News you may have missed #524 (analysis edition)

  • US intelligence shift shows change in Afghan war aims. American military intelligence officers were scrambling a year ago to collect and analyze the social, economic and tribal ins and outs of each valley and hamlet in Afghanistan. But the gradual scaling back of US operations (and ambitions) in Afghanistan is driving a shift away from that labor-intensive attention to detail. Now targeting insurgent leaders and their close support networks is seen as an important part of the US exit strategy (some would call this settling old scores before the US leaves the area).
  • Ex-CIA officer questions West’s motives in Syria. The European and American intervention in Syria is designed to harm Iran and to protect Israel and Lebanese Christians, not Syrian people, according to Robert Baer, a retired CIA officer with direct experience in the region.
  • Will new CIA director rein in the drone war? When General David Petraeus takes heads to the CIA, he’ll put “relentless pressure” against al-Qaida, he told senators last week. But in a rare public discussion of the CIA’s drone war in Afghanistan and Pakistan, Petraeus suggested it may not be his first counterterrorism option.
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