Want to subscribe
to the Global Beat?
Send an e-mail to:firstname.lastname@example.org
with the word "subscribe" in the subject line.
To unsubscribe, send an e-mail with "unsubscribe" in the subject line.
Any problems, comments or mail, click here:
CONFUSION OVER IRAQ'S NUCLEAR MATERIAL
The International Atomic Energy Agency's Mohamed ElBaradei is concerned that important buildings in Iraq's nuclear installations have disappeared in satellite photographs, and that some of the equipment is beginning to show up in the black markets of other countries. The material dates from Iraq's civilian nuclear program in the 1980s, before Iraq's invasion of Kuwait. Control of the sites is reverting to Iraq's transitional government. The Bush administration still steadfastly refuses to allow U.N. inspectors back into Iraq. David Bamford analyzes the situation on the BBC (October 12, 2004)
• Equipment contaminated by radiation is showing up in neighboring countries. Radio Free Europe's Kathleen Ridolfo looks at the causes for growing concern. "More troubling," she writes, "is el-Baradei's statement that the IAEA "through visits to other countries, has been able to identify quantities of industrial items, some radioactively contaminated, that had been transferred out of Iraq from sites monitored by the IAEA..." ( Kathleen Ridolfo, RFE, October 12, 2004)
TECHNOLOGY FAILURES IN IRAQ WAR RAISE DOUBTS ABOUT THE "REVOLUTION IN MILITARY AFFAIRS"
MIT's Technology Review reports on a study, being prepared the RAND corporation, that examines the performance of the latest high technology communications equipment and sensors during the Iraq war. The conclusion: while the system worked more or less well at the higher levels of command, it broke down dangerously on the front lines during real combat. During one of the most serious battles in the war, U.S. units only managed to locate their attackers by accidentally running into them on the battlefield. Highspeed data links broke down, and the Army had to rely on traditional battle strategy that it has always used in warfare. (David Talbot, Technology Review, November 2004)
THE WORLD OIL MARKET IS LOSING TWO MILLION BARRELS A DAY FROM THE WAR IN IRAQ
Former New York Times correspondent, Yousef Ibrahim, writing in Z-mag, notes that the war has reduced rather than expand energy supplies, and that a crisis elsewhere could drive crude oil prices up to $60 a barrel or more. The halt to Iraqi oil production comes just as demand from other countries is soaring. The result could turn into a perfect storm for the world economy. Ibrahim currently heads a political risk assessment group based in Dubai. (Yousef Ibrahim, Zmag, October 6, 2004)
SETTING THE PARAMETERS FOR PREEMPTION
A new study from the U.S. Army War College argues that the United States now faces a convergent threat from international terrorism and rogue states attempting to obtain weapons of mass destruction. In that environment a simple policy of preemptive attacks, such as the War in Iraq, is likely to be ineffective. A more structured approach, "Forcible Counterproliferation," is more effective. The idea is to set precise trigger points for action and to garner international support for abrogation of sovereignty if a rogue state crosses the line. (CMDR Joanne M. Fish, LTC Samuel F. McCraw,COL Christopher J. Reddish, Carlisle Papers in International Security, U.S. Army War College, September 2004)
IRAN'S UNEMPLOYMENT CRISIS
Double digit unemployment is partly an aftershock from a mistaken policy of Khomeini's regime. From 1979 through 1988, the Islamic theocracy encouraged a high birthrate, eventually reaching 3.9% a year. The idea was to create a 20-million-man strong Islamic revolutionary army. No one is interested in Khomeini's dreams anymore, but with no immediate wars on the horizon, the enormous number of inadequately educated youth are now hitting the job market. While Iran has 37 million people between 15 and 64 years of age, only about 21 million actually have work. The pressure on Khatami's regime is intense. (Jahangir Amazugar in Middle East Economic Digest, October 11, 2004)
REFORMING PAKISTAN'S EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM
Pakistan's ineffective public education is largely responsible for radicalizing the population. Badly educated youths are unable to find work to support themselves and form a willing supply of converts to the Jihadist movements. While President Musharraf's government is spending only 2% of GDP on education, powerful Islamic groups are doing their best to undermine a secular public education system. Parents object to a hidebound system which does not meet the demands of the workplace. The International Crisis Group suggests that Musharraf may have a limited time to make reforms. (ICG, October 7, 2004)
UNDER GROWING PRESSURE FROM EXTREMISTS, SAUDI ARABIA RETHINKS ITS STRATEGY
The Center for Strategic and International Studies' Anthony Cordesman notes that Saudi Arabia will soon face critical decisions concerning its position in the Middle East as well as its relationship to the U.S.
