Entries by Andrew Berry

Andrew Berry

Afghanistan: Have We Learned Our Lesson?

By Andrew Berry, Dec 3, 2009 10:56 AM

President Obama has announced a new strategy for the war in Afghanistan, and it involves an increase of 30,000 American soldiers over a six month period in addition to the 70,000 presently deployed. The goal is eventually to have Afghan forces take responsibility for their own security in certain regions. This will be achieved through hastened training of Afghan forces and focusing on security for heavily populated areas. Meanwhile, the US government will work on gaining the support of key religious figures and members of the local government in their efforts to thwart Al-Qaeda and turn the tide of the war.

Washington has stressed that this is not an open-ended strategy. This is all supposed to happen in a three year period to allow for the eventual withdrawal of US troops before the end of 2012. In his speech in the Military Academy at West Point on Tuesday, President Obama rejected claims that his new strategy will result in another prolonged war similar to the one we experienced in Vietnam. This, he believes, “depends on a false reading of history.”

Have we really learned our lesson?

Andrew Berry

The Thick Red Line and The Battle of Ideas

By Andrew Berry, Oct 28, 2009 4:28 PM

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia recently pardoned 22-year-old journalist Rozanna al-Yami from a sentence of 60 lashes and a two-year travel ban for her work on an episode of the controversial Lebanese television show, The Thick Red Line.

Al-Yami was accused of helping to produce an episode of the program in which the guest, divorced father of four Mazen Abdul-Jawad, spoke openly about his sexual escapades in Saudi Arabia. The episode caused outrage in Saudi Arabia. For his part in the episode, Abdul-Jawad was arrested for “incitement to sin” and sentenced to five years in prison and 1,000 lashes. Saudi officials ceased airing Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation (LBC) programming in the kingdom, and all LBC offices were shut down in Saudi Arabia. Al-Yami worked for LBC as a coordinator and guest-booker.

Andrew Berry

The Era of Saber-Rattling Is Over

By Andrew Berry, Oct 21, 2009 2:58 PM

After three days of talks between Iran, the United States, Russia, and France, the International Atomic Energy Agency has proposed a plan which could provide a solution to the question of Iran's nuclear ambitions. Under the terms of the drafted plan, Iran would agree to send roughly 80% of their uranium stockpile to the IAEA, who would forward it to Russia for enrichment. The uranium would then be sent back to the IAEA and on to France for the “cell elements” needed for a medical research reactor in Iran. The process would prevent the exported uranium from being further enriched to the levels needed for a nuclear weapon.