for Powell, Waiting for Sharon
Wants Settlement Freeze as Part of Push Toward Truce
Even more important than how Ariel Sharon chooses to interpret the
"without delay" clause of President Bush's demand that Israel withdraw
from Palestinian cities, is how he'll respond to U.S. efforts to
restart political talks. Ha'aretz's Aluf Benn suggests Washington
wants an immediate settlement freeze, which won't sit comfortably
with the prime minister who is also long-time settlement advocate.
Ha'aretz/April 8, 2002
The Return of Israeli Rule
Elsewhere in the same paper, Danny Rubinstein suggests that whatever
its intention, the net effect of Israel's "Operation Defensive Wall"
will be reoccupation of Palestinian towns -- for the simple reason
that the security structures of the Palestinian Authority are being
systematically degraded, which will force Israel to assume ongoing
security responsibility in West Bank towns. Ha'retz/April 8, 2002
Bush's Change of Mind
Suicidal Tactics That Can No Longer Be Ignored
Dominique Moissi, suggests President Bush has been forced by recent
events to recognize that Israeli-Palestinian conflict is of greater
importance than Saddam, and that its outcome may determine the fate
of relations between the West and Islam. He argues that the speech
will have to be followed with strong action, such as an international
force to separate the combatants. Financial Times, April 7, 2002.
The Economist believes, however, that while last week's speech
could be the most important of Bush's presidency, it may have come
too late because the conflict has been allowed to drift deep into
a downward spiral, from which it will be more difficult than ever
to pry the parties. The Economist, April 5, 2002.
Bush Finally Stepped In to Try to Stop the Slaughter
The Observer's Ed Vulliamy suggests that while concerns over Iraq
may have swayed even the Bush administration hawks from their hard
line on the Middle East, whispering from key think tanks played
a major role in aligning Condoleezza Rice with Colin Powell to produce
last Thursday's turnabout from the President. The Observer, April 7, 2002.
But not all the think-tank types are convinced. Leading neo-conservatives
William Kristol and Robert Kagan, writing in the Weekly Standard,
argue that President Bush has been led, against his better judgement,
into a dangerous detour in the Middle East, which will do no good
there but will harm the war on terrorism. Carnagie Endowment Publications,
April 8, 2002.
I Don't Want To Be Here ... But What Would You Do?
The Guardian's foreign editor Peter Beaumont talks to Israeli soldiers on patrol in Bethlehem, and find them sharply divided over the political purpose of their operation - but united in their frustration and despair. The Observer, April 7, 2002.
Peace Without the Territories
And despite their focus on fighting terror attacks, many Israelis
agree with President Bush that it's time to end the occupation of
the West Bank and Gaza. David Kimche, in the Jerusalem Post, opines
that many of his countrymen believe the current operation won't resolve
the problem of Israel's insecurity. He writes: "There is an ever-growing
number of Israelis who prefer peace without the territories to keeping
the territories without peace." Jerusalem Post, April 8, 2002.
Preventing an Unhappy Ending
Ha'aretz's respected military analyst Zeev Schiff takes the argument a step further, saying Israel's imminent withdrawal from the recently reoccupied towns should be conducted within the framework of comprehensive negotiations for Palestinian statehood. Ha'aretz, April 8, 2002.
Sharon isn’t out to kill Arafat or ruin the PA
American commentators often suggest Yasser Arafat step aside to
make way for a new generation of leaders. But Saudi political analyst
Jamal Ahmad Khashoggi explains, in Lebanon's Daily Star, why such
a leadership will be less inclined than Arafat to pursue Oslo. The Daily Star, April 6, 2002
Expanding on this theme, leading Palestinian intellectual Edward Said urges Palestinians to move forward from Sharon's offensive by mimicking the successful tactics of South Africa's African National Congress -- placing more emphasis on the mass, non-violent dimension of their struggle and investing more in its international solidarity aspect, particularly by getting better acquainted with American political culture. Al-Ahram, April 4-10, 2002 issue.
Hopes, Spring Perils
Despite signs of hope, the onset of spring will bring new fighting
in Afghanistan. Some of it will be over the spoils of power in the
new government, and the Taliban and al-Qaeda elements will try to
take advantage of that environment to make a comeback. The Economist
parses the challenges. The Economist, April 4, 2002.
A General in the Crosshairs
Freelancer Camelia Entekhabi-Fard has produced an insightful piece
on her journey to Kandahar with General Mohammed Fahim, defense
minister of Afghanistan‚s interim government. His mission: To persuade
the local warlords loyal to the new government to join the national
army. His success: Symbolic, at best. Eurasianet, April 4, 2002.
more recently, on a similar trip to Jalalabad, General Fahim survived a
bomb attack on his convoy that killed four of his entourage. BBC News, April 8, 2002.
Coup Plot Arrests Were Tajik Muscle-Flexing
IWPRs Mukhtar Rasooli reports from Kabul that last weeks dramatic "coup
plot" arrests may have been primarily a flexing of muscle by the Tajik
factions of the new government to cow its Pashtun rivals ahead of Junes
Loya Jirga‚ gathering to lay the groundwork for a new government. Institute for War and Peace Reporting, April 2, 2002.
The collapse of the Soviet Union left behind some arbitrary and fiercely
contested borders. The International Crisis Group has released a study
recommending new international mediated mechanisms for resolving disputes,
and developing border areas as zones of trade rather than frontiers. ICG Report, April 4, 2002.
Angola: Peace without Savimbi?
Jonas Savimbis body was hardly cold before his UNITA rebel movement signed a peace agreement with Angolas government, ending 26 years of war. Savimbis
demise may have cleared a major hurdle for a lasting peace, but the Economist
warns that many rebel commanders and fightersand many on the government
side, toohave come to depend on the war as a way of making a living. The Economist, April 4, 2002.
General Gato: Unita's new leader
Also, the BBC introduces General General Abreu Kamorteiro, better
known by his nom de guerre "Gato," the hard-line UNITA commander
who took over the reins and made the deal. By Justin Pearce, BBC
News, April 4, 2002.
Sudan's Peace Process in the Balance
The International Crisis Group warns that Sudan‚s peace process threatens to
come unstuck, and urgent action is required from the United States to save the day. ICG Report, April 3, 2002.
Outlook on Globalization: Sunshine or Storms?
If you believe globalization will usher in a new dawn of prosperity
and international cooperation, youre in Tom Friedmans corner.
If you believe its fruits are primarily new geopolitical and national
security perils, youll be cheering Robert Kaplan. The New York
Times columnist and the Atlantic Monthly scribe go toe-to-toe over
four rounds on the future of the nation state. Foreign Policy, March/April issue.