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Giving Up On Guantanamo
By James S. Robbins, National Review Online, January 23, 2009

President Obama has issued an executive order making good on his promise to close down America’s detainee facility at Guantánamo Bay, though not as rapidly as his supporters wanted. While activists will hail this as a major step towards dismantling the Bush administration’s wartime policies, the Guantánamo they object to exists more as reputation than reality. To many, the name Guantánamo screams “No Due Process!” “Torture!” and “War Crimes!” But Camp Delta is the most humane facility of its type in the history of warfare.

Israel Deserves Credit For Surgically Targeting Terrorists
By Ilan Berman, McClatchy-Tribune News Service, January 8, 2009

What should the United States do about the war in Gaza? That's the question plaguing policy-makers in Washington these days as they watch the unfolding conflict between Israel and Hamas. The cause for the current fighting – and its morality – is exceedingly clear. Since its bloody ouster of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party from the Gaza Strip 18 months ago, Hamas has established a virtual terrorist enclave there.

Iran and the Bomb
By Ilan Berman, Middle East Quarterly, January 1, 2009

Is Iran seeking nuclear weapons? For some, despite the mounting evidence, this is still very much an open question. Not, however, for Delpech, director of strategic affairs at the French Atomic Energy Commission and senior research fellow at the Center for International Studies in Paris. "[T]he quest for an atomic weapon is the only credible explanation" for the pattern of delay, secrecy, and obfuscation exhibited by Iran's ayatollahs over their nuclear effort, she writes.

Afghanistan: Back To Basics
By James S. Robbins, The Journal of International Security Affairs, December 10, 2008

As the conflict in Iraq winds down, the “forgotten front” of the War on Terror, Afghanistan, has moved back into the forefront of the national security debate. Operation Enduring Freedom-Afghanistan (hereafter OEF) is aptly named, since the conflict will endure long into the next administration. Whoever takes the oath of office in January of 2009 will face the same types of challenges in Afghanistan that have bedeviled the current administration since 2001, and to an extent have been characteristic of Afghan politics for decades.

The Persian Night
By James S. Robbins, New York Post, December 7, 2008

"The Islamic Republic of Iran has three phobias," according to Iranian expatriate journalist Amir Taheri. "Women, Jews and America." Forget bombs. Maybe we should send in Barbra Streisand.

American Carrots For Syrian Sticks?
By Matthew RJ Brodsky, Jerusalem Post, November 26, 2008

As the president-elect begins to weigh the carrots and sticks he can employ when dealing with the Middle East, he will run into the question of how to handle Syria. Bashar Assad was the first to reach out with a telegram to Barack Obama on November 7 that "expressed hope for constructive dialogue so that the difficulties can be overcome which have hampered the advance of peace, stability and progress in the Middle East."

Iran's Economic Dire Straits
By Ilan Berman,, November 19, 2008

What should the next administration do about Iran? During the 2008 presidential campaign, Sen. Barack Obama advocated the need for direct negotiations as a way of addressing the Iranian regime's persistent nuclear ambitions. And since his electoral victory, the president-elect has given every indication that he intends to initiate a diplomatic dialogue with Tehran after he assumes office on Jan. 20.

The Presidential Test Has Begun
By James S. Robbins, Washington Times, November 13, 2008

During the presidential campaign Vice President-elect Joe Biden predicted, "It will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy." This wasn't just another gratuitous allusion to the impending Camelot 2.0, but an apt comparison. A new, young president is a standing temptation to foreign powers seeking to find his limits.

Will Georgian Anniversary Bring Renewed Political Violence?
By E. Wayne Merry, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Newsline, November 7, 2008

November 7 marks the first anniversary of the Georgian government's use of force to break up peaceful opposition demonstrations in the heart of Tbilisi. Opposition groups have announced renewed public action against President Mikheil Saakashvili on that date, with the added objective of bringing him to account for his disastrous military confrontation with Russia in August. Georgia's image in the West as a developing democracy will be influenced by the ability of the government and the opposition to mark this anniversary in a peaceful manner.

Chill Wind Blows Over Claims To Arctic Lands
By Ilan Berman, Jane's Defense Weekly, October 22, 2008

Give the Kremlin credit for ambition. Just weeks after its invasion of Georgia ignited a major conflict in the Caucasus and dramatically altered the status quo in the 'post-Soviet space', the Russian government appears to have set its sights on another strategic prize.