Were Canadians misled about the mission in Iraq? Or did we just not know enough? -Macleans

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The debate sort of sounds like Bill Clinton questioning the meaning of the word ‘is’ when he was asked: “Is there anything going on between you and Monica Lewinski?”

“The government’s current line is that a combat mission must come before the House of Commons for a vote: the current mission qualifying as such because of the aerial bombing this country was to participate in. The previous commitment of special forces to Iraq did not receive a vote because that was not considered to be engaging in ground combat. Now we are looking at a debate about what constitutes combat and what precisely is involved in a mission that otherwise doesn’t include combat. That seems like a very useful discussion to have—most usefully before the House commits to a mission.”

http://www.macleans.ca/politics/were-canadians-misled-about-the-mission-in-iraq/

The mysterious absence of women from Middle East policy debates -The Monkey Cage (WP)

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Its not like there really is a shortage of excellent women scholars on the Middle East….

“Last year, six leading Washington think tanks presented more than 150 events on the Middle East that included not a single woman speaker. Fewer than one-quarter of all the speakers at the 232 events at those think tanks recorded in our newly compiled data-set were women. How is it possible that in 2014, not a single woman could be found to speak at 65 percent of these influential and high-profile D.C. events?”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/monkey-cage/wp/2015/01/20/the-mysterious-absence-of-women-from-middle-east-policy-debates/

Israeli Mossad Goes Rogue, Warns U.S. on Iran Sanctions -Bloomberg.com

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The closer we get to an American-Iranian nuclear deal, the nastier the domestic fight has become in the US. House Speaker John Boehner has invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu an outspoken critique of the negotiations and no friend of Barak Obama to address congress. Now Obama’s supporters are sighting Israeli intelligence officials contradicting Netanyahu. Very messy…

“Netanyahu to address the threat posed by radical Islam and Iran. Netanyahu is expected to deliver full-throated support for sanctions. The administration is upset that Netanyahu accepted Boehner’s invitation without notifying them, the latest indication of the poor relationship between the Israeli government and the White House.

Two senior U.S. officials tell us that the Mossad has also shared its view with the administration that if legislation that imposed a trigger leading to future sanctions on Iran was signed into law, it would cause the talks to collapse.

The Israeli view shared with Corker and other senators also mirrors the assessment from the U.S. intelligence community. “We’ve had a standing assessment on this,” one senior administration official told us. “We haven’t run the new Kirk-Menendez bill through the process, but the point is that any bill that triggers sanctions would collapse the talks. That’s what the assessment is.” Another intelligence official said that the Israelis had come to the same conclusion.”

http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2015-01-22/netanyahu-mossad-split-divides-u-s-congress-on-iran-sanctions