Understanding Obama’s Dilemma: Key Articles on Taliban Advances, CIA Role, Karzai’s Brother, Magnitude of U.S. and U.N. Failures

The situation in Afghanistan is desperate. (Rajiv Chandrasekaran, Washington Post, September 14, 2009).

The U.S. tilt toward Karzai during the electoral process may be related to CIA ties to his brother and operations in Kandahar and the South. (See Dexter Filkins, Mark Mazzetti and James Risen, New York Times, October 27, 2009)

Reports of a U.S. deal with the Pakistani military to withdraw from negotiations with Karzai and Abdullah in exchange for Pakistan military mediation with the Taliban remain unrebutted, and should be fully investigated by U.S. and Western media. (Syed Saleem Shahzad, Pakistan bureau chief, Asia Times Online, November 6, 2009)

A sharply critical analysis of U.S. policy, by a leading regional expert, details the catastrophic nature of U.S. and U.N. diplomatic failures in Afghanistan to date. (Chibli Mallat, Law Page Editor, The Daily Star, November 12, 2009)

About the Author

The Observer
"The Trenchant Observer" is an international lawyer who has taught International Law, Human Rights, and Comparative Law at major U.S. universities, including Harvard, Brandeis, the University of Pittsburgh, and the University of Kansas, and who has also been a visiting professor at the University of Costa Rica Law Faculty in San José. He is a former staff attorney at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States (IACHR), where he was in charge of Brazil, Haiti, Mexico and the United States, and also worked on complaints from other countries including Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Guatemala. As an international development expert, he has worked on Rule of Law, Human Rights, and Judicial Reform in a number of countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, and the Russian Federation. In the private sector, the Observer has worked as an international attorney for a leading national law firm and major global companies, on joint ventures and other matters in a number of countries in Europe (including Russia and the Ukraine), throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, and in Australia, Indonesia, Vietnam, China and Japan. The Trenchant Observer provides an unfiltered international perspective for news and opinion on current events, in their historical context, drawing on a daily review of leading German, French, Spanish and English newspapers as well as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and other American newspapers, and on sources in other countries relevant to issues being analyzed. The Observer speaks fluent English, French, German, Portuguese and Spanish, and also knows other languages. He holds a Doctor of Law (J.D.) and Master of the Science of Law (J.S.M.) from Stanford University, and a Doctor of Juridical Science (S.J.D.) in International Law from Harvard University. As an undergraduate, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Stanford University, where he graduated “With Great Distinction” (summa cum laude) and received the James Birdsall Weter Prize for the best Senior Honors Thesis in History. In addition to having taught as a Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School, the Observer has been a Visiting Scholar at Harvard University's Center for International Affairs (CFIA). His fellowships include a Stanford Postdoctoral Fellowship in Law and Development, the Rómulo Gallegos Fellowship in International Human Rights awarded by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and a Harvard MacArthur Fellowship in International Peace and Security. Beyond his articles in The Trenchant Observer, he is the author of two books and numerous scholarly articles on subjects of international and comparative law. Currently he is working on a manuscript drawing on the best articles that have appeared in the blog.