•Summary of the report
•Full report in pdf format
•Documentary Film Director Rory O'Connor on the background to the U.S.-Saudi military collaboration O'Connor first met Dick Cheney in Saudi Arabia while working for a PBS Frontline documentary during the preparations for Desert Storm. The military cooperation between the two countries had predated that. The main target of the collaboration had always been Iraq, but Iran counted also. (Rory O'Connor, Media is Plural (blog) October 7, 2004)
WAGGING THE DOG
The United States should be all powerful in the world today, but a number of emotional and politically sensitive relationships ranging from Mikheil Sakaashvili's Georgia to Israel and Taiwan have pressed the United States into placing the interests of foreign allies above those of the American public. As pressures increase, the U.S. may find itself forced to choose between commitment to allies and its own core interests. ( Nikolas K. Gvosdev & Travis Tanner, In The National Interest, October 2004)
LIBYAN GAMBIT OPENS NEW OPTIONS FOR DICTATORIAL REGIMES
By agreeing to take measures against international terrorism, Libya managed to get what it wanted from Washington without having to endure the usual pressure to engage in reforms, democratize its regime or provide more political freedom for its citizens. Other dictators may also start to see assistance in anti-terrorist operations as a vehicle for reducing pressure to carry out political reform. (Michele Dunn, The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, October 2004 - look for full text pdf version available in right column)
HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH: THE ADMINISTRATION HAS "DISAPPEARED" 11 AL-QAEDA SUSPECTS
HRW claims in its latest report that it has reports that detainees were tortured, which would be a violation of United States law. " If the United States embraces the torture and 'disappearance' of its opponents," says Human Rights Watch's special counsel, Reed Brody. "it abandons its ideals and international obligations and becomes a lesser nation."
•in pdf format
TURKEY'S ISLAMIC RADICALS ON THE SAME WAVELENGTH AS AL QAEDA
The center for Defense Information describes Turkey's Great East Islamic Raider's Front, founded in 1985. The group sees the overthrow of Ankara's secular regime as a top priority. Its proximity to Iraq makes it worth keeping an eye on.
(CDI.org, October 8, 2004 )
Many soldiers come from a working class background that gives them a different perspective from the journalists who cover them.
As the United States becomes increasingly stratified into a class society it is not hard to understand why the country is separating into radically opposed camps.
In an intriguing piece in the current Atlantic Monthly, Robert Kaplan suggests that despite the intimate contact created by embedding correspondents with military units, many news reporters still have to work hard at overcoming cultural differences that separate the soldiers who fight from the media who try to interpret their actions. Kaplan writes: " Even with the embed phenomenon the media still manifest a far more intimate--one might say incestuous-- relationship with politicians, international diplomats, businesspeople, academics, and humanitarian-relief workers than with the U.S. military. Given that all these groups push various political agendas, it is fair to ask why embedding has struck a raw nerve. The common denominator among the non-military groups is that they derive from the same elevated social and economic strata of their societies. Even relief workers are often young people from well-off families, motivated by idealism and a desire for adventure. An American journalist would most likely find it easier to strike up a conversation with a relief worker from another Western country than with a U.S. Marine or soldier, especially if that Marine or soldier were a noncommissioned officer. This is not necessarily because the journalist and the relief worker share a liberal outlook; a neoconservative pundit would fare no better with the NCO, for example. The NCO is part of another America--an America that the media elite is blind to and alienated from. he U.S. military--particularly at the level of NCOs, who are the guardians of its culture and traditions--is a world of beer, cigarettes, instant coffee, and chewing tobacco. It is composed of people who hunt, drive pickups, use profanity as an element of ordinary speech and yet have a simple, sure, demonstrative belief in the Almighty. Though this is by and large a politically conservative world, neoconservatives might not feel particularly comfortable in it. Some neocons, who have taken democracy and turned it into an ideological ism, wouldn't sit well with Army and Marine civil-affairs and psy-ops officers who pay lip service to new democratic governing councils in Iraq and then go behind their backs to work with traditional sheikhs. The meat-and-potatoes military is about practicalities: it does whatever is necessary to, say, restore stability in Iraq and Afghanistan. In Afghanistan, Army Special Forces work regularly with undemocratic warlords and tribal militias, and see no contradiction with their own larger belief in democracy. Arguing over abstractions and refining differences between realism and idealism is the luxury of a well-to-do theory class....
(Robert Kaplan, in the November issue of the Atlantic Monthly)
REMEMBERING EDDIE ADAMS
The death of photographer Eddie Adams came as a shock to his colleagues. Ron Steinman, writing in the current issue of the on-line Digital Journalist, recalls the day when Adams took his most famous photograph: "The An Quang Pagoda is where Eddie Adams will take the series of remarkable and powerful photos of Brig. General Nguyen Ngoc Loan pulling his pistol and summarily executing what he believed was a Viet Cong. The picture reverberates around the world as the icon of a war in crisis. It continues to have an impact to this day...we never discussed his picture or the Pulitzer Prize he won. Eddie did not enjoy talking about the photo or his role in it because he believed it made too much of him when the event counted more...He once said to me that when he looked through the lens, he became the subject and when that happened in the split second that it did, he knew then to take the picture that needed to come from inside him. He, as all craftsmen, was not always satisfied with the results. But he knew enough to keep trying until he got it right, something he did more often than not.
(Ron Steinman, Digital Journalist, October 2004)