East, raises again the question of the UN's effectiveness

Pot-Kettle-Black Moment of the Day: Karl Rove on “Credibility” and Torture

The Great Congressional Bailout: Guantanamo (Part 1 — The Daily Show)

We can handle a Brain-Eating Zombie, but we can't handle the detainees?

The Great Congressional Bailout: Guantanamo (Part 2 — Dan Froomkin)

Here’s one thing that hasn’t changed in the Obama era: Republicans are still able to come up with scare tactics that turn Senate Democrats into a terrified and incoherent bunch of mewling babies.

21 May 2009
Un-Closing Guantanamo, Lying in Afghanistan, Watching Iran

Today on Enduring America

Keeping Guantanamo Open: Will Obama Give Way?

President Obama will make an important, possibly defining, statement on the future of the Guantanamo Bay detention facility today. It will define not only whether Obama will stick to his January promise to close the prison within 12 months but also whether he will be politically caged — not only on Gitmo but on other “national security” and foreign policy issues — by Congress, the media, and the Bushmen/Bushwomen and those who still support them.

Afghanistan Hearts-and-Minds Update: We’re Sorry (But We Didn’t Kill That Many of You)

The US military's latest un-apology....

Text: The Latest CIA Report on Iran’s Nuclear, Chemical, and Biological Programmes

Text: The EastWest Institute (US-Russian) Report on “Iran’s Nuclear and Missile Potential”

"This report has concluded that there is at present no IRBM/ICBM [intermediate-range/inter-continental ballistic missile] threat from Iran and that such a threat, even if it were to emerge, is not imminent. Moreover, if such a threat were forthcoming, the proposed European missile defenses would not provide a dependable defense against it."

Video Shocker: Obama is Hitler (And You’re on His List)

Our favourite delusional paranoid and/or talk-show shyster, Glenn Beck, makes the leap from the AIG financial services group to the auto industry to prove that Obama/Hitler is “coming after you”.

20 May 2009
Crises in Pakistan, Sri Lanka; Obama's Two-Week Middle East Window

Today on Enduring America

The Obama Administration is scrambling, against a 4 June deadline, for something to offer the Arab world. And the prospects aren’t looking good.
Today some outlets are noting the immediate humanitarian (and longer-term political) issue: the more than 250,000 refugees now in overcrowded camps.
We are not convinced that the 2 million displaced in Pakistan will be testifying to Washington’s long-term aim of economic progress and security if and when they hear Clinton’s words about the power of US benevolence and technology.

19 May 2009
The Obama-Netanyahu Meeting plus More Torture Revelations

Today on Enduring America

The Netanyahu Meeting: Obama Wins Battle, Loses War

Obama continues to impress with his day-to-day tactics, and he did so yesterday against another master tactician, but as strategists, he and his Administration have put themselve in a difficult position.

Where I come from, it’s called a “hiding to nothing”.

Assessing Netanyahu-Obama: Israel, Iran, and Palestine

On the day-to-day scorecard of statesmanship, each President got a Win. Obama blocked the Israeli insistence of Iran First. Netanyahu, however, ensured that Palestine First would be a far from quick and complete process. 

An Iranian Perspective: Obama and the Middle East

Mahmoud Reza Golshanpazhooh: "There may be no escaping of the fact that in the extremely realistic world of international relations the presence of a window of hope may be a source of optimism and pessimism at the same time.

Video and Transcript : Obama-Netanyahu News Conference

Torture: More on the CIA-Military, Guantanamo-Iraq Link

"[Even] before [General Geoffrey] Miller met with the Abu Ghraib officials, he first made a little-known visit to the Iraq Survey Group, which was in charge of the hunt for WMDs in Iraq after the invasion. Miller told the ISG they were “running a country club” by not getting tough on detainees….Miller recommended temperature manipulation and sleep deprivation."

The Historical Case for Torture

How it looked 2000 years ago....

18 May 2009
Revelations on Afghanistan and Torture; Obama at Notre Dame

Today on Enduring America

Revealed: Zelikow Memorandum Says Torture is not OK (Unless It’s Effective)

"Ask the DNI [Director of National Intelligence] whether, based on years of experience now accumulated worldwide and in Iraq, the U.S. can achieve its intelligence objectives while treating detainees humanely, as that term is defined under minimum international standards. Or, alternatively, ask whether experience shows it is necessary, in order to achieve intelligence objectives, to have the right to use practices regarded as cruel, inhuman, and degrading."

UPDATED Torture: The Hidden Photos Emerge

Re our Saturday post on the emergence of 15 of the photographs whose release was blocked by President Obama: Italian newspapers La Repubblica and Il Corriere della Sera have now published some of the photos.

Afghanistan Document: US, Coalition Casualties Up 55%

Military Summary: "There has been a 64% increase in insurgent attacks, an 80% increase in IED [improvised explosive device] attacks, a 90% increase in attacks on the Afghan government based in Kabul. ISAF deaths were up 55%, but recorded civilian deaths were down 44%."

Video and Transcript: Obama Speech at Notre Dame Graduation

17 May 2009
Afghanistan, The Torture Photos, and Pakistan's Offensive

Today on Enduring America

Afghanistan: US Special Operations, Civilian Deaths, and the New US Commander

On Friday, The Independent of London put together some pieces of a military puzzle, linking US special operations and Afghan deaths from American bombing and missiles, to declare, “The US Marines Corps’ Special Operations Command, or MarSOC…was behind at least three of Afghanistan’s worst civilian casualty incidents.”

Torture: The Hidden Photos Emerge

After a great deal of discussion, Enduring America has decided to post the two “most moderate” photographs. We do so not to be sensationalist or voyeuristic but to show the “enhanced interrogation” carried out in America’s name not only in Iraq but from Guantanamo Bay to Afghanistan to unnamed countries from 2002.

Torture: The Pelosi “Controversy” in One Sentence

A question put to Mr Karl Rove, a Bush advisor, when he wrote that Pelosi was an “accomplice to ‘torture’”.

Video: The Pakistani Offensive in the Swat Valley

Al Jazeera have a video report documenting Pakistani airstrikes and the reaction of residents of Mingora, the largest town in the area.

16 May 2009
Israel, Iran, and the US plus Obama Bows Down Again!

Today on Enduring America

Monday’s Israel-US Showdown: Iran First or Palestine First?

What President Obama needs now is not an Iranian concession but an Israeli one. If Netanyahu holds fast and does not open up the possibility of “genuine” talks with the Palestinian Authority, including discussions of political status as well as economic development and security, then Obama’s message — launched on Inauguration Day — of a new day in the Middle East is looking shaky.

Iran: Following Up the Roxana Saberi Case

Sometimes, the celebration is not only of a humanitarian outcome but of the less-than-humanitarian manoeuvres that lie behind it — and of the political and quite positive consequences that may follow.

President-Possibly-A-Muslim: Obama Bows Down…Again!

Last month Enduring America brought you the controversy surrounding Obama’s apparent bow to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia.  Now he’s at it again…and we have the picture to prove it.

15 May 2009
Obama's Excuses, Pentagon's Black Budgets, Israel's Shifting Alliances

Today on Enduring America

War on Terror Newsflash: Guantanamo Stays Open, Military Tribunals Resume

A day after President Obama’s reversal on the release of photographs of detainee abuse, his Administration made another concession to critics in Congress and the media. Three administration officials spread the word that Guantanamo Bay military tribunals will be resumed for some detainees.

The Torture Photos: Obama’s Six-Step Sidestep

Dan Froomkin: "In trying to explain his startling decision to oppose the public release of more photos depicting detainee abuse, President Obama and his aides put forth six excuses for his about-face, one more flawed than the next."

Secret Wars: Pentagon $50 Billion “Black Budget” Reaches for the Sky

Next year’s expenditure on covert operations will be close to the entire military budget of Britain, France, Japan, or even China,the next supposed superpower rival to the US.

Wobbling Alliances: The Israel-Turkey-Syria Triangle

Two weeks ago, Turkey and Syria held, for the first time in history, joint military drills. So what happens to other relationship, notably the long-standing ties between Ankara and Tel Aviv?

14 May 2009
Obama Puts Away The Abuse Photographs

Today on Enduring America

Mr President, Torture Still Matters: Obama Puts Away The Abuse Photographs

Obama’s reasons are flimsy and at times illogical. So, since the President is normally quite intelligent and logical, the statement is more of a cover-up than the actual reason behind his decision.

So what did happen? Obama gave in to pressure.

Video: Obama Decides Not to Release Photographs of Detainee Abuse

Video and Transcript: Bush Official Zelikow Condemns Torture Programmes

Ironically, as President Obama was trying to tuck away any more photographs revealing the US Government’s torture of detainees, former Bush Administration official Philip Zelikow was dissecting the legal and political cover for “enhanced interrogations” in testimony to a Senate committee.

Transcript: FBI Agent Ali Soufan Testifies on Torture

Soufan was one of the first agents to question Al Qa’eda operative Abu Zubaydah, and by “connecting” with the detainee, he learned the identity of 9/11 planner Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

Torture: Today’s Side-Splitting but Thoughtful Cartoon

13 May 2009
Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and Torture Then and Now

Today on Enduring America

Sri Lanka: The Hidden Slaughter

It is estimated that the “Sri Lanka mess”, in which Government forces are fighting the insurgency of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam has killed an estimated 6500 civilians in recent weeks. Yet it has been effectively a non-story in US and British media.

Sri Lanka: “Why is the World Not Helping?”

Vany Kumar: "This is really a disaster. I don’t know really how to explain it. At the moment, it is like hell."

Al-Qaeda In Pakistan: Making The Local Global

It’s a complicated relationship, with al-Qaeda’s ‘global’ jihadis tapping in to local militancy and vice versa.

Torture Then: When “Enhanced Interrogation” Started

21 October 2001: "FBI and Justice Department investigators are increasingly frustrated by the silence of jailed suspected associates of Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda network, and some are beginning to that say that traditional civil liberties may have to be cast aside if they are to extract information about the Sept. 11 attacks and terrorist plans."

Torture Now: Jon Stewart Takes on the New Dick Cheney

“At long last, Mr Vice President, have you no sense of deceptiveness?”

Video and Transcript: Dick Cheney on Fox News (12 May)

Yep, him again.

Swine Flu Latest: Introducing the News/Death Ratio

Swine Flu: 8176
Tuberculosis: 0.1

12 May 2009
Petraeus Makes His Move on Afghanistan

Today on Enduring America

Now It’s Petraeus’ War: US Replaces Top Commander in Afghanistan

This is not Secretary of Defense Robert Gates’ war. This is not President Obama’s war. This one has been claimed by David Petraeus.

Transcript: Gates-Mullen Briefing on US Command Change in Afghanistan

Iran: Roxana Saberi Freed from Tehran Prison

A day after her appeal of an 8-year sentence for espionage, Iranian-American journalist Roxana Saberi was freed from jail in Tehran.

11 May 2009
Afghanistan, Pakistan, A Little Torture, and A Bit More Dick Cheney

Today on Enduring America

A Little Torture: New Revelations of CIA Sleep Deprivation Programme

Justice Department Memos: "More than 25 of the CIA’s prisoners were subjected to sleep deprivation. At one point, the agency was allowed to keep prisoners awake for as long as 11 days; the limit was later reduced to just over a week."

10 May 2009
Saberi Appeal in Iran, Obama the Stand-Up,
and Nazis Not So Bad Shocker

Today on Enduring America

Iran: Court Hears Roxana Saberi Appeal

The appeal of the Iranian-American journalist, sentenced to 8 years for espionage, began Sunday.

Video: Obama Tries Out Comedy at White House Correspondents’ Dinner

Even if you don’t get the string of inside-Washington jokes, the first two-thirds of the speech — before Obama pays tribute to the press amidst its current financial crisis —  is really funny.

Republican Congressman: Nazis Not So Bad (Compared to Guantanamo Detainees)

Adolf Hitler, claim your partial exoneration. Josef Goebbels, hold fast to your propaganda. Hermann Goering, give back the cyanide. Y’all may have killed millions, started one of the two bloodiest conflicts of all time, and generally been nasty, but Congressman Pete Hoekstra has given you partial absolution.

9 May 2009
Obama in the Middle East, Odierno in Iraq, Scott Lucas on Press TV

Today on Enduring America

US Troops Staying in Iraqi Cities Past June Deadline (and to 2024?)

General Raymond Odierno returned to the attack at a briefing in Washington: up to one-fifth of American combat troops may stay in Iraqi cities beyond the 30 June deadline.

Obama to Link New Speech to Muslims with Israel-Palestine Initiative?

Obama will make another general appeal for “engagement”, then have meetings and photo opportunities with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas.

Scott Lucas on Press TV: The UN Report on Israel’s Killing of Gaza Civilians

On Thursday I appeared, with Richard Millett of IsraelConnect, on Press TV’s Four Corners to discuss the United Nations Board of Inquiry report on the deaths of Gazan civilians in the recent Israeli military operations.

Anti-American Euro-Weenie Update: Dangerous Writer Grounds Trans-Atlantic Flight

Fortunately, our alert homeland security forces were able to stop Hernando Calvo Ospina, a Colombian writer corrupted by his residency in France, before he could strike us with biting sarcasm or villainous irony.

8 May 2009
Afghanistan-Pakistan Special plus...Clinton for the Supreme Court?

Today on Enduring America

The Summit: Obama Fiddles, Afghanistan and Pakistan Burn

If you want significance, it came not in Washington but back in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Here are the articles that mattered: “Civilian Deaths Imperil Support for Afghan War“, “In Pakistan, ‘Great Rage, Great Fear’“, and, this morning, “Afghans Protest over Farah Deaths“.

