..CENTER FOR WAR, PEACE, AND THE NEWS MEDIA, March 1-8, 2006
Department of Journalism, College of Communication, Boston University


 



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NUCLEAR PARTNERSHIP

President Bush and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh sealed a deal integrating India, a former NPT scofflaw, into the non-proliferation system

U.S. and India Rewrite the Nuclear Rules
The historic deal announced in New Delhi Thursday, under which India will be allowed access to U.S. nuclear technology and fuel in exchange for subjecting the non-military part of its nuclear program -- 14 of its 22 facilities -- to international inspection has been greeted by some, including International Atomic Energy Agency head Mohammed ElBaradei, as a visionary breakthrough that will strengthen non-proliferation efforts on the basis of contemporary realities. Others, including a number of legislators on Capitol Hill, decry it as a tragic end-run around the NPT that sends the worst possible message to Iran, North Korea and other potential nuclear aspirants: That the best way to win acceptance as a nuclear nation is to simply go ahead and build and test weapons, show an intent to manage them responsibly and then wait for the international community to make its peace with the new reality.

Iran lost no time in pointing to the hypocrisy of agreeing to supply fuel and technology to a state that stayed out of the NPT and used its nuclear energy program to build nuclear weapons, while denying the rights of an NPT signatory that has undertaken to refrain from building weapons (itself). Asked by U.S. journalists how he rationalized the decision in light of questions over the likes of Iran, President Bush said simply it was a question of "leadership." Advocates of the deal are certainly correct that India's nukes are an intractable reality, and that having them belatedly join the NPT on their own terms is better than nothing. To be sure, the NPT itself is under existential strain in a world where its basic premise -- not only that those without nuclear weapons would refrain from pursuing them, but also that those who have them would negotiate them away -- is widely ignored. But the India deal also makes it increasingly difficult to make the case that restraining Iran is a matter of enforcing universally accepted rules rather than singling out a regime in conflict with the West. Those in the Iranian leadership who may be inclined to press ahead with a nuclear weapons program may well be quietly joining in the celebrations of the U.S.-India deal. (The Times, March 3, 2006)

  • George Perkovich parses the terms of the India-U.S. nuclear deal and finds them wanting, but also acknowledges the breakthrough they represent: “U.S. and Indian leaders have, in their boldness, identified premises that must be questioned and policies that should be rethought in both bilateral relations and in the international non-proliferation regime.” Still, he says, the deal was done with little public discussion, and there is considerable room for improvement. (Carnegie Endowment, February 2006)
  • Randeep Ramesh suggests the real motivation behind the nuclear deal is to rein in an independent nuclear power that had managed to master the technical complexities of the reprocessing cycle all the way to being able to assemble a bomb. In response, the U.S. is trying to ensnare India in a series of rules designed to benefit Washington. (Guardian, March 3 2006)
  • The New York Times reports that members of both parties on Capitol Hill are concerned about the timing of the deal and the message sent to Iran and North Korea, while some arms-control experts suggest India got everything it could have asked for on its weapons program. (New York Times, March 3 2006)
  • Ron Hutcheson and Jonathan S. Landay report on congressional skepticism over the India nuclear deal. They also note that Pakistan has asked for a similar deal and been rebuffed because it is "not in the same place as India." A true enough political, economic and strategic assessment, but one that will fuel the fires of those claiming that the non-proliferation regime is being rewritten on the basis of political preferences. (Knight-Ridder, March 3 2006)
  • Claude Arpi suggests that the strategic rationale for the U.S. giving India a generous nuclear deal is Washington's belief that New Delhi will be an essential counterweight to Beijing. (Rediff.com, March 1 2006)
  • Parties on the Left in India, including some in the ruling coalition, were skeptical of the deal. Amit Baruah argues in the Hindu that India’s strategic options are expanding with its rising power, but that these options will be limited if India allies too closely with the U.S. (The Hindu, March 1, 2003)
  • New Delhi's Insistute for Peace and Conflict Studies offers a comprehensive discussion of India's strategic nuclear doctrine of credible minimum deterrence and its implications for the country's nuclear arsenal. (ICPS, February 2006)
  • Does Musharraf Need Bin Laden?
    There's something almost surreal about the fact that almost five years after 9/11, President Bush is heading for Pakistan -- knowing that it's the country where Osama bin Laden is based. The bizarre state of relations between the Bush administration and Islamabad was further underscored in a press conference shortly before his departure, where an Indian journalist asked why the U.S. had never questioned A.Q. Khan, the Pakistani nuclear scientist who had operated a veritable supermarket for rogue regimes looking to acquire strategic weapons. Bush replied: "Well, we were the nation that exposed the conspiracy to deal with — more than the conspiracy, the activities, let me rephrase that — we were the nation that exposed the activities of sharing technologies, sensitive technologies, nuclear weapons-related technologies. And we, of course, want to know as much about the A.Q. Khan network as possible. But had it not been for US intelligence, coupled with British intelligence, this network never would have been exposed. And the light of day helps understand proliferation." Indeed, or put more succinctly, Pakistan has refused U.S. requests to interview Khan.

