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Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak got the symbolic weekend at Camp David, but little of substance on his fundamental concern that the U.S. intervene on both the shape and timetable of a final Israeli-Palestinian accord. And that bodes ill for prospects of the mooted Middle East regional peace conference going ahead. (Haaretz, June 10, 2002)
DON’T RUSH TO JUDGE MUBARAK’S IMPACT
Speaking ahead of the Egyptian president's Washington visit, Cairo's U.S. ambassador Nabil Fahmy told Al Ahram that the diplomatic game is still wide open and the U.S. position amorphous. The impact of Mubarak's talks with Bush would come, he said, not in the statements released immediately after, but rather in the positions outlined by President Bush when he makes his Middle East policy speech. (Al Ahram, June 6, 2002)
THE ARAFAT FACTOR
Ariel Sharon's most important achievement as Prime Minister of Israel may
have been to walk the Bush administration round to his way of thinking. The
evidence for that, right now, is the extent to which Washington has endorsed
Sharon's idea that the most important impediment to progress towards peace is Yasser Arafat. And Israeli officials believe it's only a matter of time
before Sharon expels the Palestinian leader from the occupied territories. (Haaretz, June 10, 2002)
Lebanon's Daily Star, in their always useful roundup of the Israeli media, confirms the suspicion that Sharon is building a consensus around expelling Arafat. Weekend commentaries in the Israeli press suggest Sharon's Sharon's objective is to oust Arafat, shoot down any short-term plans for a comprehensive political solution and rely on President Bush's domestic political concerns to avoid any diplomatic consequences. (Daily Star, June 9, 2002)
THE SHARON PLAN: BAD NEWS FOR BUSH
Ahead of his talks with President Bush on Monday, Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon set out his view of the prospects for peace in the Middle East in New York Times op-ed. The contents will disappoint those elements in the Bush administration looking to quickly restart the peace process. On
everything from the timetable to the shape of a peace agreement, Sharon's
stakes out positions that suggest a complete absence of common ground, not
only with the Palestinians but also with all of the moderate Arab regimes.
Besides restating a refusal to engage in political talks as long as violence
continues (a position at odds with Washington's own recent efforts to resume
dialogue), Sharon rejects the notion of the 1967 borders as the starting
point of a negotiated solution, offering an interpretation of U.N. Resolution 242 at odds with positions taken not only by the moderate Arab regimes and Washington, but even by his own foreign minister. (New York Times, June 9, 2002)
ARABS FEAR BETRAYAL
The always-useful survey of the Arab-language press carried in the Lebanese Daily Star reveals that Arab editors believe that Sharon is dictating terms to Bush, and warning against the "illusions" of moderate Arab leaders such as President Mubarak and Crown Prince Abdullah that working with Washington on peace plans is getting them anywhere. Arab editors appear to believe that no matter what guarantees Mubarak and Crown Prince Abdullah have been given, Sharon has torpedoed any new peace talks and is about to expel Arafat from the West Bank [EM] and that would pose a crisis for the hopes of Washington, Riyadh, Amman and Cairo for pacifying the situation. (Daily Star, June 9, 2002)
WHO LOST THE PEACE?
Ehud Barak and Benny Morris, in one corner, and Robert Malley and Hussein Agha in the other continue their lively and revealing debate over what went wrong at Camp David and after, and the implications for the future of Mideast peacemaking. (New York Review of Books, June 27, 2002)
BACK FROM THE BRINK?
Despite the improved atmosphere of recent days, the Economist warns that India and Pakistan may yet find
themselves coming to blows if Kashmiri militants launch further terror attacks in the weeks ahead. (The Economist, June 10, 2002)
A U.S. SHERIFF IN SOUTH ASIA?
The Times of India editorializes that Washington's diplomatic success in calming the Kashmir crisis may be the harbinger of an expanded U.S. role in policing the India-Pakistan conflict. By taking on the role of monitoring the Line of Control that separates the Indian- and Pakistan controlled zones in Kashmir, the U.S. is accepting the role of gendarme of last resort. (Times of India, June 9, 2002)
Former Afghan King Mohammad Zaher Shah, center, takes Afghan interim leader Hamid Karzai¹s hand, after he announced that he would not seek any position for himself at the Loya Jirga grand council meeting, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, June 10, 2002
LOYA JIRGA DELAY
The "loya jirga," that Grand Assembly over whose name the pundits broke their teeth in the early days of the U.S. Afghan campaign, is finally upon us. And the meeting to choose a new government is experiencing all the expected
problems. It's opening was delayed by a day this week following a dispute
over the role of the king. Still, the consensus appears to be that it"s
proceeding more smoothly than expected. But, the Economist warns, the
prospects for Afghan democracy continue to rest with the international
community's ability to provide security and economic aid.