Afghanistan Civilian Deaths: US Military Un-Apologises

The “collateral damage” — not to the innocent but to the US military — must be limited.

Beyond the Summit: Pepe Escobar on Obama-Bush in Afghanistan-Pakistan

This was far from being an urgent meeting to discuss ways to prevent the end of civilization as we know it. It has been all about the meticulous rebranding of the Pentagon’s “Long War”.

Beyond the Summit: Dan Froomkin on Afghanistan and Pakistan

It’s worth stopping to consider what the “military solution” has been looking like recently in this region of the world.

Enduring America Suggests: William Jefferson Clinton for the Supreme Court

If there were impeachment proceedings before the Supreme Court, he would be in a position of experience to lead.

Torture: A Captain Kangaroo Court for the Bush Administration

Stephen Colbert: “President Raccoon had a magic letter, so it was not a violation of Common Article III of the Geneva Conventions”

Hamas Talks, Afghanistan-Pakistan Politics,
and The Legacy of Ronald Reagan

Today on Enduring America

EA Exclusive: Palestine’s Hamas Sends Message to Obama Administration, Wants Talks

The Lebanese broadcaster Al Manar is reporting that Hamas has passed a message to the Obama Administration through an European official.

United Nations Report: Israel Deliberately Fired on Gaza Schools/Shelters

I’m not sure how many folks are still paying attention — the Gaza War is so yesterday — but a United Nations Board of Inquiry has found that the Israeli military deliberately fired on UN schools, which were being used as civilian shelters, during the conflict.

Video and Transcript: Obama Remarks After Meeting Afghanistan’s Karzai and Pakistan’s Zardari (6 May)

Obama's message: "OK, boys, we’re not going to push you out of office, but you best be co-operating with us now."

Tuesday’s Mass Killing in Afghanistan: US Military Begins The Lying

This is already a glaring example of how the Obama policy in Afghanistan will be undone not only by US military action, but by the attempts to cover up the consequences of those actions.

Transcript: Pakistani President Zardari Gets Schooled by CNN (5 May)

Josh Mull: "Zardari is…trying to remain calm and classy while the anchors explain to him how his country works"

Economic Crisis: The World Bank Turns Into The World’s Good Guys

Will the descendants of today's 'conscientious' problem-solving guys will have enough concern and courage to criticize the cyclical dynamics of global capitalism when, after an upturn, there is again the possibility of maximising profits?

History Corner: Did Reagan and Gorbachev “Win” the Cold War?

Our partner, The Journal of American Studies, has posted a challenging roundtable on Melvyn Leffler’s recent book, For the Soul of Mankind: The United States, the Soviet Union, and the Cold War: "Were or were not leaders decisive?”

Republican Street Fight: Mitt Romney Runs from Bears, Ronald Reagan, Sarah Palin

2008 GOP Presidential candidate Mitt Romney got a bit lippy about Sarah Palin’s recent appearance on Time magazine’s list of most influential people: “”Was that the issue on the most beautiful people or the most influential people?”

Devoted Palinists, rather than taking the “most beautiful” compliment, hit back.

6 May 2009
US Shift on Israel-Syria?; Bringing Jesus to Afghanistan

Today on Enduring America

An Israeli-Syrian Peace? Biden, US Give Conflicting Signals

In the span of 24 hours, the Obama Administration went from demanding dual peace tracks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority and between Israel and Syria to a simple acceptance of the Israeli line on Syrian control of the Golan Heights as a security threat.

Or maybe not.

Video: Vice President Biden at AIPAC Policy Conference

Biden's most challenging statement was a call on Israel to freeze settlement expansion and grant greater freedom of movement to Palestinians as a means of demonstrating Israel’s commitment to Palestinian statehood: “Show me.”

Video: Afghan President Karzai at Brookings Institution (5 May)

Nothing stunning in the talk, but a confident and lucid Karzai emphasised Afghan advances in social services and political development. Doing so, he set up a powerful counter-narrative to the charges that he and his advisors are corrupt and ineffective leaders.

Video: Raw Footage of US Soldiers “Hunting People for Jesus” in Afghanistan

A Very Religious War: US Military “Hunt People for Jesus” in Afghanistan

Head US Military Chaplain: "We do the same things as Christians, we hunt people for Jesus. We do, we hunt them down. Get the hound of heaven after them, so we get them into the kingdom."

Bright Idea of the Day: Attack Pakistan’s Nuclear Weapons

Noah Pollak on the blog of Commentary magazine: “The current chaos could provide a pretext for a U.S. operation to seize or destroy the Pakistani arsenal.”

5 May 2009
Karzai Out-Manoeuvres the US, Netanyahu Makes a Move,
Mullen Pushes on Pakistan

Today on Enduring America

Afghanistan: Karzai Out-manoeuvres the United States

Somewhere there are cats marvelling at the lives of Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai.

Video: Admiral Mullen Briefing on Pakistan-Afghanistan (4 May)

Mullen’s immediate purpose was to push both countries as the priority for American foreign and military policy: while the US “remain committed to the mission we’ve been given in Iraq”, it had now been overtaken by crises which left him “gravely concerned”: “This isn’t about can-do anymore, this is about must-do.”

Video: Benjamin Netanyahu to AIPAC Policy Conference — The Threat is Iran

The six-minute presentation was a far-from-subtle pitch to identify Tehran as Public Enemy Number One, linking it to both Fascism and Soviet Communism.

Iran: Roxana Saberi Appeal to Be Heard Next Week?

The case of Iranian-American journalist Roxana Saberi, jailed in Iran for eight years on charges of espionage, may be moving to a legal and diplomatic conclusion.

Anti-American Euro-Weenie Alert: Polish Piano Player Really Mad at US

A tongue-in-cheek look at the hysteria around concert pianist Krystian Zimerman's criticism of US military policies.

4 May 2009
Violence, Politics, and Anti-American Alerts

Today on Enduring America

More on “Bye, Bye Zardari”, Hello Pakistan Military

Video and Transcript: Secretary of Defense Gates on CNN (3 May)

Iraq: The “Semi-Peace” Gets More Violent, the US Becomes Less Relevant

Meanwhile in Iraq: Iran Looks for a Border Settlement

Anti-American Euro-Weenie Alert: Polish Piano Player Really Mad at US

3 May 2009
Tremors from Pakistan, Israel, and Palestine

Today on Enduring America

Bye Bye Zardari (Again)? Washington Considers The Political Alternative in Pakistan

What is significant in the latest report is the open backing of Obama officials of Nawaz Sharif, Zardari's long-time rival.

Land before Peace: Israel Threatens to Demolish Palestinian Homes in East Jerusalem

A United Nations report, released Friday, has found that up to 60,000 Palestinians are at risk of eviction in East Jerusalem.

Arms for the Middle East (and Beyond): Israel Goes Bollywood

Aerial weapons manufacturer Rafael: “Together, forever, I will hold you in my heart. Together, forever, we will never be apart.”

2 May 2009
George Lipsitz, Clinton's Warnings, and US-Russian Strains

Today on Enduring America

Podcast Special: George Lipsitz on America’s “Bitter but Beautiful Struggle”

Video: Clinton Warns Iran, China, Latin America at State Department Town Hall Meeting

On Friday, it was “get tough” Hillary, strapping on her shoulder pads for a contest with Beijing and Tehran in Latin America.

May Day, May Day: The Strains in US-Russian Relations

NATO expelled two top Russian diplomats after accusing them of spying and Russia signed a treaty strengthening its ties with the separatist regions at the center of the controversial war. Are Russia’s relations with the West doomed to fail?

An Enduring America Record (Thanks to You and Winnie the Pooh)

With a last-minute assist from Winnie the Pooh’s intervention on Swine Flu, Enduring America has set a monthly record for pageviews.

Swine Flu Gonna Get You: US Government Warnings from 1976

“Swine Flu? Man, I ain’t gonna let it catch me!”

1 May 2009
Hillary Clinton and Robert Gates on US Foreign Policy

Today on Enduring America

Aid and Warning: Clinton Backs Abbas, Gives Zardari Space, Puts Karzai on Notice

Quick question: which of these three — President of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari, President of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai (pictured), or former President of the West Bank Mahmoud Abbas — should be feeling most secure this morning about support from Washington?

Clinton/Gates to Israel (and Congress): Back Off on Iran

Gates’ statement is a clear indication that, for the foreseeable future, the Obama Administration is committed to an “engagement” to get a resolution: Iran renounces any intention of pursuing nuclear weapons, the US eases economic sanctions, and the two countries co-operate in some areas and reduce their conflict in others.

Video and Transcript: Robert Gates Remarks to Senate Appropriations Committee (30 April)

Video and Transcript: Hillary Clinton Remarks to Senate Appropriations Committee (30 April)

Condoleezza Rice: It Wasn’t Torture (Because the President Ordered It)

“The president instructed us that nothing we would do would be outside of our obligations, legal obligations under the Convention Against Torture….And so by definition, if it was authorized by the president, it did not violate our obligations under the Convention Against Torture.”

The Upside of Swine Flu: Sarah Palin Joins Twitter

Here is today’s Palinism: “We still have no reported cases of swine flu.”

30 April 2009
Obama's Press Conference Special plus Specter and Swine Flu

Today on Enduring America

Obama Press Conference: Nailing Torture, Trashing the Pakistani Government

The President's messages: Waterboarding is Torture, Pakistani President Zardari is disposable, the Pakistani military is not.

Video and Transcript: President Obama “Day 100″ Press Conference (29 April)

Video and Transcript: President Obama at St. Louis Town Hall Meeting (29 April)

Video: Senator Arlen Specter Switches to Democrats from Republicans

Miss California Says NOM on Same-Sex Marriage

A new advertising pin-up for "opposite marriage"....

Swine Flu Latest: Winnie-the-Pooh Offers Advice

Videos: Swine Flu (and The Daily Show) Bringing You “The Last 100 Days”

When all else fails in the face of farce and farcical fear, turn to The Daily Show for the way forward on swine flu, “last on the list of things that can kill you in Mexico”.

Video: Who Brought Us Swine Flu? Illegal Alien Terrorist Mexicans

Michelle Malkin is sure that the cause is “uncontrolled immigration”, but it’s radio talk-show host Michael Savage who puts the vital question, “Could this be a terrorist attack through Mexico? Could our dear friends in the radical Islamic countries have concocted this virus and planted it in Mexico?”

29 April 2009
Obama So Far, Torture, and Swine Flu

Today on Enduring America

Scott Lucas on BBC Radio: How Is Obama Doing?

Gaza: Where’s the Reconstruction Money?

Video: US Public Diplomacy, Elizabeth Cheney, and the Denial of Torture

Flashback: The Bush Administration Knew It was Torture

How Swine Flu Started: Nationalised Medicine, Poor People, Democrats

28 April 2009
 Why Torture Matters plus
"Security" in Egypt, Iran, and the US

Today on Enduring America

Enduring America Special: Why Torture Matters

" Any attempt to pretend that we can just whisk away torture as a silly little aberration, is a disgrace to those of us who believe that “America” should stand for something beyond the expedient and the power-hungry."

We still believe that. So today Enduring America features three opinion pieces and analyses — by Frank Rich of The New York Times and by historians Mark Danner and Andy Worthington, that offer both answers and reasons why we should never forget.

Why Torture Matters: Who Ordered the Torture of Abu Zubaydah?

Andy Worthington: "It remains to be seen whether the Obama administration is committed to abiding by the laws that President Obama praised so lavishly during his election campaign, or whether, instead, he and his administration are committed to reading from a different book: How to Torture With Impunity And Get Away With It, by former Vice President Dick Cheney and an array of associates, all intoxicated with the thrill of unfettered executive power, which concludes by claiming that you get away with breaking any damn law that you please, so long as you’re voted out of office at the end."

Why Torture Matters: If Everyone Knew, Who’s to Blame?

Mark Danner: "The first paradox of the torture scandal is that it is not about things we didn’t know but about things we did know and did nothing about."

Why Torture Matters: The Banality of Bush White House Evil

Frank Rich: "We don’t need another commission. We don’t need any Capitol Hill witch hunts. What we must have are fair trials that at long last uphold and reclaim our nation’s commitment to the rule of law."

Egypt: Security, Threats, and Politics

Global Post: "It only takes spending a couple of hours in Egypt to discover that the entire structure of the Egyptian state is centered around the security apparatus."

Beyond Roxana Saberi: Javed Iqbal Jailed in US for Al-Manar News Broadcasts

This week Javed Iqbal, a Pakistani citizen and US resident, was jailed for six years for carrying the broadcasts of al-Manar, the television channel affiliated with the Lebanese political movement Hezbollah.

Beyond Roxana Saberi: The Arrest of Esha Momeni in Iran

Last October, California State University graduate student Esha Momeni was detained in Tehran’s Evin Prison. Momeni, an Iranian-American dual national, was researching her thesis on the women’s rights movement in Iran when she was picked up by the authorities.

27 April 2009
 Ahmadinejad's Weekend Interview with US Television

Today on Enduring America

Reading Mahmoud in Tehran: Ahmadinejad Engages (and Wins) in US Television Interview

Ahmadinejad’s most important message was: You can’t keep us out of the Middle East. And, indeed, if the US makes little progress before July — whether or not he still is President of Iran — he might be right.