    Shortly before Bush's arrival, the Pakistani security forces mounted a raid on a purported Qaeda cell operating in Waziristan, and claimed to have killed dozens of fighters -- the announcement of such successes shortly before Musharraf is due to meet top U.S. officials has become a familiar pattern. But they do serve to remind that the fact of Osama bin Laden lurking in the wilds of Waziristan gives Musharraf a free pass with Washington on everything from his military rule through A.Q. Khan. It's difficult not to wonder how difficult life might get for Musharraf if Bin Laden were ever caught or killed. But regardless of the fate of the Qaeda leader, the mounting tide of protest against his regime by both Islamists and the traditional secular opposition who claim he uses the 'Islamist Peril' to justify suppressing democratic opposition, as well as a secessionist rebellion in Baluchistan and ongoing hostility in Waziristan, suggests that the Musharraf regime may be fast becoming untenable. (TIME, March 1, 2006)

  • Paula Newberg suggests Musharraf's efforts to portray himself as the custodian of democracy in the face of extremism are mocked by his actions against the democratic opposition. The Bush administration should press Musharraf to move back towards freely elected government, she argues, because the crisis building in Pakistan as wider sections of the society turn against Musharraf will hurt U.S. interests. (Yale Global, March 1, 2006)
  • Simon Tisdall warns that Musharraf is now politically weaker than at any point since he seized power in 1999, and that the Islamists have never been stronger. But, he says, Bush is unlikely to heed advice to balance his ties with the general by engaging in contacts with democratic opposition groups, and pressing for greater democracy. (The Guardian, March 1, 2006)
  • Husain Haqqani explores the history of the relationship between Pakistan’s military establishment and the country’s radical Islamists, and finds the latter playing an integral role in realizing the vision of the military establishment that has ruled the country, brief democratic interludes notwithstanding, since independence. (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, February 2006)
  • Previously on Pakistan: Myth of an 'Islamist Peril'
  • A Way Out of the Iran Standoff?
    EU diplomacy thus far has failed, sanctions are unlikely and military options remain unpalatable and unlikely to be effective in the effort to prevent Iran from creating the means to build a nuclear weapon. The International Crisis Group, in a thoughtful analysis, sees two possible diplomatic solutions to prevent a breakdown from which Iran would quite likely emerge nuclear-armed. The first is that Iran would agree to refrain entirely from enriching uranium on its own soil, but for that to happen, warns the ICG, the U.S. would have to offer a far greater political incentive than is currently on the table. If the U.S. is unlikely in the near term to offer full recognition and rehabilitation of the regime in Tehran, the only other plausible outcome is for the West to back down on the principle of Iranian enrichment but in exchange for Iran agreeing to delay its onset by a number of years and submit to a far more intrusive inspection regime.

    "Both sides inevitably will protest that this plan goes too far," the ICG argues, "the West because it permits Tehran to eventually achieve full nuclear fuel cycle capability, with the risk in turn of breakout from the NPT and weapons acquisition, and Iran because it significantly delays and limits the development of that fuel cycle capability. But with significant carrots (particularly from the U.S.) and sticks (particularly from the EU) on the table – involving the appropriate application of sequenced incentives, backed by the prospect of strong and intelligently targeted sanctions – it is not impossible to envisage such a negotiation succeeding." This proposal, the group urges, should be assessed not against some ideal outcome, but of the likely results of a breakdown, which are either a North Korea type scenario of Iran going nuclear, or a military strike that precipitates as regional war.
    (International Crisis Group, February 28, 2006)

