HAS ITS PLAN. ALL IT LACKS IS CREDIBILITY
George Bush's father
made an embarrassingly unproductive performance at the Earth Summit
in Rio a decade ago. The President wants to do better at this week's
meeting in Johannesburg. The trouble is that the administration's policies
have been so erratic up to now that
no one is likely to believe in them. By John Audley, the Carnegie Endowment
for International Peace, August
65,000 delegates from 185 countries
and 100 heads of state,
attending the Johannesburg Summit. The week long conference may be the
largest convention in world history. It may also turn out to be one
the most troubled.
The Guardian gives
a comprehensive guide to what is involved.
to the UN's Johannesburg Summit fact sheet, the third world's debt has
nearly doubled since the Rio summit ten years ago. Industrialized countries
had promised to pay 0.7% of their GNP to help the developing world.
Instead contributions from the world's richest countries has fallen
from 0.33% of GNP to roughly 0.22% of GNP. Although private investment
increased dramatically, roughly 80% of it flows to just ten developing
countries. The rest attracted a mere 2.5% of private foreign investment.
For a selection of fact sheets and the U.N.'s global trends report,
go to the
REAL BATTLE IS FOR THE MIND OF GEORGE BUSH
of starting a war with Iraq know that their first conquest has to be
the mind of the President. So it is not surprising that they are attacking
old-line Republican stalwarts who once defended Bush's father but who
are cautious about launching the United States into a venture with no
clear exit plan. High on the hawks' hit list are Brent Scowcroft and
Lawrence Eagleburger. By Jim Lobe in Foreign policy in Focus, August
STOP AT IRAQ?
Washington hawks want more than a simple regime change in Baghdad. These
Shirley Highway warriors hope to take on the rest of the Middle East
as well. Sound crazy? Not to the Jewish Institute for National Security
Affairs (JINSA) and the Center for Security Policy (CSP). The Pentagon's
Defense Policy Review Board, headed by Richard Perle, is stacked with
members of both groups. Jason Vest profiles the players in this week's
Nation. September 2, 2002
TO THE OTTOMANS?
six years ago Richard Perle was advising Benjamin Netanyahu on how to
handle the Middle East. One of Perle's pet themes was that Israel should
make a deal with Turks, the modern day descendents of the empire that
once ruled the Arab nation. Perle has since flogged the idea tirelessly
in Washington. --Jason Vest explores the Turkish connection in the Nation.
Chicago Tribune takes a look at Perle's Defense Policy Review Board,
which seeks to influence Pentagon strategy.
FOG OF LEAKED BATTLE PLANS
much conflicting information is coming out of Washington these days
that a recent meeting of Arab diplomats was evenly split over whether
the U.S. really plans to invade Iraq or not. What is clear is that the
Bush administration has managed to get just about everyone in the Middle
East confused, and that it is getting harder even for Arabs to trust
what they read in the newspapers. Mohamed El-Sayed Said describes the
Arab view of Washington shenanigans in Al Ahram. August 22-28, 2002
Also, read Ehsan Ahrari on
the Information War between Baghdad and Washington
in the Asia times (August 22, 2002)
THAN JUST TALK
who doubts that Washington is committed to attacking Iraq might want
to take a look at recent satellite photographs of the U.S. military
buildup in Qatar. Of particular interest are the new "stealth"
shelters at Qatar's Al Ubeid airbase. These hardened concrete buildings
are shaped to look like a stealth fighter and designed to appear virtually
invisible to radar. And they are only part of a massive new U.S. construction
campaign in the Gulf. (To link to the images, click on the satellite
photos below). By Global Security.com August 2002.
former ambassador to Jordan, K Gajendra Singh, warns that Bush's family
vendetta against Saddam is dragging the U.S. into a war that the American
General Anthony Zinni once dismissed as a "Bay of Goats."
The idea of triggering a quick collapse like the Gulf War is just not
in the cards. "There are no clearly defined strategic objectives
for an attack on Iraq," notes Singh. "Instead, Bush has his
hands on a Pandora's Box that would release incalculable forces and
consequences if he were to open it. " By K
in Asia Times, August 26, 2002
MUCH DAMAGE TO OIL FROM A WAR IN IRAQ?
Yergin, writing in the New York Times, runs through the numbers and
concludes that even though Iraq was a large oil supplier to the U.S.
up until two months ago (through indirect sales via third parties),
the Iraqis have been so unreliable that the world will probably be able
to get by without Iraqi oil. If the war spreads to other Gulf states
though, it could be a different story. About 10% of the world's oil
passes through Saudi Arabia, which produces up to 8 million barrels
a day. If the Saudi's and other gulf producers shut down, we could see
a brief price spike to $50 to $60 a barrel. For that matter the price
spike of $30 a barrel last week represented a $5 "fear" premium
triggered by uneasiness over Washington's saber rattling. Daniel Yergin,
New York Times, August 25, 2002
VERY DIFFERENT WAR AT A VERY DIFFERENT TIME
The Six Day War helped define Israel's military
status in the Middle East, but it was fought in a completely different
context by a very different kind of Israeli. Not only are comparisons
today likely to be misleading, but it can be argued that the sudden
victory laid the seeds for many of the problems the Middle East confronts
today. By Tony Judt in the New Republic, August 2002
EYE ON GEORGIA
Premier, Vladimir Putin, won his last election partly on a promise to
mop up the last resistance in Chechnya, the breakaway republic in the
Caucasus which has sought independence since 1993. So far,
Putin has been unable to deliver on his promise
despite unleashing a wave of random terror on Chechen civilians. In
the last few weeks, Russia has lobbied intensively to get a green light
to chase Chechen rebels into Georgia, which also opted for independence
in the early 1990s. The U.S. has promised to train 2,000 Georgian commandos
to clean up the Gorge, but has had serious difficulties finding volunteers
(see the IWPR report quoted in the Global Beat, August 12, 2002).
On Friday, the Georgians claimed that Russia had sent four bombers to
carry out airstrikes against Georgian villages, killing a woman and
her child. The U.S. protested the airstrikes. The Russians have denied
reports on Russia's attempts to get a green light to go into Georgia...
Center for International and Strategic Studies updates the growing tensions
between Russia and Georgia
BBC Reports on the U.S. protest against the alleged Russian airstrike
Free Europe reports on the Georgian charges(6th item in report)
Kyrgyzstan's authoritarian regime is using increasingly violent tactics
to control its political opposition, which is complicated by the fact
that the U.S. has 2,000 troops in this Central Asian republic mostly
to back up U.S. forces in Afghanistan. A major concern is that the U.S.
presence may encourage other players especially Russia and China to
increase their influence by further destabilizing an already shaky regime.
the International Crisis Group provides a detailed update. (ICG, August
PLANS TO TEST A MEDIUM RANGE BALLISTIC MISSILE
testing on the Agni III missile probably won't start until the end of
next year or early 2004, and the 16-ton $6.2 million missile will most
likely only be able to carry a 45-kiloton nuclear device, but that may
be enough to ratchet up the arms race in Asia. The Agni III will have
a 3,000-km range, enough to reach deep into China or Pakistan, and it
will be ready to fire on 15 minutes notice. Until it's ready, the India
will have to rely on jet bombers if it wants to deliver a nuclear device.
Work on the Agni III's predecessor, the Agni II, was halted in 1994,
largely due to technical problems and non-proliferation pressure from
the U.S. By David Isenberg, Asia Times, August 24, 2002