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on Patterns of Global Terrorism for 2002
US State Department's Report on Patterns of Global Terrorism for 2001
DAYS TO SELL THE ROADMAP
Bush is tentatively scheduled to spend two days in the Middle East meeting
with Israel's Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and the Palestinian Authority's
Abu Mazen. The visit is slated to follow the G-8 summit but could be put
on hold unless both sides show a readiness to make progress. Ha'aretz provides
background on who is doing what.(Ha'aretz, May 26, 2003)
Text of the "Roadmap" for peace
May 26, 2003)
PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY'S ABU MAZEN MAY BE A TARGET BEFORE THE MIDEAST SUMMIT
Israeli and U.S. intelligence agencies fear that the Palestinian prime
minister could become a casualty of the latest efforts to get the Mideast
peace process moving. The peace plan opponents' most likely options: launch
a new wave of terrorism, or simply have Abu Mazen assassinated. (Debka
File, May 26, 2003)
ISRAEL AND INDIA IN A THREE-WAY PARTNERSHIP?
efforts to draw Turkey into a relationship with Israel haven't workout
out very well. Now India appears ready to step into the gap. The opening
inducement is Washington's permission for Israel to sell its advanced
Phaelcon airborne reconnaissance system to India for a cool $1 billion.
If that deal goes through, Washington may authorize Israel's sale of its
Arrow anti-ballistic missile system, despite the fact that it uses sensitive
U.S. technology. Don't expect Pakistan to be happy about the deal. (Jim
Lobe in Asia Times, May 27, 2003)
ORGANIZED CRIME GANGS AND TERRORISTS COLLUDE ON NUCLEAR MATERIAL
reports that there are increasing indications that that Balkan smugglers
may now be trafficking in illicit nuclear materials. At least 14 cases
of nuclear theft have been reported recently. At stake is 1,350 metric
tons of plutonium previously belonging to the former Soviet Union--enough
for 40,000 nuclear weapons.
(Janes, May 21, 2003)
BALLOONS FOR A GUANTANAMO FINAL SOLUTION?
Herald Sun newspaper reports that the Bush administration may be preparing
to rid itself of the increasingly embarrassing problem of the 680 prisoners
that the U.S. has been holding incommunicado for 18 months. Plans are
reportedly afoot to set up facilities for executions at Guantanamo's infamous
Delta Camp. The prisoners include citizens of some 43 countries, including
two from Australia. All have been denied access to legal assistance, and
according to the Bush administration's plans, they would be denied jury
trials, or the right to appeal convictions by specially constituted U.S.
military "commissions." Trials and executions could be carried
out without having to leave the base. Prisoners would be allowed access
to American lawyers, authorized by the Pentagon, but only if they could
afford to pay for legal services or the lawyers agreed to work on a pro
bono basis, and at least at this point, prisoners are not allowed
to communicate outside the base at Guantanamo. (The Herald Sun, May 26,
Pentagon briefs on its intentions for the "military commissions."
(Dept.of Defense, May 22, 2003)
picks a chief prosecutor for Guantanamo trials
(Dept. of Defense news release May 23, 2003)
AND IRAQI SHIITES AT BREAKING POINT
al-Hakim's Supreme Islamic Revolutionary Council has flatly refused to
turn its weapons despite threats that the U.S. is ready to try to take
the weapons by force. The SCRI has some 25,000 militia troops in Iraq,
and until recently has received most of its logistical support from Iran.
When the U.S. commander, Lieutenant General David McKiernan threatened
the use of force, the Shiites replied that since the U.S. was going to
leave Iraq anyway, it was not really up to Americans to call the shots.
(Charlotte Edwards, Daily Telegraph, May 25, 2003)
NEW SHIITE BLOCK?
Beeman, head of Middle East Studies at Brown University, notes that an
unintended consequence of the War in Iraq is a massive Shiite-dominated
geographic block that will dominate Middle East politics for the foreseeable
future. (Beeman, Al Jazeera Info, May 26, 2003)
MANY CIVILIANS WERE KILLED IN THE IRAQ WAR?
U.S. Defense Department made a point of not making an effort to add up
the "collateral cost" of civilians killed in Iraq. The Project
on Defense Alternatives has nevertheless added up the various available
reports. According to a survey of 27 hospitals in Baghdad at least 1,700
civilians died from the war and another 8,000 were wounded. Another 1,255
undocumented and consequently unidentified corpses were recorded in Baghdad,
and Najaf cemetery reported 2,000 excess burials during the course of
on Defense Alternatives, May 2003)
his testimony to the Senate last week, Paul Wolfowitz maintained that
much of the criticism of the U.S. efforts in Iraq is based on misunderstanding
and false information. (Paul Wolfowitz, department of Defense, May 22,
TO TOTAL AWARENESS
The idea of having every moment of one's life made available to government
authorities has chilling science fiction implications reminiscent of George
Orwell's novel, "1984" so it is understandable that the project
has been keeping a low profile lately. Thanks to Consolidated Appropriations
Resolution, 2003, Pub. L. No. 108-7, Division M, § 111(b) , however,
the administration is required to report publicly on the project's progress.