  • In an interview with TIME's Scott MacLeod, Iran's top nuclear negotiator suggests his regime remains open to a deal, even direct talks with the U.S.. But they would not be willing to be "harangued" by President Bush, and they insist that their right to uranium enrichment be recognized. (TIME, March 1, 2006)
  • David Isenberg suggests that the same neoconservative ideologues who manipulated intelligence to stir America to go to war in Iraq are now are overstating a “threat” from Iran -- with remarkable success. The reality is that for technical reasons alone, Iran remains a number of years away from the capacity to assemble a bomb. (Center for Defense Information, March 1, 2003)
  • As in the case of North Korea, China's position may prove to be the critical influence on how the Iran standoff plays out. Dingli Shen suggests Beijing is caught in the dilemma of balancing its emerging status as a global diplomatic power, maintaing stqability and the nuclear status quo, and protecting Iran's sovereign right to civilian nuclear program and China's bilateral energy relationship with Tehran. Beijing's view is that Iran must account for its nuclear past under NPT commitment before it can demand full cycle rights under the treaty. Of course if it withdrew from the treaty, it could legally puruse both energy and weapons. Beijing's own concerns militate against support for a strategy of confrontation by either side. (Washington Quarterly, Spring 2006) 2006)
  • Previously on Iran:
    -- Dangers of a Military Option

    -- Tehran Raises the Stakes
  • Can Sadr May Succeed Where U.S. Has Struggled In Avoiding an Iraq Civil War?
    The bomb blast that destroyed the Shia shrine at Samarra may have been the opening salvo of an Iraqi civil war, judging by the torrent of sectarian violence it unleashed across the country. For many Shiites, the attack on a symbol of their faith has been taken as the last straw in a mounting campaign of sectarian attacks. Even the restraining voice of Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani sounded the call to protest, and warned that the Shiites may have to resort to militias to protect themselves. More than 150 Iraqis died in the two days following the blast as Sunni mosques came under attack from Shiites seeking vengeance, and that prompted a furious reaction from Sunni leaders negotiating political terms with the dominant Shiite parties.

    This may be the moment of truth for Iraq’s leaders, in which they’re forced to either achieve a working Iraqi compromise or else repair to a battlefield that could engulf the region. And the role of the United States in achieving any such consensus will be necessarily marginal. Leaders on both sides of the sectarian divide hold the U.S. at least partly responsible for their plight, and the Shiites made clear the latest outrage will be used to push back against U.S. pressure to be more accommodating of Sunni interests. U.S. ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad had threatened this week that the U.S. would withdraw support for Iraqi institutions if these were run by “sectarian” groups, prompting a sharp reaction from Shiite leaders.

    If Khalilzad has failed to cajole Iraq’s leaders into a new compact, the latest upsurge may well do the trick, by giving all of Iraq’s leaders a graphic lesson in the consequences of that failure. Still, any new consensus might well happen at the political expense of the U.S. The best bet for a unifying figure right now may well be Moqtada Sadr, the radical Shiite cleric whose Mehdi Army has twice launched insurrections against U.S. forces. Sadr has emerged as the leading power broker within the dominant Shiite coalition; his power base is largely in East Baghdad making his forces the frontline troops of any Sunni-Shiite civil war; and as a result of his tangling with the Americans – and his rejection of the proposed Shiite mini-state in the south favored by SCIRI – he is the Shiite politician most respected among nationalist Sunnis. And Sadr appears to be maneuvering adroitly, calling on his forces to defend Shiite holy sites at the same time as warning them against taking retribution against the Sunnis and falling prey to foreign schemes to promote a civil war. (Most Iraqi political leaders believe the blast at Samarra was the work of al-Qaeda aligned groups within the insurgency.) Sadr’s strength among the Shiites, and the respect he enjoys among Sunnis, may make him the ideal candidate for the role of unifier. But such unity will be based in part on the demand that the U.S. withdraw from Iraq in short order. (TIME.com, February 23, 2006)

