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Middle East wars

Kurds will need Iraq Army’s help to take Mosul from IS

WADI MASHAR, Iraq — From a sandbagged hilltop outpost here, you can see the front line of the Islamic State in the muddy brown houses of Al-Nasr, a village on the next ridgeline, about a mile and a half west. The Iraqi army was supposed to have captured this target a month ago.

Date: 05/01/2016 | Opinion Columnists


Trump cribs his isolationism from Obama

Foreign policy does not determine American elections. Indeed, of all Western countries, we are the least interested in the subject. The reason is simple: We haven't had to be. Our instinctive isolationism derives from our geographic exceptionalism. As Bismarck once explained (it is...

Date: 04/29/2016 | Opinion Columnists


ISIS claims strikes on Turkish artillery as border tensions rise

The Islamic State released a video Thursday purportedly showing their fighters firing anti-tank guided missiles at Turkish positions, possibly destroying what appears to be two self-propelled artillery pieces and a tank.

Date: 04/28/2016 | Nation & World


UN warns of ‘catastrophic’ turn in Syria after hospital strike

ISTANBUL — An onslaught of airstrikes in rebel-held areas of the Syrian city of Aleppo has killed scores and destroyed a hospital supported by international aid groups, activists and humanitarian workers said Thursday, prompting the United Nations to warn of a “catastrophic deterioration” that...

Date: 04/28/2016 | Nation & World


About 16 military disciplined in Afghanistan hospital attack

WASHINGTON — A senior U.S. official says that about 16 U.S. military personnel, including one general officer, have been disciplined for mistakes that led to the bombing of a civilian hospital in Afghanistan last year that killed 42 people.

Date: 04/28/2016 | Nation & World


On surprise Iraq visit, Biden urging end to political crisis

BAGHDAD — Vice President Joe Biden made an unannounced visit to Iraq on Thursday to implore the country’s leaders to resolve a crippling political crisis that has hindered efforts to defeat the Islamic State group.

Date: 04/28/2016 | Nation & World


Recent battle hardens lines between Azerbijan, Armenians

STEPANAKERT, Nagorno-Karabakh — The military commander of this breakaway Armenian republic predicted in an interview here Monday that a fragile cease-fire could collapse within days. By that night, Azerbaijani shelling had killed two Armenian soldiers in a northern border town,...

Date: 04/28/2016 | Opinion Columnists


Suicide bomber hits Turkish city, wounding at least 13ANK801

ISTANBUL — A suicide bomber blew herself up Wednesday in the Turkish city of Bursa, wounding at least 13 people, officials said. A Turkish official told The Associated Press the attack in the popular northwestern tourist destination was carried out by a suicide bomber.

Date: 04/27/2016 | Nation & World


Foreign fighters entering Iraq, Syria down by 90 percent

WASHINGTON — The flow of foreign fighters into Iraq and Syria has dropped from roughly 2,000 a month down to 200 within the past year, according to the Pentagon, which says the waning numbers are further proof of the Islamic State’s declining stature.

Date: 04/26/2016 | Nation & World


In Damascus, an uneasy stability boosts Bashar Assad

DAMASCUS, Syria — Looking out from the Syrian capital these days, one can understand why President Bashar Assad would be in no hurry to make concessions at peace talks in Geneva, let alone consider stepping down as the opposition demands.In Damascus, it is easy to...

Date: 04/24/2016 | Nation & World


U.S. acknowledges another 20 civilian deaths in Syria, Iraq

WASHINGTON — U.S. airstrikes aimed at Islamic State targets in Syria and Iraq killed 20 civilians between September and February, including eight in a single attack on a mortar position used by militants, the U.S. military said Friday.

Date: 04/22/2016 | Nation & World


B-52 Stratofortress drops its 1st bombs on ISIS

The B-52 Stratofortress bomber, designed and first fielded to deliver nuclear strikes on the Soviet Union during the Cold War, has dropped its first bombs on the Islamic State, the Pentagon said Wednesday.A contingent of B-52H Stratofortresses that arrived at Al Udeid Air...