(The Economist, June 10, 2002)
CLIMATE OF SUSPICION
With the stakes being the power to shape a post-Taliban Afghanistan, the Loya Jirga is predictably highlighting divisions among the various warlords who have for decades competed for power. Those frozen out of the current interim government, such as former President Burhanuddin Rabbani, are not surprisingly among the most vociferous in charging that the fix is in and the grand assembly will simply rubberstamp the Karzai administration. Despite the discord, Afghan watchers are optimistic. (Eurasianet, June 6, 2002)
THE ART OF COMPROMISE
The Loya Jirga is designed as a consensus model of governance for a country in which consensus appears to be achieved only against a shared foe such as the Soviets or the Taliban. But the future stability of Afghanistan, says Ahmed Rashid in Kabul, depends on the country's power brokers achieving an elusive consensus on sharing power. (IWPR, June 10, 2002)
AFGHAN DEMOCRACY AS A CONTACT SPORT
On the eve of the Loya Jirga, Afghanistan's professionals and intellectuals are finding the quest for Afghan democracy (literally) rough going. But they're not giving up hope. (The Guardian, June 10, 2002)
DIRTY BOMB Q&A
The U.S. capture of an alleged al-Qaeda member planning to detonate a "dirty
bomb" has raised questions about the scope and danger of radiological
weapons. The Council on Foreign Relations Terrorism question and answer series offers a useful set of explanations of "dirty bombs" and their impact.
HOW TO TOPPLE SADDAM
With the U.S. committed to "regime-change" in Iraq but lacking a strategy, some in Washington have pressed for application of the "Afghanistan model"air strikes and small, mobile U.S. special forces units deployed in support of Iraqi proxies. Dr. Michael Donovan of the Center for Defense Information argues that the situation in Iraq makes the Afghan model inapplicable.
THE KOSOVO MODEL?
If the U.S. is looking for success stories on which to base its Iraq strategy, Kosovo won'thelp much. Stephen Biddle reviews three recent books on NATO's air war over Kosovo warns that the capabilities of air power remain limited in pursuit of some immediate U.S. strategic objectives.
KOSOVO: FAILURE IN MITROVICA
Kosovo hardly makes headlines any more, but the International Crisis Group says the failure of the UN mission there to establish its authority in the divided city of Mitrovica is a black mark on the international community's credibility. Belgrade continues to support a parallel authority there, which prevents the return of refugees. The ICG recommends making Serbia's access to European institutions conditional on ending such support.
JOURNALISM AS "TREACHERY"
The Israeli daily Haaretz has consistently provided some of the best coverage anywhere of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. A paper traditionally
associated with the Israeli left and peace camp, it has unflinchingly
chronicled the actions and political machinations of both sides and avoided
the temptation of simplistic homilies. And that has predictably earned it the ire of many Israelis. Editor-in-chief Hanoch Marmari told a recent conference of editors in Belgium of the universal challenges to journalistic ethics posed by the intifada.
OSAMA OR USAMA?
As important as an international conference of the Mideast may be an
international agreement among copy editors on transliterating Arabic into
English. Ghaddafi or Ghadafy, Khaddafi or even Qadhafi? Hezbollah or
Hizballah? The list goes on and on. And in an age of search engines, warns
the Guardian's Brian Whitaker, the discrepancies can cause havoc.
THE WEB ACCORDING TO KOFI
So what does the U.N. Secretary General read when he's browsing the Web late at night? Nothing out of the ordinary. Sites on human rights, weapons
trafficking and technology (in French, to satisfy Paris's demand for
bilingual Secretaries General). And also, of course, those that explain the
POKEMON AS HEGEMON
Japan may be on the wane as an economic power and it's not exactly a
strategic player, but Douglas McGray argues that Tokyo's ability to export
its popular culture has expanded even as the economy has declined, giving it
a growing long-term 'soft-power' influence in the centers of power. Out of
left field, but an interesting argument.
(Foreign Policy, undated)
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U.S. State Department's Report on Patterns of Global Terrorism
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Centre for War,
The News Media
Journalists' Essential Field Guide to Afghanistan
by Edward Girardet
09/11 8:48AM: Documenting America's Greatest Tragedy