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By Tammy Bruce
Topic - Daniel Byman
The Syrian opposition coalition favored by the U.S. and its allies is in no position to fill a political vacuum that could be created if an anticipated U.S.-led military strike hastens the downfall of President Bashar Assad.
The U.S. should prepare for future terrorist attacks in North Africa that would be even more difficult to police than last year's assault that left four Americans dead in the Eastern Libyan city of Benghazi, counter-terrorism specialists said Wednesday.
Syria's civil war turned into a regional conflict when Israeli warplanes bombed a Syrian military base over the weekend to stop weapons from going to Lebanese terrorists, expanding the warring factions and changing "the rules of the game," as one analyst said.
Israel massed troops outside the Gaza Strip late Thursday, signaling that it was prepared to send in ground forces to engage Hamas militants who bombarded the Jewish state with more than 200 missiles and killed at least three people.
Syria's protracted civil war is spilling across its borders, creating breeding grounds for extremists, sharpening sectarian schisms and threatening to destabilize U.S. allies in the Middle East.
Faced with terrorist attacks (and conventional military attacks) by its Palestinian and Arab state neighbors since the earliest days of its existence, Israel has had to develop exceptionally effective counterterrorism capabilities to protect its citizens on all fronts, making it one of the world's most innovative and toughest counterterrorism "powers."
While Democrats and some Republican senators compete with one another to see who can come up with the most politically attractive plan for abandoning Iraq, one of the most thoughtful assessments of what will occur if the United States starts pulling troops out of Iraq appeared in the lead of Sunday's massive front-page story in The Washington Post. Unfortunately, The Post buried the lead — an unnamed U.S. official's comment about the catastrophic consequences of an ill-conceived withdrawal — in the 34th paragraph of a 35-paragraph story. If the administration decided to have troops retreat to bases inside Iraq and not intervene in sectarian warfare, a U.S. official said, our troops could find themselves in a position that "would make the Dutch at Srebrenica look like heroes."
"The opposition remains disorganized," said Daniel Byman, a professor in the security studies program at Georgetown University.
With diplomats and spies now destined to be "more confined to well-guarded parts of capital cities," Mr. Byman noted, U.S. intelligence "is likely to decline" and, "in the long-run, diminishing U.S. capabilities could pose a grave danger to U.S. security, increasing the risk of a surprise attack or regional development that catches the U.S. unawares."