PALESTINE AFTER ARAFAT
Israelis may not have liked Arafat very much, but the uncertainty of the power struggle to succeed him promises to be even more of a problem. The battle for control of the Palestinian movement is likely to be fought by three different segments of Palestinian society: returnees from abroad, followers of the Oslo Peace Accords, and those who never left and have born the brunt of Israel's reprisals against civilian population centers. (Washington Quarterly, 2004)
ISRAELI COMMAND EXPECTS PLO OLD GUARD TO ASSERT AUTHORITY
Senior Palestinian leaders will take over the Palestinian Authority after Yasser Arafat's death, Israel Defense Forces intelligence chief Major General Aharon Ze'evi said on Tuesday. Speaking before the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Ze'evi said the senior echelon, which includes Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia and former prime minister Mahmoud Abbas, will be pressured to transform Israel's unilateral disengagement plan into a bilateral agreement. (Gideon Alon, Haaretz, November 7, 2004)
AMERICAN FORCES OVERRUN FALLUJAH
More than 6,000 U.S. troops captured parts of the city after weeks of bombardment.(Dexter Filkins, The New York Times, November 9, 2004)
U.S. TROOPS ENTERING FALLUJAH EXPECTED SUICIDE BOMBS
The Times of London's Hala Jaber, the only western reporter to enter the city, describes seeing black cables stretched across the roads. According to Jaber, up to 100 vehicles have been rigged with explosives. (Hala Jaber, Times of London, November 7, 2004)
WHAT TO EXPECT IN FALLUJAH
With more than 10,000 U.S. troops committed against an estimated 30,000 people still in the besieged city, casualties are likely to be heavy on both sides. Tom Engelhardt and Dilip Hiro take a look at recent assessments. (Tom Engelhardt, Tom Dispatch, December 7, 2004)
MARTIAL LAW AND IRAQ'S DEMOCRATIC ELECTIONS
Martial law makes sense, given Iraq's runaway increase in violence, but how much credibility will elections have when police powers are wielded freely by a transitional government, that is already suspect because it was handpicked by the U.S.? The answer, Beirut's Daily Star suggests will depend on how closely the Allawi regime adheres to the law when dealing with its own opposition. (Beirut Daily Star, November 8, 2004)
UNTIL NOW, THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION'S APPROACH IN IRAQ HAS STEADILY INCREASED THE INSURGENCY'S FOOTHOLD. IS IT TOO LATE TO CHANGE?
Creating a functional democratic government in a political vacuum isn't easy. Jon Anderson traces the history of America's fumbling efforts in Iraq. (Jon Anderson, The New Yorker, November 8, 2004)
CHINA SIGNS $100 BILLION OIL DEAL WITH IRAN
With competition for scarce oil reserves heating up, and the U.S. alienating the biggest suppliers in the Middle East, China has been quietly maneuvering to sew up a larger share of the market. It's massive deal with Iran follows a $3.5 billion deal with Kazakhstan for a pipeline to carry oil from the Caspian--the largest new find since the North Sea. (Kaveh Afrisiabi, Asia Times, November 8, 2004)
SPECULATION THAT AL QAEDA'S LEADERSHIP IS CHANGING
Marc Sageman, a forensic psychiatrist, who worked as a CIA case officer in Afghanistan in the late 1980s, and who now writes for the Foreign Policy Research Institute, thinks that the Al Qaeda leadership has shifted, becoming far more aggressive, and less reasonable in its operations. (Marc Sageman, Foreign Policy Research Institute, November 1, 2004)
COMPLETE TEXT OF OSAMA BIN LADEN'S MESSAGE TO THE U.S.
The Jamestown Foundation has published a full translation of Osama Bin Laden's message to American voters. "...we fight because we are free men who don't sleep under oppression," writes Bin Laden," We want to restore freedom to our nation, just as you lay waste to our nation. So shall we lay waste to yours. (Jamestown Foundation, November 7, 2004)
WE'VE SEEN WHAT FOREIGN TERRORISTS CAN DO, ARE WE READY FOR AMERICANS JOINING THE MOVEMENT?
