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 Most RecentForeign Policy Archive

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I got an invitation to speak a couple of months ago from an outfit called, which is run by a young fellow called Justin Raimundo. " is having its second annual national conference March 24 & 25, and we'd like you to be the luncheon speaker," Raimundo wrote. "The conference will be held at... Read More
Exploding shells twinkle over a hilltop in northern Afghanistan as opposition soldiers try to show that one day they will have the strength to overthrow the Taliban in Kabul. A line of soldiers advances on the enemy's position and flushes out a single prisoner. It was a perfectly efficient operation as a training exercise by... Read More
The Waiting Is the Hardest Part
in the Panjshir Valley The Independent Soldiers of the Afghan opposition will launch ground attacks on the Taliban only when the US begins military action in Afghanistan, a senior general of the Northern Alliance has said. General Feisal Ahmed Hazimi, a veteran commander who claims to lead 10,000 troops, said: "If the Americans attack then... Read More
Deep inside Afghan territory, the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance is secretly building an airbase at breakneck speed, which the US-led coalition will then use to funnel massive amounts of military supplies to the one force that is already taking the war to Osama bin Laden's protectors. The new airfield is expected to transform the military balance... Read More
From a hilltop 40 miles north of Kabul, across a clear night sky illuminated by a half a silver moon, I saw flashes on the skyline last night as the Allied air strikes began. Under a canopy of stars, plumes of fire were visible across the flat, heavily populated Shomali plain, which leads to the... Read More
It is a strange battlefield. The front line cuts across the green Shomali plain, one of the most fertile parts of Afghanistan, its fields fed by the rivers flowing out of the foothills of the Hindu Kush mountains. Here, amid the close-packed mud-brick villages, home to 800,000 people, the Taliban and the opposition Northern Alliance... Read More
Fighting raged around Mazar-i-Sharif when the Afghan opposition advanced on the strategic northern city for the first time, aided by American bombers pounding Taliban frontline positions. If the city falls, then the Taliban position to the north of the country, where they have never been popular, might begin to unravel. In the past two days,... Read More
The son of Mullah Mohammed Omar, the leader of the Taliban, has been killed by an American air strike. An Afghan doctor said yesterday that he had struggled in vain to save the life of the boy, aged 10, after the child was injured during the first night of strikes on the southern city of... Read More
Thus began a piece by Walter Pincus on page 6 of The Washington Post on Sunday, and if you suspect that this is the overture to an argument for torture, you are right. The FBI interrogators have been getting nowhere with the four key suspects, held in New York's Metropolitan Correctional Center. None of these... Read More
Inside Afghanistan
in Faizabad The Independent We had just driven through the village of Jorm, a huddle of mud-brick houses surrounded by trees in an upland valley in northern Afghanistan, when we saw about fifty people running towards us in a sort of bewildered panic. As they grew closer we saw that two of them were carrying... Read More
Open the November 5 edition of Newsweek and here's Jonathan Alter, munching coyly on the week's hot topic, namely the propriety of the FBI torturing obdurate September 11 suspects in the Bureau's custody here in the United States. Alter says no to cattleprods, but continues the sentence with the observation that something is needed to... Read More
Tribal Council:
The Independent in Mohammed Agha, Afghanistan In a field in an arid valley south of Kabul a hundred local leaders, all powerful in their own districts, assembled yesterday to debate the future of their province at the same time as Afghan politicians were meeting in Germany to try to create a stable government for their... Read More
"Arafat is guilty of everything here." Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon declared on television Monday night. "Arafat has made his strategic choices: a strategy of terrorism." In sync with these fierce words, Israeli forces launched attacks close to the Palestinian leader's house and destroyed his helicopters, an onslaught that the US government conspicuously failed to... Read More
In the depths of the Pankisi Gorge, a natural fortress in the mountains of northern Georgia shielded from the outside world by its sheer rock walls, kidnappers are holding an Orthodox monk and demanding $1 million for his release. The kidnapping has provoked a public outcry and highlighted the disintegration of Georgia. Demonstrators gathered last... Read More
Plaintiffs in the of ADL Spying Case
In 1993, the District of Attorney of San Francisco released 700 pages of documents implicating the Anti-Defamation League, an organization that claims to be a defender of civil rights, in a vast spying operation directed against American citizens who were opposed to Israel's policies in the Occupied West Bank and Gaza and to the apartheid... Read More
