Jihadi Butch Cassidy

We have, once again, played right into Osama bin Laden’s hands. This might seem like an odd assertion, since the al-Qaeda mastermind is finally dead at the hands of U.S. Special Forces, most heads of state have voiced their congratulations, and practically the entire U.S. citizenry is unified in celebration. But Osama bin Laden always understood that the weak use the weapons of the powerful against them, such as U.S. airplanes against U.S. skyscrapers. 

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The Undead Chicken

Muammar Gaddafi is the undead chicken. Bashar al-Assad of Syria and King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain are the unscared monkeys. The United States has shaped its policy toward the evolving situation in the Middle East according to the Chinese proverb of “killing the chicken to scare the monkey.” The Obama administration has intervened in the conflict in Libya with the apparent goal of punishing Gaddafi for cracking down on the emerging protest movement back in February. This intervention was designed to send a message to other autocrats in the region: don’t fire on your unarmed opposition — or else. But the United States and its allies are having problems with the “or else” part of the equation. 

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