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|IS IRAN NEXT ?
Iran's Supreme Guide, Ayatollah Khamenei, heir to Khomeiny's radical Islamic revolution
LEAKS SUGGEST IRAN MAY BE NEXT TARGET
Information leaked to both Time and Newsweek singles out Teheran for letting Saudi terrorists transit through Iran before launching the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center. Acting CIA Director, John McLaughlin, was cautious about the connection in an interview on Fox TV on Sunday. London's Daily Telegraph reports that some members of the administration support bombing Iran's nuclear facilities before they can become active. (Julian Coman, Daily Telegraph, July 18, 2004)
•The CIA's McLaughlin on Fox News
•Report in Newsweek
•David Ignatius on Teheran's offer to help the U.S. question Al Qaeda elements in Iran
COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS STUDY CALLS FOR A NEW APPROACH TO IRAN
An independent task force headed by former CIA Director Robert Gates, Zbigniew Brzezinski and Suzanne Maloney, argues that Iran's regime has demonstrated its durability and that it is now time for the U.S. to begin establishing a working relationship.
(Council on Foreign Relations, July 18, 2004)
IRAN'S NUCLEAR PROGRAM MAY BE MORE ABOUT IMAGE THAN ANYTHING ELSE
Roger Howard, writing for In The National Interest, points out that Iran will find it hard to put a nuclear weapon to any practical use, but the prestige of being a "nuclear power" could provide needed domestic political validation for the regime. (Roger Howard, In The National Interest, July 18, 2004)
OIL DEFINES POLITICS
A comprehensive new report by the Center for Public Integrity notes that the oil industry has lavished nearly a half billion dollars ($440 million) on political parties, politicians and lobbyists over the last six years. As a result, U.S. oil and gas companies have been allowed to maintain 882 subsidiaries in tax haven countries, while the administration and Congress looked the other way. (Center for Public Integrity, July 15, 2004)
KAZAKHSTAN CONSIDERS A PIPELINE DIRECT TO CHINA FOR CASPIAN OIL
The Chinese have had an on-again-off-again relationship with Kazakhstan pipeline projects, but China's oil consumption skyrocketed 31% last year after a similar leap the year before, and it is now consuming 1.83 million barrels a day. The search for new resources has made Kazakhstan and the Caspian fields look much more attractive. (Michael Lelyveld in the Middle East Economic Survey, July 19, 2004)
TOO LATE FOR SAUDI REFORM?
Militant Islamic groups like Al Qaeda are symptoms of serious social imbalances in Saudi Arabia. The problem is that the more insecure the situation becomes, the more the ruling family is likely to hold on rigidly to the status quo, thus exacerbating the problem. The International Crisis Group provides a comprehensive analysis of the dynamics of the political situation. (ICG, July 18, 2004)
THE DWINDLING COALITION IN IRAQ
The Bush administration was understandably angry at the Philippines for withdrawing hastily from Iraq after terrorists threatened to behead a Filipino truck driver, but the Philippines are not the only coalition members to get cold feet. Norway quietly pulled most of its troops some time ago, and others are getting ready to put some distance between themselves and a situation that is beginning to look like a Vietnam-style quagmire. The Washington Post details who is leaving and who is planning to stay. (Washington Post, July 19, 2004)
THE WORLD BANK DESCRIBES GAZA AS AN ECONOMIC DISASTER ZONE
Real GDP for Gaza has dropped by more than a third since the intifada began, personal incomes of Palestinians have been cut in half. Roughly 50% of the population lives on less than $2.10 per day. Economic deprivation is a recipe for social chaos which may have a spillover effect on the whole region. The Bank offers a detailed study on the impact an Israeli pullout is likely to have on Gaza's future(World Bank, June 23, 2004 )
•Description of report on Relief Web
•Entire World Bank Report: "Disengagement: The Palestinian Economy and the Settlements" downloadable as a pdf file (51 pages).
• World Bank Country Briefing for Gaza and West Bank
A new generation of fighters
is emerging from the chaos
Maariv notes that the chaos in Gaza may already have gone beyond anyone's control:"...The gangs, which are now going wild in Gaza, stopped fearing the PA security forces a long time ago. Abu Ala sounds determined not to tear up his letter of resignation. There's rioting in the streets of Gaza. Each night, the walls are covered in graffiti. Anything's possible.