Daniel Pearl's dispatches reminded me somewhat of Peter Kann's in the days when he was the Journal's most light-heartedly stylish reporter, before assuming the imperial purple and becoming the company's CEO. It was Kann, back in the late 1970s, who traveled to Afghanistan, reported that the place was a dump covered with flies and that... Read More
A series of bomb attacks on civilians in Russia two and a half years ago killed 300 and set the scene for a new war in Chechnya and the sudden elevation of Vladimir Putin, a little-known intelligence officer, as the unchallenged leader of Russia. The bombs terrified Russians, as they were designed to do, because... Read More
Let's start with Baruch Kimmering, a sociologist at Hebrew University. Here's what he sent to the Jerusalem Weekly Kol Ha'Ir last month, which duly published it: "I accuse Ariel Sharon of creating a process in which he will not only intensify the reciprocal bloodshed, but is liable to instigate a regional war and partial or... Read More
One From the Vault
The most successful saga in postwar popular culture got off to a conscientious start after breakfast on a tropical morning in Jamaica early in 1952. Ian Fleming, forty-three years old and ten weeks away from his first and last marriage, knocked out about 2,000 words on his Imperial portable claiming (falsely) that he was just... Read More
Here we are, twenty years on , and many of the reports of what's been happening as the Israeli army smashes its way through Ramallah and Bethlehem and the other Palestinian towns remind me of what came out of Lebanon in 1982 as Sharon and his invading army raced north: Israeli troops beating, looting, destroying;... Read More
In the first concrete sign that the US is planning military action against Iraq despite objections from its allies, CIA officers have surveyed three key airfields in northern Iraq. The airfields, situated in northern Iraq near the cities of Arbil, Dohuk and Sulaimaniyah in Kurdistan--the only part of Iraq not held by Saddam Hussein--could be... Read More
For those eagerly awaiting further uproar from this writer on the unspeakable assaults on Palestinians on the West Bank, the carnage in the camps, the siege of the Holy Church of the Nativity by Sharon's troops, a word of warning: this column contains reflections on barbecue, a subject that arouses even more passion than matters... Read More
I'd guess it was the most explicit call for ethnic cleansing by a prominent American since Sherman's designation of the only good Indian being a dead one, or California's second governor, John McDougal's declaration in his first message to the California legislature in 1851 to the effect that "A war of extermination will continue to... Read More
The Pentagon Prepares a Prolonged Campaign from Turkey & Kuwait
The long snouts of anti-aircraft guns are again protruding from the tops of tall buildings in Iraq. Tank units have been deployed around oilfields. Special committees drawn from local leaders of the army, security forces and the ruling Baath party will try to ensure that any rebellion is quickly crushed. President Saddam Hussein himself has... Read More
Right in the wake of House Majority leader Dick Armey's explicit call for two million Palestinians to be booted out of the West Bank and East Jerusalem and Gaza as well, came yet one more of those earnest articles accusing a vague entity called "the left" of anti-Semitism. This one was in Salon, by a... Read More
American Journal Kissinger, Hitchens, Springsteen, Haggard and Presley
Clearly irked by the thought that he and Henry Kissinger may be on the same wave length when it comes to attacking Saddam Hussein, Christopher Hitchens is now declaring in the London Observer that H.K. is against any such war: "A week or so ago I wondered when he was going to pronounce on the... Read More
American Journal Bush: Still Popular a Year Later? Don't Believe It
They still refer to George Bush's popularity. I don't think so. The dwindling number of folk who tell the pollsters they think he's doing a good job are probably worried they'll get investigated by Ashcroft if they don't. Imagine you're back in the Soviet Union in 1941, right after Hitler's attack. "Good morning, Tovaritsch. It's... Read More
Now they've given Jimmy Carter the Nobel Peace Prize. Looking at the present, wretched incumbent, Democrats feel smug about their paladin of peace. But there's continuity in Empire. Presidents come and Presidents go. There are differences, but over much vital terrain the line of march adopted by the Commander in Chief doesn't deviate down the... Read More
Putin's Gas: 115 Hostages Killed by Russian Poison Gas
MOSCOW. The dreadful truth about the end of the Moscow theatre siege was becoming clear yesterday. The secret gas, pumped into the building to knock out the Chechen rebels and allow crack Russian troops to storm the building just before dawn on Saturday, killed scores of hostages and caused many others to slip into a... Read More
American Journal The Anti-War Movement and Its Critics: Merle Haggard Locates Osama; General Hitchens, Hie Thee to Fort...
