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on Patterns of Global Terrorism for 2002
US State Department's Report on Patterns of Global Terrorism for 2001
IRAQ BLOODBATH MOCKS WHITE HOUSE SPIN The LA Times notes that the latest attacks underscore the insurgents' ability to strike for maximum political and media effect. And, it suggests, the fact that few Iraqis are willing to publicly speak against those attacking U.S. troops is telling.
For weeks now, the Bush administration has berated the U.S. media for ignoring the good news from Iraq, and last weekend Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz sought to underscore the point by personally leading a media entourage on a three-day visit. But insurgents turned the exercise into a bloody fiasco, downing a U.S. Black Hawk helicopter in Tikrit hours after Wolfowitz's departure, and then firing a fusillade of rockets into his Baghdad hotel on Sunday, supposedly the most secure piece of real estate in the country. They topped that Monday with the bloodiest 24 hours since the capital fell to U.S. forces, launching four suicide attacks on the headquarters of the International Committee of the Red Cross and Iraqi police stations. President Bush claimed the latest wave of attacks were evidence that U.S. progress was making its enemies "desperate." But Iraqis -- and Americans -- may take some convincing, as the attacks continue to grow in frequency, scale and sophistication. The insurgents, if anything, appear increasingly confident; it's the ordinary Iraqis who are growing desperate.
(Washington Post, October 28, 2003)
The New York Times writes that the latest attacks have undermined administration claims on Iraq, and exposed the vulnerability of the occupation mission. The insurgency may be more effectively countered by sending in more troops, the paper writes, but that's not an option for Washington right now.
The Guardian's Ewen Macaskill writes that although the insurgency is becoming more active and more organized, it remains largely invisible to the coalition forces. Effective counterinsurgency requires effective intelligence, and right now that is sorely lacking on just who is doing the fighting.
The key to defeating an insurgency is accurate intelligence, but the Washington Post reports that the U.S. military's own assessment has found serious weaknesses in its intelligence-gathering operations on the ground in Iraq.
The New York Times's Michael Gordon writes that despite the administration's hopes for starting to draw down troops levels in Iraq next year, the U.S. faces a long, hard fight in Iraq with no early end in sight.
David Isenberg parses Defense Secretary Rumsfeld's leaked memo on progress in the war on terrorism , and finds a high-tech hawk confounded by the reality of a gritty war of attrition.
A RAND comparative study on U.S. reconstruction efforts in Germany, Japan, Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia and Kosovo suggests that the Iraq mission is difficult, but not impossible. The key element, however, will be a U.S. willingness to commit sufficient resources.
The BBC warns that Iraq is currently suspended between order and chaos and that the window of opportunity for the U.S.-led transition effort to win over Iraqis is shrinking. Restoring self-government remains the essential component.
BBC analyst Paul Reynold writes that the latest bombings underline the tactical dilemma facing the U.S. Tamping down the insurgency may require expanded curfews and other blanket measures to impede the insurgents' ability to maneuver, but such measures will inevitably alienate the local population and drive them towards the guerillas.
Administration officials such as Vice President Dick Cheney continue to insist that a majority of Iraqis back the U.S. effort in Iraq. But The the authors of the Zogby poll cited by Cheney to back his claim say he deliberately misread their results.
Is the media painting a fair and accurate picture of Iraq? The Council on Foreign Relations hosted leading journalists from the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal and the American Prospect to discuss the question with its members.
LITTLE HELP EXPECTED IN IRAQ
The Bush administration had hoped that the latest UN Security Council resolution would persuade reluctant partners to send more troops to Iraq, but the returns thus far are not good. Bangladesh, Portugal and India have declined, while South Korea and Pakistan continue to prevaricate. The one country that did offer troops -- Turkey -- had to be declined, at least for now, in the face of opposition from the U.S.-appointed Iraqi Governing Council to having more soldiers from any neighboring countries on Iraqi soil. That leaves the Pentagon forced to mobilize more reserves in order to maintain its current troop levels.
