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Entries in David Petraeus (44)


Iraq Feature: The US Pentagon is Linked to Torture Centres (The Guardian/BBC Arabic)

The 5-minute trailer for the full Guardian/BBC documentary

The Pentagon sent a US veteran of the "dirty wars" in Central America to oversee sectarian police commando units in Iraq that set up secret detention and torture centres to get information from insurgents. These units conducted some of the worst acts of torture during the US occupation and accelerated the country's descent into full-scale civil war.

Watch the full Guardian/BBC Arabic documentary

Colonel James Steele was a 58-year-old retired special forces veteran when he was nominated by Donald Rumsfeld to help organise the paramilitaries in an attempt to quell a Sunni insurgency, an investigation by the Guardian and BBC Arabic shows.

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US Feature: General Petraeus and the Kagans --- How "Private Analysts" Become "De Facto Military Advisors"

Kimberly Kagan backs increased US military forces in Afghanistan, June 2010: "We can reverse the Taliban's momentum"

Petraeus allowed his biographer-turned-paramour, Paula Broadwell, to read sensitive documents and accompany him on trips. But the entree granted the Kagans, whose think-tank work has been embraced by Republican politicians, went even further. The four-star general made the Kagans de facto senior advisers, a status that afforded them numerous private meetings in his office, priority travel across the war zone and the ability to read highly secretive transcripts of intercepted Taliban communications, according to current and former senior U.S. military and civilian officials who served in the headquarters at the time.

The Kagans used those privileges to advocate substantive changes in the U.S. war plan, including a harder-edged approach than some U.S. officers advocated in combating the Haqqani network, a Taliban faction in eastern Afghanistan, the officials said.

The pro-bono relationship, which is now being scrutinized by military lawyers, yielded valuable benefits for the general and the couple.

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US Politics Feature: Biggest Loser from the Petraeus Affair? --- The CIA

See also EA Video Analysis: The Real Story of General David Petraeus

The Petraeus affair emphasizes the increasing marginalization and militarization of the CIA in the post-9/11 world. Despite a reputation of omnipotence, the CIA has always been buffeted by forces outside of its control, including its bureaucratic competitors and the whims of whomever is in the White House.

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EA Video Analysis: The Real Story of General David Petraeus

Forget the sex scandal that brought him down. This is the reason why we should remember General David Petraeus --- a man whose ambition and supporters led to the exaggeration of military "success" and the corruption of US foreign policy.


Pakistan to Yemen to North Africa Feature: The CIA Seeks More Drones

Protest in Pakistan earlier this month against US drone strikes

The CIA is urging the White House to approve a significant expansion of the agency’s fleet of armed drones, a move that would extend the spy service’s decade-long transformation into a paramilitary force, U.S. officials said.

The proposal by CIA Director David H. Petraeus would bolster the agency’s ability to sustain its campaigns of lethal strikes in Pakistan and Yemen and enable it, if directed, to shift aircraft to emerging al-Qaeda threats in North Africa or other trouble spots, officials said.

If approved, the CIA could add as many as 10 drones, the officials said, to an inventory that has ranged between 30 and 35 over the past few years.

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Syria Analysis: Assessing a US Warning over Arms to the Insurgency

Some within the US Government are using their regular channel --- David Sanger of The New York Times --- to put out a warning over support of the Syria insurgency.

The key political question: is there a general view across the Administration, pointing to a policy of caution and even reversal in backing of the insurgency? Is it a signal to Turkey, which has been increasing its co-operation with opposition fighters, at least indirectly, through operations across the Syrian border? Or is this one faction within the US Government using Sanger to fight against another group which favours more US intervention?

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Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: 217 Die Amid Question, "Where's Bashar?"

Insurgents take over a post on the Turkish border on Thursday

See also Syria Opinion: "Insurgency, Not Diplomacy, Will End This Conflict"
Syria Feature: Alawites Flee to the Coast
Thursday's Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: The Regime is Shocked and Awed

2030 GMT: Syria. At least initially, the greatest threat that the Syrian crisis poses to the region has nothing to do with terrorism or chemical weapons or cross-border firefights, but has everything to do with the massive amounts of refugees flooding some countries, particularly Turkey and Lebanon, but also Iraq and Jordan. As fighting is heating up in Damascus, the amount of refugees in Lebanon has rapidly risen to an extraordinary number:

Between 8,500 and 30,000 Syrians have crossed into Lebanon in the last 48 hours, an agency spokeswoman, Melissa Fleming, said at a news briefing in Geneva. The new flood adds to an exodus of more than 112,000 who have already registered as refugees in Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq and Jordan, and many thousands more who have fled but not registered. United Nations relief agencies say three-quarters of them are women and children, often arriving in a desperate state with no more than the clothes they are wearing. Internally, as many as a million people have been displaced, according to the Syrian Arab Red Crescent.

1942 GMT: Syria. The Free Syrian Army has engaged the Assad military in heavy fighting in the city of Zabadani, northwest of Damascus (map), for the second day in a row today...

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Bahrain Feature: The "Security" Web --- The Kingdom Talks with Saudi Arabia, Britain, and the US

Bahrain's Commander-in-Chief Hosts US CENTCOM CommandersWhilst meetings are part of every government's day, a series of encounters in the past week suggest that security and Saudi union is again very much on the mind of Bahrain --- and its allies.

The backdrop to this activity took place on Sunday, when the Bahrain Interior Minister, Shaikh Rashid bin Abdullah Al Khalifa, visited his Saudi counterpart, Prince Ahmed bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. The Saudi Gazette reported, "The talks focused on the recent raids by the Bahraini security forces that resulted in the uncovering of 'terrorist hideouts' and seizure of materials used for manufacturing explosive devices." The Prince "lauded the cooperation between the two countries in security aspects".

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Afghanistan Opinion: Let's Be Clear --- "The Surge" Was A Failure of US Strategy and Policy (Cohen)

Rajiv Chandrasekaran's newly-released book, Little America: The War Within The War for Afghanistan (see extract in separate EA feature) has prompted soul-searching amongst US analysts about what went wrong, more than a decade after the situation was supposedly resolved with the ousting of the Taliban.

Michael Cohen's comment for The Progressive Realist resonates, in part because it returns to the key period in 2009 --- covered extensively by EA at the time --- when the US military bounced President Obama into an expanded intervention. Ostensibly, this was for development and political resolution as well as the vanquishing of the Taliban; in practice, the development and political resolution never followed the additional boots on the ground.

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The Real Net Effect and Libya: The Information Campaign against the Qaddafi Regime (Pollock)

Watch live streaming video from libya17feb at

The last broadcast of Mohammed Nabbous on Libya Alhurra TV on 19 March 2011 --- he was killed later that day, recording a firefight in Benghazi

The war against Qaddafi was fought with global brains, NATO brawn, and Libyan blood. But it took brains and blood to get the brawn. On February 18, three days into the protests that would swell into the successful revolt against the regime, Libya went offline. Internet and cell-phone access was cut or unreliable for the duration, and people used whatever limited connections they could. In Benghazi, Mohammed "Mo" Nabbous realized he had the knowledge and the equipment, from an ISP business he had owned, to lash together a satellite Internet uplink. With supporters shielding his body from potential snipers, Nabbous set up dishes, and nine live webcams, for his online TV channel Libya Alhurra ("Libya the Free"), running 24/7 on Livestream.

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