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IS THE U.S. READY FOR WAR WITH IRAQ?
CBS News' Bob Schieffer
interviews with Senators Carl Levin(D) of the Armed Services Committee
and Chuck Hagel(R) of the Foreign Relations Committee agree that the administration
is still trying to decide its strategy on Iraq. While many military experts
are cool towards military action, a handful of civilians in the Pentagon
--most of whom have little direct experience with warfare--are hot to
proceed. Former National Security Advisor, Brent Scowcroft, who shepherded
Bush's father through the first Gulf War warns that destabilizing the
Middle East at this point risks a negative impact on President Bush's
war on terrorism, and other consequences.
WILL SADDAM RESPOND?
U.S. has ducked Baghdad's invitation to open its doors to a delegation
of Congressmen and arms inspectors. What is becoming increasingly clear
is that Bush appears to be targeting Saddam more than his weapons. Saddam--in
a struggle for personal survival-- may not have the firepower of the U.S.,
but he is going to push the propaganda war for all its worth. By Brian
Whitaker in the Guardian, August 5, 2002.
CONGRESSIONAL HEARINGS ON IRAQ
of those who testified agreed that the world would be a better place without
Saddam, but there was little agreement from anyone on how much danger
an already impoverished and badly battered Iraq really represents to the
one remaining superpower.
By David Corn in The Nation, August 2, 2002
STEALS COLIN POWELL'S THUNDER
Powell must have known that he was on a thankless mission when he tried
to muster support for an attack against Saddam on his recent Asian tour.
But even Powell was taken aback at the vehemence of the riposte from Chinese
foreign minister, Tang Jiaxuan, who released a position paper denouncing
Washington's unilateralism and calling on Southeast Asia to develop its
own strategy for dealing with world issues. The bottom line: with Washington's
foreign policy line out of sync with the rest of the world, the Chinese
are moving to take advantage of the situation to co-opt alliances that
previously took their cues from the United States. By Alan Boyd (Asia
Times, August 5, 2002)
ATTACKS MAY CHANGE THE EQUATION FOR SHARON
The sudden one-day
blitz which left 13 Israelis dead in six incidents may be driving the
Israeli public towards the tipping point. The major criticism against
Sharon is that he lacks a coherent strategy for stopping the violence.
Instead of defeating the Palestinians, a growing number of Israelis now
want to extricate themselves from what is beginning to look like endless
warfare. The comparison that is being bandied about is to Israel's disastrous
involvement in Lebanon, a doomed conflict in which Sharon also played
a major role in shaping Israel's strategy. By Bradley Burston in Ha'aretz,
August 5, 2002.
Financial Times on Israel Press Reaction
A CONSENSUS OF FEAR
Israelis and Arabs are mourning their dead. Some suspect that the violence
helps extremist politicians on both sides to hold on to power and to push
their programs through by maintaining a "consensus of fear."
By Graham Usher in Al-Ahram, August 1-7, 2002
ALSO HAS ITS USES
activist Ran HaCohen suggests that the terror campaign by Palestinians
helps Sharon maintain a cohesive political front, and it also serves to
justify increasingly repressive measures against Palestinians. By Ran
HaCohen, Antiwar.com July 31, 2002.
REACT TO REPORTS THAT IRAQ PLANS TO SUPPLY BIOWEAPONS TO PALESTINIANS
defense officials are considering mass vaccinations following a London
Times report over the weekend that Iraq plans to deliver biological weapons
to Palestinian terrorists for use either in Israel or the U.S. By Ellis
Shuman, Israel Insider October 5, 2002.
IRAN LOSING ITS SOUL?
It's easy to see Iran's
political tensions as a struggle between opposing factions: the religious
conservatives on one side and the pragmatists on the other. the reality
is more complex. In fact, both ends of Iran's political spectrum have
their own divisions, and the boundary lines tend to be fluid. The International
Crisis Group provides an up-to-date list of who the players are and what
to expect. (ICG, August 5, 2002)
The growing feud between
Afghanistan's president Hamid Kharzai and the country's ambitious defense
minister Mohammed Fahim, risks embroiling the country in a new civil war.
Until a few months ago, Mohammed Fahim, a major commander of the Northern
Alliance, was more or less dictating policy to Kharzai. All that changed
when the U.S. boosted Kharzai into the top position during the recent
Loya Jirga. The U.S. decision to provide Kharzai with a bodyguard of U.S.
G.I.'s has given Kharzai the confidence to establish his independence
from Fahim. But it has also made Fahim nervous that from now on he will
be outside the power circle, and that the U.S. will be calling the shots.
By Susan B. Glasser and Pamela Constable in the International Herald Tribune,
August 5, 2002.
KABUL'S NOT THE ONLY TROUBLE SPOT
Armed clashes between Afghanistan's assistant defense minister, Ahmed
Rashid Dustom, and local Tajik commander Atta Mohammed are verging on
open warfare in Mazar-e -Sharif. Atta Mohammed's forces constitute the
backbone of the Northern Alliance and he took the lead in unseating the
Taleban. Not surprisingly, the Tajik leader sees no reason to surrender
control to Dustom, an Uzbek. The simmering conflict between the two men
threatens to destabilize Kabul's already shaky regime as well as the U.S.
presnce in country. It is likely to add pressure to extend the 5,000-man
international peace keeping force beyond the limits of Kabul. By Samander
Khan in Mazar-e-Sharif, Insittue for War, Peace Reporting (IWPR August
CLEARING A PATH TO NEGOTIATIONS?
unsuccessful campaign to stamp out resistance in the breakaway Republic
of Chechnya isn't quite the debacle that Afghanistan was, but it is fast
turning into a no-win situation for Putin, who based much of his last
election campaign on solving the "Chechen problem." The recent
selection of a special prosecutor to look into human rights violations
may be an indication that Putin is now trying to wrest control of Chechnya's
fate away from the Russian Army, and that he is gradually clearing the
way for negotiations. By Sanobar Shermatova, Institute for War, Peace
Reporting (IWPR, August 1, 2002)
David Belfield was an angry African
American who converted to Islam, and then signed on as a hit man for the
Islamic Republic of Iran. In 1980, he assassinated a Washington-based
former Iranian embassy press attache named Ali Akbar Tabatabai. As Belfield,
a.k.a. Dawud Salahuddin, explains it, he was a time bomb ready to go off.
He had originally wanted to kill Americans, but the iranians, who paid
$5,000 for the hit, were more interested in taking revenge against their
own citizens. Belfield, who now lives in Teheran offered to provide U.S.
intelligence with insights into the radicalized worldwide Islamic movement,
but failed to make contact with any American spooks who were interested.
Ira Silverman's portrait in the New Yorker last week provides some fascinating
insights into how even Americans can be seduced by international terrorism.
THE COMPREHENSIVE NUCLEAR TEST BAN A GOOD IDEA AFTER ALL?
When the Senate
refused to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty in 1999, its
major objections focused on verification. Some senators feared that a
potential enemy might carry out tests that were shielded from detection
and that America's nuclear capability might diminish without future testing.
A new report by the National Academy of Sciences argues that new technology
virtually eliminates the possibility of tests going undetected and that
the U.S. arsenal can easily be maintained without more testing. The only
rationale for the U.S. not signing the treaty now is ideological. (Council
for a Livable World, July 31, 2002)
read the original National Academy of Science Report, click here
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U.S. State Department's Report on Patterns of Global Terrorism
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The News Media
Journalists' Essential Field Guide to Afghanistan
by Edward Girardet
09/11 8:48AM: Documenting America's Greatest Tragedy