Do we have an antiwar movement? We're getting there. We must be, because we're catching flak from the anti-anti war movement, Light Infantry division, staffed by Marc Cooper, Todd Gitlin, David Corn, and Christopher Hitchens. Marc Cooper, like Gitlin, has carved out a pleasant niche for himself, belaboring various left causes from a position purporting... Read More
American Journal Iraq After D-Day: The Cordesman Memo
Napoleon would sketch out in an afternoon the new constitution and legal arrangements for one of France's imperial conquests. In Washington today, there's no such panache, no Jacques-Louis David limning Bush in imperial drapery and resplendent crown (though surely Josephine's heart beats beneath Laura's delicious bosom). All over town, lights blaze far into the night... Read More
The deep differences between enemies of President Saddam Hussein was underlined yesterday when a group of his opponents walked out of a conference in London dedicated to forging opposition unity. The five Iraqi Shia Muslim groups said the largest Shia party was monopolising representation of their community, to which the majority of Iraqis belong, on... Read More
American Journal
Those Inscrutable Orientals There's much fluttering among the pundits about the enigmatic North Koreans, much puzzlement about that nation's motives in withdrawing from the non-proliferation treaty and telling the US it's pressing forward with nuclear manufactures. Now let's see. President George W. Bush announces at the start of last year that North Korea is part... Read More
"The Largest Outcry in History"; Should Michael Lerner Speak? Kucinich: It's A Go; Who's Howard Dean? Kansas...
We're witnessing the largest outcry in history against an imminent war with the imminent aggressors-- the US and UK--so frightened of the outcry that they have been trying to curb the demonstrations in New York and London. The one in New York is scheduled for February 15, with the gathering point as of this writing... Read More
Kurds Outraged by American Plan to Occupy Iraq
in Arbil, northern Iraq The US is abandoning plans to introduce democracy in Iraq after a war to overthrow Saddam Hussein, according to Kurdish leaders who recently met American officials. The Kurds say the decision resulted from pressure from US allies in the Middle East who fear a war will lead to radical political change... Read More
Hacks and Heroes: Meet the New Yorker's Goldberg; Israeli Draft Resisters; Bulworth Screenwriter Lashes New York Times;...
Who's the hack? I nominate The New Yorker's Jeffrey Goldberg. He's the new Remington, though without the artistic talent. Back in 1898, William Randolph Hearst was trying to fan war fever between the United States and Spain. He dispatched a reporter and the artist Frederic Remington to Cuba to send back blood-roiling depictions of Spanish... Read More
Invasion by Cellphone; Why Let Facts Stop a Good War?; John Barry's Unfeted Scoop; More on Goldberg's...
CounterPunch hears that the top 2,500 Iraqis have been getting calls on their cellphones from US intelligence officers telling them that if they lay down their arms when D-day comes they may escape trial for war crimes. One seasoned Iraqi hand tells us the US did the same thing in 1991, but that often the... Read More
Promises, Promises
Irbil, Iraq. The first checkpoint outside Iraqi government control at Girda Rasha on the road north from Kirkuk is a grim spot. Kurdish security men living in a few filthy cabins on the desolate plain carefully check the cars of people arriving in Kurdistan from all over Iraq. It is as good a place as... Read More
What Will the US Find If It Invades Iraq? It'll Find What It Wants To, Silly; Booze and Cigarettes in the White House?;...
