Paul Pillar

Where Politicized Intelligence Comes From

An Associated Press story on the Obama administration's preparation of the public for a military strike on Syria includes these statements:

The White House ideally wants intelligence that links the attack [with chemical weapons last week] directly to Assad or someone in his inner circle, to rule out the possibility that a rogue element of the military acting without Assad's authorization.

Warped Motives on Syria

With a U.S. military attack on Syria now being discussed in the media as a question of “when” rather than “if,” let us devote more honest thought to the “why.” I am not referring to any official rationale but instead to the actual political and emotional dynamics in the United States that have gotten us to this point.

Don't Worry About the Peace Treaty

As the Obama administration struggles to walk a fine policy line on Egypt that takes appropriate account of the diverse U.S. interests at stake, one subject that is often mentioned, but shouldn't be, as a reason to go easy on the head-cracking Egyptian generals is to maintain the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty.

Playing the Terrorism Card

It hasn't taken long since Wednesday's bloodletting in Cairo for the regime there to make clear that it will rely heavily, as a rationale for its actions, on the idea that it is holding a line against international terrorism.

Cultivating Extremists in Egypt

There were other ways of dealing with the camping-out protestors in Cairo. The ministry of interior had even talked about other ways—about some combination of tear gas and leaving open an exit route so the protestors could disperse.

Unfounded Interpretations of This Week's Terrorist Threat

Lots of people have been been extracting and propounding lots of conclusions about terrorism and counterterrorism from the warnings and closures of diplomatic missions the past few days. That's probably inevitable; the story commands attention. It's not every day, or even every year, that several U.S. embassies get closed like this, perhaps for as much as a week.

Iran's Nuclear Legal Obligations

There are many respects in which a greater effort in the West and in particular the United States to understand Iranian perspectives and sentiments would facilitate more productive Western policies toward Iran, particularly with respect to that country's nuclear program.

Pages