The Great Debate

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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).

A fragile peace with Taliban if school attacks escalate

By Gordon Brown
June 25, 2013

In the week in which America opened the door for negotiations with the Taliban, three bloody massacres of school children — shot down simply because they wanted to go to school — raise grave questions about what kind of peace the Taliban offer.

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.