A Plan C for Afghanistan

Posted by , 24th November 2009

E.J. Dionne, Jr.
11/23/2009

usa afghanistanPresident Obama will likely decide on a combination of proposed strategies in Afghanistan, says Dionne. The president can change nothing about the difficulty of the situation, and the fiscal burden of continuing the war is undeniable. Should he enact a surtax to pay for the war effort, Obama will alienate some of his allies who disagree with the war, as well as his potential for a working relationship with those who support the war but oppose higher taxes. The situation in Afghanistan does not present many opportunities for centrist strategies, but that is the sort of thinking that Obama promised Americans last year, and he would do well to exercise it regarding Afghanistan.

Dionne is a twice-weekly columnist for The Post, writing on national policy and politics.

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Ramallah’s road map to statehood

Posted by , 19th November 2009

David Ignatius
11/19/2009

RamallahRamallah, a Palestinian settlement on the West Bank, is making great progress toward functionality and prosperity. But the peace process has imploded and opportunities have been missed as Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, and President Obama have failed to reach effective terms in their negotiations. The author suggests following the example of Salam Fayyad, the prime minister of the Palestinian Authority, who is largely responsible for the current successful state of Ramallah. Fayyad has drawn up a detailed, two-year plan for its transition into statehood, with the ultimate goal being for Palestinians to have “strong, competent institutions”. The author believes that Fayyad’s plan is the only hope for the region and that the United States should strongly support it.

Ignatius is a twice-weekly columnist for The Post, writing on global politics, economics and international affairs.

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How Iran’s Revolution Was Hijacked

Posted by , 19th November 2009

Mark Bowden
11/19/2009

Islamic RevolutionThree decades after Iranian college students overran and occupied the American Embassy in Tehran, Bowden considers how we continue to deal with that country’s revolution. America’s reductionistic way of remembering the “hostage crisis” ignores its larger significance in Iran and impedes our understanding of the political drama unfolding there today. The movement to oust the Shah was primarily a nationalist one. Many of those in the streets in 1978 and 1979 desired the establishment of a theocracy in order to cast off authoritarianism and found a democracy. Bowden explains how the Islamists schemed to take power. However, 30 years after seizing control, the mullahs of Qom find themselves in a difficult spot. Younger Iranians want real democracy and the revolutionary rhetoric of change is no longer anti-American and Islamist.

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The Issue of Corruption in Pakistan and Afghanistan and the Donor’s Responsibility

Perhaps the single biggest problem in both Pakistan and Afghanistan is corruption in state agencies. The two states have failed to tackle the problem.

Posted by , 17th November 2009

Afghanistan PakistanFriends of both countries are hesitant to point out these failures for reasons best understood by them alone. Corruption exists in large parts of the world and its existence in Pakistan and Afghanistan is not a unique phenomenon. It is only that the Global War on Terror has produced increasing complexity and urgency in the matter. Undoubtedly, corruption is a major problem in the Pakistan and Afghanistan.

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Pakistan needs a new world view

Posted by , 12th November 2009

David Gardner
11/2/2009

Afghanistan PakistanThe real strategic challenge for the Western allies lies not in Afghanistan but in Pakistan. Pakistan is the prime example of a country where the potentially deadly dangers of nuclear weapons cross with the rising influence of jihadism. The West propped up General Pervez Musharaff’s regime with $12bn of military aid over ten years only to see the extremists running about out of control while the Pakistani army remains fixated with India. The problems of the whole central and south Asia region will remain unresolved while Pakistan’s world view remains India-centric.

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Is There a Way Out of the Iran Crisis?

Posted by , 3rd November 2009

Tariq Alhomayed
09/30/2009

iran-nuclearAlhomayed notes that Israelis took an extreme view of Iranian intentions, contrary to many Western countries. Iran also took an extremist position. President Ahmadinejad has tied nuclear development to Iran’s survival. If it wants Iran to give up nuclear development, the West may have to offer Iranian regional hegemony, a condition Arabs would not accept.

Tariq Alhomayed is the Editor-in-Chief of Asharq Al-Awsat.

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Why Israel must become a secular state: a thought for Yom Kippur 5770

Posted by , 3rd November 2009

Carlo Strenger
9/27/2009

israelEuropean states became secular many centuries ago, opening the way to scientific inquiry and progress, writes Strenger. Israel was supposed to have been a secular state, but David Ben Gurion made a disastrous bargain with the orthodox establishment, opening the way to unique religious strife between Jews in Israel. Religious Jews should lead the way in pressing for secularization.

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Afghanistan Votes, the U.N. Dithers

Posted by , 28th October 2009

Peter W. Galbraith
10/28/2009

Afghanistan votesThe United Nations needs to appoint an envoy to oversee the runoff elections in Afghanistan because fraud could stain this vote as well, Galbraith says. The biggest obstacle to fair elections is the Independent Election Commission, which administers them. Afghan President Karzai appointed its members, and six of the seven commissioners voted in favor of procedures to benefit his campaign. The UN must stop pretending this is not a pro-Karzai institution and appoint an envoy to supervise the elections impartially. Even if Karzai wins the second round, the fraud from the first election will taint his victory. Dr. Abdullah, Karzai’s opponent, proposed constitutional changes for power-sharing, and the United Nations should encourage Afghans to consider them to emerge from the crisis of legitimacy.

Galbraith, a former United States ambassador to Croatia, was the deputy special representative of the secretary-general of the United Nations in Afghanistan from June 1 to Oct. 1.

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The political rise of Lieberman and its effect on Arab-Jewish relations

Coexistence can only be achieved in a climate of social equality and economic opportunity

Posted by , 27th March 2009

liberman.jpgIsrael should be very cautious regarding how it treats its Arab minority. The country, the national home for the Jewish people, has an opportunity to show the world how a minority should be treated, and Lieberman’s rhetoric does not represent a step in the right direction.

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