  • Juan Cole warns that the sectarian upsurge could paralyze Iraq's political process, preventing the formation of a new government and forcing new elections, which would likely simply deepen the deadlock. (IPS, February 25, 2006)
  • Vali Nasr argues that by toppling Saddam Hussein, the U.S. unleashed the Shiite genie which will not now be tamed. Efforts to force the Shiites to do more to accommodate the Sunnis, who they see as their former oppressors and the base of the insurgency, are likely to simply drive the Shiites further away from Washington’s influence. (Council on Foreign Relations, February 23, 2006)
  • The Washington Post notes that Sadr has been burnishing his leadership credentials by touring Middle Eastern capitals and meeting political leaders, much to the chagrin of his main rival for leadership in the Shiite camp, the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq. (Washington Post, February 22, 2006)
  • Sami Ramadani suggests that most of the mass outpouring of Shiite anger over the blasts appears to be directed not at rival sects, but at the U.S. The most influential ayatollahs, he notes, are calling it a "sin" to attack Sunnis. But demands for U.S. withdrawal are mounting. (The Guardian, February 24, 2006)
  • Iran has somewhat bizarrely blamed the U.S. and Israel for the blast in Samarra. Syed Saleem Shahzad argues that the upsurge of sectarian violence in Iraq represents a major setback for the Iranian strategy of promoting pan-Islamic unity against the U.S. in order to head off international pressure over its nuclear program. (Asia Times, February 22, 2006)
  • Previously on Iraq: Mounting Anger at Coalition Forces in Iraq

    Rice Fails to Secure a Palestinian Funding Blockade
    Plainly shocked that Palestinian democracy produced a Hamas government, the Bush administration has been scrambling for a response, hastily reversing many of its own positions on Palestinian reform and institution building, and opening its democratic bona fides to further Arab skepticism. When Yasser Arafat was president, the Administration insisted that more power be transferred to an elected government and its prime minister, including control over finances and security forces. Now that the Palestinian voters have chosen Hamas to form that government, the U.S. is insisting on maximum authority for President Abbas, particularly over the security forces. It is even weighing whether it would be possible to keep on funding Abbas rather than the government. More immediately, however, Secretary of State Condi Rice was sent to the Middle East to demand that Arab governments support the U.S.-Israeli position that upon Hamas assuming office, all funding to the Palestinian Authority should be summarily cut. The U.S. has demanded the return of $50 million already disbursed to the PA, while Israel has ceased payment of customs and tax revenues on Palestinian imports owed to the PA. Rice's position was sharply rebuffed in Cairo and Riyadh, where moderate Arab regimes see her approach as dangerously misguided.

    The moderate Arab regimes don't see the assumption of power by Hamas as an act of aggression that demands punishment; they see it as an opportunity to reform Hamas, turning it away from terrorism and towards responsible governance. Their position appears to be that as long as Hamas is prepared to govern responsibly and refrain from ending the cease-fire with Israel it has largely maintained over the past year, funding to Palestinian institutions should continue. Of course, Hamas also skillfully outmaneuvered Rice, visiting many Arab capitals (as well as Ankara and later this year, Moscow) to assure leaders there of its responsible intentions -- and at the same time, visiting Tehran where it received assurances that Iran would help fill the void left by any funding cuts, thereby reminding Arab moderates of the consequences of preemptively cutting funds to the PA. Unable to enforce a financial blockade of the Hamas-led PA, the U.S. and Israeli governments are left to seek a new response to the Palestinian political earthquake. (Jerusalem Post, February 22, 2006)

  • In an interview with Lally Weymouth, Hamas Prime Minister-designate Ismail Haniya says his movement will establish peace with Israel in stages if it withdraws to its 1967 borders and grants the Palestinians a state. Many of his formulations are ambiguously worded but seem to signify an attempt by the nascent Hamas government to make clear that it seeks coexistence with Israel. Haniya argues that Israel itself has walked away from the Oslo Accords, so that Hamas doesn't have to answer the question of whether they apply. Basing his formula for recognition of Israel and a suspension of hostilities on the 1967 borders is also politically shrewd: While the current Israeli government has little inclination to accept those terms, they are the consensus position of the Arab League, based on Saudi proposals, and therefore put Hamas in accord with the moderate Arab regimes. (Washington Post, February 25, 2006)
  • Graham Usher explores the U.S.-Israeli strategy of using financial dependency to destabilize the Palestinian government in the hope that Fatah could profit from the resulting impoverishment of the Palestinian electorate, and could be reelected within a year if President Abbas called new elections. He explains why Palestinian political dynamics make that outcome extremely unlikely, and notes that the Arab rejection of the strategy has rendered it stillborn. (Al Ahram, Feb 23- March 1, 2006)
  • The Israeli-American strategy has also been flatly rejected by Fatah, which has sharply criticized U.S. funding withdrawals and Israel's refusal to pay revenues owed to the PA, reports Khaled Amayreh. More importantly, Hamas is looking to build a national unity government, and Fatah may yet participate. (Al Ahram, Feb 23- March 1, 2006)
  • Rami Khouri explains why Condi Rice's diplomatic efforts of the past week were eclipsed by those of Hamas's Khaled Meshal and Iraqi radical cleric Moqtada Sadr. The short explanation, he says, is that their democratically-established legitimacy among their own people is far greater than that of the U.S. (Daily Star, February 24, 2006)
  • Al Jazeera reports on attempts by Hamas and the defeated Fatah party to find common ground in a unity government. (Al Jazeera, February 23, 2006)
  • Stuart Reigeluth, in a review article on the book Aid, Diplomacy and Facts on the Ground, offers an in-depth look at the politics of donor aid to the Palestinians. (Cairo Review of Books, February 2006)
  • Previously on the Hamas victory: Is the U.S. Trying to Reverse the Palestinian Election?