Michael Reynolds, writing in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, details a case involving an American terrorist wannabe and an amateur gun lover, who experimented with chemical weapons and could easily have outdone Osama Bin Laden. The Justice Department remained noticeably silent about the case. The concern is that the homegrown version may have enough in common with Islamic groups to strike up an informal alliance. (Michael Reynolds, The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, November-December, 2004)
IVORY COAST CALLS FOR CALM AFTER FRANCE DESTROYS ITS AIRFORCE
The French strike followed the death on Saturday of 9 French soldiers who were part of a peace keeping force. Ivory Coast's president Laurent Bagbo has long suspected the French of aiding opposition rebels, and Bagbo is now pleading with the French to remove their tanks from Abidjan. Despite the increased tensions, the French are moving cautiously to avoid being drawn into a colonial-style conflict. (BBC, November 7, 2004)
HIZBOLLAH FLIES IRANIAN UNMANNED AIRCRAFT OVER ISRAEL FOR THE FIRST TIME
The drone, apparently engaged in a reconnaissance flight, managed to fly over several northern towns in Israel without being detected. More ominous is the likelihood that the technology probably came from Iran. Israel has had its own unmanned aircraft program for some time. The Knesset has launched an inquiry into what happened to Israel's air defense systems and radar. (Daily Star, Beirut, Lebanon, November 7, 2004)
KNESSET INQUIRY INTO HIZBOLLAH FLIGHT
The flight marks a noticeable increase in Hizbollah's capabilities and has triggered a Knesset inquiry into how the aircraft was able to penetrate Israel's radar defenses undetected. (Haaretz, November 7, 2004)
ARE THE U.S. AND BRITAIN MEDDLING IN THE UKRAINE?
The Spectator's John Laughland clearly thinks that Washington and London are making their preferences felt. (John Laughland, The Spectator, November 6, 2004)
-Russia is strong arming the Ukraine as well (Spectator, November 6, 2004)
THE KREMLIN LOOKS AT THE UKRAINE TO HOLD ON TO THE CONFEDERATION OF INDEPENDENT STATES....(Igor Torbakov, Jamestown Foundation, November 5, 2004)
UKRAINE'S ONLY INDEPENDENT T.V. STATION GOES ON HUNGER STRIKE OVER ELECTIONS
Reporting elections is still a dangerous proposition in former Soviet Union. (Catherine FitzPatrick, Radio Free Europe, November 7, 2004)
RED STATES AND BLUE STATES DON'T JUST DISAGREE WITH EACH OTHER, THEY INHABIT ALTERNATIVE REALITIES
Former Nixon White House legal counsel, John W. Dean asks whether the Christian right was putting out junk information to its followers....(John Dean, November 5, 2004)
PIPA STUDY ON U.S. ATTITUDES
The University of Maryland and the Program on International Policy Attitudes looks at the opposing visions of American voters on the left and right. (PIPA, October 21, 2004)
THE DISTORTION OF AMERICAN SCIENCE
The increasing complexity of science combined with the White House's growing receptivity to Christian fundamentalism and creationism is beginning to have an impact on the quality of U.S. science. "...The knowledge required for political rationality, once available to the masses, is now in the possession of a specially educated elite, a situation that creates a series of tensions and contradictions in the operation of representative democracy..." (Richard C. Lewontin, New York review of Books, November 18, 2004 )
U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS ALLEGEDLY CIRCUMVENTED OBJECTIONS FROM ITS TOP PROCUREMENT OFFICER IN ORDER TO BYPASS COMPETITIVE BIDDING IN AWARDING CONTRACTS TO HALLIBURTON
The Center for Public Integrity publishes a series of documents suggesting that Dick Cheney's former employer was able to pull strings in high places to get non-competitive access to Iraq's most lucrative contracts. (Andre Verloy, Center for Public Integrity, November 3, 2004)
ARMENIA HESITATES OVER HELPING OUT IN IRAQ
Armenia's president, Robert Kocharian, would like to send a token force to help out the U.S. in Iraq. The idea is to build U.S. support for Armenia in its suspended war with Azerbaijan. What seemed like a good idea at first glance has run into problems at home however. The Armenian public is increasingly concerned that becoming involved in the Iraqi adventure will lead to reprisals against the estimated 25,000 Armenians still living in Iraq. As a result, Armenian good intentions are sinking into a bureaucratic quagmire of administrative delays. (Emil Danielyan, Eurasianet.org, November 5, 2004)
MOVING BACKWARDS IN TURKMENISTAN
Turkmenistan straddles the northern borders of Afghanistan and Iran, and it has promising reserves of oil and natural gas. Unfortunately, Turkmenistan also has one of the most repressive regimes in Central Asia. President-for-life, Sapamurad Niyazov, shows no signs of yielding to Western pressure for reform. That promises a violent struggle in a dangerously volatile part of the world. The International Crisis Group analyzes the situation. (ICG, November 7, 2004)
President Bush's victory left the Kremlin pleased, but upset many of America's traditional allies
Hendrik Hertzberg, writing in the New Yorker, observes that the election did not go over well in Manhattan, possibly the bluest borough in the bluest city in the bluest state. What gripes the Democrats is not so much the loss of the election as the reasons for deciding to stick with a leader, who as perceived on the east coast at least, seems to be heading the country into disaster.
