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The Geopolitics of AllianceFree

The United States has been less than generous in rewarding its allies for their political and military assistance in the 2003 Iraq war and its aftermath. The U.S. allies might have had high hopes — and made very real sacrifices — but the question for the United States remains: Who needs whom more? Read more…

Saudi Arabia: A Balancing ActFree

The Saudi government continues to try to regain its footing after shifting relations with the United States brought on by the Sept. 11 attacks and, more concretely, the war in Iraq. The government faces internal pressures from al Qaeda-related militants and also from broader sectors of Saudi society, while external pressures from the United States continue. Several incidents this week exemplify this ongoing balancing act by Riyadh: the awarding of natural gas exploration contracts to four non-U.S. firms, the withdrawal of diplomatic recognition by the United States for 16 Saudis attached to the Saudi Embassy in Washington and the deadly shoot-out with militants in Riyadh on Jan. 29. Read more…

Beyond IraqFree

The Bush Administration never saw the war in Iraq as either a stand-alone operation or as distinct from the generalized war on the Islamist movement that al Qaeda was part of. As clumsy and, at times, devious as the public presentation of the war was, it had a clear logic. Despite ongoing tactical problems in and around Baghdad, the broad strategic goals of the Iraq campaign are being realized. Therefore, the question now is: What will the next stage of the U.S.-Islamist war look like? Read more…

Bin Laden Tape: Honesty and GloomFree

The release of a new tape by Osama bin Laden is always an important event. The most recent one is particularly important because of the tone it takes. It is far from resigned, but it is a gloomy analysis of al Qaeda’s situation, focusing on the failure of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states to resist the United States. Al Qaeda has a great deal to be gloomy about. Events were very much moving in its favor since the U.S. invasion of Iraq. But December was a terrible month for al Qaeda: The United States began to gain control over the insurrection, and the diplomatic situation in the region began to shift in the U.S. favor. Al Qaeda has a problem and is searching for a solution. Read more…

“Mad Cow” in America: Beyond Blaming CanadaFree

On Dec. 22, inspectors detected a case of “mad cow” disease in Washington state. Although the health issues are hardly inconsequential, they are dwarfed by the impact the case will have on U.S.-Canadian relations and global trade negotiations. Read more…

Saddam Hussein and the Dollar WarFree

The capture of Saddam Hussein is an intelligence success for the United States. It represents a massive effort to improve U.S. intelligence capabilities in Iraq following a period of intelligence failure. Hussein’s capture, therefore, is important not only in itself or in its implications for the guerrillas, but also because it represents a massive and rapid improvement in U.S. intelligence capabilities. It demonstrates that poor intelligence is not inherent in U.S. guerrilla war-fighting; the United States overcame it by identifying the central weaknesses of its opponents. In this case, the central weakness was money — and this was not only a financial weakness, but also a cultural one. Read more…

The Mystery of Marina OswaldFree

With the passing of the 40th anniversary of the JFK assassination, Stratfor pauses to consider one of the less-examined aspects of the case: Marina Oswald. Her connections to the Soviet intelligence apparatus and odd marriage to Lee Harvey Oswald are seldom factored into any theories surrounding the assassination. However, the facts of the case make it clear that the Soviet government wanted Marina Prusakova and Oswald together in the United States. Read more…

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