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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

  • Obama Extends Nation’s Longest War to 2016, Leaving Afghan Civilians in U.S.-Taliban Crossfire

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    President Obama has announced the longest war in the history of the United States will last another two-and-a-half years. On Tuesday, Obama said that the United States will maintain almost 10,000 troops in Afghanistan after its formal combat mission concludes at the end of this year. The United States will eventually withdraw troops until only a small residual force remains after 2016. By then, the war will have lasted more than 15 years. We are joined by Anand Gopal, author of the new book, "No Good Men Among the Living: America, the Taliban, and the War Through Afghan Eyes." A journalist and a fellow at the New America Foundation, Gopal has spent years reporting on Afghanistan.

  • In Aiding Rescue of Kidnapped Schoolgirls in Nigeria, Will U.S. Expand Military Foothold in Africa?

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    In a speech today, President Obama is expected to lay out a U.S. foreign policy approach that avoids large wars like Iraq and Afghanistan, and shifts instead to partnering with countries on counterterrorism efforts. This comes as The New York Times reports the Obama administration has launched a program to train "homegrown African counterterrorism teams" in Libya, Niger, Mauritania and Mali. Just last week, the United States also deployed a battalion of 80 marines to Nigeria to help search for the nearly 300 missing schoolgirls there. The head of Nigeria’s military has said the military now knows where the abducted girls are being held, but has ruled out using force to rescue them for fear of endangering their lives. We discuss the situation in Nigeria and the growing fears that the schoolgirls’ kidnapping could be exploited to further U.S. militarism in Africa with two guests: Dayo Olopade is a Nigerian-American journalist and author of "The Bright Continent: Breaking Rules and Making Change in Modern Africa," and Carl LeVan is an assistant professor at American University’s School of International Service and author of the forthcoming book, "Dictators and Democracy in African Development: The Political Economy of Good Governance in Nigeria."

  • Egyptian Regime Scrambles to Boost Low Turnout in Election Sealing General Sisi’s Grip on Power

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    Egypt’s presidential election has been extended for a third day in an apparent bid to boost voter turnout. The outcome is believed to be a foregone conclusion with former army chief Abdel Fattah el-Sisi widely expected to win. But the conspicuously low voter turnout threatens to undermine the credibility of the election and has led the military-backed government to take desperate measures. On Tuesday, the government declared a public holiday to encourage voter participation. It also waived public transportation fares, encouraged shopping malls to close early, and threatened to fine Egyptians who did not vote. Local politicians took to the airwaves to repeat messages from Muslim and Christian leaders about a "religious duty" to vote. If Sisi wins the election as predicted, he will become the sixth military man to run Egypt since the army overthrew the monarchy in 1952. He led the ouster of democratically elected President Mohamed Morsi last year. Some Islamic and liberal political groups have urged Egyptians to boycott the election, arguing that the vote is unfair and illegitimate. We go to Cairo to speak with Democracy Now! correspondent Sharif Abdel Kouddous.