Video and Transcript: Iran’s Ahmadinejad on ABC’s This Week (26 April)

Living the Bubble Life in Miami

When one is young and the world still resembles an oyster, when total reality has yet to hit, when annual sunshine — give or take a hurricane or two — is the staple diet, maybe the bubble that is Miami Beach is not so bad.

26 April 2009
 Hillary in Baghdad; Lucas on Iran/Israel; Waterboarding for Charity

Today on Enduring America

Video: Hillary Clinton in Baghdad

"[The latest attacks] do not reflect any diversion from the security progress that has been made."

Scott Lucas on Press TV: Will Israel Attack Iran?

The Israeli threat is best seen as a political manoeuvre to get Washington to break off engagement with Iran (and to stall on any negotiations over a Palestinian state).

Waterboarding Fox’s Sean Hannity for Charity - Will You Help?

GRODIN: Would you consent to being waterboarded?

HANNITY: Yeah. Sure.

GRODIN: And we can waterboard you. Are you busy on Sunday?

HANNITY: I’ll do it for charity.

“Pain” And “Suffering” As Distinct Concepts: The Waterboarding Memo Set To Music

What starts of as a novelty music video quickly becomes much more.

25 April 2009
 Torture, Iraq, Sri Lanka, and Obama as JFK?

Today on Enduring America

Saturday Special: Is Barack Obama Another JFK?

However talented and however capable, Obama may struggle to develop a fully effective foreign policy until he can eradicate some of the difficulties that blighted the early hope of his Democratic predecessor almost fifty years ago.

Discovering How the US Became a “Torturing Democracy”

A few of many notable examples from the excellent documentary Torturing Democracy.

Fox News Anchor: “We Do Not F****** Torture!”

Here’s a passionate, symbolic marker of the US crossing the Rubicon of the illegal, immoral activities of the Bush years.

Latest from Iraq: When Violence Goes Beyond “Violent Semi-Peace”

Hillary Clinton's blame of “rejectionist efforts” for violence is uncomfortably close to Donald Rumsfeld’s confidence in 2003 that it was only “dead-enders” causing trouble in Iraq.

Death and Deprivation for Sri Lanka’s Tamils: Has Anyone Noticed?

Global Post: "An estimated 70,000 Tamils have been killed in the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam’s decades-long struggle for independence against the Sri Lankan government. Civilians trapped between the Tamil Tigers and government troops are in particularly dire straits right now. But their suffering is largely unseen by the world."

Video: Corporal Rick Reyes on Afghanistan and “Creating Enemies Out of Civilians”

"We weren’t fulfilling our objective of capturing terrorists, but instead creating enemies out of civilians."

24 April 2009
Israel v. Iran and President Chuck Norris

Today on Enduring America

Scott Lucas in The Guardian: Obama Administration’s Battle over Iran and Israel

It’s no surprise that Obama's "engagement", given a generation of tension between Washington and Tehran, has been challenged in the US. What’s more interesting is that the greatest threat to Obama’s engagement comes not from media sceptics from Fox News to the Wall Street Journal or the foundations now packed with refugees from the Bush administration or even the Middle Eastern institutes putting a priority on Israeli security. No, Obama’s most daunting opponents are within his own administration.

Israel’s Emerging Statesmen: Avigdor Lieberman and Natan Sharansky

Global Post: "The two men couldn’t carry themselves more differently and you don’t have to be a longtime observer of Israel to know which one fits in better with the western diplomatic community and is most favored by America.

Trouble is they’re essentially the same guy."

Meet Your Next President of Texas: Mr Chuck Norris

When Texas declares independence from the liberally decadent United States, its first leader will be the star of Missing in Action, Delta Force, and, of course, Walker: Texas Ranger.

23 April 2009
From Durban II to Israel v. Iran, "Threat" in Pakistan, Torture, and Polygamy

Today on Enduring America

Durban II: The Conference Against Racism Gives Way to Israel Against Iran

The criticism, in the end, is not that Israel and Iran have seized the “beacon of light” to control the “beacon of warning”. It is that we let them.

Video: Hillary Clinton Says “Existential Threat” in Pakistan (22 April 2009)

“I think that we cannot underscore the seriousness of the existential threat posed to the state of Pakistan by continuing advances, now within hours of Islamabad, that are being made by a loosely confederated group of terrorists and others who are seeking the overthrow of the Pakistani state, a nuclear-armed state.”

Senate Armed Service Committee Report: Bush and Co. Authorised Torture

“The abuse of detainees in U.S. custody cannot simply be attributed to the actions of ‘a few bad apples’ acting on their own."

Roxana Saberi Update: Positive Signs Despite a Hopeless TV Interview

Let’s hope that others, less publicly and much more relevantly than ABC Television, are moving towards a real resolution.

Culture Wars Warning: First Same-Sex Marriage, Then Polygamy


22 April 2009
Racism Conference, Obama/Cheney Speeches, and Culture Wars

Today on Enduring America

Video and Analysis of Obama Torture Statement: Let’s Blame the Lawyers?

Presidents and their right-hand men — unless they are overthrown in coups or toppled by wars — don’t wind up in jail. Their lawyers, however, are expendable.

The Daily Show and Karl Rove: “Oh, No, Our Torture Techniques Have Been Ruined”

Jon Stewart: ”Apparently everyone’s not upset about the fact that we torture. They’re upset about the fact that we know about it.”

Israel-Palestine: Obama Invites Netanyahu, Abbas, Mubarak to US

We now know the US plan for Israel and Palestine in full.

Let’s Talk. If Only for the Sake of Talking.

Palestine: The Acceptable Taking of an Innocent Life

No rational individual should endorse any anti-Semitic statement or action. However, no rational individual should endorse a mentality that hides behind pretexts to justify the killing of an unarmed man protesting against ‘injustice’ in a non-violent demonstration.

Analysis: Today’s Elections in South Africa

Somehow, in less than a generation, a country that was once the world’s pariah has transformed itself from dictatorship to democracy.

More Twitter Diplomacy

This seems more like an attempt to put US companies at the forefront of any internet goldrush in the Arabic-speaking world.

21 April 2009
Racism Conference, Obama/Cheney Speeches, and Culture Wars

Today on Enduring America

Durban II: Boycotts and Politics Take over Conference against Racism

Amidst all this diplomatic posturing, the foundation of the conference has been lost.

Video: Extract from Ahmadinejad Speech, Delegate Walkout at Durban Conference

Video: Dick Cheney’s Fox News Interview and the Defense of Torture

Dick, I know where the memos are that showed “what we gained as a result” of torture. They got misfiled in that big folder labelled, “Iraq’s Weapons of Mass Destruction”.

Video: Obama Speech to CIA Employees (20 April)

Video: Obama Closing Remarks at Summit of the Americas (19 April)

Winning the Culture Wars: How the “Gathering Storm” over Same-Sex Marriage was Defeated

Even as Tea Party demonstrations were taking place, a significant episode was being played out on the Internet. In that battle lay not consensus but a victory for the dangerous “liberals”, one that would have been hard to conceive even 20 years ago.

Winning the Culture Wars (Part 2): Stephen Colbert Parts the Gathering Storm

Did you know that if all 50 states approve same-sex marriage, straight marriage becomes illegal?”

20 April 2009
Who Leads Pakistan?, Torture Memos, and Saberi Update from Iran

Today on Enduring America

Pakistan: Who’s in Charge? (Clue from Washington: General Kiyani)

Question of the Day: Who is the most important “reliable” leader in Pakistan?

No, it’s not — at least if you’re a key official in the Obama Administration — President Asif Ali Zardari.

War on Terror Watch: Putting Away the “Torture is Effective” Argument

Two articles this weekend got to the heart of the matter: the Bush-era torture didn’t work.

19 April 2009
Iran, Somalia, and the Obama-Chavez Handshake

Today on Enduring America

Analysis: Iran Jails Journalist Saberi for 8 Years on Espionage Charges

It could be that judicial forces wanted to show “independence” from political pressure (ironic given that this is a politicised case) and moved quickly. Alternatively, Iranian political elements — reacting to perceived US pressure or raising the stakes, both in internal Iranian political manoeuvring and in US-Iranian relations — pushed for a lengthy jail sentence.

Venezuela Update: Ohmigod, Obama Shook Chavez’s Hand! He Took His Book!

This is one of the major foreign policy stories of this Administration.

Quote of the Day: Hillary Clinton on the New Relationship with Latin America

Somalia: Toxic Waste and Piracy

Flashback to October 2008: "Somali pirates have accused European firms of dumping toxic waste off the Somali coast and are demanding an $8m ransom for the return of a Ukranian ship they captured, saying the money will go towards cleaning up the waste."

18 April 2009
In the Loop with Israel-Palestine, Somalia, and Bush-Era Torture

Today on Enduring America

Israel-Palestine: What Has Happened to George Mitchell’s Talks?

Funny thing about US envoy George Mitchell’s latest visit to the Middle East: most of the US and British press didn’t take much notice.

The Torture Memos: A Quick Response to George W. Bush’s Officials

You are deceivers and liars. In an ideal world, you would be held to criminal account for your actions; in this world (ironically thanks to yesterday’s Administration decisions) you will face no formal prosecution.

Somalia: From Pirate War to Land War?

U.S. and European officials are increasingly discussing the possibility of bringing the fight on land to address the roots of the problem in Somalia.

17 April 2009
Torture, Trials in Iran, and After the Tea Party

Today on Enduring America

Tea Parties, Violence, and Politics

As fun as it was, the tea-bagging parody doesn’t shoo away anger and it certainly doesn’t banish the polarising and manipulative groups behind the protests. Emotions will continue to be fraught, so politics must be fought through engagement rather than dismissal.

Text and Analysis of Obama Statement: 4 Torture Memos Released, No Prosecutions of Interrogators

From warrantless surveillance to rendition to unlimited detention, Gitmo-style, at Camp Bagram in Afghanistan, the Administration is playing the political game of “Look at the other guys, don’t fret about us.”

Bush-Cheney Official Armitage on Torture: “Maybe I Should Have Quit”

When Richard Armitage tells Al Jazeera that he should have resigned over the Bush Administration’s treatment of prisoners of war, this is not the regret of an official who was opposed to the campaign against Al Qa’eda and international terrorism.

Iran: The Dangers of the Roxana Saberi Espionage Trial

It is essential that US-Iran discussions, leading to a more productive relationship diplomatic, economic, and cultural relationship, continue. It is just as essential that, in the name of those discussions, Roxana Saberi is not seen as expendable.

Crisis in Guatemala?

While U.S. attention has rightly been focused on Mexico’s drug wars — with high-profile trips by President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton before this weekend’s Summit of the Americas — Mexico’s southern neighbor is in far more serious danger of becoming a failed state.

16 April 2009
Odierno Backs Down Over Iraq, US Talks to Afghan Insurgent Leader,
and Assessment of US-Iran Talks

Today on Enduring America

The “Lightning War” and US-Mexico Relations

The violence is far from new — and it’s not just a “Mexican” situation, as even a cursory glance at the US will show — but it is a challenge to the institutional stability of the country.

Global Post: 10 Facts on Mexico’s “Lightning War”

Combating Somali Piracy: How Many People Can We Afford To Kill?

To put it bluntly, the real question at hand is how many Somali people we really feel like killing right now.

Somalia: “Why We Don’t Condemn Our Pirates”

K'Naan: "Can anyone ever really be for piracy? Outside of sea bandits, and young girls fantasizing of Johnny Depp, would anyone with an honest regard for good human conduct really say that they are in support of Sea Robbery? Well in Somalia, the answer is: it’s complicated."

Laila el-Haddad: Stranded as a Palestinian

“The quintessential Palestinian experience,” historian Rashid Khalidi has written, “takes place at a border, an airport, a checkpoint: in short, at any one of those many modern barriers where identities are checked and verified.”

A Grand Republican Teabagging: The Day After

Thousands took the leap of the faithful and Tea-bagged in Boston, Philadelphia, Washington DC, and even Batesville, Arkansas, a newcomer to the Tea-bagging phenomenon.

15 April 2009
Odierno Backs Down Over Iraq, US Talks to Afghan Insurgent Leader,
and Assessment of US-Iran Talks

Today on Enduring America

Enduring America Links Up With Global Post

Launched in January, Global Post has already established itself as one of the leading sources of international news and analysis. We believe that its international coverage is the ideal complement to Enduring America’s analysis of US politics and foreign policy.

After the Rescue: What Now with Somalia?

Global Post: "After the dramatic rescue of American captain Richard Phillips from the clutches of Somali pirates, U.S. President Barack Obama announced his determination to end piracy: 'We remain resolved to halt the rise of piracy in this region,' he said. Easier said than done."

US-Iran Engagement: Washington to Drop Nuclear Precondition on Talks?

The trend continues to be towards US-Iran negotiation, rather than confrontation.

Espionage Trial of Iranian-American Journalist Begins in Tehran

The Iranian judiciary has announced that Roxana Saberi's trial has opened.

Enduring America: Your #1 Site for Republican Teabagging (with Updates!)

Actually we’re #3 on Google for “Republican teabagging” behind the YouTube videos of “The Young Turks” and MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, but we’re hoping to become the #1 legitimate site by the time of the Teabagging Parties on Tax Day tomorrow.

14 April 2009
Odierno Backs Down Over Iraq, US Talks to Afghan Insurgent Leader,
and Assessment of US-Iran Talks

Today on Enduring America

Gaza War: How the US Re-Armed Israel

A week before Israel launched its first attacks on 27 December, US sources shipped 989 20-foot containers of military supplies. The 14,000 tons of munitions replenished those used by the Israelis during the war.

