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on Patterns of Global Terrorism for 2002
US State Department's Report on Patterns of Global Terrorism for 2001
President Bush returns to the UN
DIALOGUE OF THE DEAF AT THE UNPresident Jacques Chirac assures the New York Times that France has no intention of using its veto to stop a new UN resolution, but insists that the key issues are restoring Iraqi sovereignty and ensuring UN control in the interim. Rather than assert its position via a veto, this time France can simply sit back and watch the U.S. struggle to convince nations that have been reluctant until now to send troops to Iraq.
A year after warning that the United Nations would become irrelevant if it failed to support his war in Iraq, President Bush returned to the podium of the international organization to insist that its members have a duty to help the U.S. win the troubled peace. But he vigorously restated his case for going to war on the basis of alleged terror links and weapons of mass destruction in Iraq -- a case rejected by most UN member states, who believe that postwar events have, if anything, vindicated their opposition. President Bush was preceded at the lectern by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, who called preemptive unilateral military action a threat to world peace, but also warned those opposed to unilateralism that they had a responsibility to show that a multilateral approach through the UN could result in effective action to address the concerns of the U.S. such as terrorism and proliferation. President Jacques Chirac spoke after Bush, criticizing the U.S. for creating the crisis in Iraq and launching a war without Security Council authorization. But he offered to help with reconstruction if sovereignty is speedily restored to Iraq. While there's unlikely to be any direct challenge to a new Security Council resolution promoted by the U.S. to enable more countries to help with troops and money, nor is there likely to be any rush by nations currently on the sidelines to ease Washington's burden on the ground in Iraq.
(New York Times, September 22, 2003)
Britain's Tony Blair attempted to win over France and Germany to the U.S. position at a summit in Berlin last weekend, but the Observer reports he failed to win agreements on questions of a timetable for restoring sovereignty and on the exact nature of the UN role.
President Bush has, however, offered UN supervision on the constitution-making and electoral process in Iraq as a concession to France, Russia and Germany, reports the Washington Post.
Although the Bush administration has been hoping to isolate France in the diplomatic arena , Andrew Bacevich argues in the L.A. Times that the logic of geopolitics requires that the powers of Europe would be in no rush to pull President Bush's chestnuts out of the fire in Iraq. Russia's President Vladimir Putin appears to back the French position in his insistence that control of Iraq must be transferred to Iraqis via the UN as a precondition for Moscow's support. And Egypt, a key Arab ally of the U.S., urges the Europeans to stand firm in demand of Iraqi sovereignty, in an Al-Ahram editorial by Mubarak confidante Ibrahim Nafie.
The changes being demanded by the Europeans in Iraq are valid, argues Rachel Bronson, director of Middle East and Gulf Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. But the Europeans are failing to offer Washington the necessary financial assistance as an incentive to make the changes.
IRAQ: OPEN FOR BUSINESS OR UP FOR SALE?Eyebrows were raised across Europe, particularly in Russia, at reports that Bremer has invited Yegor Gaidar, architect of Russia's post-communist 'shock-therapy,' to help him dismantle Iraq's public sector. Gaidar's reforms enriched a handful of oligarchs, but left the vast majority of Russians significantly more impoverished than they had been under communism. And the Pentagon has previously been advised by its own panel of consultants to avoid economic decisions that might exacerbate social unrest.
The decision by U.S. administrator Paul Bremer and the Iraqi Governing Council to put all state corporations except for oil up for sale and throw open the doors of Iraq's economy to foreign competition has taken even some close U.S. allies by surprise. Iraqi businessmen were aghast at a move that sweep many of them away under a tide of foreign competition, while business and political commentators questioned whether the move would attract much investment given the security situation and the fact that the privatization moves might be repealed by a democratically elected government.
(Financial Times September 22, 2003)
The BBC notes that the immediate beneficiaries of the privatization initiative are likely to be U.S. corporations, and that Iraqis are likely to see the moves as rewarding Americans at the expense of Iraqis.
University of Michigan professor Juan Cole questions both the wisdom and the legality of a privatization program designed in Washington.
MILITARY VS. BUSH?Among the most extraordinary attacks on President Bush's war in Iraq is the broadside by Tim Predmore, currently serving with the 101st Airborne near Mosul. Predmore wrote in the Peoria Star Journal that Operation Iraqi Freedom was "the great modern lie," and that "we have all faced death in Iraq without reason or justification."
Growing signs of dissent over Iraq from within the uniformed military has Britain's Independent pondering whether President Bush will pay an electoral price for going to war. It was absentee military voters who put him over the top in Florida in 2000, but many military families are starting to vociferously question the reasons why their loved ones have been sent to war. And it may be precisely that sentiment that new Democratic contender General Wesley Clark is hoping will help get him elected
(Independent September 20, 2003)
DOING THE MATH ON POLICING IRAQEven if Washington manages to secure a new enabling resolution at the Security Council, military help in Iraq may prove elusive. Pakistan can't help, President Pervez Musharraf tells the New York Times. And India is unlikely to send troops in the face of strong domestic opposition. Turkey's government is increasingly inclined to send troops, but that's a prospect that has aroused opposition among some Kurdish members of the U.S.-appointed Iraqi Governing Council.