Date: 04/21/2016 | Nation & World


Fighting in Syria intensifies as opposition digs in heels

BEIRUT — The Syrian opposition coalition negotiating in Geneva said Tuesday there can be no solution in Syria with President Bashar Assad in power, and called for international monitors to observe a cessation of hostilities agreement that has all but collapsed.

Date: 04/19/2016 | Nation & World


U.S. seeks ways to boost fight against Islamic State

AL-DHAFRA AIR BASE, United Arab Emirates — U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said he will talk with his commanders in the coming days to identify additional ways the U.S. can intensify the fight against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, including more airstrikes,...

Date: 04/17/2016 | Nation & World


Details emerge of ISIS destruction at Palmyra

DAMASCUS, Syria — The first foreign experts who visited the museum in Palmyra after it was taken over from Islamic State militants said they spent a week collecting fragments of priceless broken sculptures from the museum grounds and preparing them for transportation to Damascus...

Date: 04/17/2016 | Nation & World


A foreign policy veteran’s balanced view of Obama

Bob Gates has unusual standing in the debate about the Obama administration's foreign policy: He was defense secretary both for a hawkish President George W. Bush, then a wary President Obama. He understood Bush's desire to project power and Obama's skepticism.Gates...

Date: 04/17/2016 | Opinion Columnists


Timing of Benghazi panel’s report aimed at Clinton

Is Trey Gowdy planning a July surprise?The chairman of the Select Committee on Benghazi went to ground after he and his colleagues grilled Hillary Clinton in October. They haven't had a single hearing since then (and had only three public hearings before that one), though...

Date: 04/15/2016 | Opinion Columnists


ISIS frees most of 300 abducted workers, kills 4

BEIRUT — The Islamic State group has released most of the 300 cement workers it abducted near Damascus after questioning them to find out who were Muslims and killing four who were members of the minority Druze sect, a Syrian opposition monitoring group and a news agency linked to the extremists...

Date: 04/09/2016 | Nation & World


Renton family of U.S. citizen released from Syria thankful

SEATTLE — The Renton family of a U.S. citizen released from captivity by the Syrian government since he entered the country about four years ago has confirmed his release.

Date: 04/09/2016 | Northwest


U.S. Special Operations fighters forced to use faulty rifle sights

U.S. Special Operations forces are using rifle sights that are supposed to help shooters accurately hit their targets but instead have a defect, acknowledged by the manufacturer, that potentially endangers the lives of service members in combat, according to court records and military...

Date: 04/03/2016 | Nation & World


What Europe must fix to prevent its end

"We have the Europe we deserve," admitted French Prime Minister Manuel Valls on Wednesday. The question is how Europeans can build the security structures they need.The first requirement is solidarity, within each country and among the 28 nations of the European...

Date: 03/27/2016 | Opinion Columnists


Russia’s pullback may aid moderates in Syria

Moderate Syrian opposition forces claim they are strengthening their positions against extremists in northern and southern Syria as the Russian military withdraws and a fragile cease-fire takes hold with the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.Two rebel commanders described...

Date: 03/22/2016 | Opinion Columnists


Istanbul bomber identified as militant with IS links

ISTANBUL — Turkey’s interior minister on Sunday identified the suicide bomber who killed four foreign tourists in Istanbul as a militant with links to the Islamic State group.

Date: 03/20/2016 | Nation & World


Syrian troops push toward ISIS stronghold of Palmyra

BEIRUT — Backed by Russian aircraft, Syrian troops pushed Friday toward the historic central town of Palmyra in an offensive to recapture it from the Islamic State group whose fighters have damaged some of the world's most precious archaeological sites since they overran the town...

Date: 03/19/2016 | Nation & World


Stepping back in Mid-East has allowed others to move in

What accounted for Vladimir Putin's surprise decision Monday to start pulling Russian forces from Syria? Is it possible that he spent last weekend reading Jeffrey Goldberg's piece in The Atlantic and decided that President Obama was right about the Syria mess, and that he should quit...

