Current Events and the Psychology of Politics
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Summary: Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-born Muslim cleric who played a significant operational role in al-Qaida, plotting and inspiring terrorist attacks on the United States, has been killed in a drone missile strike in Yemen. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on October 2, 2010, Aubrey Immelman reported that the U.S. State Department, responding to credible al-Qaida threats, issued a travel alert urging American citizens to be vigilant if they planned to travel in Europe. Officials did not identify specific targets, but thought terrorists might launch Mumbai-style “swarm attacks.”


Nov 27th, 2010

Summary: A Somali-born teenager, Mohamed Osman Mohamud, plotted to carry out a car bomb attack at a crowded Christmas tree-lighting ceremony in downtown Portland, Oregon, but the bomb turned out to be a dummy supplied by undercover agents as part of a counterterrorism sting operation. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on November 27, 2009, Aubrey Immelman reported that Jeremy Greenstock, British ambassador to the United Nations from 1998 to 2003, testified before an inquiry into the Iraq war that the Bush administration was “hell bent” on the 2003 military invasion of Iraq and actively undermined efforts by Britain to win international authorization for the war.


May 8th, 2010

Summary: Pakistan is investigating whether Faisal Shahzad, the Pakistani-American arrested over a botched plot to bomb New York’s Times Square, met top Pakistani Taliban leaders in South Waziristan. If confirmed, it would be the group’s first involvement in a terrorist attack on U.S. soil. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on May 8, 2009, Aubrey Immelman reported that Iraq’s security forces, despite significant improvements, remained hobbled by shortages of men and equipment, bureaucracy, corruption, political interference, and security breaches that have resulted in the deaths of dozens of Iraqi and American troops.


May 7th, 2010

Summary: Alleged links between Faisal Shahzad’s Times Square bombing attempt and the Taliban are adding to perceptions of Pakistan as a global exporter of terror and increasing pressure on its military to crack down on extremists along the Afghanistan border. The Pakistani Taliban — Tehrik-e-Taliban — was hellbent on revenge inside America after a U.S. Predator drone attack killed its leader, Baitullah Mehsud, in August 2009 and the more recent strikes that nearly killed Baitullah’s successor, Hakimullah Mehsud, in January 2010. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on May 7, 2009, Aubrey Immelman reported that a spate of bombings in Iraq raised concern that militants were regrouping after suffering sharp setbacks in fighting during the previous two years, 2007-2008.


May 3rd, 2010

Summary: U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents arrested Faisal Shahzad, 30, a Pakistani-born U.S. citizen, in connection with the failed bombing attempt in New York’s Times Square as he tried to leave the country on an Emirates airlines flight to Dubai at New York’s JFK airport, May 3, 2010 at 11:45 p.m. ET. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on May 3, 2009, Aubrey Immelman reported that the sheer weight and volume of U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann’s assault on reason may have reached critical mass, crossing the tipping point beyond which Minnesota media could no longer tune out Bachmann’s insanity or avert their gaze from “The Emperor’s New Clothes” in embarrassed silence.