The Rand Corporation's senior mathematician and military analyst James T. Quinlivan explains that the size of a peacekeeping, security or policing force is proportional to the size and demeanor of the population in the country where it is being deployed. In countries that required outside intervention, such as Bosnia, Afghanistan or Iraq, the ratio is typically 20 troops per 1,000 civilians. For Iraq, that would require a half million troops Ð more than three times the number currently deployed. Also, where peacekeeping troops are typically deployed for six months at a time and with 2-year intervals between such deployments, armed forces need five soldiers for each one deployed on a peacekeeping mission -- either that or the deployments would have to be longer, or more frequent. That standard would require a pool of 2.5 million troops to police Iraq over the next few years.
(Rand Corporation, Summer, 2003)
Nobody would think of asking Israel to send troops to Iraq, but the Jewish State may be asked to provide virtual help. Associated Press reports that U.S. officers are interested in acquiring Israeli military software designed to prepare troops for occupation duties among a hostile Arab population.
Meanwhile, Monday's mortar attack on a prison run by U.S. forces in Baghdad is a reminder that the insurgency in Iraq is growing both more brazen and more tactically sophisticated.
IRAN BALKS AT NUKE DEADLINEMeanwhile, the Observer reports that Saudi Arabia is considering joining the nuclear club by acquiring or developing a weapon.
Under mounting pressure to declare all of its nuclear activities before an October 31 deadline imposed by the International Atomic Energy Agency, Iran is threatening to cut cooperation with the IAEA to the minimum required by the letter of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. That would almost certainly spark a showdown with the U.S. and Europe, since the suspicion being pursued through the IAEA is that Iran is using loopholes in the NPT to assemble the infrastructure of a nuclear weapons program.
(BBC, September 21, 2003)
PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY: THE MORE THINGS CHANGE...The Guardian two weeks ago hosted a conference of editors from Israeli, Palestinian and Arab media outlets and the results were predictably fascinating.
With the tenure of Mahmoud Abbas as Palestinian prime minister now something of a historical footnote, the question becomes how differently his successor, Ahmed Qureia will navigate the same treacherous terrain. Like Abbas, Qureia has no intention of going to war against Palestinian militant groups, and seeks instead to secure a cease-fire by consensus. And like Abbas, he governs at the pleasure of Yasser Arafat. But unlike his predecessor, Qureia is far more popular with the Fatah rank-and-file, and has a history of working well with Arafat despite differences in outlook. Haaretz's Danny Rubinstein believes his government will be more stable, and better able to deliver on any commitments offered to Israel.
(Haaretz, September 22, 2003)
The current issue of Bitterlemons features a thoughtful symposium on the evolution and relationship of Zionism and Palestinian nationalism.
JAPAN: KOIZUMI'S VICTORY OPENS THE WAY TO REFORMBut the Economist is less sanguine, fearing that Koizumi may be reluctant to use his newfound authority to the full extent required.
Katsuo Hiizumi argues in Asia Times that the landslide victory by Japan's President Junichiro Koizumi puts his supporters in charge of all of the significant levers of power in Tokyo, finally allowing him to pursue the dramatic economic reform program so urgently needed to restart Japan's moribund economy.
(Asia Times, September 23, 2003)
PAKISTAN: FRIEND OR FOE?The Taliban, meanwhile, appear to be gearing up for a major offensive, and the Sydney Morning Herald reports that fugitive Taliban chief Mullah Omar recently held a council of war in Afghanistan.
Time's Tim McGirk reveals that support for the Taliban within Pakistan's military remains an ongoing concern, despite President Musharraf's stated commitments to the U.S. and the government in Kabul. Of even greater concern may be the danger of Pakistan sharing its nuclear-weapons technology with others.
(Time, September 21, 2003)
The danger may be exacerbated by the failure of the reconstruction effort in Afghanistan. Jim Lobe reports in Asia Times that the U.S. charity CARE found that only 1 percent of the planned reconstruction program has been completed in Afghanistan almost two years after the Taliban was driven out of Kabul.
Hi magazine is a
U.S. PR initiative
SELLING AMERICA TO ARABS
Two years into President Bush's war on terrorism, U.S. standing in the Arab and Muslim world has plummeted to an all-time low. A Council on Foreign Relations task force recommends more vigorous public diplomacy efforts by the U.S. government, but most importantly, urges that U.S. adopt foreign policies "more sensitive to public diplomacy concerns." In other words, the giddy broadsides fired at the State Department by Newt Gingrich notwithstanding, the fundamental problem is not the packaging, but the policy itself. The hostility to the U.S. in the Arab world crosses social strata and embraces even the cosmopolitan middle class most integrated into the global economy, not because of ignorance over U.S. values, but out of a sense that U.S. policies in the Arab world violate those values.
Still, General Accounting Office in Washington has reportedly concluded that U.S. public diplomacy efforts have been hamstrung by lack of coordination, training and rigor. And Al-Ahram reports that young Arabs are scornful of efforts such as Radio Sawa and Hi magazine, U.S. initiatives designed to improve America's image by featuring pop cultural and social themes while skirting the political grievances that drive anti-American sentiment.
There may be more hope, however, in developments unprompted by U.S. intervention. Le Monde Diplomatique reports that a new 'air-conditioned' Islam is taking root among the educated middle classes of the Middle East, complete with televangelists and self-help books, that may be less obsessed with religion as identity. Also worth watching will be the Organization of the Islamic Conference summit in Malaysia on October 16, which will grapple with some of the themes of reform and violence in relation to Islam.
Council on Foreign Relations, September 18, 2003
Security Policy Working Group
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