IF IT'S AUGUST, IT MUST BE BAGHDAD
Washington's leakers are certainly doing their best to keep Saddam Hussein guessing over when an invasion might occur. A particularly creative example is a report in Israel's Haaretz, attributed to an Israeli diplomat ostensibly briefed by French security sources who were, in turn, supposedly briefed by Washington that the invasion will, in fact, begin next month, with Saddam supposedly lulled into complacency by President Bush taking a vacation on his ranch.
(Haaretz, July 19, 2002)
BRITAIN TOOLS UP FOR IRAQ
Reserves are being mobilized, tanks refitted and military planners told to be ready to send 30,000 men into battle at short notice. Britain is preparing to back President Bush's planned invasion of Iraq. But Prime Minister Tony Blair may be more concerned than his U.S. partners to establish a legal basis for such an action, for fear that a war could cost him the support of his own party in parliament.
(The Observer, July 21, 2002)
TURKEY NAMES ITS PRICE
Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz was told that Turkey would cooperate in a war with Iraq, but only if its conditions are met: Large-scale financial aid to defray the cost of Turkish involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq; a regime acceptable to the Iraqis; no Kurdish political entity to be established post-Saddam and the claims of Iraq's Turkic minority to the oil-rich Mosul region to be acknowledged. And, says Turkish journalist Cengiz Candar, Wolfowitz appeared to suggest Ankara would get its price.
(Daily Star, July 19, 2002)
ISLAMISTS OUT OF STEAM?
French academic Gilles Kepel's authoritative history of Islamic
radicalism argues that the September 11 attacks marked the final flurry
of a political movement in decline. His sociology of Islamism is sound,
but like many readers, Jeremy Harding is left unconvinced by his prognosis.
(London Review of Books, July 25 2002)
BUSH DOCTRINE: A WORLD WITHOUT RULES?
Duke University law professor Michael Byers argues that the Bush
administration's new policy of "preemptive self-defense" jettisons the
international legal norms for military action established at the end of
World War II, ushering in an era of might-is-right unilateralism and
(London Review of Books, July 25 2002)
MIDEAST: STATE OF THE U.S. PEACE PLAN
Last week's New York meeting of the 'Quartet' highlighted the divergence
between the U.S. and its allies on how to pursue Israeli-Palestinian. Al
Ahram reports that the Arabs are waiting to see what Washington asks of
(Al Ahram Weekly, July 18 -24)
MIDEAST: HOW TO RESOLVE THE MIDEAST CRISIS
The International Crisis Group argues, in a comprehensive series of studies, that current efforts to pursue Mideast peace through a gradual sequence of anti-terror moves, Palestinian reform and confidence-building are doomed to fail because they leave the endpoint unresolved. Instead, the ICG maintains, peace efforts have to begin from the basis of an internationally-established consensus over the parameters (and boundaries) of a two-state solution, and press the parties to take the necessary steps towards that end.
(International Crisis Group, July 15 2002)
The Mitchell Report may appear to be a document of a more optimistic time, but its chief author - Senator George Mitchell - tells a Brookings Institution panel that many of its provisions remain relevant. The key difference, he says, is that at the time of writing, it appeared that the Israelis and Palestinians themselves could find agreement on how to sequence implementing its recommendations. Today, more forceful prodding is required, because while a majority of both peoples favor a two-state solutions, neither trusts the other's commitment to that outcome. The forum also heard from Mohammed Dahlan, the former Gaza security chief popular with the Bush administration and recently appointed Yasser Arafat's national security adviser.
(Brookings Institution, July 16, 2002)
SHARON'S PEACE PLAN
Assume Palestinian violence is ended and the Palestinian Authority becomes a model of good governance. What, then, will Ariel Sharon offer them by way of a peace proposal? Not much, says the Jerusalem
Report. The Palestinian Authority would get a further 7 percent of the
West Bank to add to the 42 percent hypothetically under their control. And
Palestinians traveling between West Bank cities won't have to pass
through Israeli roadblocks. But he has no plans to dismantle settlements, not even in Gaza.