Date: 03/18/2016 | Opinion Columnists


Finding a middle path to fight ISIS’s propaganda

MIAMI BEACH — One wouldn't call them bedfellows, strange or otherwise, but President Obama and Donald Trump are both inadvertently helping the Islamic State through rhetoric that is either too cautious or too rash.It shouldn't be difficult to discern which is which.

Date: 03/17/2016 | Opinion Columnists


Little success but Syrian talks move along

The head of the Syrian opposition says he's going to Geneva for the next round of U.S.-Russian-sponsored peace talks Monday, even though the opposition rejects any future role for President Bashar al-Assad, whose regime will be the other party in the talks.The Syria...

Date: 03/14/2016 | Opinion Columnists


Leaked list of ISIS fighters authentic, Germany says

BERLIN — Thousands of files have surfaced with personal data on members of the Islamic State group — documents that might help authorities track down and prosecute foreign fighters who returned home after joining the extremists, or identify those who recruited them in the...

Date: 03/10/2016 | Nation & World


As Obama pledged, ISIS being degraded

U.S. Special Operations Forces working with a widening array of partners are slowly tightening their squeeze on Islamic State fighters in eastern Syria — moving toward an eventual assault on the jihadists' self-declared capital of Raqqa.The Pentagon's top priority in...

Date: 03/09/2016 | Opinion Columnists


U.S. diplomacy has reshaped pieces in Mid-East puzzle

Asked to describe the current shape of the Middle East, a visiting Israeli official uses a Hebrew expression, gam vegam, which translates roughly to: "It's going in both directions at once." The shards of the Middle East mosaic are as sharp and dangerous as ever,...

Date: 03/03/2016 | Opinion Columnists


Russian warplanes sit idle on Syria base during cease-fire

HEMEIMEEM AIR BASE, Syria — Dozens of Russian warplanes sat idle Tuesday on the tarmac at this Russian air base in Syria on the fourth day of a cease-fire brokered by Moscow and Washington.

Date: 02/29/2016 | Nation & World


UN chief: Syria cease-fire holds despite growing breaches

BEIRUT — U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Monday that a shaky cease-fire in Syria is holding “by and large” on its third day despite sporadic fighting and growing accusations of violations.

Date: 02/29/2016 | Nation & World


Cease-fire in Syria appears to be working, at least for now

GAZIANTEP, Turkey — The unthinkable happened in Syria on Saturday as an internationally mandated truce unexpectedly took hold across much of the country, raising hopes that the beginning of an end to the five-year-old crisis may be in sight.

Date: 02/28/2016 | Nation & World


Barbarians are at the gate, and Obama fiddles

State of the world, Year Eight of Barack Obama:(1) In the South China Sea, on a speck of land of disputed sovereignty far from its borders, China has just installed anti-aircraft batteries and stationed fighter jets. This after China landed planes on an artificial island it...

Date: 02/26/2016 | Opinion Columnists


Diplomacy in Syria ‘the only game in town’

Blaming President Obama for his past mistakes in Syria may be satisfying, and is largely deserved, but it's not a policy. This is the most complicated battlefield the world has seen in decades, and the next moves by the U.S. and its allies have to be deliberate, and carefully...

Date: 02/21/2016 | Opinion Columnists


Worrying future of cyber weapons and security

MUNICH — The Munich Security Conference is an annual catalog of horrors. But the most ominous discussion last weekend wasn't about Islamic State terrorism but a new generation of weapons — such as killer robots and malignly programmed "smart" appliances that...

Date: 02/18/2016 | Opinion Columnists


John Kerry meets with Hollywood studio executives to talk Islamic State

LOS ANGELES-Secretary of State John Kerry met with Hollywood studio chiefs in Los Angeles on Tuesday to discuss various topics including Islamic State.

Date: 02/16/2016 | Nation & World


Turkey pushes case for ground operations as Kurds advance

BEIRUT — Turkey said Tuesday it is pressing for ground operations in Syria, hoping for the involvement of the U.S. and other allies as a force dominated by Kurdish fighters pushed through rebel lines and captured more territory near the Turkish border.

