Paul Pillar

Syria and the Israeli Way of War

After it looked this past weekend like President Obama might have an uphill fight to gain Congressional approval for a resolution authorizing the use of military force in Syria, the odds now appear to have swung in favor of passage of a resolution.

The Coming Congressional Debate on Syria

President Obama's referral of the Syria question to Congress should not have come as a surprise. This president is not avidly seeking direct U.S. involvement in another Middle Eastern war. He is moving to do something forceful about Syria largely because he has been pressured to do something forceful about Syria.

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.