from Stories I’d like to see:

What we don’t know about Qatar and what we don’t know about key Senate races

By Steven Brill
August 5, 2014

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry walks with Qatari Crown Prince Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani in Doha

1. Inside Qatar:  the terrorists’ benefactor and America’s friend

As the war in Gaza continues, we keep hearing that one pipeline for negotiations with Hamas goes through Qatar, the tiny, oil-rich kingdom in the Gulf that has friendly relations with Hamas. In fact, Qatar hosts the leaders of Hamas and provides financial support.

from The Great Debate:

Bergdahl reveals the impossible choices faced by hostages’ families

By David Rohde
June 6, 2014

U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl waits in a pick-up truck before he is freed at the Afghan border

The furor surrounding the exchange of five Taliban prisoners for Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl this week has exposed the murky world -- and impossible choices -- of the families of Americans taken captive by militants.

from The Great Debate:

Leave no soldier behind – no exceptions

By Charles J. Dunlap Jr.
June 4, 2014

dunlop -- top!

The deal for Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl’s return has hardly generated the praise the Obama administration might have hoped. Hard questions abound.

from The Great Debate:

Afghan elections redefine U.S. role

By Senator Robert Menendez
April 4, 2014

On Saturday, Afghans will go to the polls to elect a new president, marking a critical turning point in Afghanistan's history and our role in the country.

from The Great Debate:

Afghanistan votes on its future

By Anja Manuel
April 3, 2014

The coverage on the impending Afghan presidential elections has been filled with death and chaos -- the tragic shooting at the Serena hotel where an international election monitor was killed, the shocking attack on the Afghan Election Commission's headquarters, the killing of a provincial council candidate and the news that several international monitoring groups are pulling out.

from The Great Debate:

Is there a ‘right’ path for the U.S. in Syria?

By Anja Manuel
January 21, 2014

Key parties to the conflict in Syria are meeting in Switzerland on Wednesday. The participants have been downplaying expectations that the “Geneva II” peace conference -- which will bring together for the first time representatives from the Assad government and various rebel groups along with major international players -- will resolve the conflict, or even bring about a ceasefire.

from The Great Debate:

Risky business: Talking to the Taliban

By Paula Newberg
November 8, 2013

If one event crystallizes Pakistan’s helplessness in confronting its political future, it is the recent assassination-by-American-drone of Hakimullah Mehsud, erstwhile leader of the Pakistani Taliban.

from David Rohde:

How covert drone strikes turn murderers into martyrs

By David Rohde
November 6, 2013

Five days after an American drone strike killed the leader of the Pakistani Taliban, Pakistani politicians are accusing the United States of “murder.” And a militant leader responsible for attacks that killed hundreds, if not thousands, of Pakistani civilians is being viewed as a victim.

from The Great Debate:

Let Pakistan’s Taliban talks fail without us

By Daniel Markey
October 22, 2013

Adding to an unenviable list of challenges that already includes earthquakes, sectarian violence and an economy teetering near collapse, Pakistan’s leaders are attempting to open a new round of high-stakes peace negotiations with homegrown insurgents, the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

from Expert Zone:

An Indian pivot in Afghanistan after troop drawdown

By S K Chatterji
July 1, 2013

(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters)

Notwithstanding Afghan President Hamid Karzai's disinclination to participate in talks, the Taliban retain the ability to calibrate violence levels in large parts of the country. But even if an understanding is reached with the Taliban, it does not hold the promise of lasting peace. Breakaway factions will find support and funding to continue bloodletting.