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Sovereignty that still needs U.S. protection: Iraq's new prime minister Iyad Allawi relies on heavy firepower to travel outside Baghdad
TRANSFERRING A POLITICAL HOT POTATO
With unprecedented violence erupting throughout Iraq, U.S. envoy Paul Bremer turned limited sovereignty over to a hand-picked, U.S.-approved administration in a nearly secret ceremony and then boarded a plane back to the U.S. With no credible political base, Iraq's new government will now have to prove to its own population and the region that it is more than an American satellite. The Economist details what's at stake. (June 28, 2004)
•Where does Iraq go from here?
Juan Cole analyzes the options. (Juan Cole, Informed Comment, June 29, 2004)
•Israel's Ma'ariv suggests that keeping Iraq together may be a mistake
•Iraq's former interior minister briefs on what to expect
Samir Sumaida'ie spoke to a forum at the Center for International and Strategic Studies,(transcript of presentation and Q&A, pdf, CSIS, June 24, 2004)
AN IRAQI BLOGGER LOOKS AT SOVEREIGNTY AS SEEN FROM THE STREET
Raed in the Middle writes: "The handover of a small-boring-administrative-responsibilities to some selected groups of Iraq employees (guards, policemen, ministers, president) is not going to change anything on the ground for Iraqis. The real authorities and decision makers aren’t going to leave the fence of the green zone. They will send someone in the early morning of the 1st of July to change the small dirty “CPA” banner full of bullet holes outside the green zone, and replace it with a smaller one with “The American embassy in Baghdad” (Raed in the Middle, June 25, 2004)
• The BBC's Omar Razek' s Baghdad diary (BBCArabic.com, June 28, 2004)
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
The administration may have transferred the responsibility for decision making in Iraq to a local team, but the U.S. public is being stuck with the bill, and will continue to pay for the foreseeable future. A Republican-controlled Congress has already authorized $151.1 billion, with a promise to add a supplement after the election. The war is expected to cost each household in the U.S. roughly $3, 415. That is not counting the fact that if oil remains at $40 a barrel, U.S. Gross Domestic Product can be expected to decline by another $50 billion. The Institute for Policy Studies and Foreign Policy in Focus have just published a comprehensive report on costs to the U.S., Iraq and the rest of the world.
(IPS-FPIF, June 24, 2004- 68 pages, pdf)
•Faces of the Fallen: well over 800 U.S. service men and women have died as a result of the war in Iraq, as well as between 50 and 90 civilian contract employees. The Washington Post runs the names of all the U.S. military dead with photographs and the circumstances of how they died. (Washington Post, June 28, 2004) click here...
The Iraqi Dead: The Pentagon made a conscious decision not to count the number of Iraqi civilians killed during the U.S. occupation in Iraq. A combined Iraqi-American CIVIC survey carried out by volunteers estimated that 2,000 Iraqis died, and another 4,000 were wounded between March and July 2003. Another survey by Iraqbodycount.net estimates that the total now stands at between 9,436 and 11, 317 Iraqi civilians killed since the beginning of the war. The figures are based on news reports and linked to a database which details specific incidents.
Raghida Dergham, writing in Dar al-Hayat notes that Iraq has become a battle ground for ideologies--neoconservatives against Islamic radicals, and asks whether the confluence of three fundamentalisms--extremist Islamic, fanatical Jewish, and crazed Christian--is a coincidence, or does every fundamentalism need a counter-fundamentalism to justify its extremist nature? (Raghida Dergham, Dar al-Hayat (London), June 25, 2004)
WHO REALLY SUPPLIES THE FOREIGN FIGHTERS IN IRAQ?
Alex Debat, writing in In The National Interest, tracks the Islamic groups currently funneling guerrilla fighters into Iraq. The influx has come in waves--the latest is better organized and far more lethal than earlier volunteers, and it may signal involvement of a growing international terrorist movement. (Alex Debat, In The National Interest,summer 2004)
THE U.S. IS ALSO PUTTING IRREGULAR TROOPS INTO THE CONFLICT
According to UK-based Corporate Watch.org, the U.S. will spend an estimated $51 billion for private military organizations that provide security in Iraq in addition to the operations of the U.S. military. The difference is that these troops, who may be paid as much as $1,000 a day on special operations, owe their loyalty to private corporations, such as Diligence, a subsidiary of the Carlyle Group which is closely intertwined with Washington's military-industrial elite. Corporate Watch tracks the corporations funneling irregular ops personnel into Iraq and who is profiting from the deals. (Corporate Watch. org, June 28, 2004)
THE MAN WHO WILL DEFEND SADDAM
Jacques Verges, one of France's most brilliant and controversial trial lawyers, has been contacted by Saddam Hussein's family to represent him in court. Verges' strategy: put the U.S. on public trial before the Muslim world. (Sarah Elton, Globe and Mail, June 26, 2004)
CONGRESS BACKS SHARON'S PLAN FOR ANNEXATIONS IN WEST BANK
Writing in Foreign Policy in Focus, Stephen Zunes notes that House Concurrent Resolution 460, sponsored by Tom Delay, effectively overturns the post-World War II international understanding that using military force to extend national frontiers is not acceptable. The resolution passed the House last week by 407 votes to 9. (FPIF, June 25, 2004)
ISRAEL'S CONTACTS WITH IRAQ'S KURDS ARE PART OF A COMPLEX STRATEGY
Kaveh L Afrasiabi, writing in Asia Times, suggests that Seymour Hersh's article about Israeli intelligence operations in northern Iraq's Kurdish area may only have grasped half the picture. By helping the Kurds keep their autonomy, the Israelis are well positioned to push for an oil pipeline from Mosul to Haifa--an old dream that would solve Israel's energy problems. More than that, the Kurdish connection lets Israel extend its reach beyond its Arab neighbors--the danger lies in alienating Turkey, which fears Kurdish independence. (K.L. Afrasiabi, Asia Times, June 26, 2004)
