The Great Debate UK
from The Great Debate:
At his news conference on Tuesday, President Barack Obama for the first time in years spoke about the controversial detention center at Guantanamo Bay, which he had promised to close when he first took office.
“Guantanamo is not necessary to keep America safe,” Obama said, responding to a reporter’s question. “It is expensive. It is inefficient. It hurts us in terms of our international standing. It lessens cooperation with our allies on counterterrorism efforts. It is a recruitment tool for extremists. It needs to be closed.” He went on to acknowledge that more than half the detainees have been officially cleared for release.
As if to forestall the obvious next question – then why hasn’t he closed it? – the president blamed the prison’s continued existence on Congress. “Congress,” he said, “determined that they would not let us close it.”
Though Congress has made closing the prison difficult, Obama is the one who put his legacy on the line by ordering its closure within days of assuming office. It’s still in his power to follow through.
from The Great Debate:
After months of uncertainty around whether Ali Abdullah Saleh has been sincere about stepping down from his post as Yemen’s president, Sunday brought confirmation that he has left the country to seek medical treatment in the United States. Under a deal brokered by the Gulf Cooperation Council with United Nations, United States and United Kingdom assistance, Saleh is barred from partaking in the Feb. 21 elections for an interim president. In exchange, he received immunity in an unamendable law -- both nationally and internationally highly controversial -- passed by Yemen’s parliament the day before his departure.
And yet Saleh made it immediately clear that he intended to return to Yemen before the elections to lead his General People’s Congress party, which holds a majority of seats in parliament. This is, of course, somewhat reminiscent of the last time Saleh left Yemen for medical treatment in June 2011. Following a bomb attack on the presidential palace which left several senior government officials dead and Saleh and others seriously injured, he sought treatment in Saudi Arabia amid hopes he would step down from office. He returned to Sana’a as president at the end of September. While Saleh will not be able to hold this office again, his intention of continuing to play a major role in the future of Yemen taints the otherwise good news of his departure.
from Afghan Journal:
Launching an air strike in another nation would normally be considered an act of aggression. But advocates of America's rapidly expanding unmanned drone programme don't see it that way.
They are arguing, as Tom Ricks writes on his blog The Best Defense over at Foreign Policy, that the campaign to kill militants with missile strikes from these unmanned aircraft, is more like police action in a tough neighbourhood than a military conflict.
-”Kathleen Brooks is research director at forex.com. The opinions expressed are her own.”-
The peoples of the Middle East are rising up and letting their political views be known. In Tunisia, Egypt and Yemen protestors have taken to the streets to demand political change, and in the case of Tunisia they have succeeded. These tensions between the people and their governments have caught the global media’s attention. It has also set off something of a domino effect with other autocratic regimes in the region worrying that the same could happen to them.
from Pakistan: Now or Never?:
So little is known about al Qaeda that it is can be tempting to see patterns when none exist, or conversely to see only madness when there is method at work.
But with that health warning, it's interesting to see Afghanistan cropping up in recent comments from both al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).