Instead of Total Information Awareness, the Defense Advanced Research
Projects' scheme has been rechristened the "Terrorism Information
Awareness" Program. "Texas Gate" in which House Majority
Leader Tom Delay allegedly tried to use anti-terrorism assets to track
down a plane belonging to renegade Democrats who had fled Texas to avoid
forming a quorum in a redistricting dispute demonstrates that information
will invariably be used for political purposes, regardless of the rational
for collecting it (See
the AP story in the Tacoma Washington Tribune , May 23, 2003 or
Francisco Chronicle, May 20, 2003) A full copy of the TIA report is
available on the Electronic Freedom Frontier's website. (Darpa, May 2003)
ON THE INTERNET
War in Iraq seemed custom made for the Internet. It didn't quite happen.
According to a Pew survey only 17% of the computer-savvy public went to
the internet for their main source of news on the war. That is compared
to 22% who relied on radio, 21% who turned to newspapers and 87% who watched
the war on TV. Nevertheless the web has made progress as a reference source
for journalists, and it has gained with the general public since 9/11
when only 3% depended on the net for information. (Barb Palser in American
Journalism Review, May 2003)
FOR A NEW START AT THE UPCOMING G-8 SUMMIT
Bush's appearance at the upcoming G-8 conference provides a chance for
rebuilding some of the important alliances frayed by the War in Iraq.
The G-8 meeting promises to test the president's diplomacy since the session
will be hosted by French President Jacques Chirac. that consideration
aside, a growing number of U.S. foreign policy experts believe it is now
time to bring European allies in on a number of pressing world issues.
(Brookings, May 26, 2003)
about the Summit
University of Toronto maintains a comprehensive online guide to the Summit.
Official Summit Website (in English)
interviewed in the Financial Times
French president is unrepentant about Iraq, but ready to move on other
fronts. (Financial Times, May 24, 2003)
Powell says that Bush is prepared to approach the Summit with an open
Speaking to reporters after meeting with France's foreign minister
on Saturday, Powell said that there was no point in denying that the U.s.
and France had had serious differences, but that it was time to move on.
(U.S. State Dept. transcript, May 24, 2003)
PUBLISHES A DRAFT CONSTITUTION
has a long way to go before it achieves the political unity of the United
States, and its proposed constitution reveals a certain political inertia.
Nevertheless, the document will define European interaction over the next
THE BBC provides a quick overview. (Click
THE FULL DRAFT OF THE CONSTITUTION (Click here)
tensions between Israelis and Palestinians have increased, Israeli troops
have increasingly targeted journalists. In startling footage, Canadian
TV news producer, Patricia Naylor, documents the growing danger faced
by news reporters. After he was shot and fell to the ground, Reuters'
Nael Shyouki was shot several more times by Israeli soldiers, and if his
colleagues had not dragged him to safety. An israeli government press
officer watching the footage, expresses shock, but then adds that the
country is at war. Naylor's film, shot for PBS Front Line World is viewable
on line in streaming video. A text version of the story is also available.(Front
Line World, March 2003)
Jagged Edge of the U.S. Strategy in the Middle East
anyone questions that Iran has pulled out the stops to become a nuclear
power. It is also in a position to influence Shiites in Iraq. Certain
intelligence agencies argue that moving against Iran's nuclear capabilities
would stabilize the Middle East and send a message to North Korea--or
it might unleash a war with a much wider scope than Iraq. (The Debka File,
May 26, 2003)
U.S. experts analyze the situation in Iran and what is likely to happen
The Jim Lehrer News Hour interviews former NSC adviser Flynt Leverett,
David Albright of the Institute for Science and National Security and
Georgetown's Rob Sobhani on the implications of the Administration's rhetoric
towards Iran. According to Leverette, in addition to Iran's past tradition
of supporting terrorism in general, a small cell of Al Qaeda operatives
have holed up in the largely inacessible northeastern part of the country.
Washington wants them out, but even more important, Iran could develop
a nuclear capability within the next two years and the administration
has yet to develop a coherent strategy. (NewsHour, May 27, 2003)
about face and its readiness to go along with the U.S. on the latest U.N.
resolution on Iraq, was ostensibly a gesture that was intended to revive
the U.N. as a functioning organization--at least that is how French Foreign
Minister Dominique Villepin presented it. Philip Gourevitch notes in the
New Yorker this week, that the real test of the U.N.'s viability in supporting
international law could well be the current crisis in the Congo. Our involvement
in Iraq offers American companies enormous commercial advantages. Do we
care about human rights when there is no profit involved? Gourevitch notes
that the system that U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan has tried to promote
resonates with a different vision of the role of the United States in
the world. " The idea behind that system," Gourevitch writes,"is
that common humanity ought to be reason enough to take an interest in
preventing such terrors as extermination campaigns. And the premise behind
that idea is that, while action may be costly, the price of inaction must
finally be greater. But is that really how the world works? What if the
ultimate horror of the Congo nightmare is that there is no price for ignoring
(Philip Gourevitch, The New Yorker, May 26, 2003)
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