Pakistan: Government Approves Sharia Law in Northwest Province

The political situation in Pakistan has twisted once again.

President-is-a-Muslim Coverup: CNN Replaces “Obama Bow” with White House Dog

Enduring America can exclusively reveal that CNN, well-known propaganda arm of the Obama Administration, bumped the very important story of Obama's bow to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia for in-depth coverage of the White House arrival of Bo, the Portuguese water dog.

13 April 2009
Odierno Backs Down Over Iraq, US Talks to Afghan Insurgent Leader,
and Assessment of US-Iran Talks

Today on Enduring America

UPDATE: General Odierno Backs Down over Obama's Iraq Plan?

It appears the General — after his apparent challenge to the White House withdrawal plan earlier this week — has beat a retreat.

Video and Transcript: General Odierno on CNN’s State of the Union

Shirvin Zeinalzadeh: The Possibilities of US-Iran Talks

Beyond the electoral short-term, the Iranian nuclear program should be compared to a ’slow boat to self-independence’. It is a long and expensive journey, but it will get there in the end.

Afghanistan Exclusive: US Talking to Insurgent Leader Gulbuddin Hektamayar

US officials have been in discussions with a key Hekmatayar assistant, Daoud Abedi, an Afghan-American businessman based in California.

Israel-Palestine: The Dance Resumes as Abbas Calls Netanyahu

On the eve of George Mitchell's visit to the Middle East, the Palestinian Authority leader and former President of the West Bank, Mahmoud Abbas, has called the current Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu for a “friendly and warm” conversation.

12 April 2009
Funding Palestine's Civil War, The Military v. Obama,
and Glenn Beck Goes Crazy

Today on Enduring America

Don’t Blink: Obama Administration Funds the Civil War in Palestine

For the low price of $815 million, American tax-payers have propped up an oppressive dictatorship, intensified a Palestinian civil war, enabled acts of terrorism against Israeli civilians, and provided the excuses Israel needs to further pummel the Palestinian population.

Obama v. The Military (Part 441): Odierno Launches an Offensive from Iraq

Only weeks after the compromise of a 19-month withdrawal was announced, Odierno has returned to the attack.

Are Americans Turning Socialist?

The extent to which the Obama Administration is perceived as ‘successful’ in halting the recession through a well-designed stimulus plan could re-shape beliefs. Could American youth, two-thirds of whom do not embrace ” capitalism”, lead that change?

Rabble-Rouser on Fire: Glenn Beck, Tom Paine, and Obama’s Pearl Harbor/9-11 Fascism

Last Wednesday, as “Barack Obama”, Glenn Beck pretended to douse a Fox staffer in gasoline/petrol and set him on fire. Two days later, he brought Tom Paine to life.

11 April 2009
Guantanamo Threats, CIA Director's Rendition, Mister Rogers' Evil,
and Republican Party Teabag Revolution

Today on Enduring America

Video and Transcript: Guantánamo Lawyers Facing US Jail Time?

Clive Stafford Smith and Ahmad Ghappour, lawyers for a number of Guantánamo Bay detainees, have been summoned to court over a letter they sent to President Obama detailing the torture their client Binyam Mohamed claims he faced.

Torture News: CIA Director Shipped to Kabul in Hazing Ritual

Before the secret prisons were put out of business, they were sent one more very special “guest”.

Fox News Exclusive: “Mister Rogers” Ruined US Children

The deep thinkers at Fox News, drawing upon a “study” by a Louisiana State University professor, now bring the shocking news that Mr Rogers — more than the Soviets or the Chinese or the North Vietnamese even hippies — planted the seeds for the downfall of America.

US Politics: Republican Teabagging Revolution Begins

Preparing for Tea Parties on 15 April, the deadline for filing US tax returns, the new revolutionaries have sent hundreds, maybe thousands, of teabags to members of Congress. They are promising to “Teabag Obama” and “Teabag Liberal Democrats”.

10 April 2009
Israel-Syria Talks, US-Iran Engagement, and Petraeus-Obama Battles

Today on Enduring America

Iran’s Pride: Ahmadinejad Speech on Nuclear Programme

Did this stop the American approach to Iran before it really started?


Exclusive: A Turkish “Vacation”, a US Envoy, and an Israel-Syria Settlement

What could Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s vacation and the Obama strategy on the Middle East have in common?

Quite a lot.

Pakistan: Leading Cleric Pulls Out of Peace Deal

If the deal does break down, it poses another challenge to the American strategy against the “safe havens” in northwest Pakistan.

Scott Lucas in The Guardian: Petraeus v. Obama

What we are witnessing goes beyond the egos and aspirations of two intelligent, confident American leaders. And it is beyond the dreaded v-word of the 1960s or the contrasting myth of Petraeus’ successful Iraq surge.

Muammer Qaddafi and the “Assassination Plot” against Barack Obama

Is Qaddafi just being a concerned citizen of the world?

You Think Blackwater was Scary? Wait til You Meet Northrop Grumman

After watching this, I’m not worried about Northrop’s moneypot drying up; I’m more concerned that they could take over the US Government, let alone some tinpot regime,

Latest Video: Do We Care about the Obama Bow?

9 April 2009
Direct US-Iran Talks to Begin?

Today on Enduring America

The Engagement is Official: US, Iran in Nuclear Talks

Washington is dropping its policy of no direct discussions with Tehran.

A Beginners’ Guide to Engagement with Iran

Peter Jones: "In many ways, discussions between Tehran and Washington will be more of a watershed for their leaders than they will be for us."

Iran: Journalist Roxana Saberi Charged with Espionage

The deputy head of the prosecutor’s office has claimed, “[Saberi] had been carrying out espionage activities … under the cover of a journalist … and she has accepted the accusations.”

Obama Bows Down to Saudi King! The Controversy Continues….

Here Comes The Obama Dictatorship….

Jon Stewart to his right-thinking friends:“I think you might be confusing tyranny with losing.”

8 April 2009
Obama Takes on Netanyahu?; Pakistan Takes on Holbrooke;
Palin Takes on North Korea

Today on Enduring America

Obama to Visit Israel, West Bank in June; Showdown with Netanyahu?

The initial skirmishes in an Obama-Netanyahu battle may have begun.

Mr Obama’s War: Pakistan Pushes Back at US Envoy Holbrooke

Pakistani officials did not follow the Obama script for a united War against Al Qa’eda/Taliban terror.

Analysis: Obama Talks with Iraq Prime Minister Al-Maliki

There is a serious tension between the local Sunni groups and Awakening Councils that the US military have been funding in the “surge” and the national Government.

Muntazar Al-Zaidi: Shoe-Throwing Sentence Reduced to One Year

Al-Zaidi had to do some jail time (and take a beating) because of the Iraq Government’s embarrassment. Now that Bush is an ex-President, however, all the fuss can be put away quietly.

Video and Transcript: President Obama in Iraq

Video and Transcript: President Obama’s Town Hall Meeting in Turkey

Sarah Palin: I Can See North Korea (and Military $$$$) From My House

Palin was deterred in no way from her brave statement by the fact that North Korea’s launch was a failure and that the satellite under development was a threat to the placid water of the Pacific Ocean rather than Wasilla or Anchorage or even Juneau.

7 April 2009
Obama Speech in Turkey; Pakistan a Failed State?

Today on Enduring America

Reading the Obama Ankara Speech: Turkey, We Need You

This was a talk which recognised that Ankara has a central place in both short-term and longer-term American initiatives and, doing so, set aside other general issues that could trouble the US-Turkish relationship.

Video and Transcript: Obama Speech in Turkey

Pakistan: Who’s Calling Who A Failed State?

When we call a country a failed state, it leads to extra-judicial killings and exorbitant numbers of civilian casualties.

Afghanistan: The Problem of Military-Led Development

Last week, a 25-page report by 11 non-governmental aid organisations set out concerns over the civil-military tension in US strategy towards Afghanistan.

Iran: No Giving Up the Nuclear Program. No Way.

Even as General David Petraeus and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen defy the Obama engagement strategy and try out the latest scare line — Israel is most definitely going to take out an Iranian nuclear facility — here’s a little tip-off from Agence France Presse that Tehran will not be giving up its atomic-energy programme.

Iraq: At Least 32 Killed, 124 Wounded in Baghdad Bombings

6 April 2009
Losing in Afghanistan, The NATO Summit, and Obama the Anti-Christ

Today on Enduring America

US Army Intelligence: We’re Losing In Afghanistan (and Al Qa’eda is Not Reason Number One)

Amidst all the flurry of Presidential announcements and Congressional hearings on Pakistan-Afghanistan, this is the most important document to sneak onto the Internet this week.

Obama in Europe Day Six: Prague

President Obama pledged to rid the world of nuclear weapons. His address, however, gave “a hawkish edge to a peacenik pursuit".

Scowcroft In Turkey: Did Someone Talk About ‘Hate’?

The former National Security Advisor said that the PJAK, the Iranian wing of the Kurdish PKK, was operating against Iranian armed forces with the support and encouragment of the George W. Bush Administration.

The American People Speak: Bomb North Korea

A Rasmussen poll announces “two thumbs up” for a military smack of North Korea after its (unsuccessful) test of a missile and satellite.

Obama Is The Anti-Christ. Definitely.

More evidence of Barack Obama’s uncanny ability to combine atheistic Communism with Satan-worship.

Obama ‘Bowing Down’ to Saudi King? But Conservapedia Fails To Deliver.

As we have been keeping a curious eye on Conservapedia, it was upsetting not to see this included as additional ‘proof’ of Obama’s ‘Muslim’ faith.

5 April 2009
Petraeus v. Obama (Again) and Zimbabwe

Today on Enduring America

4 April 2009
NATO, Petraeus v. Obama, and Palinwatch

Today on Enduring America

3 April 2009
State-sponsored Snitching, the Latest on Afghanistan,
and More Anglo-American Gift Wars

Today on Enduring America

Enduring America's Canuckistan in The Guardian on "State-sponsored Snitching"

US Rethinks Af-Pak Strategy As Strikes Widen

Bagram Inmates Challenge Detention


Michael Cohen on The Trouble With Counter-Insurgency


Anglo-American Gift Wars 2: The Return Visit

2 April 2009
The US-Iran "Non-Meeting"

Today on Enduring America

Engagement Dance: The US-Iran Meeting on Afghanistan

The silver lining of the past and possibly future debacle in Afghanistan is likely to be a US-Iranian rapprochement. If that is to occur, however, it will face a specific and limited Tehran agenda vs. the general ambitions of Washington in its “re-development” of Afghanistan and Central Asia.

Stephen Colbert: Why Glenn Beck Should Lead Our Revolution

You might think that Glenn Beck, shouting and crying his way to prominence on Fox “News” in the US, is a headcase.

You are wrong. Very, very wrong.

1 April 2009
The Israeli Airstrike on Sudan

Today on Enduring America

Israeli Strike on Sudan: Hamas Wins, Darfur Loses

This attack may have had catastrophic consequences, not only for Israel’s battle against Hamas, but for the US War on Terror, and on a much greater scale, those suffering from the horrible human rights crisis in Darfur.

Playing for Time: Clinton-Obama and the Hague Conference on Afghanistan

This is a “hold the line” approach, trying to ensure that the Taliban does not expand its hold on territory, until the right partnership with the right Government in Kabul can be foreseen. More importantly, the line is to be held until the US can resolve its core problem, which lies not in Afghanistan but across the border in northwest Pakistan.

Text: Clinton Remarks to Hague Conference on Afghanistan

Iraq Update: US Awakening Ally Arrested for “Terrorism”, Siege Continues

On Sunday, we reported on the arrest of Adil al-Mashhadani, an Awakening Council leader in the Fadhil section of Baghdad, and the subsequent gunfight between Council militiamen and US-Iraq forces.

Well, the story is far from over.

31 March 2009
US-Iran, Gaza, and Miss Universe Goes to Guantanamo

Today on Enduring America

The Afghanistan Effect: US-Iran Talks Today?

Those looking for real signals on what may come should note Iran’s careful consderation of the level of representation at the conference.

Burying Gaza: How Israel’s Military Put Away the Oranim Revelations

It was striking how quickly the Israel Defense Forces threw out the claims. Even more blatant, however, was the disconnect between the military’s “findings” and the actual statements of the Oranim soldiers.

The Israeli Military and Gaza’s Civilians: Returning to The Oranim Transcripts

Extracts from the soldiers’ accounts, as they appeared in the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz

UPDATE: Mehsud Claims Responsibility for Lahore Attack; 18 Dead

Miss Universe Visits Guantanamo Bay: “I Didn’t Want to Leave”

"We visited the Detainees camps and we saw the jails, where they shower, how the recreate themselves with movies, classes of art, books. It was very interesting."

Today’s Enduring America Contribution to Britain’s Anti-Terrorism Campaign

CNN on Top of the World: Porn Beats Out Pakistan

30 March 2009
Selling Mr Obama's War

Today on Enduring America

A gun battle is continuing between Pakistani security forces and attackers who invaded a police training centre Monday, throwing grenades and firing at officers taking morning roll call.
The Obama Administration has been trying to hold the line against any punishment of the Bushmen for their actions, and the “Truth Commission” proposal of Senator Patrick Leahy is unlikely to become reality. Overseas, however, the battle is not yet done.
Where’s General David Petraeus when you need him?

