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Author Archives: Charles Duelfer

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

Posted in Allies, China, NATO, nuclear weapons, Russia, Ukraine, United Nations | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

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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Taiwan is to Xi Jinping as Ukraine is to Vladimir Putin…

This analogy is too simple, but helps to think about the vise jaws that the Biden Administration now finds itself between.  The similarities:  Both Xie and Putin have maneuvered to be in power for the foreseeable future.  The duration of … Continue reading

Posted in Allies, China, Cyber Threat, Elections, Intelligence, NATO, Russia, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Bill Burns – A Glimmer of Hope

Finally there is some ground for imagining a glimmer of hope in Afghanistan. CIA Director Bill Burns is reported to have met with Taliban leadership in Kabul Monday. Burns is exactly the right person with, hopefully, the right amount of … Continue reading

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Afghanistan: Looming Tragedy – Will President Biden Blame Bad Intelligence?

President Biden visited the Office of the Director of National Intelligence Tuesday (27 July).  In his public remarks he praised the Intelligence Community (IC) and promised to never politicize their work.  Sounds promising and clear-cut.  But reality is never that … Continue reading

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BYOB? — US and UK F-35s operate from UK Carrier against ISIS

UK and US F-35s have conducted strike missions against ISIS targets from the new carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth. (https://theaviationist.com/2021/06/21/f-35b-hmsqe-shader/ ) This is good news.  It points to the potency of close allies working together.  We draw strength in many ways … Continue reading

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