Does anyone seriously believe that in the event of US invasion, "discovery" of Saddam's Weapons of Mass Destruction won't be long delayed? The stakes are simply too high. It won't take much: a blueprint or two, a few canisters noisily identified as chemical or biological agents, a "facility" for production of nuclear munitions. CounterPunch has... Read More
CounterPunch Diary
Monday night, denouncing the UN Security Council for inaction, Bush gave 48 hours for Saddam Hussein to get out of Iraq. If he doesn't, the bombs will drop, the missiles will fly, the tanks will roll. Most certainly people will die. Bush's ultimatum concludes one of the most disastrous attempts to sell a war in... Read More
CounterPunch Diary
The timbre of war reporting changed on Sunday, from brazen hubris to a more nervous posture. Typical was a report in the London Financial Times by Victor Mallet, datelined the Iraq/Kuwait border, and titled, “Ominous Signs for Coalition in Battle for Umm Qasr. “The sound of machine gun exchanges and bombing raids by Royal Air... Read More
"Perhaps They're Not Invincible"
General Nasrudin Mustafa, commander of the Kurdish forces north of Kirkuk, was just finishing a sentence, saying: "There is nothing new happening on my front." But as he spoke the last word there a thunderous roar, his headquarters building shook and the door of his office rattled on its hinges. A US aircraft had just... Read More
From "Plain Sailing" to "Where the Hell Are We?" to "Up the Creek"
Barely into its second week Operation Easy Sailing is in big trouble. One simple way of measuring just how big is by adding up all the time you hear the phrases “all according to Plan”, and the “Our strategy is sound”. That’s the captain of the Titanic speaking. At the military level the US/UK force... Read More
CounterPunch War Diary
The situation of the US/UK invading force can be assessed as difficult. The US 3rd Infantry Division, the Marines, Division, the 101st Airborne continue to be plagued by stretched supply lines which yesterday saw one Marine unit entirely immobilized by lack of diesel fuel and the food down to one “meal” a day, with the... Read More
Playing Into Saddam's Hands
The US soldier, surrounded by Kurdish militiamen on a green plain in the heart of Iraqi Kurdistan, was a worried man. Since the Kurds are the one community in Iraq unanimously in favour of the Anglo-American invasion, he could not have been in a safer place. But the soldier refused to give his name, eyed... Read More
CounterPunch War Diary
Through the murk of battle, the fog of US/UK military communiques and the more deftly presented Iraqi bulletins, we can begin to descry the shape of things to come, and the basic question posed by war: the powers of endurance and capacity for sacrifice of the two sides. If it comes to a medieval siege... Read More
Slaughter on the Road to Dibagah US Pilot Kills 18 in Kurdish Convoy
Northern Iraq. In the worst friendly fire incident of the war so far, two US F-15 bombers killed 17 Kurdish and American soldiers and a BBC translator yesterday when they mistakenly attacked an Allied convoy in northern Iraq. The explosions ripped apart the vehicles, the heat of the blast so intense that it melted the... Read More
The US has a Lot to Answer For Mounting Ethnic Violence and Misery
Northern, Iraq. A machine-gun chattered just outside the gate of the biggest hospital in Mosul just as Dr Ayad Ramadani, the hospital director, was saying he blamed the Kurds for the orgy of looting and violence which had engulfed Iraq's northern capital. "The Kurdish militias were looting the city," he explained. "Today the main protection... Read More
CounterPunch Diary Contract with Iraq
They put US troops round the Oil Ministry and the headquarters of the Secret Police, but stood aside as the mobs looted Baghdad's Archaeological Museum and torched the National Library. It sounds like something right out of Newt Gingrich's Contract with America, only here the troops protecting the American Petroleum Institute are lobbyists and politicians,... Read More
CounterPunch Diary The Decline and Fall of American Journalism (Part LXV): the Case of Judy Miller
As a million Shi'ite pilgrims streamed toward Karbala earlier this week, shouting "No to America, no to Saddam, no to tyranny, no to Israel!" (slogans recorded by a reporter for Agence France Presse) can't you just imagine the plash of complacent 'I Told Him So's' from the lips of George Bush Sr., on the phone... Read More