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protest sending troops to Iraq despite threats to behead kidnapped hostage Kim Sun-il
IRAQI INSURGENTS BEHEAD A SOUTH KOREAN HOSTAGE
Kim Sun-il, a South Korean working for a trading company in Baghdad, seemed completely inoffensive and terrified, which may be why he was selected as a target. Seoul ignored threats to behead Kim by sunset, and vowed to follow through with plans to send 3,000 troops to Iraq. The announcement that Kim had been killed came over Arabic television. The political price in Korea is likely to be costly . (BBC, June 22, 2004)
• Chosun Ilbo:An Act of Extreme Barbarism
NEW YORKER REPORTS THAT ISRAEL IS RUNNING SECRET OPS IN NORTHERN IRAQ
According to the New Yorker's Seymour Hersh, Israeli intelligence agents have been using Kurdish groups in northern Iraq to establish contacts with Kurds in Iran and Syria. Hersh reports that the Israelis believe that the Bush administration strategy in Iraq has already failed. Iran has heavily penetrated Iraq's Shiite community, and the Israelis are concerned about Iran's efforts to build nuclear weapons. The Israelis allegedly want to bolster the Kurds to act as a counterbalance to Iraqi Shiites, but neighbors, especially Turkey, fear that a strengthened Kurdistan could pose a threat to their borders. Israel has denied Hersh's story.
(Seymour Hersh, The New Yorker, June 21, 2004)
•Report in Al Jazeera picks up on Israeli denials
•Hizbollah moving men and supplies into Iraq via Syria (Haaretz, June 21, 2004)
U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT REVISES TERROR STATISTICS UPWARDS
The U.S. State Department admitted today that its previously figures on terrorist attacks in 2003 had been inaccurate. The earlier report gave the impression that President Bush's "War on Terror" had succeeded in reducing the rate of terrorist incidents. In fact, the total number of incidents increased slightly in 2003, while the number of serious incidents resulting in death, injury or costly damage reached its highest point since 1982. The revised number of incidents is nearly double the amount the administration originally reported. Colin Powell explained the corrected figures in a press conference, stressing that the administration had quickly admitted its error. (Colin Powell, U.S. State Dept. June 22, 2004)
•Knight-Ridder/Tribune analyzes the statistics
REGIONAL IMPLICATIONS OF THE SHIA REVIVAL IN IRAQ
The change in the sectarian balance of power is likely to have a far more immediate and powerful impact on politics in the greater Middle East than any moderate progressive government in Baghdad. The change in the sectarian balance will shape public perception of U.S. policies in Iraq as well as the long-standing balance of power between the Shi'a and Sunnis that sets the foundation of politics from Lebanon to Pakistan. U.S. interests in the greater Middle East are now closely tied to the risks and opportunities that will emanate from the Shi'a revival.
(Vali Nasr, Washington Quarterly, Summer 2004)
WHY IS THE U.S. SO UNSUCCESSFUL AT DEALING WITH INSURGENCIES?
From Vietnam to Iraq, U.S. efforts to fight homegrown insurgencies have somehow missed the big picture. RAND's terrorism expert Bruce Hoffman speculates in a new study that part of the mistaken approach has been a misunderstanding of the political context that inflames the insurgencies. (Bruce Hoffman, RAND, June 21, 2004; 26 pages-pdf)
Pollack supported the war, just not the way the Bush administration carried it out (Kenneth Pollack, The Brookings Institution, in the New Republic, June 21-28, 2004)
BUSH ADMINISTRATION ALLEGEDLY EXAGGERATED IMPORTANCE OF PRISONERS AT GUANTANAMO
The New York Times reports that intelligence officials consider most of the nearly 700 prisoners being held at Guantanamo to be of only marginal importance and that very little useful information is coming from interrogations. Some of the prisoners were turned over to the U.S. by bounty hunters. Management at Guantanamo is so chaotic that authorities have only been able to collect credible evidence against a few dozen inmates. The question is important because the U.S. Supreme Court is about to rule on the Bush Administration's insistence that it is justified in holding the prisoners indefinitely and in denying them U.S. legal protection. (New York Times, June 21, 2004)
The Washington Post responds to Donald Rumsfeld's dismay at torture charges
•TIME reports that censored parts of the Taguba Report included molestation of a 17-year old Iraqi girl, the forced rape of a male prisoner and the use of electric shocks on a prisoner's genitals.
•The Washington Post's Howard Kurz speculates that the abuse at Abu Ghraib was so damaging that most Americans don't want to think about it.