  • The Arab identity of P&O's new owners was seized on by legislators looking to make political hay

    Racism Over Ports?
    Foreign Affairs managing editor Gideon Rose gets to the heart of the matter when he charges that any sober assessment of the issues in the furor over the acquisition of management contracts at six U.S. ports by Dubai Ports World must lead to the conclusion that the only problem being cited by the naysayers is simply that this is an Arab-owned company. Notwithstanding the fact that it has an excellent record of cooperation with the U.S. on security matters and is run by American executives -- or the fact that security in U.S. ports is the responsibility of Homeland Security regardless of who owns the management companies -- politicians began alerting the media with warnings about "a country involved in 9/11" taking over American ports. (Dubai may not have been more involved in 9/11 than Germany, but nobody was bothering with the details.)

    Tom Friedman echoed the racism theme, warning that to reject a company playing by the rules of the globalization game and international counter-terrorism simply because it is Arab will actually weaken the U.S. ability to win moderate allies in the Muslim world, and leave it even more vulnerable. The Nation notes that the real security issue in U.S. ports is the rules and procedures adopted by the U.S. government, and how much the U.S. taxpayer is willing to spend on keeping America's harbors safe. But Bill Greider sees a dark irony in the fact that the Bush administration is being stymied by a climate of fear it helped stoke.
    (Foreign Affairs, February 27, 2006)


    Fatman and Little Boy launched a generation of weapons designed to ensure U.S. strategic primacy

    No Limit on U.S. Nukes
    Keir A. Lieber and Daryl G. Press argue that the end of the Cold War has removed restraints on the U.S. pursuit of nuclear primacy, because the MAD (mutually assured destruction) principle that served as the foundation for arms control no longer serves as a brake on U.S. ambitions. The Bush administration is pursuing a revitalized nuclear program as part of its strategy to remain, in perpetuity, the single superpower and to prevent the emergence of a peer competitor to replace the Soviet Union on the strategic map. That requires substantially altering the rules of arms control and non proliferation.

    “During the Cold War, MAD rendered the debate about the wisdom of nuclear primacy little more than a theoretical exercise," they write. "Now that MAD and the awkward equilibrium it maintained are about to be upset, the argument has become deadly serious. Hawks will undoubtedly see the advent of U.S. nuclear primacy as a positive development. For them, MAD was regrettable because it left the United States vulnerable to nuclear attack. With the passing of MAD, they argue, Washington will have what strategists refer to as 'escalation dominance' -- the ability to win a war at any level of violence -- and will thus be better positioned to check the ambitions of dangerous states such as China, North Korea, and Iran. Doves, on the other hand, are fearful of a world in which the United States feels free to threaten -- and perhaps even use -- force in pursuit of its foreign policy goals. In their view, nuclear weapons can produce peace and stability only when all nuclear powers are equally vulnerable. Owls worry that nuclear primacy will cause destabilizing reactions on the part of other governments regardless of the United States' intentions. They assume that Russia and China will work furiously to reduce their vulnerability by building more missiles, submarines, and bombers; putting more warheads on each weapon; keeping their nuclear forces on higher peacetime levels of alert; and adopting hair-trigger retaliatory policies. If Russia and China take these steps, owls argue, the risk of accidental, unauthorized, or even intentional nuclear war -- especially during moments of crisis -- may climb to levels not seen for decades."
    (Foreign Affairs, April-May, 2006)


    Turkish U.S.-bashing movie 'Valley of the Wolves: Iraq' has drawn record crowds

    Where the Bad Guys are American
    It's not likely to be nominated for a Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, but the runaway success of the Turkish movie "Valley of the Wolves: Iraq" is a sign that local filmmakers have figured out a way to make pots of money out of the simultaneous loathing of American foreign policy and love of its action movies: Cast Americans as the bad guys in Rambo-style shoot-em-ups.