Date: 02/16/2016 | Nation & World


U.S. confirms release of 3 Americans abducted in Baghdad

BAGHDAD — The three Americans who were abducted in Baghdad last month have been freed, the State Department said Tuesday, and Iraqi officials said they have been handed over to the U.S. Embassy in good health.

Date: 02/16/2016 | Nation & World


Islamic State faces budget crunch, killing perks and slashing salaries

BEIRUT — Faced with a cash shortage in its so-called caliphate, the Islamic State group has slashed salaries across the region, asked Raqqa residents to pay utility bills in black market American dollars, and is now releasing detainees for a price of $500 a person.

Date: 02/16/2016 | Nation & World


Obama urges Putin to end airstrikes on moderates in Syria’s war

President Barack Obama spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin to call for an end to airstrikes against moderate opposition forces in Syria as a security conference in Munich discussed efforts to implement a truce in that country’s five-year civil war.

Date: 02/14/2016 | Nation & World


U.S. nears ‘crunch time’ on Syria, says Kerry

Secretary of State John Kerry said in an interview that the U.S. is nearing a final "crunch time" on Syria — in which it will either make progress toward a cease-fire or begin moving toward "Plan B" and new military moves.For Kerry-watchers,...

Date: 02/13/2016 | Opinion Columnists


UAE says it’s prepared to send ground forces to Syria

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — A top official in the United Arab Emirates said Sunday that his country is prepared to send ground troops to Syria to fight Islamic State militants as part of an international coalition.

Date: 02/08/2016 | Nation & World


Recent losses haven’t lessened ISIS’s reach

Republican and Democratic presidential candidates should be able to agree on one stark foreign policy reality: The tide hasn't turned in the war against the Islamic State. In the 18 months that the U.S. has been working to "degrade and ultimately destroy" the group, it has...

Date: 02/07/2016 | Opinion Columnists


Saudi Arabia ready to send ground troops to Syria

CAIRO — A Saudi military spokesman said Thursday the kingdom is ready to send ground troops to Syria to fight Islamic State group provided coalition leaders agree during an upcoming meeting in Brussels.

Date: 02/05/2016 | Nation & World


U.N. envoy declares ‘official beginning’ to Syria peace talks

GENEVA — The U.N. special envoy for Syria announced the official start of peace talks Monday between the Syrian government and opposition leaders, hoping to keep a wobbly process alive and compel world powers who helped set the stage for the talks to do more to bring about a cease-fire in a...

Date: 02/01/2016 | Nation & World


Dozens killed by bombs in Syria, clouding UN peace session

GENEVA — A triple bombing killed at least 50 people in a predominantly Shiite suburb south of the Syrian capital of Damascus on Sunday even as a U.N. mediator held his first meeting with members of the main opposition group that seeks progress on humanitarian issues before it will join formal talks...

Date: 01/31/2016 | Nation & World


Witness to migrant capsizing that killed 37 recounts tragedy

AYVACIK, Turkey — A witness to the drowning of 37 people including babies and other young children off Turkey’s coast recounted the disaster, describing the screams in the moments after the boat carrying the migrants slammed into rocks.

Date: 01/31/2016 | Nation & World


What Clinton had right during Egypt's Arab Spring

Five years ago, President Obama made a decision that helped topple Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. His policy represented a bet that the democratic surge of the Arab Spring could lead to a stable political transition in Egypt and elsewhere in the Middle East.Obama's...

Date: 01/31/2016 | Opinion Columnists


Israel, Jordan may wait for U.S. to act on their behalf

TEL AVIV, Israel — Let's say Islamic State fighters attack an Israeli military patrol along the Syrian border. They try unsuccessfully to kidnap an Israeli soldier, but they kill four others. A Jordanian border post is hit, too, and the Islamic State proclaims it has control of...