29 March 2009
Concerns and Applause for Mr Obama's War

Today on Enduring America

Concerns Over Mr Obama’s War in Pakistan: Will It Assist the Insurgency?

Gareth Porter: "The argument for deeper U.S. military commitment to the Afghan War invoked by President Barack Obama in his first major policy statement on Afghanistan and Pakistan Friday - that al Qaeda must be denied a safe haven in Afghanistan - has been not been subjected to public debate in Washington."

Exclusive: US, NATO Talking With Iran About Afghanistan

This week Iranian representatives will join those of other countries at the US-led conference on Afghanistan at The Hague. Most of the media will note this, rightly, as a breakthrough in US-Iran engagement.

Guess what? Those discussions have already started.

Guess Who Loves Mr Obama’s War?

And the Gold Medal Goes To....

US General: We Might Stay in Iraqi Cities For A While

President Obama has been a bit preoccupied with Afghanistan and Pakistan this past week, but he might want to take note of the words of Lieutenant General Lloyd Austin (pictured), the senior commander of US ground forces in Iraq, about the American intervention.

It ain’t over.

Today’s Enduring America Contribution to Britain’s Anti-Terrorism Campaign

In the spirit both of vigilance against Shifty-Looking Foreigners and a helping hand to the chronically fearful...

28 March 2009
The Day after the Obama Speech;
EA Joins Britain's Anti-Terrorism Campaign

Today on Enduring America

Mr Obama’s War for/on Pakistan-Afghanistan: Holes in the Middle

Eighteen hours since Barack Obama laid out the strategy by which the United States will defeat Al Qa’eda and “terrorists” in Afghanistan, 24 hours after we projected both the Administration’s approach and the problems with it….

We got it right.

Afghanistan’s Karzai on Mr Obama’s War: “Better Than We Expected"

Who’s happy about the lack of attention in the Obama grand strategy to the political complexities in the centres of Kabul and Islamabad?

Ho Ho Silvio: Italy’s Prime Minister in Blackface (Again)

This one is for our Italian colleagues, inheritors of a long and cherished political heritage.

Enduring America Joins Britain’s Anti-Terrorist Campaign!

The start of our contribution to inspiration in the Fight Against Evil Terrorists Amongst Us.

27 March 2009
The Obama War Plan in Pakistan and Afghanistan

Today on Enduring America

Two-Step Analysis of Mr Obama’s War Plan: Step One in Pakistan

Could the Obama Administration really be pushing for a tacit strategic takeover by the Pakistani military?

Two-Step Analysis of Mr Obama’s War Plan: Step Two in Afghanistan

The magic is that Afghanistan has become a sideshow.It’s a very expensive, very destructive sideshow, of course, but it’s still a supporting act for the main event being set up across the border.

Mr Obama’s War: Today Proves Pakistan is Number One

Only one tiny problem: there is no sign — none — of Washington strategy for the fundamental problem in Pakistan: how is the country’s political stability to be assured?

Violent Semi-Peace: At least 22 Dead in Baghdad Bombing

Major General David Perkins tells reporters, “Attacks are at their lowest since August 2003."

26 March 2009
Iran, Afghanistan, Palestine, and Walled Baghdad

Today on Enduring America

EA’s Chris Emery in The Guardian: “Iran Reserves Judgement”

The cautious response from Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, to Barack Obama’s new year greeting can be interpreted as an effort to contain the debate on US-Iranian engagement at a crucial moment in Iranian politics.

Engaging Iran: Khatami in Australia, Calls for New Approach on Afghanistan

Suggesting that Iran was pursuing a constructive approach to its neighbour through non-military programmes, Khatami urged Australia and other countries to withdraw their forces, as they were hindering rather than helping any solution.

Afghanistan: Former Taliban Ready for Talks with US

From Global Post: two former high-ranking Taliban officials speak.

Breaking News: Iran to Attend US-Led Talks on Afghanistan

Peace in Iraq: Baghdad as a “Walled Fortress Town”

This may be one of the strangest pieces of journalism, hiding a significant story, I have ever read.

Hamas’ Khalid Meshaal on Relations with Israel, US

From Syria Comment: Hamas political director Khalid Meshaal spoke for three hours last week with Paul McGeough, an Australian journalist  about relations with Israel, relations with countries outside the region, and the political prospects of the organisation.

Full Text: Human Rights Watch Report on Israel’s Use of White Phosphorous

Full Text: UN Human Rights Council Report on Israel’s Human Rights Violations in Gaza

Scott Lucas on BBC World Service: Barack Obama and Gordon Brown

25 March 2009
Waiting for Mr Obama's War

Today on Enduring America

Mr Obama’s War? Waiting for the US Strategy on Afghanistan and Pakistan

So what is the Obama Administration’s new approach to American intervention in Afghanistan and Pakistan?

Really. What is it?

A Modest Proposal: Why Hamas May Move Towards a Settlement with Israel

Not only have unity talks between Fatah and Hamas failed to reach a conclusion, but the Israeli-Hamas talks on a prisoner exchange have also been fruitless. So what’s the hold-up? Self-confidence. Hamas self-confidence.

Breaking News: Coalition Government Agreed in Israel

Breaking News: Palestinian Unity Talks to Resume in Cairo?

Truthiness Update: Stephen Colbert Moving to Outer Space

NASA’s online contest to name a new room at the International Space Station went awry. The comedian Stephen Colbert won.

Video and Text: Obama News Conference (24 March)

24 March 2009
The UN Report on Gaza

Today on Enduring America

A United Nations Human Rights Council report has concluded that “there are strong and credible reports of war crimes and other violations of international norms” in Israel’s recent military operations in Gaza.
There is no ‘but” after the revelation of innocents lives taken by disproportionate and illegal military operations. There is no escape with the hard-nosed declaration “war is war”.
There is no new information on yesterday’s assassination of Kamal Medhat (Kamal Naji), the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s deputy representative in Lebanon, and three others in a bombing outside the Mieh Mieh camp near Sidon. As we predicted, however, this is not stopping speculation and political point-scoring. 
Mohamed could go free “if he pleaded guilty to terrorism charges, ended his High Court case to prove his claims of torture, and agreed not to speak to the media about his ordeal”.
If the Washington press corps successfully links Obama with the privileged in American society and nails him as unable to curb the worst excesses of Wall Street, his Presidency may descend into the disaster that few predicted and fewer, except died-in-the-wool Republicans, wanted.

23 March 2009
Obama and Cheney

Today on Enduring America

Obama’s “Engagement”: Is Hamas Next?

Hamas political director Khaled Meshaal, speaking over the weekend to the Italian newspaper La Republicca, said: “”A new language toward the region is coming from President Obama.”

Video and Summary: Last Night’s Obama Interview with “60 Minutes”

The Doctrine of Waaahhhhh: Cheney’s Distortions and Lies

If Dick Cheney’s recent interview with John King on CNN served any purpose,  it was to demonstrate the the arguments of the Bush Administration still have no wisdom and consciousness.

22 March 2009
Zardari Out in Pakistan? Engagement In in Iran?

Today on Enduring America

Engagement with Iran: A Hopeful US Approach

Statements indicate Washington’s recognition that the Iranian leadership would be in no position to move to direct, general talks before June’s Presidential election.

Engagement: And There’s Hope on the Iranian Side as Well….

Juan Cole, one of the shrewdest American analysts of Iran, complements our optimism on the developments in US-Iranian relations in his blog today.

Engagement with Iran (Postscript): Did US Tell Israeli General to Take a Hike?

A story from Israel’s YNet News on Monday raises the prospect of a Washington rebuff to Israel on how to approach Iran.

Pakistan: A Political Deal for a New Coalition?

Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani will meet opposition leader Nawaz Sharif on Sunday with “a message of reconciliation and goodwill”.

Pakistan: Chief Justice Chaudhry Reinstated; What Next for Zardari?

Now to watch the Supreme Court’s position towards Zardari: the judges installed by his predecessor, Pervez Musharraf, rubber-stamped an “amnesty” from the corruption charges that had forced Zardari into exile.



21 March 2009
The Obama Message to Iran; Gaza Revisited

Today on Enduring America

Three Degrees Of Engagement: The Obama Message To Iran

What is important, however, is that the US does not follow Obama’s message with pressure for further economic sanctions and that it damps the public rhetoric blaming Tehran for stoking every Middle Eastern fire.

Video: The Obama New Year’s Message to Iran

You Go First. No, You Go First: More on “Iran Response to Obama New Year Message”

The Supreme Leader’s none-too-subtle message, following official Government reaction, is that there will be no Iranian concessions in advance of talks with the US. It is also a clear statement that Iran will not give up its interest in cases like Palestine, the Lebanon, and Iraq.

Iran Responds to Obama New Year Message

Iran is welcoming the prospect of talks with the US. On the other hand, it is setting out clear lines that it does not want crossed — specifically, Iranian sovereignty over a nuclear energy programme.

A Modest Proposal to Engage Iran

Stephen Walt: "We’ve deterred bigger and tougher adversaries in the past, and while I’d strongly prefer that Iran decide not to become a nuclear weapons state, I’m not going to panic if it does cross that line at some point down the road."

The Oranim Revelations: The Israeli Military’s Killing of Civilians in Gaza

Minister of Defense Ehud Barak: "We have the most moral army in the world."

Gaza Revisited: “The Reality of a Very Real Bloodbath”

Rose Mishaan:"I think the hardest part is knowing that as a world, we utterly failed the Palestinians of Gaza. We stood and watched them die and justified our own inaction. It is something that should bring a little shame to us all."



20 March 2009
Death of a Blogger

Today on Enduring America

A Modest Proposal to Engage Iran

Stephen Walt: "We’ve deterred bigger and tougher adversaries in the past, and while I’d strongly prefer that Iran decide not to become a nuclear weapons state, I’m not going to panic if it does cross that line at some point down the road."

Special Relationship Update: Brown Can’t Watch Obama DVDs

When Gordon sat down to enjoy, let’s say, Porky’s II, he only received an eyeful of disappointment.

Omidreza Mir Sayafi: “I Want to Resume My Normal Life”

The last e-mail of Omidreza Mir Sayafi, who has committed suicide in Iran's Evin prison.



19 March 2009
Muddle on Iran?

Today on Enduring America

That Obama “Review/Muddle” on Iran

There may be the drama of a proposed letter to the Supreme Leader, but there is still no clarity on what exactly is happening between Washington and the fist, clenched or unclenched, of Tehran.

Target Iran? This Week’s US-Israeli Talks

While Tel Aviv might be pressing for an Iran-first approach — strengthened sanctions and possibly military action — Washington will not be “on the same page”.

Obama and Enemy Combatants: “A War on Terror By Any Other Name Smells….”

Andy Worthington: "The administration has raised the possibility that, after seven years’ imprisonment in conditions that ought to be a source of shame to any civilized society, a large number of these prisoners — these “nobodies formerly known as enemy combatants” — still have a long way to go before they can hope to see the end of their ordeal."

Advertisement of the Year: Fancy a Patriot Advanced Capability-3 Missile?

Good to see, even in times of economic downturn, that American ingenuity linking big missiles and advertising hasn’t been diminished.



18 March 2009
What Now in Pakistan?

Today on Enduring America

The US and Pakistan: Bye Bye President Zardari, But Hello to Whom?

Having failed to get “stability” in the War on Terror with Musharraf, having failed with Zardari, it is not hope that moves Washington but this question:

Who or what can come next?

Pakistan: Mr Obama’s Air War Coming to the Cities?

According to senior administration officials, two of the high-level reports on Pakistan and Afghanistan that have been forwarded to the White House in recent weeks have called for broadening the target area to include a major insurgent sanctuary in and around the city of Quetta.

From The Archives: Hit or Miss in Pakistan (18 September 2008)

[This] leaves only the Pakistani military, whichever way it chooses to play the hand with the Americans, as the only significant force in the country with a symbolic and real modicum of power. If Zardari protests this, the prospect of his overthrow emerges. If he accepts his emasculation, he is no more than an irrelevant figurehead. Either way, it’s an effective coup.

Why a US “Surge” Won’t Work in Afghanistan

Rory Stewart: "There are many small simple things we can do to help Afghan society. All require us to forge a long-term engagement with the country. But such a policy is only possible if we reduce our investment in money and troops and develop a lighter, more affordable and ultimately more sustainable relationship with Afghanistan."

Linking to Wikileaks in Australia? The Fine is A$11,000

Ironically, Wikileaks earned its place in Australian censorship by revealing a secret Danish list of banned sites. And both appropriately and ironically, it was Wikileaks that revealed the news of its own banning, noting in Fight Club fashion, “The first rule of censorship is that you cannot talk about censorship.”

The Bush-Cheney Legacy and Iraq

Juan Cole: "The real question is whether anyone will have the gumption to put Cheney on trial for treason and crimes against humanity."

Quick Quiz: What’s Missing from George W. Bush’s Official Biography?

Quick Clue 1: Four letters, starts with “I”.
Quick Clue 2: Seven letters, starts with “K”.



17 March 2009
Iran's Presidential Election; The Red Cross on US Torture

Today on Enduring America

Iran’s Presidential Election: Khatami Stands Down, Moussavi Stands Up

Chris Emery: "Former President Mohammad Khatami’s decision to drop out of the upcoming Iranian presidential elections seems to be based on the long-standing assumption that splitting the “reformist” vote would be electoral suicide."

