At the end of August the U.S. and South Korea conducted their joint military exercise Ulchi Freedom Guardian (August 19-30), a drill Pyongyang views as a rehearsal for war. North Korea was notably restrained during the entire episode. Before the drills began, some North Korea watchers were concerned Pyongyang might use them to return to confrontational behavior, despite an August 14 deal with Seoul to normalize operations at the joint Kaesong Industrial Complex.
For the past month at least, the world seems to have been discussing nothing but whether, how and when the United States will engage in a punitive air strike of some sort against the Syrian regime of Bashir al-Assad. Three things stand out about this discussion.
In January 2001, mere months into the second Palestinian intifada that followed the collapse of the Camp David peace talks, then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak said: “In a few years, we will bury our hundreds of dead, and they will bury their thousands of dead, and we will go back to the negotiating table, and we will face the same issues.”
Afghan and Pakistani leaders met for critical talks last month as President Hamid Karzai traveled to Islamabad to sit down with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. It was Karzai’s first visit to Pakistan since Sharif, a former two-time prime minister, took the helm of a new civilian government in June. aimed at patching Kabul’s frayed relations with Islamabad and seeking the release of senior Taliban prisoners to revive the stalled peace talks. But the lead up to the meeting did not augur well.
Muslim fighters holding scores of hostages in the southern Philippines have demanded international mediation, according to a Philippine official. The rebels, angered by a broken peace deal with the government, are using a dozen of the civilian hostages as human shields near the port city of Zamboanga. Troops surrounded the fighters and their hostages in four coastal villages on Wednesday.
As President Obama launches a media blitz to build public support for a military strike against the Syrian government, a new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds Americans moving in the reverse direction, with Republicans leading a growing legion in opposition. More than twice as many Americans oppose launching airstrikes against Syria as support such action, 64 to 30 percent. Overall opposition jumped 5 percentage points from 59 percent in a Post-ABC poll last week, but the largest change in the survey was among Republicans.
On March 24, 1999, former President Bill Clinton explained the rationale for air strikes in Kosovo from the Oval Office: “'Ending this tragedy is a moral imperative,” he said. “Our children need and deserve a peaceful, stable, free Europe.” Within minutes, NATO forces began pounding Serbia with cruise missiles and bombs, the start of what would become the largest military assault on Europe since World War II.
It's 8 a.m. on a recent day at Forward Operating Base Nolay, a small Marine outpost in Taliban-infested Sangin District of southern Afghanistan's Helmand province. The Marines are in the process of caffeinating and preparing for the day. Suddenly, explosions and gunfire ring out. The Marines don't run for their weapons or bunkers for that matter. They don't even flinch. "We can sit here and we can have a cup of coffee when there's booms going on, we're not concerned about it," says Lt. Col. Jonathan Loney.