GROWING CONCERN THAT TERRORISTS WILL GET NUCLEAR WEAPONS
Speaking at a conference at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the International Atomic Energy Agency's Mohammed ElBaradei warned that time is running out before a terrorist group gets access to a nuclear weapon. In a comprehensive study, the Carnegie Endowment analyzes the current situation. Carnegie recommends a comprehensive strategy, but some experts in Washington feel that a more focused approach on specific problems would be more effective. Iran is clearly a major concern. (CEIP, June 21, 2004)
•BBC on El Baradei's remarks
•Carnegie Report and Conference Transcripts
IRAN SEIZES BRITISH PATROL BOATS
Under pressure over its nuclear program, Iran seized three small British patrol boats and is threatening to put 8 British servicemen on trial. The boats were being delivered to the Iraqis to run police patrols and may have strayed accidentally into Iranian waters. (BBC, June 22, 2004)
THE BEHEADING OF PAUL JOHNSON TARGETS SAUDI CONTROL
Jean-Francois Seznec, an adjunct professor at Columbia and Georgetown and Bernard Haykel, assistant professor of Middle Eastern studies at New York University, analyze the kidnapping and murder of Apache helicopter technician Paul Johnson on PBS' News Hour. Johnson's murder signals a change in Al Qaeda's strategy which is shifting towards forcing out the foreigners who make the Kingdom work. Johnson became a symbolically appealing target because of the Israeli use of American-made Apaches to carry out assassinations of Palestinian leaders. What has experts concerned is the growing penetration of Saudi security services by Al Qaeda activists. (Jean-Francois Seznec and Bernard Haykel, PBS News Hour, June 18, 2004)
•Al Qaeda on the Arabian Peninsula claims that it received help from Saudi police (Arabic News.com, June 21, 2004)
•Worries about Saudi police penetration
(Al-Tali translated by Middle East Economic Survey)
• Background on Al Qaeda search for the establishment of a "new caliphate" and overthrow of Royal Family (Global Security.org)
•Saudi Security Risk Assessment (Anthony Cordesman, Center for Strategic and International Studies, May 30, 2004--41 pages, pdf)
IRAQ'S OIL IS PARALYZED, BUT IT IS THE WAY ATTACKS WERE CARRIED OUT THAT HAS EXPERTS WORRIED
World markets have been accustomed to having Iraqi oil facilities shut down since the Iran-Iraq war, but the sophistication of the latest attacks on the facilities have experts worried. First, the attacks were coordinated in both the Kurdish north and the Shiite south. Second, they showed a boldness and sophistication that is new. Third, they demonstrated that the security provided by U.S. troops and private South African mercenaries is inadequate to provide meaningful protection. With heightened political instability likely to follow the U.S. transfer of power, the equal partition of oil resources among competing groups is more important than ever. (Walid Khadduri in Middle East Economic Digest, June 21, 2004)
CHECHEN'S LAUNCH 20 ATTACKS AGAINST RUSSIANS IN NEIGHBORING INGUSHETIA AND DAGOSTAN
The Russian-installed interior minister in Ingushetia was killed, and security forces throughout the province have been mobilized. This was the most brazen series of attacks since the seizure of a Moscow theater, and was clearly intended to show that Putin's latest strategy is not working. (Chechen Times, June 22, 2004)
•Russia Journal's report
•Report in Al Jazeera
REFUGEES FLEEING SUDAN'S DARFUR CREATE CRISIS IN CHAD
The BBC's Andrew harding provides an on-line video report (free Real Audio player) of conditions on the Sudan-Chad border where 600,000 refugees have fled the fighting in Sudan's Western Darfur region. (Andrew Harding, BBC, June 2004)
•Links to more reports through Medecins sans Frontiers (Doctors without Borders)
WHAT COMES AFTER THE SUDAN PEACE SETTLEMENT?
In January, the Center for Strategic and International Studies issued a report commissioned by the U.S. State Department's Bureau of African Affairs. The report calls for a peace keeping force and close supervision. (CSIS, January 2004)
The French use of torture in the Algerian War won a battle, but lost the war
DOES TORTURE WORK? THE FRENCH TRIED IT DURING THE ALGERIAN WAR IN 1956...
Darius Rejali, an Iranian exile who teaches political science at Reed College, notes that:
"Few things give a rush quite like having unlimited power over another human being. A sure sign the rush is coming is pasty saliva and a strange taste in one's mouth, according to a French soldier attached to a torture unit in Algeria. That powerful rush can be seen on the faces of some of the soldiers at Abu Ghraib, a rush that undoubtedly changed them forever."
But the Algerian experiment failed. "Torture forced 'loyal' Algerians to cooperate,"Rejali observes, "but after the battle, they either ended their loyalty to France or were assassinated. Torture forced a politics of extremes, destroying the middle that had cooperated with the French. In the end, there was no alternative to the FLN. As Paul Teitgin, the police prefect of Algiers, remarked, 'Massu won the Battle of Algiers, but that meant losing the war...
"Torture drifted headlong into sadism, continuing long after valuable information could be retrieved...
"The French military also fragmented under the competition associated with torture. Parallel systems of administration emerged, and infighting occurred between the various intelligence agencies. Officers lost control of their charges, or the charges refused to follow higher command. And in the end, the soldiers blamed the generals for exposing them to torture, noting its pernicious effects on their lives, their families and their friends -- a sense of betrayal that has not diminished with the years..."
(Darius Rejali, Salon, June 18, 2004)
THE STAR OF THE FILM, THE BATTLE OF ALGIERS, SEES THINGS DIFFERENTLY NOW
Saadi Yacef, the one-time Algerian terrorist who produced and starred in Ponte Corvo's The Battle of Algiers, readily admits that he killed French civilians in Algeria's struggle for independence. Today, Yacef is a senator and says he is unable to kill a chicken. (Christopher Farah interviewed Yacef for Salon, January 9, 2004)
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