(USA Today, October 27, 2003)
The Christian Science Monitor suggests that the imbroglio over Turkish troops signals another miscalculation by the Bush administration, which put pressure on Ankara to agree to send troops, but failed to take account of the response of Washington's Iraqi allies, creating a new diplomatic irritant in U.S.-Turkish relations.
IRAQ PRIVATIZATION A LEGAL MINEFIELD
International legal experts have warned that efforts by the Bush administration to speed the sell-off of state assets in Iraq may be illegal. The Geneva Convention requires that occupied territories be governed in accordance with their pre-existing laws, which preclude selling Iraqi corporations to non-Arabs. The questionable legality could lead to a future sovereign Iraqi government reversing decisions made by the occupation authority and even by the U.S.-appointed Iraqi Governing Council. The news is likely to scare off investors. It may also have implications for loans made to the reconstruction effort before a sovereign government is in place.
(Financial Times, October 28, 2003)
The U.S. managed to attract $13 billion in donor pledges to help Iraq's reconstruction, which added to Washington's own contribution would make $33b. Still short of the $55b need estimated by the World Bank and IMF, it is nonetheless more than Washington had expected. But most of the pledges from outside the U.S. have taken the form of loans.
IRAQ BLAME WAR RAGES OVER CIA
Did the Bush administration cherry-pick and manipulate intelligence to make its case for war, or was it catastrophically misinformed by a sloppy CIA? The phrasing of the question appears to signal the partisan battle lines on Capitol Hill as the legislature begins to parse the obvious disconnect between prewar claims and assumption, and the reality on the ground in Iraq. Republicans have the CIA in their crosshairs, while the Democrats say the agency is being scapegoated and that the real problem was the mishandling of intelligence to suit the White House's political agenda.
(LA Times, October 25, 2003)
Vice President Cheney is still inclined to insist that Iraq had an active nuclear program, but the Washington Post reports that the Iraq Survey Group led by David Kay has already discounted that claim.
COPYING ISRAEL'S MISTAKES?
Israeli military analysts and commentators frankly admit that their country's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza has had a corrosive effect on their military and society, and that its regime of collective punishments on the local population that gives support and succor to the likes of Hamas and the Al-Aksa brigades has simply locked in the dynamic of occupation and terrorism. William Pfaff suggests that there are already signs in Iraq that the U.S. may be going down the same road.
(International Herald Tribune, October 25, 2003)
Writing in Asia Times, Nir Rosen provides a harrowing five-part account from inside a U.S. military unit of the hunt for insurgents. Gripping stuff, which captures the harsh exchanges on the ground that will make or break the U.S. mission.
SHARON'S FENCE CUTS DEEP INTO WEST BANK Following the latest upsurge of violence in Gaza, Haaretz opines that it's time for Israel to get out of the territory altogether -- the political, military and moral price of keeping 7,000 Jewish settlers living among 1.2 million Palestinians can't be justified, it writes in an editorial.
Long-time observers of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon believe that the security fence he is building in the West Bank will follow a route determined not by the 1967 borders between Israel and the occupied territory, but will instead be shaped by Sharon's version of a final status issue that will surround the Palestinians in fragmented pieces of the West Bank totalling no more than about 40 percent. And their suspicions seemed well grounded when Sharon's government last week published the intended route for its map, which cuts deep into the West Bank, folding in most settlements onto the Israeli side and even begins to run down the Jordan River valley.
(The Guardian, October 25, 2003)
The Guardian's Chris MacGreal warns that the fence is leaving tens of thousands of Palestinians on the Israeli side, where their legal status is deteriorating. Those Palestinians will now require special permits simply to live in their houses and work their land, and there's an ominous ring to their new legal status: long-term resident.
Palestinian Hudna, Take 2 -- Haaretz reports that acting Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei and the leadership of Hamas plan to meet to discuss adopting a new "hudna," or unilateral cease-fire.
