The Great Debate

Why arming U.S. allies can be like sending weapons straight to the enemy

By David Axe
March 25, 2015
A member of the Kurdish peshmerga forces sit with a weapon during an intensive security deployment against Islamic State militants in Makhmur

A member of the Kurdish peshmerga forces sit with a weapon during an intensive security deployment against Islamic State militants in Makhmur, on the outskirts of the province of Nineveh August 7, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer

Prediction: Obama will decide to keep U.S. troops in Afghanistan beyond 2016

December 22, 2014

U.S. Marines prepare to board a plane at the end of operations for U.S. Marines and British combat troops in Helmand

In 2015, I predict that President Barack Obama will rethink his plan to have all operational U.S. combat forces out of Afghanistan by the end of 2016.

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.

Fighting for democracy in South Asia

By Nisha Biswal
November 15, 2013

For the first time in post-colonial history, all of the countries of South Asia are democracies.

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.

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).

Impressions of a Pakistan election monitor

By Anja Manuel
May 15, 2013

Voters at a polling station on the outskirts of Islamabad May 11, 2013. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra

Syria as dress rehearsal: Securing WMD in midst of civil war

By Bennett Ramberg
October 19, 2012

As Syria’s civil war spirals into mounting violence, the Assad regime’s chemical weapons stockpile is generating increased anxiety throughout the Middle East and beyond.  Taking precautionary measures, the United States has reportedly placed 150 “planners and other specialists” in Jordan to work on contingencies — including the chemical weapons threat.

Help Pakistan rein in the ISI

By David Rohde
September 23, 2011

By David Rohde
The opinions expressed are his own.

Admiral Mike Mullen’s blunt declaration on Thursday that a Taliban faction known as the Haqqani network acts as a “veritable arm” of Pakistan’s military intelligence agency is a welcome shift in U.S. policy. After a decade of privately cajoling the Pakistani military to stop its disastrous policy of sheltering the Afghan Taliban, the United States is publicly airing the truth.

We need a new Pakistan-U.S. relationship

By Guest Contributor
May 4, 2011

By Farhana Qazi
The opinions expressed are her own.

For the United States, Bin Laden is history. He is an after-thought. And it is almost certain that the Central Intelligence Agency has moved onto its next target. But for Pakistan, the death of the terrorist kingpin is not over as U.S policy makers debate Islamabad’s role in the war on terrorism.