Date: 01/28/2016 | Opinion Columnists


IS acknowledges death of militant ‘Jihadi John’ in magazine

NEW YORK — The Islamic State group has acknowledged the death of the masked militant known as “Jihadi John,” who appeared in several videos depicting the beheadings of Western hostages, the SITE Intelligence Group reported Tuesday.

Date: 01/19/2016 | Nation & World


Candidates won’t admit to long, costly war ahead of us

TAMPA, Fla. — There's a scary disconnect between the somber warnings you hear privately from military leaders about the war against the Islamic State and the glib debating points coming from Republican and Democratic politicians.The politicians fulminate about...

Date: 01/19/2016 | Opinion Columnists


U.S. skeptical of Putin but a necessary partner in Syria

Russia is emerging as an essential diplomatic and security partner for the U.S. in Syria, despite the Obama administration's opposition to Moscow's support for President Bashar al-Assad. Russian-American cooperation on Syria now includes regular diplomatic, military and...

Date: 01/14/2016 | Opinion Columnists


Siege, starvation left Syrian town in ‘grim’ state, UN says

BEIRUT — Siege and starvation have left the rebel-held Syrian town of Madaya in a nightmarish state not seen elsewhere in the country, a U.N. official who traveled there said Tuesday, as some 300 residents fled and desperately needed humanitarian aid arrived.

Date: 01/12/2016 | Nation & World


Moderates may see gains in Iran’s election

By David IgnatiusThe power struggle in Tehran between moderates and hard-liners is heading toward a showdown in next month’s elections, which could shape the political balance in Iran for years to come.

Date: 01/10/2016 | Opinion


Capitulation by Obama a signal to foes, allies

If you're going to engage in a foreign policy capitulation, might as well do it when everyone is getting tanked and otherwise occupied. Say, New Year's Eve. Here's the story: In October, Iran test-fires a nuclear-capable ballistic missile in brazen violation of Security...

Date: 01/08/2016 | Opinion Columnists


Saudi insecurity led to clash with Iran

"Fragile" is the word that journalist Karen Elliott House used to describe Saudi Arabia in her 2012 book about the country. "Observing Saudi Arabia is like watching a gymnast dismount the balance beam in slow motion," she wrote. The world holds its breath...

Date: 01/06/2016 | Opinion Columnists


Projecting U.S. power will be complicated for next president

Making New Year's predictions is tricky in this turbulent world, but here's one fairly safe bet: The next president will propose a more assertive U.S. foreign policy. Hillary Clinton, the likely Democratic nominee, has often sounded nearly as hawkish about use of military force as the...

Date: 12/31/2015 | Opinion Columnists


A year of Taliban gains shows that ‘we haven’t delivered,’ top Afghan official says

MARJA, Afghanistan — As the Afghan convoy entered the battered village, Taliban fighters opened fire. U.S.-trained Afghan policemen poured out of their Humvees and began wildly shooting their AK-47 rifles in every direction.

Date: 12/27/2015 | Nation & World


Iraqi forces capture main government compound in Ramadi

BAGHDAD — Iraqi forces said Sunday that they had captured the main government compound in Ramadi, a symbolic win in a key city that has been under Islamic State control for seven months.

Date: 12/27/2015 | Nation & World


Obama a realist governing in an age of anxiety

President Obama gave a speech Tuesday at the National Archives that stood in almost perfect counterpoint to the Republican presidential debate that took place that evening in Las Vegas: Against the rising GOP tide of anger toward immigrants, Obama anchored himself among the historical...

Date: 12/21/2015 | Opinion Columnists


Fighting in Yemen kills at least 75

SANAA, Yemen — Fierce fighting and airstrikes by a Saudi-led coalition pounded northern Yemen on Saturday, as the two main parties in the country’s conflict continued to violate a ceasefire agreement and undermine already tenuous peace talks in Switzerland.

Date: 12/20/2015 | Nation & World


Obama trying to avoid a quick fix at an unacceptable cost

To Republican presidential candidates who were denouncing President Obama on Tuesday night for not fighting harder against the Islamic State, there's an obvious if unspoken answer: Obama doesn't think this is an existential battle that's worth the cost to America of an all-out war.

