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Joshua Foust

Joshua Foust is a freelance journalist who covers national security issues and edits the State of Play collection at Medium. He is a former senior intelligence analyst for the Pentagon.
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What Does Nasiruddin Haqqani’s Death Mean?

November 11, 2013 A gunman riding a motorbike on Monday outside a bread store near Islamabad, Pakistan, shot dead Nasiruddin Haqqani, the son of notorious Afghan warlord Jalaluddin Haqqani and a fundraiser for terrorism in the region. His death is sending shockwaves through the country. Nasiruddin’s death is unusual in many ways, the ...

How Human Rights Groups Misinterpret Drone Strikes

October 24, 2013 This week, two major reports by international human rights organizations have called into doubt the legal and ethical frameworks of drone strikes carried out by President Obama. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch profile specific drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen, respectively, and in doing so cast a critical eye ...

Why America Wants Drones That Can Kill Without Humans

October 8, 2013 Scientists, engineers and policymakers are all figuring out ways drones can be used better and more smartly, more precise and less damaging to civilians, with longer range and better staying power. One method under development is by increasing autonomy on the drone itself. Eventually, drones may have the technical ability ...

Obama's Wrong, Syria's Chemical Weapons Require Boots on the Ground

September 11, 2013 President Obama needs to figure out what, exactly, he wants out of his Syria policy. The White House has been all over the map with their messaging, from Secretary of State John Kerry promising strikes to Obama declaring that “the United States military doesn't do pinpricks” in a televised speech ...

The War After the War in Syria

August 26, 2013 The war in Syria seems to be one disaster after the next. Last week, credible reports emerged that upwards of a thousand people died on the outskirts of Damascus after the Assad regime used chemical weapons against them. After trying to delay United Nations weapons inspectors, the Assad regime now ...

Obama's Embassy Closures Just 'Free Advertising' for Al Qaeda

August 12, 2013 So, what did we learn from last week’s embassy closings? That Al Qaeda has a psychological advantage over American policymakers by creating enormous diplomatic and political disruption simply by communicating. This is what has become of America’s disjointed, almost incoherent response to terrorism, and it is worrying. This past weekend, ...

Iraq’s Descent Into Madness, With No Americans in Sight

July 29, 2013 How could al Qaeda in Iraq have become this powerful? Last week, the indefatigable terrorist group supposedly broken by the mighty U.S. military after an eight-year war instead broke into two prisons -- one of which is the infamous Abu Ghraib -- and freed nearly 500 prisoners. They killed 29 ...

Egypt vs. Syria

July 17, 2013 This summer, Syria and Egypt turned into nightmares for U.S. foreign policy that now present very difficult choices for U.S. policymakers. In Syria, where over 100,000 people have been killed since 2011, Hezbollah is fighting on behalf of President Bashar al-Assad’s regime while the al Qaeda affiliated al-Nusra front became ...

Analysis: How counter-terrorism has blinded our intelligence community

November 13, 2012 In the last 24 months, unpredictable events have caught U.S. policymakers by surprise: the "Arab Spring" movement in 2011 and the September 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. In the wake of both surprises, many in Congress and the public have been wondering: why didn't we see ...

What to make of U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan

September 26, 2012 FROM NEXTGOV arrow A new report, "Living Under Drones," jointly authored by Stanford University and New York University -- and reviewed yesterday by Conor Friedersdorf here at The Atlantic -- is harshly critical of the drone campaign in Pakistan. The report argues that the U.S. narrative of drone strikes -- precise, accurate, and ...