Notes Hertzberg, "...This incumbent had led the country into a war, the war in Iraq, that half the public had come to see as a mistake, and had led the country down what more than half the public saw, in pollster’s shorthand, as “the wrong track.” The election’s outcome defies logic, and perhaps that is the point. The early analyses credited Bush’s victory to religious conservatives, particularly those in the evangelical movement. In voting for Bush, as eighty per cent of them did, many of these formerly nonvoting white evangelicals are remaining true to their unworldliness. In voting for a party that wants to tax work rather than wealth, that scorns thrift, that sees the natural world not as a common inheritance but as an object of exploitation, and that equates economic inequality with economic vitality, they have voted against their own material (and, some might imagine, spiritual) well-being. The moral values that stirred them seem not to encompass botched wars or economic injustices or environmental depredations; rather, moral values are about sexual behavior and its various manifestations and outcomes, about family structures, and about a particularly demonstrative brand of religious piety..."
(Hendrik Hertzberg, The New Yorker, November 8, 2004)
THE WHITE HOUSE UNDER A RADICAL REGIME
One reason for the gloomy reactions to 'four more years' is that this administration remains fundamentally opposed to much that people in the blue states consider to be at the core of what it means to be an American. Writing in the New York Times, Paul Krugman notes:
"President Bush isn't a conservative. He's a radical - the leader of a coalition that deeply dislikes America as it is. Part of that coalition wants to tear down the legacy of Franklin Roosevelt, eviscerating Social Security and, eventually, Medicare. Another part wants to break down the barriers between church and state. And thanks to a heavy turnout by evangelical Christians, Mr. Bush has four more years to advance that radical agenda..."
(Paul Krugman, New York Times, November 5, 2004)
MOSCOW, AT LEAST, IS ELATED OVER BUSH'S ELECTION VICTORY
Most Russian newspapers declared Russia better off with a re-elected U.S. President George W. Bush and turned to horseradish, idiots and President Vladimir Putin's friendship with Bush to argue their points. (Carl Schreck, Moscow Times, November 7, 2004)
FIGURING OUT U.S. FOREIGN POLICY UNDER THE BUSH "MANDATE"
Heads of the regional departments of the Center for Strategic and International Studies assess what to expect in the Bush administration's future foreign policy. While many European allies were shocked by Bush's victory, they appear ready to face the reality of dealing with a conservative go-it-alone administration for another four years. More interesting is how the middle-American red states will react as Bush tries to cope with a series of problems which are just beginning to reach a boil. (CSIS, November 4, 2004)
BROOKINGS LOOKS AT THE FOREIGN POLICY AFTERMATH
The difference with the 2000 election is that George Bush now has the approval of a majority of the American public, effectively obliterating the notion that Bush policy is a momentary aberration. From now on, Americans really are from Mars. More than that, from now on every American will be a target for the fallout from the administration's policy choices.
(Brookings, November 4, 2004)
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