Red Cross: The US Tortured Detainees in CIA “Black Sites”

"The International Committee of the Red Cross concluded in a secret report that the Bush administration’s treatment of al-Qaeda captives 'constituted torture', a finding that strongly implied that CIA interrogation methods violated international law, according to newly published excerpts from the long-concealed 2007 document."

Mark Danner: “US Torture - Voices from the Black Sites”



16 March 2009
A Long March of Victory?, Target Iran, and The Danger of Jon Stewart

Today on Enduring America

Pakistan: The Long March of Victory?

The speed of the Zardari Government’s concession to its legal and political opponents is almost breath-taking.

Target Iran? Israeli Military Chief in Washington For Talks

The Chief of Staff of the Israeli Military, General Gabi Ashkenazi, is spending five days in Washington. He’s not only seeing the sights but also chatting with National Security Advisor Gen. James L. Jones, special State Department advisor Dennis Ross (still officially concerned with “Southwest Asia and the Gulf”), and military commanders.

Jon Stewart: Can “Mainstream” Media Put Him Back in His Box?

One of the side effects of The Daily Show’s takedown of financial pundits, and specifically CNBC and Jim Cramer, has been a sustained attempt by “proper” journalists to put Jon Stewart back into a comedian’s chair.

Flashback: Jon Stewart, Politics, and Crossfire in 2004



15 March 2009
Pakistan, Israel-Palestine,
and What Happened to Jim Cramer after The Daily Show

Today on Enduring America

Pakistan: Day Four of the Long March

The Latest from Israel-Palestine (15 March): Prisoner Exchange Possible?

Coming Soon: Jim Cramer, Master TV Critic

Here Jim gives his best friend, James Altucher of TheStreet.com, a lesson in how to read The Sopranos, using personal experience (you know, making millions of dollars in a single day) to illuminate the series.

Mad Money Meltdown: Jim Cramer, CNBC, TheStreet.com In Intensive Care

One can only hope that The Daily Show and Jon Stewart show some mercy towards Jim Cramer, if not the world of financial “experts”, after last week’s pummeling of the Mad Money host/former hedge fund manager/general shyster.



14 March 2009
Rumours and Realities for Israel and Pakistan

Today on Enduring America

Israel’s Challenge: The Durban II Conference on World Racism

The latest draft resolution for the conference is remarkable in its criticism of Israel, even in comparison to the declaration of the first conference.

Did the US Avert a Coup in Pakistan? No.

This morning there are stories flying around the Web that Admiral Mike Mullen, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, may have stopped a military coup in Pakistan through a series of phone call to General Ashfaq Pervez Kiani, through a series of phone calls.

Pakistan: Day Three of the Long March



13 March 2009
Protests, Marches, and Jon Stewart's Latest Triumph

Today on Enduring America

The Dilemmas of Non-Violent Demonstration: Jalal Ahmed and the Luton Protest

Difficult questions about protest, "terrorism", and human rights.

The Freeman Case and US Foreign Policy: Don’t Say “Israel”. Or “Lobby”.

No need to worry that this incident, with all its real (rather than Rothkopf-ian) implications for US foreign policy and intelligence, has anything to do with the manoeuvrings of those opposed to any interrogation of the American position on Israel.

It’s all down to Stephen Walt’s lack of scruples and Charles Freeman’s lack of cojones.

Mr Obama’s War: Taliban at the Gates

CNN: "Coalition forces have no choice by to keep rooting for Kabul’s cops."

Pakistan: Day Two of the Long March

Muntazar al-Zaidi Update: 3 Years in Prison for Shoe-Throwing

Showdown with Mad Money: Jon Stewart Interviews CNBC’s Jim Cramer

Stewart’s exposure of the investment house of cards is even better than the satire of the last seven days: “It is a game that you know is going on….but you go on television as a financial network and pretend isn’t happening….It’s Not a f****** game.”



12 March 2009
Setback on Israel, Showdown in Pakistan,
and Ahmadinejad and the Monkey

Today on Enduring America

The US, Israel, and Charles Freeman: “A Chilling Effect” on Foreign Policy

Stephen Walt: "This outcome is bad for everyone, including Israel. It means that policy debates in the United States will continue to be narrower than in other countries (including Israel itself), public discourse will be equally biased, and a lot of self-censorship will go on. America’s Middle East policy will remain stuck in the same familiar rut, and even a well-intentioned individual like George Mitchell won’t be able to bring the full weight of our influence to bear.

The Latest from Israel-Palestine (12 March): Talks But No News

In contrast to the barrage of stories surrounding last month’s negotiating manoeuvres between Israel, Hamas, and Fatah last month, yesterday’s resumption of “reconciliation” talks in Cairo between Hamas, Fatah, and other Palestinian factions went almost unnoticed by US and British media.

Pakistan: On Eve of Political Showdown, Hundreds Arrested

Top Iranian Children’s TV: Ahmadinejad and the Stuffed Monkey

So there is this kids’ programme in Iran called Amoo Pourang (Uncle Pourang), watched by millions three times a week. The presenter is talking to a young caller, who says his father has given him a stuffed monkey for good behaviour.

War on Terror Watch: You are the Millionth (Suspected) Terrorist!

I’m hoping it’s me, and I’m hoping there’s a super-duper prize (which doesn’t involve rendition, detention, and/or “enhanced interrogation”).

Laughing While Economic Fires Are Burning: The Daily Show-CNBC Sequel

Jon Stewart completes Jim Cramer’s humiliation with the help of Dora the Explorer and Boots the Monkey



11 March 2009
The US, Israel, and the Case of Charles Freeman

Today on Enduring America

How Israel Limits US Foreign Policy: The Not-so-Curious Case of Charles Freeman

As a story of how US foreign policy is re-structured — courtesy of Congress, a network of private groups, and American political culture — it offers an essential lesson. “Israel” continues to set limits on the “acceptable” in US foreign policy.

Text: Charles Freeman’s Speech on the Middle East and Israel (October 2006)

Text: Charles Freeman’s Letter Withdrawing His Nomination

Coming Next in the Intelligence-Policy Battle: Iran’s Uranium

The Director of National Intelligence, Dennis Blair —- on the same day that the Obama Administration had to withdraw the nomination of Charles Freeman as Chair of the National Intelligence Council — has just set the scene for another political battle in Washington.

The Inaugural Enduring America Award for Global Irrelevancy (Part 2)

Our Inaugural Irrelevant Laureate, Mr John Bolton, is at it again. Here is his sure-fire recipe for glorious American triumph in Iraq.

Laughing While Economic Fires Are Burning: The Daily Show Takes Down CNBC’s “Wizards”

In the 2009 Recession-Not-Quite-A-Depression-Yet, this is shaping up to be a comedy saga.



10 March 2009
The United Nations, Britain, and Torture

Today on Enduring America

United Nations: US Tortured, Britain Followed

The United Nations report released yesterday is clear and concise: Britain was complicit with a US-created system which violated basic human rights and condoned the torture of detainees.

The BBC and the UN Report on Torture: Shhhh, Don’t Tell Anyone

When a person is tortured by the State, that is not news. But if a person is tortured by a rock-chucking chimpanzee employed by the State….

Text: UN Report on Counter-Terrorism, Human Rights, and Torture



9 March 2009
Is Obama Clinging to Bush's War on Terror Powers?

Today on Enduring America

War on Terror Watch: Obama Keeps a Grip on Bush’s Executive Powers

Could a President willingly surrender the power, which might or might not be used but was always available, claimed by a predecessor? If the answer is No, it appears this will have to come from the courts, not the 44th President of the United States.

War on Terror: Obama Keeps a Grip on Bush Executive Power (Part 2)

“Aides…said Mr. Obama did not mean to suggest that everybody held by American forces would be granted habeas corpus or the right to challenge their detention.”

Engaging Iran: The Obama Administration, A Think Tank, and An Israel-First Policy?

Has the starting point of an Iran policy based on discussions with Tel Aviv been dropped, by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy or — more importantly — the Obama Administration? 



8 March 2009
Afghanistan Manoeuvres, A Syria Initiative, and Space Wars

Today on Enduring America

Mr Obama’s War: Playing for Time in Afghanistan

Toss aside the lazy journalism of The New York Times, keep your eyes for the moment on Pakistan, and wait — possibly until the NATO summit at the start of April — for a real story on an Obama strategy in Afghanistan.

Transcript: President Obama’s Interview with New York Times

Mr Obama’s War: Karzai Seizes The Opening on Afghanistan

It will be far more difficult for the Americans to dislodge Karzai, either at the ballot box or through a political coup, if they are presented as supporters of his negotiating strategy.

Space War: Russia and US in Satellite Shoot-out?

There’s evidence to suggest that warfare in Earth’s orbit is very quickly accelerating from merely hypothetical to a strategic reality

European Union: Israel “Illegal Annexation” of East Jerusalem

The Guardian: " A confidential EU report accuses the Israeli government of using settlement expansion, house demolitions, discriminatory housing policies and the West Bank barrier as a way of “actively pursuing the illegal annexation” of East Jerusalem.

New US, New Middle East? The Syria Initiative

The most that can be said is that yesterday’s event, while of symbolic importance, is only the opener in a long process.



7 March 2009
Russia, the Budget, and DVDs for the Special Relationship

Today on Enduring America

Obama: Finding the Right Word for Russia

Welcome to the Reset of the New Realism.

Mr Obama’s Piggy Bank: The Stark Reality of the US Budget

The figures are mind-blowing. About $3.55 trillion has been requested for the Fiscal Year commencing October 2010. In excess of $2 trillion of that amount is required for Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.

Obama and Brown: So long, and thanks for all the DVDs

There is perhaps no stronger indictment of UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s recent visit to the White House and Congress than yesterday's slow-news-day-controversy over President Obama’s gift to the PM.

Mr Obama’s War: Pakistan Military, Prime Minister Act Against Zardari

Hours after we asked, “[Is] Washington envisaging a Pakistani military running Islamabad’s policy, either behind the scenes or quite openly after toppling President Zardari?”, the Asia Times offers a short-term answer.

The Great Republican Hope: Mr Rush Limbaugh

See his political skills at work: a clip from Limbaugh's short-lived TV show in 1990....

Josh Mull Joins Enduring America Team



6 March 2009
Mr Obama's: Afghanistan and Pakistan

Today on Enduring America

Clinton to Iran: You Can Play in the (Afghanistan) Sandbox

This latest Clinton move is the equivalent of a parent yelling at her child, “No, no, no!”, then pointing the kid to the “right” place to play in. Well, I’ve done that, and I can tell you a litte secret:

The little b****** wouldn’t stay in the sandbox.

Mr Obama’s War: The Spin is…It’s Not Afghanistan. It’s Pakistan.

Senior Administration official "Afghanistan pales in comparison to the problems in Pakistan. Our primary goal has to be to shut down the al-Qaeda and Taliban safe havens on the Pakistan side of the border. If that can be accomplished, then the insurgency in Afghanistan becomes manageable."



5 March 2009
Ms Clinton's Wild Ride on the Middle East and Iran

Today on Enduring America

Persian Letters: Iran, Missile Defense, and a Clinton Power Play?

With the text of the letter still secret, here’s the key question: did it actually link a US pullback on missile defense to a Russian concession on Iran or did someone, possibly in Clinton’s circle, make that up as part of the grand scheme she unfolded in the Middle East?

Ms Clinton’s Wild Ride: Iran is Still Very, Very Dangerous

This is shaping up to be a major US diplomatic offensive to “put Iran in a box”, whether in advance of another attempt at diplomacy from a position of strength or further pressure on Tehran.

Ms Clinton’s Wild Ride: Pot, Kettle, Black

The Secretary of State and Iran's Supreme Leader exchange pleasantries on Israel and Palestine.

Ms Clinton’s Wild Ride: Is Dennis Ross in the Saddle on Iran?

Jim Lobe: "I...have the impression that Ross and the so-called “Israel Lobby” whose interests he represents believe that enhancing conditions on the West Bank, combined with diplomatic engagement with Syria, will somehow be sufficient for Washington to regain its credibility in the region and rally the Sunni Arab states — along with the European Union, Russia, China, etc. — behind a policy of confrontation with Iran."

Hearts and Minds Alert: How the US Motivates Iraqi Police

The video making the rounds in the Gulf States....

Iraq: Enduring America Gets The Daily Show Seal of Approval!

The Inaugural Enduring America for Global Irrelevancy

And the winner is....?



4 March 2009
An Obama Grand Strategy on Israel-Palestine-Iran?

Today on Enduring America

Ms Clinton’s Wild Ride: A US “Grand Strategy” on Israel-Palestine-Iran?

What is the broader strategy for the Obama Administration if it is re-engaging with the Israel-Palestinian process and the region beyond? There are three issues to consider:

1. The pursuit of a “two-state” Israel-Palestine settlement;
2. The contest between Hamas and Fatah for political leadership in Gaza and the West Bank;
3. The US relationship with Iran.

Pakistan: Zardari Maintains His Wiggle Room Against Washington, Domestic Rivals

Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe Zardari is completely above board with this defense of “democracy”. The point is that few outside Pakistan have looked behind the cloak of “terrorism” to see the equally critical issue of the political storm brewing in Islamabad. And the question is — if there are no more attacks on Sri Lankan cricketers to deflect attention from that conflict— will that storm threaten to sweep away the President?

Mr Obama’s War: Pakistan Insurgency “Unites”

Are the manoeuvres between the insurgent groups and the Pakistani Government for cease-fires and local deals going to free up these forces to wage an even more intense campaign against the US and its “Obama Doctrine” not just in Pakistan but across the border?

