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Author Archives: Charles Duelfer

A Houthi State on Bab al-Mandab?

Can the UN Security Council accept a settlement of the Yemen conflict which does not mandate adherence to Freedom of Navigation? It appears the Houthi leadership in Sana’a aspires to be to the Bab al-Mandab, as Egypt is to the … Continue reading

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Gaza: Tunnel Warfare or “Subterranean Operations”

“Mr. President, we cannot allow a mineshaft gap!” exclaimed General “Buck” Turgidson, in the 1964 film “Dr. Strangelove”.  The public was not prepared. The casual observer of news videos showing relentless Israeli bombing in Gaza can readily wonder if it is disproportionate to … Continue reading

Posted in Chemical Weapons, Gaza, Gaza,Hamas, Israel, ISIS, Israel, Syria CW | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

US Leadership:

Informal conversations with foreign friends and allies usually turn to the question of the coming 2024 election. Our friends and allies have a stake in the direction and constancy of the United States. I deeply value allies and would like … Continue reading

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Things to Consider: Iraq War at 20

Everyone (and their dog) is writing/commenting about the Iraq war 20 years later.  I doubt more accuracy is achieved in these tales after 20 years.  Everyone seems to think they were central to events.  Some of them were.[1]    My perspective was also partial, … Continue reading

Posted in Allies, Chemical Weapons, Intelligence, Iran, Iraq, Sunni, Syria CW, United Nations, WMD | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Death of Choice – Aymen al-Zawahiri

The US “took the shot” on 31 July that killed Aymen al-Zawahiri, the identified leader of Al-Qaeda.  Zawahiri had been hunted by the US since the 9-11.  It took a decade to find and kill Osama bin Laden.  It took … Continue reading

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Nuclear Weapons and Alcohol Do Not Mix

Lot’s of analysts are creating analyses of Vladimir Putin.  What drives him? What are his objectives? Is he psycho?  The fact is, no one really knows.  Analysis that was likewise wobbly surrounded Saddam in his day. It was off the … Continue reading

Posted in Allies, Intelligence, Lavrov, nuclear weapons, Putin, Ukraine, WMD | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Putin: Lessons from Saddam

Is Lavrov the New Baghdad Bob? Saddam’s Saddam’s last information minister and a former foreign minister was Muhammad Saeed al-Sahhaf–better known in Western Press as “Baghdad Bob”. He was ridiculed for his blatant incorrect statements about the American led invasion … Continue reading

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Pity the Putin Lieutenants? Or, Did Putin Graduate from the Saddam School of Management?

Being close to Putin has its rewards for sure.  But, like other autocrats (my closest experience was dissecting Saddam’s coterie), there are also some severe risks with proximity to the Boss and his decisions. If Putin finds his Ukraine venture … Continue reading

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Unavoidable Elements of the Ukraine Crisis

Western policy to prevent further Russian aggression in Ukraine is hobbled by a few inescapable problems. The government in Ukraine is weak from the top down. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is no Vladimir Putin.  While they both stand about 5 … Continue reading

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Oops – Human in the Loop

There was a discussion at the Council on Foreign Relations last week with Henry Kissinger (former Secretary of State) and Eric Schmidt (former chairman of Google) moderated by Judy Woodruff (PBS NewsHour). The subject was their newly released book, “The … Continue reading

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