Date: 12/17/2015 | Opinion Columnists


Churches should reject fear and welcome world’s refugees

"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free." These words are inscribed on the Statue of Liberty. The challenge is, will we live up to them? People from Africa and the Middle East desperately seeking refuge from persecution and...

Date: 12/12/2015 | Commentary


Canada welcomes refugees from Syria

On Thursday, the Toronto Star, a major Canadian daily, published a front page welcoming Syrian refugees to Canada. Beneath a picture of a bucolic scene ran an editorial that welcomed Syrian refugees. The first batch of arrivals were slated to land in Toronto this week; the Canadian...

Date: 12/11/2015 | Nation & World


Top military advisers reluctant to move on Syria

The U.S. military is the world's most powerful fighting force, but its leaders sounded downright timid on Capitol Hill Wednesday.Defense Secretary Ashton Carter and Air Force Gen. Paul Selva, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, assured members of the Senate Armed...

Date: 12/11/2015 | Opinion Columnists


All that’s missing in Syria, Iraq are Sunni ‘local forces’

At the center of President Obama's strategy for dealing with the Islamic State is an empty space. It's supposed to be filled by a hypothetical "Sunni ground force," but after more than a year of effort, it's still not there. Unless this gap is filled, Obama's plan won't...

Date: 12/08/2015 | Opinion Columnists


Cautious, slow, uncertain may be only option

"A cancer that has no immediate cure" was not the most soothing metaphor President Obama could have chosen, but it was the most honest. He has no idea how to prevent another terrorist attack like the one in San Bernardino — and neither does anyone else, including his...

Date: 12/08/2015 | Opinion Columnists


Left veers from topic in linking latest attack to guns, refugees

Traumatic national events often lead promoters of various causes to attempt a product tie-in. The terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California, was no exception.The agendas may be worthy of support, but trying to Scotch-tape them onto only vaguely related circumstances...

Date: 12/08/2015 | Opinion Columnists


Deal for Lebanese president another sign for hope in Mideast

A modest diplomatic breakthrough seems near in Lebanon, as the allies of Saudi Arabia and Iran appear to have tentatively agreed on a new president after an 18-month deadlock.Under a political deal blessed by the U.S., the vacant Lebanese presidency would be filled by...

Date: 12/03/2015 | Opinion Columnists


Syrian opposition: Russian strikes kill 18, wound dozens

BEIRUT — Airstrikes believed to have been carried out by Russian warplanes killed at least 18 civilians and wounded dozens more on Sunday in a northern Syrian town held by insurgents, Syrian opposition media reported.

Date: 11/29/2015 | Nation & World


Should the U.S. turn away Syrian refugees?

The deadly attacks Nov. 13 in Paris by the Islamic State have raised new concerns about terrorists entering Europe and the United States posing as refugees from Syria's civil war.President Obama this week reiterated that he intends to welcome at least 10,000 refugees over...

Date: 11/29/2015 | Commentary


Three young Mid-East heroes work to build society, peace

If you're cringing this Thanksgiving at the homicidal youth gang that calls itself the Islamic State, you might consider the narratives of three young people in the Middle East who are trying to make a positive difference. The killers and fanatics may get the headlines, but these three...

Date: 11/27/2015 | Opinion Columnists


Tougher talk from Obama can motivate nation

The two presidents stood in the East Room on Tuesday afternoon, united in their goal of defeating the Islamic State but separated by a stylistic gulf as vast as the Atlantic.On the left, facing the cameras, was Francois Hollande, war president. He spoke of "cowardly...

Date: 11/26/2015 | Opinion Columnists


Trump risking our safety for political benefit

Crises bring out the best and worst in people, as has been demonstrated vividly this past week by the behavior of President Obama and GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump.Obama showed his best face in Tuesday's press conference with visiting French President Francois...