The Latest on Israel-Palestine (5 March): US Keeps Hamas on Outside



3 March 2009
The Obama Doctrine, The Grand US-Russian Bargain,
and David Miliband is "Economical with the Truth"

Today on Enduring America

Mr Obama’s Doctrine: US Grand Strategy in Pakistan and Beyond

Josh Mull: “The ‘Obama Doctrine’ looks something like this: the United States will continue to use its military power as its premier tool in international affairs and may even act preemptively. However, it will not  do so on issues it deems outside of reasonable American national security concerns, and it will act only with support and cooperation from the international community. To put it frankly, this is something like a cross between ‘walk softly and carry a big stick’ and the Buddy System. While still violent, imperial, and aggressive, it is a marked departure from the so-called Bush Doctrine and even the Global War on Terror.”

Obama to Russia: We Drop Missile Defence, You Stop Iran’s Nuclear Programme

Taken together, stories indicate that the Obama Administration is on the verge of a serious mis-step in its approach to Iran. Either out of naivete or — more likely — the quest for a non-military campaign against Iran, key US officials are conflating the pursuit of nuclear energy with the pursuit of a nuclear weapon.

Afghanistan: Karzai’s Pre-Emptive Political Strike

In many “Western” systems, the “snap” election is a time-honoured prerogative of the President/Prime Minister. If a leader is in a strong but possibly short-lived political position, or conversely if he/she is in trouble but faces worse times ahead, then Parliament is dissolved and everyone heads to the polls. However, when an Afghan President, particularly one who has lost the support of the foreign governments who brought him to power, calls such an election, it’s a much different matter.

War on Terror/Torture Breaking News: David Miliband Is a Liar

Foreign Secretary, if you’re going to lie while avoiding an inquiry into torture, could you at least give us enough respect not to do in the same newspaper which busted you in the first place?

Breaking News: Sri Lankan Cricketers Attacked in Pakistan

Text: Hillary Clinton Speech to Gaza Donors Conference

Obama is Not Muslim/Hitler Shock. He’s Stalin. (And Mao.)

It is a pleasure to report that the “Obama is Hitler” debate has now moved on. 



2 March 2009
Fantasies on Pakistan, Hysteria on Iran

Today on Enduring America

Obama and Iran: Engagement, Muddle, and Hysteria

On Friday, after President Obama’s speech on Iraq and its recommendation for talks with Iran and Syria, we wrote, “Watch the manoeuvres of those who are hostile to any engagement not only because they don’t like ‘rogue states’.”

And so it goes.

Mr Obama’s War: The Fantasy of the Pakistan Sanctuaries

Beyond the US manoeuvres, northwestern Pakistan isn’t just a “sanctuary”. It is part of a country in which, right now, there is a complex political struggle taking place. Reducing local elements in that struggle to Taliban-supporting pawns is just as dangerous as reducing them to mujahideen-supporting pawns in the 1980s.

The Latest from Israel-Gaza-Palestine (2 March): The Donors’ Conference

Watch for the extent to which the Palestinian Authority is exalted by the delegations, indicating how much support there really is for an attempt to put Fatah at the head of Gazan politics, and the extent to which Hamas is condemned. That should give an indication as to whether there is a hope, beyond this conference, of an engagement with all parties on the Israel-Palestine issue.



1 March 2009
Israel-Palestine Manoeuvres, Republican Party Fun and Games

Today on Enduring America

The Latest on Israel-Palestine: Lull Before the Diplomatic Flurry? (1 March)

On the eve of the Gaza donors’ conference, which is more of a political dance than a significant effort to rebuild the area, and the tour of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (pictured) of the Middle East, there are a lot of meetings for show but no substance…yet.

Gaza: Olmert Rejected Hamas Overtures To Avert War

The Observer of London reveals today that Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert rejected a Hamas approach for secret talks before the Gaza War in December.

Somalia: Declaration of Sharia Law

The move is an attempt to abate the fighting around the country and establish some base of political support for the Government.

Bobby Jindal Tells Massive Lie, Many Too Busy Laughing At Him To Notice

Jindal used a story stolen from a dead man as the centrepiece of Tuesday’s GOP response, and in ten short minutes the future of the Republican Party became a laughing stock and a liar.

Palinwatch: Lies, Damned Lies…

The latest on the Hockey Mom's 2012 prospects.



28 February 2009
The Obama Speech on Iraq Withdrawal

Today on Enduring America

Analysis: The Two Vital Words on Obama’s Iraq Withdrawal “Intend To”

In his speech, President Obama apparently went beyond my immediate concern that some in the US Government were planning on the long-term stay of 50,000 American soldiers in the country. With those two words, however, he left himself room for manoeuvre or, put less positively, room for the US military and its supporters to maintain its pressure for permanent bases in the area.

Withdrawal from Iraq? The Escape Clauses Begin

"Military commanders, despite this Status of Forces Agreement with the Iraqi government that all U.S. forces would be out by the end of 2011, are already making plans for a significant number of American troops to remain in Iraq beyond that 2011 deadline."

Text: Obama Speech on Iraq Withdrawal

Selling the War: NATO’s “Master Narrative” for Afghanistan

Leaked NATO documents set out the propaganda line, such as "'Opposing Militant Forces' is the correct term [for the insurgency] but is not suitable for use with the media. Depending on the audience and the group being referred to, the phrases militants/insurgents/extremists/Taleban extremists/enemies of Afghanistan may be used."

Mr Obama’s War: Gareth Porter on the Afghanistan “Mini-Surge”

" Both Obama’s decision to agree to just over half of his field commander’s request for additional troops and the broader strategic situation offer striking parallels with the decision by President Lyndon B. Johnson in April 1965 to approve 36,000 out of a 49,000 troop request for Vietnam"

War on Terror Watch: Obama’s Crew Trying, Failing to Halt Court Cases on Surveillance

On Friday, a US Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the claim of Obama’s Justice Department that surveillance without warrants (if you prefer, “domestic spying”), a procedure extended by the Bush Administration, came under the category of “state secrets” and could not be reviewed by the courts.

Today’s Top Journalism: Torture is OK if It’s Sunny

Daily Telegraph: "Binyam Mohamed, the British resident released from US detention base Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, has told friends that Britain is too cold."



27 February 2009
Iraq, The Budget, and Obama as Jed Bartlet

Today on Enduring America

Just to Repeat: 50,000 US Troops in Iraq….Indefinitely

"Even after August 2010, as many as 50,000 of the 142,000 troops now in Iraq would remain, including some combat units reassigned as 'Advisory Training Brigades' or 'Advisory Assistance Brigades', the administration and Pentagon officials said."

The Obama Plan in Iraq: Today’s Speech

We’ll be searching for an announcement of how many US troops, as “support” units, will be based in Iraq after the end of 2010.

Bombing “Sanctuaries”, Now and Then: Mr Henry Kissinger

No Irony Here. Move Along.

Fact x Importance = News: The Stories We’re Watching (26 February)

Developments in Pakistan and Somalia and Canada's Toughness on Guantanamo Bay.

Your Daily Update: What Exactly is Dennis Ross in Charge Of?

In today’s episode, we try to find Dennis’ new office in the State Department and ask if he is the now the Super-Envoy for Bahrain. Or Turkmenistan. Or maybe Sylvania.

President Obama’s State of the Nation: As Good as The West Wing?

John Matlin: "Both CNN and the New York Times have claimed that Obama’s speech harked back to the days of FDR and Lyndon Johnson, but it had many elements of vintage Jed Bartlet."

Text: President Obama’s Budget

The Latest from Israel-Gaza-Palestine (27 February): The Cairo Talks



26 February 2009
Afghanistan, Gaza Macaroni, and State of the Nation Redux

Today on Enduring America

Mr Obama’s War: Show Me the Money….

So, for all those who think the real contest for national strength is economic rather than military: Sit Down. Shut Up.

“Taliban”: Well, They All Look the Same….

There’s a big, amorphous mass called “The Taliban” which is in cahoots with Al Qaeda - and that’s about as fine grained as it usually gets.

Gaza Threat Alert: Rockets with Macaroni Warheads

Representative Brian Baird, who just visited Gaza, offered the key military challenge: “”Is someone going to kill you with a piece of macaroni?”

Our Daily Drama: What Exactly is Dennis Ross in Charge Of?

QUESTION: "Have your ace geographers been able to determine what Southwest Asia is and thereby figure out what exactly Dennis Ross’s mandate is?"

Scott Lucas in Iranian Newspaper Payvand

Obama’s State of the Nation: Curing Cancer, Eating Baconnaise, and Slapping Down Bobby Jindal

Only The Daily Show could bring Mr Rogers, Baconnaise, and a cure for cancer into a single analysis.



25 February 2009
The State of the Nation, Syrian Tales, and the "Withdrawal" Deal on Iraq

Today on Enduring America

President Obama’s State of the Nation: The Overseas Dimension

Let it be clear: Mr Obama is going to war: “For seven years, we’ve been a nation at war. No longer will we hide its price.”

Video and Transcript: President Obama’s “State of the Nation” Speech

Obama-Military Deal: 19-Month “Withdrawal” from Iraq, but 50,000 US Troops to Stay

The battle over the American occupation, however, is in the politically-distant future, barring a significant upsurge in violence against US forces.

“Violent Semi-Peace” Update: US Soldiers Shot by Iraqi Police

Damascene Conversions: The Engagement of Syria

In 2003, chatter in Washington was “Baghdad, Then Turn Left”. That thought of rolliing regime change can now be consigned to the dustbin of George W. Bush’s history. It’s envoys, not tanks, that are the talismen of this New Middle East Order.

Twisting the Syria Tale: The Suspected Missile Facility

Hours after we posted an analysis of Washington’s engagement with Syria, the story started fluttering across the Internet that Damascus had built a missile facility on the site of the alleged nuclear plant bombed by Israel in October 2007.

Diplomatic Question of the Day: What Exactly is Dennis Ross In Charge Of?

Mr Obama’s War: Pakistani Insurgents Extend Cease-Fire

Virtual Gaza: Breaking the Information Blockade

We’ve just learned about the impressive website Virtual Gaza, which tries to get information about conditions in the area to the world: a combination of Google Earth with witness reports and investigative journalism.

Latest from Israel-Gaza-Palestine (25 February): Netanyahu Searches for a Coalition



24 February 2009
Revelations from Guantanamo Bay

Today on Enduring America

Mr Obama’s War: Latest from the Pakistan Insurgency

"The mujahadin shura decided that the leaders would combine forces for a joint struggle against coalition forces in Afghanistan and end hostilities against Pakistan."

War on Terror Watch: Everyone OK at Guantanamo Now. Leave Us Alone.

"How shall we put this? Horse Gone. Stable Door Bolted. Nothing in this report will meet the requirement of an investigation not of Guantanamo Now but Guantanamo Then."

The “Other” Guantanamo: Report of the Center for Constitutional Rights

"The majority of the men being detained are in isolation. They go weeks without seeing the sun. Fluorescent lights, however, remain on 24 hours a day in Camp 5. According to the report, “improvements” cited by the military are, by and large, public relations activities rather than meaningful improvements in detainees’ conditions….The report details multiple cases of abuse occurring in the last month and a half."

Text: The Pentagon Review of Conditions at Guantanamo Bay

Binyam Mohamed Released from Guantanamo Bay

The Latest On Hicham Yezza

Treading Softly on Iran: Dennis Ross Sneaks into the Administration

"If the Obama Administration wanted meaningful engagement with Iran, Ross couldn’t be appointed as the point man."

Has the Obama Administration Brought Hamas into A Palestine Unity Government?

Ali Yenidunya: "The hand has been extended, very indirectly and at a distance but still extended, to Hamas by Obama. The 44th President of the United States of America, unlike his predecessor, has given priority to an meaningful peace process rather than the rigid mantra of “Israeli security."

Text: The Amnesty International Report on Weapons in the Gaza War



23 February 2009
Mr Obama's War

Today on Enduring America


Josh Mull on "Mr Obama's War" in Afghanistan and Pakistan

"What we are witnessing is a long-term, wide-ranging strategy of creating international legitimacy and political credibility for an escalation of violence by the US, Pakistan, and NATO against religious and tribal insurgents in Afghanistan and Pakistan."

US Special Forces Training Pakistani Units, US Military Pressing Pakistani Allies

Ceasefire in NW Pakistan; More on US Drone Strikes
Mr Obama's War: Expanding the Enemies in Pakistan


War on Terror Watch: British Officials "Colluded with Torture" of Detainees

Israel-Gaza-Palestine Alerts (23 February): Alleged Misuse of US Weapons by Israel

UPDATED: Bomb Blasts in Cairo

Atoms of Fear: Reality Check on That Iranian Nuclear Programme

The Troublemaking Cartoon: We Know Who Is Meant by the Chimp Now But Is That All?

At the end of the day, the apology of from the New York Post is likely to diminish the tension. However the criticisms  are unlikely to end.



21 February 2009
Denial of Rights at Home and Abroad?

Today on Enduring America

Secret Britain-Iran Talks in 2005 on Iraq, Tehran Nuclear Programme?

A BBC documentary tonight will claim that Iran made an "extraordinary offer" to stop attacking British troops in Iraq if Western countries accepted Iran's uranium enrichment programme.