    On its website, which offers explanations, images and a trailer, the film is explained as a Rambo-style revenge fantasy in which a group of Turkish Special Forces soldiers head into Iraq to avenge some of their comrades who've fallen foul of U.S. forces and end up championing the stolen honor of the Iraqi people. The movie's popularity resonates with attitudes in the Turkish mainstream: The Prime Minister and his wife have seen the movie and recommended it to others, the first lady calling it "a beautiful film."

    And given the popularity of American action movies, the fact that the genre is now being turned against U.S. foreign policy represents a far more serious challenge than the droning video sermons of Bin Laden and Zawahiri.

    Nor does "Valley of the Wolves" have the genre all to itself. Over in Cairo, record crowds are turning out to see The Night Baghdad Fell, a vicious satire in which Egypt is conquered by an invading U.S. army. In the socially conservative Egyptian cultural landscape, the film's depiction of the fantasy of one of its main characters having sex with Secretary of State Condolleeza Rice, who is portrayed as a belly dancer, is no doubt contributing to its salacious appeal. (Knight-Ridder, February 14, 2006 and Al-Jazeera, January 10, 2006)


    The object of slander: Iran's national soccer team

    The Next Cartoon War?
    Even as people continue to die in protests sparked by the Prophet Muhammad caricatures, a German newspaper decided to open a second front by publishing a cartoon depicting Iran's national soccer team -- due to compete in Germany in the World Cup finals in June -- as suicide bombers. Iran immediately announced formal protests, and demanded an apology. Keep a watching brief on this one, which has the potential to merge the passions of the current cartoon war with the nationalist soccer passion of the Iranians in a volatile political cocktail. (The Guardian, February 15, 2006)


    Kim Jong Il visits China

    China and North Korea: Comrades Forever?
    U.S. strategy for dealing with the challenge of North Korea's nuclear weapons program is premised largely on the willingness and ability of China to hold Pyongyang's feet to the fire, using its status as North Korea's major trading partner to deliver good behavior. But, warns the International Crisis Group, China's position vis-a-vis North Korea is often misunderstood in Washington.

    "China's influence on North Korea is more than it is willing to admit but far less than outsiders tend to believe," the ICG writes. "Although it shares the international community's denuclearisation goal, it has its own concept of how to achieve it. It will not tolerate erratic and dangerous behaviour if it poses a risk of conflict but neither will it endorse or implement policies that it believes will create instability or threaten its influence in both Pyongyang and Seoul."

    China's priorities with regard to North Korea are not the same as Washington's. They include maintaining economic and social stability, preventing the U.S. from dominating a united Korea, and using its role in mediating the standoff to enhance its diplomatic prestige, while avoiding triggering a regional arms race. Although its almost $2 billion in trade and investment is the lifeblood of North Korea's economy, "there is virtually no circumstance under which China would use it to force North Korea's compliance on the nuclear issue." It fears that sanctions would do more harm than good, and also set a precedent that could prove uncomfortable for Beijing on other fronts. Its fear of a flood of refugees crossing the border also gives it a greater stake in maintaining the status quo on the Korean peninsula, or altering it very gradually through market reforms.

    "Although it cannot deliver a rapid end to Pyongyang's weapons program, China must still be an integral component of any strategy with a chance of reducing the threat of a nuclear North Korea," the ICG writes. "No other country has the interest and political position in North Korea to facilitate and mediate negotiations. It is also the key to preventing transfers of the North's nuclear materials and other illicit goods, although its ability to do this is limited by logistical and intelligence weaknesses, and unwillingness to curb border trade. Over the long-term, Chinese economic interaction with the North may be the best hope for sparking deeper systemic reform and liberalisation there." (International Crisis Group, January 31, 2006)



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