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Another 50 Years of Mideast Strife

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One of my favorite literary expressions is the term "Parthian shaft." It refers to the favored tactic of the Parthians, a Persian people, of turning while on horseback and firing arrows while retreating.

The Roman consul Crassus, who defeated Spartacus, may have died from such a Parthian shaft after his defeat at the battle of Carrhae in 53 BC.

This week, outgoing President Barack Obama loosed his own Parthian shaft at Israel’s leader, Benjamin Netanyahu, by refusing, for once, to veto a UN Security Council resolution condemning Israel’s ongoing expropriation of Arab land on the occupied West Bank.

There was no mention of similar expropriation and ethnic cleansing on the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights which legally belong to Syria.

For the past eight years, the Obama administration has discreetly argued with Israel over its settlement building on the West Bank and Jerusalem. In public, the Obama government maintained the ludicrous but convenient fiction that fruitful talks were under way that would lead to creation of two states in historic Palestine.
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Symbolic Failure Point: Female Afghan Pilot Wants Asylum In The US

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History loves little markers, tidy packages of symbolism that wrap up a big, complex thing.

You know, the helicopter on the roof of the American Embassy in Saigon standing in for years of failed war, the Berlin Wall being knocked down to visually note the end the Cold War, that sort of thing.

Well, the never-ending-gobsmacker of the Afghan War may have gotten its iconic moment.

Crash and Burn

Afghanistan’s first female pilot, Captain Niloofar Rahmani, above, has applied for asylum in the US, citing worsening security conditions, and harassment by male colleagues. Rahmani says her family faces serious death threats from the Taliban and her father has had to go into hiding to avoid being killed. The Afghan government even stopped paying Rahmani’s salary, despite earmarks from the US government for funding.
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Obama Under 'Intense Pressure' To Release Evidence Proving Russians Hacked The Election

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As noted previously, at some point today the White House is set to unveil new sanction, and other retaliatory "measures" against Russia and specifically the Kremlin, in retaliation for what according to a constantly repetitive narrative has been Russian hacking of the US election. Obama will do so by using a 2015 executive order that would allow the president to freeze the US assets of Russians overseas who have engaged in cyber acts, even though such order only applies to actions that have threatened US national security or financial stability, neither of which have yet been invoked in the current "hacking" scandal. Further, per a "senior administration official," use of the existing law would require (1) actual election infrastructure to be designated as 'critical infrastructure' and (2) the administration to prove that such infrastructure was actually "harmed," conditions which the National Security Council say have not been met.

The problem is that if the administration relies on the 2015 Executive Order to launch this latest round of diplomatic "retaliation", it will also have to demonstrate some proof that the individuals or entities it names were involved in the scheme, and until now, the White House has provided no documentation to back up its official October assessment that the Russian government was attempting to “interfere” in the US election besides just repeating the allegation over and over and over, as if that somehow makes it true.

Which perhaps is why this morning The Hill writes that the Obama administration is "under intense pressure to release evidence confirming Russian interference in the presidential election before leaving office."
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Does the Cause of Peace Have a Future?

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The full wrath of the Beltway neocons is about to hit my Institute for Peace and Prosperity. 

Congress snuck language into this year's Defense Authorization Bill that enables President Obama (or a future president) to crack down on critics of Washington's disastrous foreign policy. 

All they have to do is claim an organization pushes "foreign propaganda" and a new task force including the State Department, Pentagon, the CIA, and other federal agencies will move to shut it down. Do they need proof? Evidence? No! 

Just last month the Washington Post put out a blacklist of 200 websites, including major outlets like the Drudge Report, LewRockwell.com, ZeroHedge...and my Institute for Peace and Prosperity!
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Trump's Pentagon Budget Time Bomb

Legendary Pentagon analyst and whistleblower Chuck Spinney joins today's Liberty Report to explain the budget nightmares a President Trump will face at the Pentagon. Why do these weapons systems cost so much and perform so badly? Chuck knows...and tells.
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2016: The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Year

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What a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year this has been.

Endless wars. Toxic politics. Violence. Hunger. Police shootings. Mass shootings. Economic downturns. Political circuses. Senseless tragedies. Loss. Heartache. Intolerance. Prejudice. Hatred. Apathy. Meanness. Cruelty. Poverty. Inhumanity. Greed.

Here’s just a small sampling of what we’ve suffered through in 2016.

After three years of increasingly toxic politics, the ruling oligarchy won and “we the people” lost. Hillary Clinton won the popular vote but lost the election. Donald Trump won the White House while the American people lost any hope of ending the corporate elite’s grip on the government.
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Syria - Peace Talk Rumors And Parameters

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Since February 2016 Russia had negotiated with the US about a peace deal on Syria. The main agreed upon point was to fight together against the Takfiris, mainly ISIS and al-Qaeda. The US in turn promised to separate the "moderate rebels" it supported from their close al-Qaeda ally. But that promise was never fulfilled. The US delayed and delayed and enabled new attacks by al-Qaeda and US proxy forces on Aleppo and elsewhere. It also instigated Kurdish YPG forces to attack the Syrian government in Hasakah. This was the strategic overreach that doomed the Kurds to a minor role in any upcoming solution.

Russia finally had enough and pulled the plug on further negotiations with the US The Syrian forces and their allies besieged Aleppo and liberated it. At the same time Turkey was allowed to invade Syria in the north eastern Aleppo governate to prevent a connection of Kurdish areas in the north-east and north-west of Syria. The probably US instigated putsch attempt against the Turkish government contributed to this change of alliances. Turkey decided to work with Russia and Iran to end the Syrian crisis (and to get as much out of it as possible.)
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Behind the Real US Strategic Blunder in Syria

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President Barack Obama has long been under fire from the US national security elite and the media for failing to intervene aggressively against the Assad regime. 

But the real strategic blunder was not that Barack Obama didn’t launch yet another war in Syria, but that he decided to go along with the ambitions of America's Sunni allies to create and arm a Syrian opposition army to overthrow the regime in the first place.

Now a former Obama administration official who is knowledgeable on the internal discussions on Syria policy, speaking to this writer on condition of anonymity, has shed new light on how and why that fateful decision was made. 

The former official revealed that when Obama made the first move toward supporting the arming of Syrian opposition forces, the president failed to foresee the risk of a direct Iranian or Russian intervention on behalf of the Syrian regime in response to an externally armed opposition – because his advisors had failed to take this likelihood into account themselves.

The story of this policy failure begins after military resistance to the Assad regime began in spring and summer 2011.
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Why Did 'Faithless Elector' Bill Greene Vote For Ron Paul?

It was a delightful anomaly in a very strange electoral year: while the world waited to see what would happen when the Electoral College met earlier this month to cast their votes for the next president, suddenly we heard that one Texas elector voted for Ron Paul for president! Political science professor Bill Greene went against the grain to vote Ron Paul and in today's Liberty Report we caught up with Professor Greene to see what motivated him to do so. Little did we know that Professor Greene is an expert in -- and eloquent defender of -- the Electoral College system. More in today's Report...
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