(Jerusalem Report, July 15, 2002)
VENEZUELA: IMPASSE THREATENS
Opposition to President Hugo Chavez is mounting, but the government and its opponents are unable to agree on political means of resolving the crisis. Absent strong international mediation, warns the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the oil-rich country will be locked into a long-term violent impasse.
(Center for Strategic and International Studies, July 2002)
BRAZIL'S ASCENDANT LEFT
The Latin American Left went into deep decline with the end of the Cold War, but financial crises throughout the region have challenged the "Washington consensus" of neo-liberal economics. In Brazil, that challenge fuels a credible bid for power by the socialist 'Lula' da Silva in South America's largest economy.
(North American Committee on Latin America, June 26 2002)
WASHINGTON'S THINKING ON LATIN AMERICA
Trade policy was the focus when Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Otto Reich addressed
a CSIS forum on Latin America. He declined to comment on the leftist challenge in Brazil's election, and emphasized - in light of widespread misapprehension in the region over Washington's intentions in Venezuela - that the U.S. remains steadfastly opposed to non-constitutional regime change in Latin America.
(CSIS, July 18, 2002)
'ARGENTINA'S ANSWERS LIE IN ASIA'
Brookings Institution fellow Catharin Dalpino suggests that Argentina's politicians need to learn the lesson from Asia that cooperation with the IMF is unavoidable, and should be pursued by an accountable, democratic administration on the basis of a frank and open public discussion over the available alternatives.
(Brookings Institution, July 18, 2002)
NASSER HAUNTS EGYPT
Last week Egypt celebrated the 50th anniversary of the coup that ushered
in the current era of authoritarian secular rule. But the content of the
system has changed profoundly since Nasser's left-leaning pan-Arabism
that was defeated by Israel in 1967. Careful commentaries in Al Ahram
suggests the current leadership has not yet found a comfortable take on
the Nasser legacy. Editor Ibrahim Nafie, a close associate of President
Hosni Mubarak, parses Nasser's achievements and errors (and those of his
successor, Anwar Sadat), both linking them to Mubarak and distinguishing
the latter on the basis that he has, supposedly, established political
"plurality" in Egypt. Gamil Nattar suggests that since Nasser, Egypt has
become instrumental in the pursuit of U.S. foreign policy goals --
sometimes to its own detriment. But Ossama El-Ghazali Harb has little time for the nostalgia of
non-alignment, suggesting that Egypt had backed the wrong horse in the
Cold War clash of ideologies, and that it has a lot of catching up to
(Al Ahram Weekly, July 18 -24)
JOHANNESBURG SUMMIT: DEBACLE IN THE MAKING?
Preparatory talks held in Bali for the World Summit on Sustainable
Development scheduled for Johannesburg in August have not gone well. The
U.N.-sponsored conference on environmental goals in development appears
to be shaping up as another of those increasingly familiar U.S. vs. the
(Foreign Policy in Focus, July 15, 2002)
The state of negotiations over climate change and other environmental
concerns suggests there's money to be made, at some point in the future,
in carbon cleanup technologies. But Le Monde Diplomatique warns that
these may simply prolong the problem.
(Le Monde Diplomatique, July 2002)
U.S. FORCES LEAVE THE PHILIPPINES
After six months of joint exercises with the Philippine military against Abu Sayyaf separatists, U.S. forces are departing. But, notes the Economist, the battle is far from over and the achievements of the mission are not entirely clear.
(Economist, July 22, 2002)
WAR IN ACEH?
President Megawati Sukarnoputri wants the secessionist conflict in Aceh resolved by next months. Some Indonesian generals see that as license to pursue a military solution, warns the Far Eastern Economic Review.
(Far Eastern Economic Review, July 25, 2002)