Obama Administration to Detainees in Afghanistan: You Have No Rights

Guantanamo Update: Binyam Mohamed Home Next Week

URGENT: Hicham Yezza to be Deported

Yezza, an administrator at the University of Nottingham, was arrested under the Terrorism Act in May last year along with Rizwaan Sabir for the possession of an edited electronic of 'The Al-Qaeda Training Manual', which was freely available from both the US Department of Justice's website, as well as on Amazon.

From the Archives: Academic Freedom, "Terrorism", and the University of Nottingham

New at Wandren PD: Networked R&D

Ali Fisher: "Approaching the gap between theory and practice from a network perspective it is clear that individuals are needed to act as a physical bridge between academics and practitioners. However, a bridge is fine but will do little by itself; there needs to be something to go across the gap."



20 February 2009
A Bombshell on Iran?

Today on Enduring America

Not a Bombshell: The Report on Iran's Uranium and US (Non-)Reaction

Keep an eye on whether the Obama Administration plays up the drama of the higher enriched-uranium figures and refers to more sanctions against Iran, or whether it  plays down any threat, thus protecting the priority of engagement.

Text of the International Atomic Energy Agency Report on Iran's Nuclear Programme

Mr Obama's World: Updates on US Foreign Policy (20 February)

The Latest on Israel-Gaza-Palestine (20 February



19 February 2009
Engagement with Iran and Hamas, Uncertainty over Guantanamo Bay

Today on Enduring America

Mr Obama's World: The Latest in US Foreign Policy (19 February)

Obama v. The Military (Part 82): The Field Commanders in Iraq Strike (against Petraeus)

An interesting twist in the tale of the US military, notably General David Petraeus, the head of Central Command, and General Raymond Odierno, the US commander in Iraq, trying to undercut President Obama's plan for withdrawal of combat troops within 16 months.

Engagement with Iran? An Additional View of Professor Gary Sick's Analysis

"Sick urged the Obama Admininstration not to repeat the mistakes of Bush in having an incoherent policy towards Iran; however, I think "mixed signals" has been a perpetual theme of America's Iranian policy for the last thirty years."

Guantanamo Bay Watch: 17 Chinese Told Go Straight to Limbo

Ironically, if the 17 had actually done something to threaten America, there might be the prospect of transferring them to the US for criminal proceedings. Because they are in effect innocent, however, there is nowhere to go.

Muntazar al-Zaidi: Shoe-Throwing Trial Starts Today in Iraq

Updates from Israel-Gaza-Palestine (19 February)

Is US Now Talking to Hamas?

"There has no denunciation of visits to Hamas by French and British delegations, either from their home governments or from Washington. So there is still a glimmer, and maybe more, of a long-awaited US approach to Israel and Palestine which includes all key parties."

Is Israel Winning a Covert War Against Iran?: An Alternative Analysis

If there is in fact an American and Israeli covert war of disruption being waged against Iran's nuclear program, it is now in my judgement, completely over, with the results being a humiliating loss for Israel, a lowering of hostilities with Iran, and a vastly strengthened American diplomatic position vis-a-vis the Iranian nuclear negotiations.



18 February 2009
Outing Obama's Strategy, US Airbases, and the War on Terror

Today on Enduring America

Mr Obama's World: Latest Alerts in US Foreign Policy (18 January)

Fudging the Decision: The Obama Statement on Troop Increase in Afghanistan

Obama may have played for time by throwing the military a half-fulfilled request. That in no way resolves the battle, either in central Afghanistan or in Washington.

UPDATE: The US Airbases Inside Pakistan

It took the media only five days, after Senator Dianne Feinstein referred in a hearing to US airbases inside Pakistan, to find the supposedly super-secret location for American missile strikes and bombing raids.

War on Terror Watch: Guantanamo Guard Brandon Neely Interview on MSNBC

War on Terror Watch (1): The Guantanamo Guard's Story

Guantanamo guard, Brandon Neely (pictured), is about to rock the media with his account of the camp. In graphic testimony (reprinted below), Neely reveals a system in which untrained and undisciplined guards beat up and abused detainees. None were ever reprimanded.

War on Terror Watch (2): Former British Intelligence Chief, Judges/Lawyers Break Ranks

Stella Rimington, the former head of MI5, and the International Commission of Jurists launch scathing attacks on the "security" measures adopted in the US and Britain after the attacks of 11 September 2001.

The Latest on Israel-Gaza-Palestine (18 February)



17 February 2009
 Interpreting Israel and Iran, The Torture Story Unfolds,
and Barack-Obama-Still-A-Muslim Shock

Today on Enduring America

Mr Obama's World: Latest Alerts in US Foreign Policy (17 January)

Is Israel Winning a Covert War Against Iran?

The Daily Telegraph offers up some "Western" psychological warfare against Tehran.

The Guardian: British Officials Devised Torture Policy for Detainees

The revelations keep coming, and the story gets more and more unpleasant.

Pakistan - Can You Balance Sharia and Missiles?

Does the political gesture of legal autonomy in northwestern Pakistan outweigh answer over the lack of autonomy when a missile hits your house?

A Truth and Reconciliation Commission for the Bush Administration?

Senator Patrick Leahy is trying "to investigate abuses during the Bush-Cheney Administration — so they never happen again".

The Latest on Israel-Gaza-Palestine (17 February)

Barack Obama: Still A Muslim. Really.

You just can't keep dogged anti-Obama websites down.



16 February 2009
Hypocrisy in Gitmo and Pakistan, Tensions with Iran and Turkey

Today on Enduring America

Mr Obama's World: Latest Alerts in US Foreign Policy (16 February)

Guantanamo Update: Binyam Mohamed Coming Home, No Need to Talk about Torture

Mohamed's release is the overwhelming priority. At the same time, there is the stench of action being taken to avoid embarrassment for US and British authorities.

The Shock of Hypocrisy: US Operating From Within Pakistan

Sometimes political theatre has to be acknowledged as farce, especially when it is attempting to obscure tragedy.

Questioning the Annual Threat Assessment: The Difficulties for Washington's Diplomatic Engagement with Tehran

Ali Yenidunya: "Because of the obstacles faced by the Obama Administration to dissuade Iran from developing nuclear weapons, a possible Israeli airstrike — similar to the attack on Osirak in Iraq in 1981 — could come to fruition prior to 2013."

Scott Lucas on BBC1 TV "The Big Questions": Is Torture Ever Justified?

The Latest on Israel-Gaza-Palestine (16 February)

Containing Conflict: Update on Israel, Turkey, and Gaza

Ali Yenidunya: "Despite political conflict and individual statements such as [General] Mizrahi's, Israeli and Turkish armies do not have the luxury of tolerating any interference that can harm the special relationship between their institutions."



15 February 2009
Behind the Headlines in Gitmo, Afghanistan, and Israel

Today on Enduring America

Mr Obama's World: Latest Alerts in US Foreign Policy (15 February)

Update: Binyam Mohamed and the Hiding of Torture Evidence

Turns out it was the British Foreign Office who asked the US to make the threat preventing a British High Court from hearing the details of abusive treatment.

One to Watch: Secret Talks in Afghanistan with the Taliban

The twist in the excellent article by Kim Sengupta of The Independent is the detail of Saudi Arabia, notably the head of Saudi intelligence Prince Muqrin bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (pictured), in setting up these secret negotiations.

Tarnished by the Black Water of Violence, Abuse, Murder? Change Your Brand Name….

A new image for Blackwater Inc. after Iraq....

The Latest on Israel-Gaza-Palestine (15 February): Israeli-Turkish Tensions

What Israel Lost in Gaza: Talks with Syria, A Relationship with Turkey?

The Israeli Government was so driven to take action in Gaza that it was willing to risk a peace process to ease tensions on its northern border and a strategic relationship with Ankara.

Scott Lucas on BBC1 TV "The Big Question" on Sunday



14 February 2009
Iraq Up Close, Iran Taking Over America, and a Valentine's Day Story

Today on Enduring America

Mr Obama's World: The Latest in US Foreign Policy (14 February)

Update: Analysing the Iranian (Non-)Threat

"It may come to pass — amidst hesitant Obama officials, activists wanting to take out an "enemy", and a mainstream media without the time or judgement to consider details rather than assumptions — that grey becomes black and Iran once more becomes Threat Number One to the United States."

The "New Iraq", Up Close and Ugly: A Report from Fallujah

Dahr Jamail: "At least 70% of Fallujah's structures were destroyed during massive US military assaults in April, and again in November 2004, and more than four years later, in the "new Iraq", the city continues to languish….Unemployment is rampant, the infrastructure remains largely in ruins, and tens of thousands of residents who fled in 2004 are still refugees."

Exclusive: How Iran is Taking Over America

Once it was Reds under the Bed. Now it's the Mullahs Hiding behind the Curtains.

The Latest on Israel-Gaza-Palestine (14 February)

Anticipating the New Israeli Government: Netanyahu or Livni?

"On Wednesday, Obama called Israeli President Shimon Peres to express his gratitude for American and Israeli model democracies and to emphasise his personal efforts for a two-state Israel-Palestine solution. The question is how much room there is for such a solution."

Valentine`s Day Special: How Michelle Met Barack (Video)



13 February 2009
Hiding Torture and Death

Today on Enduring America

US Government Documents: Proof of "Ghost Detention", Torture, Death

Documents obtained by three civil organisations confirm the "ghost detention" programme and Bush Administration efforts to delay the releases of detainees because of "bad publicity". This morning the American Civil Liberties Union has released two pages from a Department of Defense document concerning the death of two detainees at Camp Bagram in Afghanistan.

CIA Director: No Evidence that Iran Has Restarted Nuclear Weapons Program

Dennis Blair re-confirmed the National Intelligence Estimate of December 2007.

Afghanistan: Karzai Talks Back to Washington

Hamid Karzai says US troops necessary but challenges the US military on "the surge" and civilian deaths.

The Latest on Israel-Gaza-Palestine (13 February)



12 February 2009
  Obama-Military Clash, Pakistan Manoeuvres, Hiding of Torture Evidence, and Khatami in Iran

Today on Enduring America



11 February 2009
  Iran and "Engagement", Attacks in Kabul, and Latest from Washington

Today on Enduring America

US Engagement with Iran: Transcript of President Ahmadinejad's Speech

"The Iranian nation is prepared to talk. However, these talks should be held in a fair atmosphere in which there is mutual respect."

Mr Obama's World: The Latest in US Foreign Policy (11 February)

The Latest from Israel-Gaza-Palestine (11 February): The Israeli Election

Breaking News: Taliban Attacks in Kabul

At least 20 dead in attacks north of Kabul and in the capital on the Ministry of Justice complex.



10 February 2009
  Obama's First Press Conference, Iran, and "Failing the Torture Test?"

Today on Enduring America


Thumbs-Up for Iran and Russia, Slapdowns for Petraeus and Pakistan

Obama signalled that he is now going to accept, without discussion and modification, the military's surge proposal. Specifically, he let it be known that Petraeus's word isn't gospel — however big the legend of "victory" in Iraq — and Holbrooke is his point man as he tours Afghanistan.

Obama on Iran: The Engagement Continues

Obama's comments appear to be a clear signal to Iran that he is satisfied with the opening at-distance exchanges.

Transcript of President Obama's First Press Conference (9 February)


Today's Obama-meter: The Latest on US Foreign Policy (10 February)

Failing the Torture Test? Obama Blocks Judicial Review of Bush Rendition Policy

Obama's Justice Department, in a court case in San Francisco, stands firmly against any investigation of torture and rendition.

Binyam Mohamed at Guantanamo Bay: "I Know Beyond A Doubt He Was Tortured" (VIDEO)

Lieutenant Colonel Yvonne Bradley, the lawyer for British resident Binyam Mohamed, with Britain's Channel 4 News about the condition of her client, who is supposedly near death in a hunger strike at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility.

Obama v. The Military (Again): The Closure of Guantanamo Bay

Bush Administration political appointees within the Pentagon have been trying to find a way around Obama's command to suspend Military Commissions.

The Latest on Israel-Gaza-Palestine (10 February)



9 February 2009
  "Islamist Terrorism", Iraq Fall-Out, and The Battle over Afghanistan

Today on Enduring America



8 February 2009
 Cold Realities on the Biden Speech, the Middle East, and Dick Cheney

Today on Enduring America

Today's Obamameter: The Latest in US Foreign Policy (8 February)

A New US Foreign Policy? The Biden Speech in Munich Yesterday

"The glimmer of light is that Biden...said the US "strategic review" on the two countries is not completed — code for the battle between President Obama and the military on the way forward — so Washington may pull back from its full-speed, military-first surge in Afghanistan. If not, you can go back to Biden's speech and see where all the talk of a new, multilateral relationship actually had the makings of an almighty bust-up between the US and its European partners."

Transcript: Biden Speech to the Munich Security Conference

Obama vs. The Military (Part 2): The Battle for Iraq Continues

The US military, having fought Barack Obama since Day 2 of his Administration over withdrawal of combat troops from Iraq within 16 months, have now tipped their hand. They are seeking a 23-month limit on withdrawal, although there is a compromise proposal of 19 months also in play.

Update: Unlikely Alliances Emerge from Iraqi Elections

So the political followers of the cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, who have been stridently opposed to the American occupation since 2003 — at times quite violently, are now linking up with the Prime Minister's Daw'a Party?

The Latest on Israel-Gaza-Palestine (8 February)

Dose of Cold Reality Statement of the Day: Obama Style v. Middle East Substance

Alaa  al Aswany: "No matter how many envoys, speeches or interviews Mr. Obama offers to us, he will not win the hearts and minds of Egyptians until he takes up the injustice in the Middle East."