Le Pen Opposes Immigration, the European Union and Globalization.
A Disturbing Number of French Voters Agree with Him
Le Pen's surprise victory over France's Socialist
Prime Minister, Lionel Jospin, may have as much to do with public
frustration with the French Socialists and Jospin's uninspired campaign
as it does with the right-wing politics of the Front National. A
rash of scandals that have shaken public confidence in traditional
political parties hasn't helped either. The fact that Le Pen will
now face incumbent Jacques Chirac in the run-off second round of
France's presidential elections will give the extreme right a bully
pulpit that it has never enjoyed before. The Paris-based International
Herald Tribune's John Vinocur, provides a concise account of
The Economist analyzes the forces that led to Le Pen's surprising
score in the first round of the elections. The
BBC's Brigitte Kendall provides a concise and lucid analysis
of the underlying reasons for Le Pen's political gains (in streaming
video). The French newspapers,
Le Monde and Liberation
provide comprehensive on-line analysis in French.
The Real Jean-Marie Le Pen Please Step Forward?
Two days before the first round of the French presidential
elections, Adar Primor, a correspondent with the Israeli newspaper,
Ha'aretz, interviewed Jean-Marie Le Pen at his home in a Parisian
suburb. The interview sketches the life of a complex political personality,
who took a leave of absence while a deputy in the French national
Assembly, so that he could fight with French paratroopers during
the Algerian War. Charges that Le Pen had personally engaged in
torturing Arab prisoners could never be proven in France because
the French government declared a comprehensive amnesty on war crimes
committed in Algeria, and French courts refused to allow the subject
to be discussed. In addition to his activities in the Front National,
Le Pen ran his own publishing operation which distributed speeches
by Hitler and Mussolini. But it is Le Pen's remarks against immigrants,
and more specifically against Arabs, which have struck a nerve lately.
A former French prime minister once remarked that Le Pen asked the
right questions, but provided all the wrong answers. Read
Adar Primor's profile and interview in Ha'aretz, April 22, 2002.
Withdrawal Looks More Like a Redeployment Than a Retreat. The Question
is: What Are Sharon's Plans for the Next Phase?
The tanks that pulled back from Jenin have now concentrated
around Arafats compound. Sharon has hardened his position
and refuses to dismantle any settlements in the Occupied Territories.
That could cost him the next election,.The Economist/April 22, 2002
This the Swan Song of Sharon And Arafat?
With international pressure building, time is running
out for both Ariel Sharon and Yassir Arafat, reasons Aluf Benn in
the Israeli newspaper Haaretz. It may be time for both men
to cede their positions to a new generation of leaders, but before
he goes, Sharon is determined to demolish Arafat and much of the
old PLO gang, clearing the decks for a new start. . By Aluf Benn,
Haaretz, April 22, 2002
Israeli Assault on Jenin Was Brutal, But Whether It Was a Massacre
is Open to Debate
Although the damage to civilian homes was horrendous,
The Observers Peter Beaumont says that all indications are
that most of the casualties on the Palestinian side were active
combatants. False rumors have been plentifulthanks in part
to Israels refusal to allow journalists near the action. Peter
Beaumont, Observer April 21, 2002
Capture of Tanzim Militia Leader Marwan Barghouti May Be One of
the Crucial Developments of the Israeli Incursion
Barghouti was seen by some as a possible successor
to Arafat. The Israelis are not going to let him go anytime soon.
By Naomi Segal, JTA Global News Service/April 22, 2002. Read
Barghouti's last interview with the Palestinian Chronicle before
By Marwan Barghouti, Palestine Chronicle, April 22, 2002
Mubarak Snubs Colin Powell
Egypt wants Europe to increase pressure on
Israel and charges that the U.S. is sending mixed signals. President
Hosni Mubarak was too indisposed to meet the U.S. secretary of State
during his stopover in Cairo. Al Ahram April 18-24.2002
Bush Aides Behind the Coup Against Chavez?
The Observers Ed Vulliami reports that three
men close to the President had advanced knowledge of the failed
coup against Venezuelas President Chavez. Eliot Abrams, Otto
Reich and John Negroponte were no strangers to Latin America. They
had previously served under President Reagan during Iran Contra.
By Ed Vulliami in the Observer/April 21, 2002
Survived the Coup, But It Looks As Though The Army Is In Charge
The failure of the coup attempt in Venezuela may
have disappointed the U.S.,. But Chavez may not have much room to
maneuver either. From now on the Army will make its influence felt.
By the Economist/April 22, 2002
Days of Banana Republics Are Over, At Least for Venezuela
Chavez was not the only shaken by the attempt to overthrow
him. Other Latin American countries were unsettled by what looked
like an unpleasant turn in U.S. policy. The bottom line is that
Venezuela is not a banana republic and the U.S. is not calling the
shots. By Conn Hanilin, Foreign Policy in Focus/April 17, 2002
Has Claims to One of the Largest Untapped Oil Fields in the World.
So Why Does It Need Democracy?
Corruption and patronage have much more of a tradition
in Central Asia than democracy, and some of the region's current
leaders may think that government transparency just gets in the
way. but extracting oil and transporting it to market is going to
require enormous investment. When you are gambling with billions
of dollars, political stability counts. By Martha Brill Olcott,
the Carnegie Endowment in the Washington Post/April 18, 2002
Squeezes Kyrgyzstan over U.S. Airbase
Now that Kyrgyzstan has agreed to let the U.S. use
one of its airbases, rumors are circulating that the U.S. could
spend up to $300 million a year in rent and up to one half billion
dollars to develop the installation. The immediate fallout. Russia
wants instantanoeous repayment of a 4133 million debt that Kyrgyzstan
still owes Moscow. By Cholpon Orozobekova , Institute for War &
Peace Reporting/April 19, 2002
Ponders Its 'Middle East Card'
One effective way to get Washingtons
attention these days is to dabble in the Middle East. Jiang Zemins
trip to Iran on Sunday was accompanied by Beijing news articles
that reported a recent cooling of relations with the U.S. Another
possible motive for the visit is the fact that China needs to secure
oil supplies for the future, and the U.S. is still turning its back
By Francesco Sisci, Asia Times/April 23, 2002
People's Daily reports on Jiang's Visit to Iran
Do You Create a Human Suicide Bomb? Take Grinding Poverty And Add
a Daily Dose of Humiliation.
The incentive to become a martyr frequently has more
to do with petty humiliations and the hopelessness of poverty than
with religious fanaticism. Gideon Levy profiles some typical terrorists
of the Intifada.
By Gideon Levy in Haaretz/April 22, 2002