Date: 11/25/2015 | Opinion Columnists


Turks shoot down Russia warplane near border

ANKARA, Turkey — Turkey shot down a Russian warplane Tuesday, claiming it had violated Turkish airspace and ignored repeated warnings. Russia denied that the plane crossed the Syrian border into Turkish skies.

Date: 11/24/2015 | Nation & World


Puzzle requires thought, as well as bombs, boots

One week, Beirut and Paris; the next week, Mali. The nightmare is young. Where next?The pace and threat of terror seem to have picked up, each incident feeding on the previous. Fear takes hold, momentum builds. Rhetoric flies in the face of reason, until all reason abandons...

Date: 11/23/2015 | Opinion Columnists


Hope for Syrian truce talks

Diplomatic negotiations on Syria got lost in the aftermath of the Paris attacks a week ago. But the talks have made surprising progress — and they may prove a crucial part of any successful strategy for combating terrorists from the Islamic State.Secretary of State...

Date: 11/23/2015 | Opinion Columnists


Don’t let fear change values

Have we allowed fear to get the better of us?In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in Paris, suspicion has bled from its proper focus on the Islamic State to include refugees who are fleeing two of the countries — Syria and Iraq — infested by the...

Date: 11/22/2015 | Editorials


Past accords can guide peace after ISIS

French President Francois Hollande has announced that his country is at war with the Islamic State, and America is surely part of that conflict, too. What the warfighters need urgently is a road map for the future, after the terrorist group is defeated. Planning the shape of...

Date: 11/22/2015 | Opinion Columnists


Russian warplanes attack ISIS oil plants

MOSCOW — The Russian military has destroyed numerous oil facilities and tankers controlled by the Islamic State group in Syria, sharply cutting its income, Russia's defense minister said Friday.Minister Sergei Shoigu reported to President Vladimir Putin on Friday that...

Date: 11/21/2015 | Nation & World


Why did Ryan rush bill on Syrian, Iraqi refugees?

Well, it was nice while it lasted.Three weeks ago, Paul Ryan accepted the speaker's gavel with a vow to return to "regular order," in which the Congress runs by deliberation rather than fiat and lawmakers have loose rein to amend and shape legislation. "The...

Date: 11/20/2015 | Opinion Columnists


Rejecting Syrian refugees won’t make us safer

President Barack Obama wants the United States to take in 10,000 Syrian refugees next year — but in the wake of last week's Paris attacks and reports that one of the terrorists may have had a valid Syrian passport with a stamp from Greece, more than half the governors in this...

Date: 11/20/2015 | Opinion Columnists


Obama should follow example of Hollande

Tell me: What's a suicide bomber doing with a passport? He's not going anywhere. And, though I'm not a religious scholar, I doubt that a passport is required in paradise for a martyr to access his 72 black-eyed virgins.A Syrian passport was found near the body of one of the...

Date: 11/20/2015 | Opinion Columnists


Republicans putting all cliches on the table to defeat ISIS

Congressional Republicans unveiled a new strategy Tuesday morning to defeat the Islamic State: Kill it with cliches.House GOP leaders huddled with their caucus in the Capitol basement for an hour before emerging to hit the enemy with an unrelenting barrage of hackneyed...

Date: 11/19/2015 | Opinion Columnists


Paris, like New York, is a city of resilience

Like most people, I'm thinking of the terrorist trauma in Paris, though with a somewhat different perspective. I was in New York on Sept. 11, 2001, and my thoughts go in this direction: What is the future of cities in which psychopaths have killed crowds of bystanders?In New...

Date: 11/19/2015 | Opinion Columnists


Would Clinton continue Obama's Mid-East policies?

"Why can't we take out these bastards?" CNN's Jim Acosta bluntly asked President Obama at a Monday press conference at the Group of 20 summit in Turkey. "These bastards," of course, are the Islamic State — at least for Acosta. As Obama called Friday's...

Date: 11/18/2015 | Opinion Columnists


Obama’s critics find scapegoat in refugees

The attacks in Paris have inspired a xenophobic bidding war among Republican presidential candidates.Gov. Bobby Jindal on Monday signed an order trying to get his state of Louisiana to block the settlement of any Syrian refugee, while Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas...

