Foreign Policy Blogs

Current Conflicts

Targeted Killings and the Law of War

Targeted Killings and the Law of War

I recently had the privilege to attend an event sponsored by The Aspen Institute’s Justice and Society Program entitled,

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Kenya vs. Al Shabaab: Helicopters, IEDs and Twitter

Kenya vs. Al Shabaab: Helicopters, IEDs and Twitter

Kenya’s military had one of its biggest victories this past weekend when two of its helicopter gunships attacked an al Shabaab convoy in Southern Somalia, killing more than 100 militant fighters, according to Kenyan Military spokesman

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UNHCR Appeals for Safety for Third-Country Nationals in Libya

UNHCR Appeals for Safety for Third-Country Nationals in Libya


On Monday, August 22, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres, appealed for the safety of refugees in Libya.
He appealed for all parties involved in the conflict to ensure that the thousands of refugees currently trapped in Tripoli and other areas …

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Boualem Sansal: An Open Letter to Mohamed Bouazizi

I found this letter today. It comes from Words Without Borders. The author, Boualem Sansal, is an Algerian novelist, and Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire in Tunisia on December 17, 2010. The letter is beautiful, and worth a read.
Dear Brother:
I write these …

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Palestinian U-Turn on Settlements

A senior Palestinian official told the Associate Press today that the Palestinian leadership is ready to drop demands for Israel to completely halt all settlement building in the Occupied Territories. So if negotiations are restarted, a full settlement freeze would no longer be part of the Palestinian preconditions. I wonder …

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Tom Friedman on Palestinian Nonviolent Protest

Tom Friedman has it right in yesterday’s column. He writes:
“To the Palestinians I would say: You believe the Israelis are stiffing you because they think they have you in box. If you resort to violence, they will brand you terrorists. And if you …

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Bibi, Obama, and the Middle East

Bibi, Obama, and the Middle East


There has been much discussion and grandiose speech-making on the Middle East this week. First Obama gave a “big” address on the Arab Spring, and he even touched on the Israel-Palestinian peace process too. Then Bibi Netanyahu arrived in town for meetings with Obama …

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What Obama Should Say Tomorrow

What Obama Should Say Tomorrow


Twilight on the corniche in Beirut in February

The chatter in the news and on Twitter today is about President Obama’s big speech on the Middle East at the State Department tomorrow. What will he say? There is no question this is a serious opportunity to …

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The Iranian Wildcard

The Iranian Wildcard

While my (and much of the world’s) attention focused on the Middle East in recent weeks, the rest of the world has not stood around idly. In Pakistan, as everyone knows of course, Osama bin Laden was killed sixty kilometers north of Islamabad, where he lived in a fairly luxurious …

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Syria Reconsidered

Syria Reconsidered

Last week I wrote that inaction in Washington and at the UN does not live up to the brave and hopeful Syrians who have taken to the streets in protest of the Assad government. Many there probably looked at NATO’s intervention in Libya and expected something similar to happen if …

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The Case for Syria

The Case for Syria

It’s a beautiful April day here in Brooklyn. New York Spring might be only just taking root but in the Middle East, the Arab Spring is in full bloom.

I was there two months ago but thinking about it now makes it seem like decades …

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Good King Abdullah

Good King Abdullah


Amman is a vast, sprawling metropolis, but not very exciting. A map of the city looks like the cross section of an enormous anthill, with curving roads criss-crossing each other and leading nowhere in particular. It was an epic hassle to get to our …

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Hello Syria

Hello Syria

I’ve fallen a little behind in my Middle East series. Though now a little out-of-date, this is the Syria post. I was there in the middle of February, so this will give you an excellent idea of how quickly things have changed there. Then, things were quiet. Now, things are …

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The New Lebanon Can't Hide the Bullet Holes

The New Lebanon Can't Hide the Bullet Holes


We landed in Beirut’s international airport at 11:30pm. It was raining. We needed two things: local currency and a taxi. Luckily, it appeared that there were upwards of thirty drivers who would have loved to take us to our hotel.
Unaccustomed to haggling, we accepted …

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Middle East Series

Middle East Series


I just returned from a fourteen-day tour of the Middle East. As dictators falter and topple left and right, this is certainly an exciting time to be in the region. “The new Middle East,” you might call it. Simmering resentment, propelled by youth movements, …

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