PHOTO: JERUSALEM INDEPENDENT MEDIA CENTER
Dead and wounded rot in Nablus Mosque
The Darkness Before Dawn
The Economist believes that Ariel Sharons offensive has, inadvertently, brought the crisis closer to resolution by forcing the United States to move in the direction of more aggressively insisting that Israel move towards a two-state separation. And in a companion piece, the magazine explains how the contours of such an agreement have already been forged between the two sides at the Taba talks, which were called off two weeks before Sharon's election.
An Israeli-Palestinian Coalition?
Senior Arafat aide Yasser Abed Rabbo and leader of the dovish faction of Israel's Labor Party, Yossi Beilin, argue for joint political action by the peace camp on both sides - and to learn the lessons of South Africa's negotiated transition away from apartheid.
Forcing the Issue
Former Clinton State Department official Robert Malley and Palestinian academic Hussein Agha preview their forthcoming Foreign Affairs bound to cause a stir in foreign policy circles. They argue that the U.S. can enforce a viable deal that would include addressing Israeli demographic concerns by incorporating Israeli-Arab communities in northern Israel into a Palestinian state.
The Guardian's Julian Borger sums up the European perception that domestic political considerations may have forced President Bush to blink in his first major confrontation with Israeli leader Ariel Sharon. But, Borger writes, the continuing regional crisis will force Bush to once again confront the Israeli leader.
Haunted by the Holocaust
New York writer Ron Rosenbaum explores the fear of a "second Holocaust" that, he says, is framing the response of many Jews around the world to events in the Middle East -- and also to what he calls Europe's "one-sided" reaction.
Why Sharon Rebuffed Washington
Writing in the Jerusalem Post, Israeli cabinet minister Natan Sharansky sums up the dominant sentiment of his countrymen over Powell's visit: "That much of the free world condemns us for doing what we must and what they themselves would do, is offensive and hurtful. But it is not the first time and we simply have no choice."
Why the Palestinians Rebuff Washington
Writing in the official Egyptian daily Al Ahram, Palestinian society's most famous poet, Mahmoud Darwish, offers an ironic echo of Sharansky's argument of the need to fight on. "What concerns us is the defence of our national and human existence -- even if our backs are up against the wall. We have absolutely no other option." More alarming, perhaps, is Darwish's call to the wider Arab world to recognize the Palestinians' fate as a symbol of their own subjugation to the West.
Escalating to Nowhere
Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies argues that neither Israel nor the Palestinians can prevail by escalating the confrontation, and the fact that they're continuing to do so strengthens the case for forceful international intervention. (PDF Download).
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Powell warns mideast violence could spread
Egypt on the Brink
Darwish's polemic may be touching a nerve. Al Ahram editor Ibrahim Nafie, whose views are traditionally close to those of President Hosni Mubarak, warns this week that the current crisis is reaching the point where it threatens to reverse the entire epoch of Israeli-Arab peacemaking, and plunge U.S.-Arab relations into a new era of conflict and uncertainty.
Foreign Ministry mobilizes for PR campaign on Jenin
Last weeks battle of Jenin is fast turning into a major Israeli-Palestinian propaganda battle. Last Thursday, Haaretz reported that Israel was launching a PR offensive to challenge Palestinian claims that a massacre had taken place in the towns refugee camps, as the Israeli army fought a house-to-house battle with hardcore fighters of Islamic Jihad. Meanwhile, the Washington Post report certainly suggests a fierce battle in which scores of Palestinians - and some 22 Israeli soldiers - perished.
A Thicket of Human Rights Questions
The controversy may be most acute in Israel itself, where a Supreme Court judge on Friday ordered the army to stop removing bodies from the battle zone pending a full judicial hearing of complaints by Palestinian NGOs that the Israelis were trying to hide evidence of an atrocity. A right-wing Israeli politician accused the presiding judge of siding with Israels enemies. The Supreme Court later ordered the military to proceed, but accompanied by the Palestinian Red Crescent.
For two days late last week the presidency of Venezuela's Hugo Chavez looked like a repeat of Salvador Allende's in Chile. But as Marx once observed, history's tragedies tend to recur as farces, and by Saturday the coup that ousted the left-wing populist had been just as suddenly defeated. The Financial Times suggests, though, that the experience will leave Chavez more inclined to learn from his mistakes by seeking a wider range of allies in Venezuelan society. Plus, the BBC parses the challenges facing Chavez in revitalizing a monocultural oil economy.
SRI LANKA: TAMIL TIGERS TAMED?
Shades of Colombia in Colombo?
The Guardian's Luke Harding suggests that the latest peace agreement between the Tamil Tigers and Sri Lanka's government opens the way to formalizing the rebel movement's political control of a huge swath of territory, thereby empowering an organization of questionable democratic credentials.
The Inventor of Suicide Bombing
Tamil Tiger leader Velupillai Prabhakaran pioneered suicide bombing a decade ago, sending young women strapped with explosives to blow away the likes of India's Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. Now the head of one of the world's most ruthless guerrilla armies is proclaiming himself a man of peace and democracy. The Economist suggests that the extent of Prabhakaran's commitment to democracy will be tested in forthcoming peace talks in Thailand. Plus, the Times of India offers an uproarious take on the notorious guerrilla leader's first-ever press conference.
Anarchy in Afghanistan?
NUKES AND SHIELDS
Writing from Kabul for the Institute of War and Peace Reporting, Wali Jal explains the sharp internal divisions in Afghanistan's interim government which are deepening as the 'loya jirga' assembly planned for June draws closer.
Bush-Putin Nuke Deal Has a Downside
The Center for Defense Information warns that the U.S.-Russian agreement to cut nuclear arsenals due to be unveiled in May misses a crucial opportunity to tackle the problem of proliferation.
Monitoring Moscow's Redundant Nukes is a U.S. Priority
Tom Z. Collina and Jon B. Wolfsthal argue in Arms Control Today that WMD terror concerns require that the U.S. urgently press for the right to monitor the decommissioning of Russian nuclear weapons - even if that means affording the Russians reciprocal monitoring rights over U.S. decommissioning.
What is Putin's Game?
The Center for Defense Information parses the strategic thinking behind the Russian president's reorienting Moscow's foreign policy in line with Western objectives. His motivations may be primarily about shoring up his domestic power, they conclude.
The U.S. military is considering the possibility of using nuclear tipped warheads atop missile interceptors as part of its National Missile Defense program. Skeptics warn that the perils may outweigh any security created by such a decision.