The model for last week's kidnappings in Gaza was Baghdad. In Jerusalem, they're calling it the "Iraqization" of the Palestinians, a dangerous prospect..." (Ben Kaspit, Maariv, July 20, 2004)
PALESTINIAN CHAOS IN GAZA ENDANGERS ISRAEL'S PLANS FOR A UNILATERAL WITHDRAWAL
Without a coherent government to maintain order in Gaza, Israel risks creating a hotbed of uncontrollable terrorists on its own borders. The Israeli newspaper Haaretz recommends strengthening the Palestinian Authority, but Sharon's relentless assaults may make that impossible. (Haaretz analysis, July 19, 2004)
•Al Jazeera on Israel's continuing attacks in Gaza
•Gunmen fight it out (Haaretz)
NOT GROWING UP IN JENIN
The Washington Post's Molly Moore follows a group of seven Palestinian boys who formed their own theater troupe while dreaming of stage careers. Only two survived. (Molly Moore, Washington Post, July 19, 2004)
INTRACTABLE NGORNO KARABAKH
The embattled Armenian enclave of Ngorno Karabakh, on territory deep in Azerbaijan, is the scene of one of the most enduring disputes in the Caucuses. It is likely that no one outside the region would care, except that the disagreement risks destabilizing an area that has become a critical route for oil pipelines. The destruction of the oil terminal facilities in Grozny, the capital of Chechnya, cost oil companies roughly $2.5 billion. No one wants to see that kind of thing happen again. In the case of Ngorno Karabakh, Eurasianet.org provides a concise explanation of the background, along with a slideshow providing a sense of what the place looks like. (Eurasianet.org, July 19, 2004)
SPYMASTERS VERSUS SPINMEISTERS
The current issue of the Economist points out that it should now be obvious to everyone that the argument in favor of going to war in Iraq was based on faulty information. Both the U.S. Senate Commission on Intelligence and Britain's Butler Commission ducked the politically delicate question of just how much the shaky information had been massaged in order to justify a war that the Bush administration had wanted for a long time.
The answer to that question is not hard to find. Greg Thielman, Director for Strategic, Proliferation and Military Issues at the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research described how neoconservatives in the administration put their own spin on information (Thielman was interviewed on the BBC-in streaming audio ).
The New Yorker's Seymour Hersh described Thielman's efforts to keep intelligence in context: "...Greg Thielman... was assigned to be the daily intelligence liaison to John Bolton, the Under-Secretary of State for Arms Control, who is a prominent conservative. Thielman understood that his posting had been mandated by Secretary of State Colin Powell, who thought that every important State Department bureau should be assigned a daily intelligence officer.
'Bolton was the guy with whom I had to do business,' Thielman said. 'We were going to provide him with all the information he was entitled to see. That’s what being a professional intelligence officer is all about. But,Thielman told me, 'Bolton seemed to be troubled because INR was not telling him what he wanted to hear.' Thielman soon found himself shut out of Bolton’s early-morning staff meetings. 'I was intercepted at the door of his office and told, ‘The Under-Secretary doesn’t need you to attend this meeting anymore.’ When Thielman protested that he was there to provide intelligence input, the aide said, 'The Under-Secretary wants to keep this in the family.'
Eventually, Thielman said, Bolton demanded that he and his staff have direct electronic access to sensitive intelligence, such as foreign-agent reports and electronic intercepts. In previous Administrations, such data had been made available to under-secretaries only after it was analyzed, usually in the specially secured offices of INR. The whole point of the intelligence system in place, according to Thielman, was 'to prevent raw intelligence from getting to people who would be misled.' Bolton, however, wanted his aides to receive and assign intelligence analyses and assessments using the raw data. In essence, the under-secretary would be running his own intelligence operation, without any guidance or support. 'He surrounded himself with a hand-chosen group of loyalists, and found a way to get C.I.A. information directly,Thielman said...."
(Seymour Hersh, The New Yorker, October 10, 2003)
•Hersh's New Yorker article
•Greg Thielman interviewed on PBS' Front Line
•Thielman interviewed on the BBC in streaming audio
WAS CONOLEEZA RICE BLINDSIDED OR BLIND?
John Prados, writing in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, asks why the National Security Advisor, was wrong about so many things. (John Prados, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, July-August, 2004)
The Security Policy Working Group
Hartung, Marcus Corbin, Winslow T. Wheeler,Lucy Webster
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