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Entries in Karen DeYoung (9)


Syria Analysis: Dissecting The Washington Post's Scary "Iran-Hezbollah 50,000 Militiamen in Syria " Story

Head of Iran's Revolutionary Guards Mohammad Ali Jafari announces Tehran's military support for Assad regime, 16 September 2012

The real question beyond "50,000 militiamen": why is the US Government, backed by an Arab ally, feeding this story to the Post now?

Is this laying the ground for the revelation that the Obama Administration --- contrary to its recent denials --- has been involved in provision of arms to the insurgency, supposedly ensuring that it can block any rise of an Iran-Hezbollah-Assad force after the fall of the regime? Is it another volley in the campaign to separate "good" insurgents from "bad" insurgents such as Jabhat al-Nusra? Is it justification for the ever-increasing US sanctions on Iran, including the measures put in place last Wednesday? All three?

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US Feature: Justice Department --- Yes, We Can Kill American Citizens Overseas with Drones (NBC and DeYoung)

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Rachel Maddow features the Justice Department paper, "Lawfulness of a Lethal Operation Directed Against a U.S. Citizen"

The United States can lawfully kill a U.S. citizen overseas if it determines the target is a “senior, operational leader” of al-Qaeda or an associated group and poses an imminent threat to the United States, according to a Justice Department document.

The document defines “imminent threat” expansively, saying it does not have to be based on intelligence about a specific attack since such actions are being “continually” planned by al-Qaeda. “In this context,” it says, “imminence must incorporate considerations of the relevant window of opportunity” as well as possible collateral damage to civilians.

It says that such determinations can be made by an “informed, high-level official of the U.S. government.”

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US Feature: Obama's Man Writing the "Playbook" for the "War on Terror" (DeYoung)

John Brennan & Barack Obama (Pete Souza/White House)In his windowless White House office, presidential counterterrorism adviser John O. Brennan is compiling the rules for a war the Obama administration believes will far outlast its own time in office, whether that is just a few more months or four more years.

The “playbook,” as Brennan calls it, will lay out the administration’s evolving procedures for the targeted killings that have come to define its fight against al-Qaeda and its affiliates. It will cover the selection and approval of targets from the "disposition matrix", the designation of who should pull the trigger when a killing is warranted, and the legal authorities the administration thinks sanction its actions in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and beyond.

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Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Conflict Renewed

2011 GMT: Syria. According to the Local Coordinating Committees, large protests are being held tonight in Douma, a key suburb of Damascus:

However, there is also a report that security forces have raided Daraya, another suburb, and one that has seen regular night time firefights over the last several days. This video reportedly shows the gunfire:

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Yemen Snapshot: US and European Union Spin in Futility --- What to Do? What to Do? (DeYoung)

Armed Men Trap Ambassadors in UAE Embassy, 22 May 2011As Yemen's President Saleh repeatedly backs away from a deal for transition of power and armed clashes escalate on the streets of the capital Sanaa and other cities, the US and the European Union seem to be spinning helplessly, entangled in their alliance with Saleh in the War on Terror.

Karen DeYoung reports for The Washington Post:

The Obama administration and its Arab and European allies are reassessing their military and economic support for Yemen in a desperate search for ways to force President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s resignation before civil war erupts.

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Afghanistan: Obama Administration "Has Accelerated Direct Talks with Taliban" (DeYoung)

The administration has accelerated direct talks with the Taliban, initiated several months ago, that U.S. officials say they hope will enable President Obama to report progress toward a settlement of the Afghanistan war when he announces troop withdrawals in July.

A senior Afghan official said a U.S. representative attended at least three meetings in Qatar and Germany, one as recently as “eight or nine days ago,” with a Taliban official considered close to Mohammad Omar, the group’s leader.

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Afghanistan: Taliban & Karzai Government in "High-Level Talks" (DeYoung/Finn/Whitlock)

In The Washington Post, Karen DeYoung, Peter Finn, and Craig Whitlock report that the Taliban and the Afghan Government have begun discussions for an end to conflict.

Not all observers find this dramatic or promising. In response to the question of Times of London reporter Jerome Starkey, "Did we know this already or did I dream it?", an aid worker in Afghanistan responded, "I don't think you were dreaming. It's lather, rinse, repeat."


Taliban representatives and the government of Afghan President Hamid Karzai have begun secret, high-level talks over a negotiated end to the war, according to Afghan and Arab sources.

The talks follow inconclusive meetings, hosted by Saudi Arabia, that ended more than a year ago. While emphasizing the preliminary nature of the current discussions, the sources said that for the first time they believe that Taliban representatives are fully authorized to speak for the Quetta Shura, the Afghan Taliban organization based inPakistan, and its leader, Mohammad Omar.

"They are very, very serious about finding a way out," one source close to the talks said of the Taliban.

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Pakistan: As Military Threatens Move, The Tension Rises for Washington (DeYoung)

Karen DeYoung's article for The Washington Post is a must-read. Work through the detail and analysis and the following is on the table.

1: Pakistan's military is threatening a takeover if the Zardari Government does not carry out sweeping action against its own officials;

2. The US Government, while not happy with a coup, is looking to a "best-case scenario" of those Government changes;

3. At least one key Administration officials says that changes from military pressure are preferable to Pakistan's constitutional process, carried out through the courts, concerning President Zardari:

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US Policy on Afghanistan: The Obama Administration's PR Offensive, "We Must, We Must Stay the Course" 

For some time, we have been noting the US military's bureaucratic triumph over the President in the escalation of and persistence with the American campaign in Afghanistan, even beyond Barack Obama's nominal withdrawal date of July 2011.

Now the other shoe drops, courtesy of an article by Karen DeYoung in The Washington Post. This time it is the White House putting out the message: despite the growing doubts over the US intervention, despite the rising costs in money and lives, despite the complications of corruption, despite the inconclusive outcome of this week's Parliamentary elections, Washington will --- it must --- carry on.

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