Current Events and the Psychology of Politics
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Feb 8th, 2010

Summary: Deputy national security adviser John Brennan tells NBC’s David Gregory on “Meet the Press” that politicians are using national security to score political points and that he’s exasperated with partisan political football over counterterrorism professionals’ handling of failed airline bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on February 8, 2009, Aubrey Immelman reported that defense contractor KBR Inc. had been awarded a $35 million Pentagon contract involving major electrical work, even as it was under criminal investigation in the electrocution deaths of at least two U.S. soldiers in Iraq.


Jan 3rd, 2010

Summary: White House aide John Brennan, President Barack Obama’s top counterterrorism adviser, says U.S. intelligence agencies did not miss a “smoking gun” that could have prevented the attempt by radical Islamic fundamentalist Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab to blow up a U.S. airliner on Christmas Day. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on January 3, 2009, Aubrey Immelman reported that tensions were mounting between Sunni Arabs and Kurds in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, where political violence was increasing ahead of provincial elections.


Jan 2nd, 2010

Summary: In the latest sign that Yemen — the country where Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the suspect in the attempted Christmas Day airliner bombing recently spent some time — is becoming a focus for both the West and extremists, Britain announced that it and the U.S. have agreed to fund a counterterrorism police unit there. Meanwhile, Somalia’s Islamist rebel group al-Shabab said it was ready to send reinforcements to al-Qaida in Yemen should the U.S. carry out retaliatory strikes, and urged other Muslims to follow suit. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on January 2, 2009, Aubrey Immelman reported that South African anti-apartheid icon Helen Suzman, one of the first white lawmakers to fight against the injustices of whites-only rule in that country, died on Thursday, January 1, 2009 at the age of 91.


Dec 28th, 2009

Summary: The New York Times reports that in the midst of two unfinished major wars — Afghanistan and Iraq — the United States has quietly opened a third, largely covert front against Al Qaeda in Yemen. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on December 28, 2008, Aubrey Immelman reported that the Taliban, which had long operated its own shadow government in the most dangerous parts of Afghanistan, had begun spreading north, encroaching on the capital city of Kabul.