Iraq: The U.S. Surge

US-MIDEAST: Light At End of Tunnel Elusive, Despite Obama’s Efforts

President Barack Obama will try this week to underline his progress in extricating the United States from the morass his predecessor's "global war on terror" in the Greater Middle East.

US: Soldiers Forced to Go AWOL for PTSD Care

With a military health care system over-stretched by two ongoing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, more soldiers are deciding to go absent without leave (AWOL) in order to find treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

U.S. army recruiting poster from 1944. Women are no longer targeted separately. Credit: Betty H. Carter Women Veterans Historical Project, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, NC

US: Culture of Unpunished Sexual Assault in Military

Sexual assault of women serving in the U.S. military, while brought to light in recent reports, has a long tradition in that institution.

RIGHTS-AUSTRALIA: Parliament Tightens Protest Ban at Spy Base

Despite ongoing community concerns over the highly secretive Pine Gap spy station in central Australia, the nation’s parliament has moved to effectively ban protest at the joint Australia-United States base.

US: Counterinsurgency Back In Vogue?

As the U.S. prepares to reduce its military presence in Iraq while intensifying its war effort in Afghanistan, hawks within both the Republican and Democratic parties have come increasingly to believe that counterinsurgency (COIN) doctrine offers a solution to the central security challenges Washington will face in the 21st century.

POLITICS-US: New Budget, Not Quite a Fundamental Shift

Secretary of Defence Robert Gates unveiled the U.S.’s much-anticipated new military budget Monday, which aims to reorient the armed forces toward irregular and counterinsurgency warfare while proposing cuts in several major weapons programs.

Mahvish Rukhsana Khan. Credit: Scribe Publications

Q&A: "Mistakes Will Continue to Happen When There Isn’t Transparency"

Not many people want to spend time at Guantánamo Bay. But while studying law at the University of Miami in 2005, Mahvish Rukhsana Khan became outraged to learn of the lack of rights afforded detainees in the "war on terror" and was keen to get involved.

IRAQ: U.S. Officials Admit Worry over a ‘Difficult’ al-Maliki

U.S. officials privately admit being concerned that Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al- Maliki has become "overconfident" about his government’s ability to manage without U.S. combat troops, according to an Iraq analyst who just returned from a trip to Iraq arranged by U.S. commander General David Petraeus.

POLITICS-US: One-Fifth of Iraq Funding Paid to Contractors

As a new report forecasts that the 190,000 private contractors in Iraq and neighbouring countries will cost U.S. taxpayers more than 100 billion dollars by the end of 2008, an under-the-radar Florida court case suggests that U.S. President George W. Bush - a staunch contractor supporter - is preparing to throw security contractors such as Blackwater under the political bus.

POLITICS-US: How Tenet Betrayed the CIA on WMD in Iraq

Journalist Ron Suskind’s revelation that Saddam Hussein’s intelligence chief was a prewar intelligence source reporting to the British that Saddam had no weapons of mass destruction (WMD) adds yet another dimension to the systematic effort by then Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director George Tenet to quash any evidence - no matter how credible - that conflicted with the George W. Bush administration’s propaganda line that Saddam was actively pursuing a nuclear weapons programme.

POLITICS-US: No Traction in the Middle East

More than five years after invading Iraq as a first step towards "transforming" the Middle East, the administration of U.S. President George W. Bush seems to have lost its footing - let alone its unquestioned domination - throughout the region.

AFGHANISTAN: Karzai’s Threat Of War Triggers Outrage in Pakistan

Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s threat to send troops across the border to crush pro-Taliban forces, which sparked angry protests in Pakistan’s border areas this week, has led to calls for restraint from moderate politicians in the North West Frontier Province (NWFP).

Two U.S. Army soldiers search a building for weapons caches in Baghdad on Apr. 16, 2008. Credit: US Defence Dept/Spc. Lester Colley

US/IRAQ: Pressure to Cut Costs, Troops Strains “Surge”

Growing impatience in Congress over the enormous costs being racked up by the Iraq war, as well as the Pentagon's belief that it needs more troops in Afghanistan to fight insurgents there, is putting the vaunted success of the George W. Bush administration's "surge" strategy to the test.

IRAQ: In Tatters Beneath a Surge of Claims

What the U.S. has been calling the success of a "surge", many Iraqis see as evidence of catastrophe. Where U.S. forces point to peace and calm, local Iraqis find an eerie silence.

US: Overstretched Forces Concern Officers

The U.S. military is "severely strained" by two large-scale occupations in the Middle East, other troop deployments, and problems recruiting, according to a new survey of military officers published by Foreign Policy magazine and the centrist think-tank Centre for a New American Strategy.

US-IRAQ: Surge Exposing Political Tensions

Despite assertions by the George W. Bush Administration that the escalation strategy in Iraq - known as the "surge" - has been a rousing success, many of the problems of pre-surge Iraq still exist and, along with new issues, are exacerbating a tenuous political situation there.

CHALLENGES 2007-2008: Bush’s Twilight Year Looks Grim

If the last days of 2007 are any indication, U.S. President George W. Bush’s last year in office is shaping up as grim and lonely.

CHALLENGES 2007-2008: Gates Led Realist Resurgence in ‘07

2007 will likely go down in U.S. history as the year in which the balance of power in the long-running struggle between hawks and realists in the administration of President George W. Bush shifted decisively in favour of the latter.

POLITICS-SAUDI ARABIA: Iran Polls Better Than U.S.

Although the image of the United States appears to have improved in Saudi Arabia over the past year, the Saudi public’s view of Washington remains largely negative, according to major new poll released here this week by Terror Free Tomorrow (TFT), a Washington, D.C.-based bipartisan group.

POLITICS-US: Congress Clears More Funds for Both War and Relief

Racing to adjourn for the year, the U.S. Congress this week approved a 560- billion-dollar omnibus 2008 appropriation that includes 70 billion dollars more for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and sizable increases in development, refugee, and disaster assistance.

IRAQ: Government Fragments Further

As sectarian tensions escalate politically, a new fissure is appearing within the already fragmented Iraqi government.

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