IN ANY CASE, TENSIONS ARE INCREASING BETWEEN ISRAEL AND TURKEY
Middle East Access' Dave Bender interviews Alon Liel, former director general of Israel's Foreign Ministry on growing friction between Israel and Turkey. (Middle East Access, June 27, 2004)
FRENCH INCREASE CONTACTS WITH IRAN
Iran is likely to emerge as the major winner of the fallout from the Bush administration's strategy in Iraq which will place the Shiites in a dominant position. France, which has long had a complex relationship with Iran, is moving into the opening created by President Bush's "Axis of Evil" rejection and the general antagonism to the U.S. which now pervades the Islamic world. French exports to Iran already add up to more than $2.4 billion, but future development is likely to include oil as well. (Borzou Daragahi, New York Times, June 23, 2004)
CHINA SURPASSES THE U.S. AS LARGEST RECIPIENT OF DIRECT FOREIGN INVESTMENT
Uncertainty about Iraq, the War on Terror, President Bush's runaway budget and the future of the U.S. economy cut foreign investment in the U.S. nearly in half, from $70 billion to only $40 billion, last year. Foreign investment in the U.S. in 2001 had totaled $167 billion, so the decline marks a dramatic shift in investor interest towards emerging economies, which are now being seen as potential markets rather than sources of cheap labor. China earned $53 billion in foreign investment in 2003, and the net flow to emerging markets outside the industrialized countries of the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) increased six fold to $192 billion. The BBC reports on the OECD's latest findings. (BBC, June 28, 2004)
•The Wall Street Journal analyzes the report's implications.
THE SUPREME COURT PROVIDES FUZZY RULINGS ON PRESIDENTIAL PREROGATIVES IN A FUZZY WAR WITHOUT END
President Bush's contention that anyone he considers to be an an enemy can be imprisoned indefinitely on his word alone, had enormous implications for the inviolability of the Constitution, the separation of powers, and the rule of law in the United States. Two cases: Padilla and Hamdi, involved denial of Constitutional rights to legal recourse for American citizens suspected of terrorist involvement and held indefinitely without being formally charged with a crime. The third case involved the rights of foreign prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. Douglas Kmiec, a law professor at Pepperdine University and Deborah Pearlstein of Human Rights First, both filed amicus briefs in the Hamdi case. They discuss the ramifications of the decisions on PBS' News Hour (PBS, June 28, 2004)
•Full text of the decision on Hamdi et al. vs Rumsfeld
The Court decide de that due process demands that a citizen held in the United States as an enemy combatant be given a meaningful opportunity to contest the factual basis for that detention before a neutral decision maker. (Findlaw, June 28, 2004)
•Full text of Rasul et al. vs Bush, President of the United States
The Court decided that foreign prisoners should have the privilege of having their cases reviewed by a neutral hearing. (Findlaw, June 28, 2004)
•Padilla vs. Rumsfeld The Court vacated the case on the grounds that Padilla's suit had been filed in the incorrect venue and should have been filed in South Carolina, where Padilla is being held in a military prison.
Bush and Blair get the news about Iraq at Nato
HASTY TURN OVER CEREMONY TAKES NATO OFFGUARD
Iraq's new provisional foreign minister
blurted out the news in Istanbul, stealing the thunder from Tony Blair and George Bush--an early indication that Iraq's new transitional government can produce unexpected results.
The BBC's Nick Assinder describes the atmosphere. (Nick Assinder, BBC, June 28, 2004)
WINDING DOWN A WAR BASED ON IDEAS
George Packer, writing in the New Yorker, notes that Iraq is a war in which ideas count: "The Iraq war, from its inception in Washington think tanks to its botched execution on the ground, has always been a war of ideas--some of them very bad ones," writes Packer. "There's the idea of preemptive war, America's divine right of intervention; the idea of tyrannies falling like dominoes in a strategically realigned Middle East; the idea that American power is worse than the worst dictatorship. Facts have reduced most of these to rubble--notably, the argument that this was a war of urgent national security (although facts can be less stubborn than officials in the grip of ideological truth). Only two serious, and competing, versions of the Iraq war's meaning are left standing: one, that this is a war against tyranny and for democracy; the other, that this is a war of American domination. It's about liberalism, or it's about imperialism. Where you fall on questions like how long foreign troops should remain in Iraq, or who is to blame for the ongoing violence, or whether the most apt analogy is the Second World War or Vietnam tends to depend on which of these two versions you accept. Few Americans, Europeans, Arabs, or other non-Iraqis have been able to hold both versions in their heads at the same time and continue to function. But the Iraq war has always contained them both: Iraqis were liberated, and they were occupied; the invasion greatly benefited Iraqi human rights, and it subjected Iraqis to an incompetent and sometimes harsh foreign rule...."
(George Packer, The New Yorker, June 28, 2004)
NEOCONSERVATISM GIVES WAY TO NEOREALISM
The biggest casualty of the U.S. occupation in Iraq may turn out to be the Bush doctrine. Robin Wright observes in the Washington Post that nearly every rationale for starting the war has fallen by the wayside. The only remaining excuse for the costly venture is to establish democracy in a former dictatorship, and even that is less than certain. Wright analyzes an ideologically driven approach that seems to have lost its way. (Robin Wright, Washington Post, June 27, 2004)
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