Date: 11/18/2015 | Opinion Columnists


Taking next steps in Iraq, Syria

Pressed about his strategy for fighting the Islamic State, a petulant-sounding President Barack Obama insisted Monday, as he has before, that his critics have offered no concrete alternatives for action in Syria and Iraq, other than putting "large numbers of U.S. troops on the...

Date: 11/18/2015 | Commentary


We now live in a world of soft targets

Many French people referred to the January attacks on the offices of French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo and other sites as their 9/11. As awful as that time was, it was not a 9/11. Seventeen people died that day. The Sept. 11, 2001, assaults on New York and Washington left nearly...

Date: 11/17/2015 | Opinion Columnists


The West and Muslims must join forces to fight ISIS

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — Do Western nations think that Muslim lives matter less? Most of us would resist any such characterization of callousness. But Western outrage about the carnage in Paris, coupled with near-indifference to similar killings in the Arab world,...

Date: 11/17/2015 | Opinion Columnists


Do Obama’s critics seek U.S. boots in Syria?

As Paris mourns its dead, critics of President Obama's caution in the fight against the Islamic State are full of sound and fury. But those who throw around such words as "weak" and "feckless" should tell us if they support the logical alternative: sending in...

Date: 11/17/2015 | Opinion Columnists


All are at the table for Syrian peace talks, except Syrians

"Syrian peace talks" is one of those phrases where the soothing words don't fit the nightmare reality. But the indefatigable Secretary of State John Kerry is making another try this weekend in Vienna, and there's more to this effort than just his good intentions.

Date: 11/13/2015 | Opinion Columnists


Criticism of Obama’s foreign policy fails to show different path

President Obama's foreign policy has been a regular punching bag for Republican presidential candidates, but many of their criticisms are facile. The next president — from whichever party — will have to confront the same puzzle that Obama has faced about how best to use U.S.

Date: 11/12/2015 | Opinion Columnists


Netanyahu may have turned Jewish Americans against him

Benjamin Netanyahu doesn't do regret.Earlier this year, the Israeli prime minister did more than any of his predecessors over nearly 70 years to turn his country into a partisan political issue in the United States. In his speech to Congress and in other venues, he fought...

Date: 11/11/2015 | Opinion Columnists


Proxies fighting in Syria need to deescalate

President Obama says he doesn't want to turn the Syria conflict into a proxy war. Unfortunately, that's already happening, as combatants join the battle against the Islamic State with radically differing agendas that could collide. Let's look at the confusing order of...

Date: 11/05/2015 | Opinion Columnists


Boots on the ground in Syria have lawmakers calling for a new authorization

WASHINGTON — Boots on the ground in Syria, combat in Iraq, and an expanding campaign against the Islamic State have thrust the issue of passing a congressional authorization for such military ventures back into the spotlight.

Date: 11/01/2015 | Nation & World


Clinton allowed Republicans to stumble, fall

Hillary Clinton must have been mindful of the old adage that you never interrupt an enemy when he is making a mistake. She sat in the witness chair with the patience of Job, hour after endless hour, while the House Select Committee on Benghazi did all it could to make her our next...

Date: 10/27/2015 | Opinion Columnists


Obama weighs moving U.S. troops closer to front lines in Syria, Iraq

The president’s most senior national security advisers have recommended measures that would move U.S. troops closer to the front lines in Iraq and Syria, officials said, a sign of mounting White House dissatisfaction with progress against the Islamic State and a renewed Pentagon push to expand...

Date: 10/26/2015 | Nation & World


Turkey shoots down drone at border with Syria

ANKARA, Turkey — Turkish jets shot down an unidentified drone that flew into Turkey’s airspace at the border with Syria Friday, an incident that comes as Syrian troops under Russian air cover are pressing their offensive against rebels in central and northern Syria.

Date: 10/16/2015 | Nation & World




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