On the morning of Tuesday, January 27, President Barack Obama gave an interview with Al Arabiya, an Arab news network based out of Dubai, in an attempt to quell Arab distrust and hate of America. He also sent former Senator George Mitchell to the Middle East as an envoy to help broker peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
The UN's "Special Rapporteur on Torture," Manfred Nowak, in a message recorded on January 20 for broadcast that evening on Germany's ZDF television, urged the United States to bring charges against former President George W. Bush and former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld for torture and bad treatment of prisoners held at the U.S. detention facility in Guantanamo Bay. "Judicially speaking, the United States has a clear obligation" to bring proceedings against Bush and Rumsfeld, said Nowak.
The Obama administration plans to increase overall troop commitments abroad this year, according to the Washington Post. The Obama administration has reportedly signed on to a Pentagon plan to increase U.S. troop strength in Afghanistan by 30,000 this year. It would essentially be a “surge” for Afghanistan.
Vice President-elect Joseph Biden arrived in Baghdad on January 12 for an unannounced visit. It was part of a three-nation Asian tour for the vice president-elect, who visited Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iraq. The trip provided further confirmation that the incoming Obama administration intends to pursue an interventionist foreign policy — allying ourselves with Pakistan in our war against terrorism despite the fact that Pakistan is far from a paragon of human rights and "democracy"; supporting the planned U.S. military buildup in Afghanistan that basically entails shifting the war in Iraq to a new theater; and staying engaged in Iraq, a country that Biden once proposed dividing into three parts.
The United States has escalated its covert war against Iran, the New York Times reported on January 10. The article reported that the program involved efforts to disrupt the country’s nuclear program, including covert attempts to “penetrate Iran’s nuclear supply chain abroad, along with new efforts, some of them experimental, to undermine electrical systems, computer systems and other networks on which Iran relies."