Rather than simply dismiss Qurei's efforts, however, Israel's military brass is warning Sharon not to repeat the mistakes made in relation to his predecessor, Mahmoud Abbas. The generals believe Israel contributed to his failure through making only limited gestures towards easing Palestinian life after his appointment, and they recommend a greater easing of restrictions this time.
RUSSIA: PUTIN JAILS AN OLIGARCH The Economist suggests that clashes between the Kremlin and the captains of industry may be inevitable in Russia, where the limited democratic culture and the immense concentration of wealth in the hands of a few tycoons makes them the only power center capable of mounting a viable challenging the government.
Russia's oligarchs were the power behind the throne in Boris Yeltsin's day, using their millions to ensure his reelection and, in exchange, making sure they were handed the nation's publicly held assets at giveaway prices. Vladimir Putin rose to power via the Yeltsin Kremlin, but the arrest this week of the most powerful of the oligarchs, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, is a signal of the extent to which the political game in Moscow has changed. Khodorkovsky's crime, analysts believe, was that his funding of opposition political parties represented a threat to Putin. His arrest may also signify that power has shifted within the Kremlin to a more authoritarian nationalist group originating in the security services.
(BBC, October 27, 2003)
The immediate reaction to the arrest was a dramatic market slide, suggesting a plummeting of investor confidence.
The Carnegie Endowment offers an extensive background package on the conflict between Putin and Khodorkovsky.
NUCLEAR COMPROMISE A VICTORY FOR TEHRAN'S PRAGMATISTS The BBC reports that the U.S. is moving to reopen limited talks with Iran over Iraq and other issues, although in a multilateral forum.
The decision by Iran to comply with IAEA demands for tougher inspections and to suspend its uranium enrichment signal a victory for the reformist wing of the Iranian leadership, argues Karim Sadjadpour of the International Crisis Group. But the battle is not yet won.
(Council on Foreign Relations, October, 2003)
The ICG recommends that if Iran complies as promised, Washington should respond by offering security guarantees to Tehran and engaging it on issues of mutual concern.
Iran has rebuffed U.S. calls for its al-Qaeda prisoners to be handed over, saying they will be tried in Iran.
BUSH FACES SHOWDOWN OVER CUBA
President Bush has never yet had to wield his veto pen in anger, given that his party controls both houses of the legislature. The fact that he's now threatening to do so over Cuba policy signifies how far things have shifted. While the President voted in tough new restrictions on travel to the island, majorities in both houses voted to deny funds to enforce such a ban. While the White House continues to play the Clinton administration's game of designing its Cuba policy purely of Florida's electoral votes, it appears that a bipartisan majority in Congress is looking beyond the embargo that Fidel Castro has survived for four decades.
(Boston Globe, October 28, 2003)
Pakistan's Afridi at Bat
INDIA AND PAKISTAN AGREE TO FIGHT WITH LEATHER AND WILLOW
India's bold new initiative to break the logjam in its relations with Pakistan includes what may be deemed the magic ingredient of South Asian geopolitics: The resumption of cricket matches between the two countries. India had ended national matches against Pakistan four years ago, in retaliation for Pakistan's support for cross-border terrorism. Before that, players from both sides had dutifully donned their white flannels and pitched leather against willow in the finest English village-green tradition even when their governments were at each other's throats. Sport as ritualized combat, of course, can provide a non-lethal outlet for nationalist passions. But the spirit of cricket necessarily involves fair play and a readiness to recognize and applaud the other side's virtues. Indeed, encounters between England, India, Pakistan, Australia and the West Indies in the post-World War II years ritualized the reordering of relations among the nations and cultures of the old British empire. And right now, it may offer one of the best points of commonality between India and Pakistan.
Syed Saleem Shahzad outlines the history of "cricket diplomacy" between India and Pakistan, explaining the central symbolic role the game enjoys in the national culture on each side.
(CNN, October, 22, 2003)
Newindpress highlights the the history and some of the most dramatic moments in the geopolitics of cricket in South Asia.
Security Policy Working Group
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