The War in Context  
  Iraq + war on terrorism + Middle East conflict + critical perspectives     

The peculiar duplicity of Ari Fleischer

Jonathan Chait, New Republic, May 30, 2002

What Fleischer does, for the most part, is not really spin. It's a system of disinformation--blunter, more aggressive, and, in its own way, more impressive than spin. Much of the time Fleischer does not engage with the logic of a question at all. He simply denies its premises--or refuses to answer it on the grounds that it conflicts with a Byzantine set of rules governing what questions he deems appropriate. Fleischer has broken new ground in the dark art of flackdom: Rather than respond tendentiously to questions, he negates them altogether.
[The complete article]

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COMMENT -- An elderly tribal leader dies as his skull is smashed with a rifle butt and a fleeing child dies as she falls into a well. Is this what Donald Rumsfeld would describe as a "mopping up operation"?

U.S. troops release 50 men from Afghan village raid
Carlotta Gall, New York Times, May 31, 2002

"They interrogated me once. I said I was a farmer, working the land, and that there was not enough water because of the drought," said one of the released men, Abdullah, who has a white beard and gave his age as "80 or 90." He was arrested in the nighttime raid and taken, bound and hooded, in a helicopter to the air base in Kandahar, he said. "I am angry because I am not a criminal," he said. After six days of being kept in a big cage with a canvas roof, he said, the prisoners were spoken to through an interpreter by an American officer, who told them they would be released. "They apologized and said, `We are sorry to have disturbed you,' " he said.
[The complete article - registration required]

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India alert as nuclear war looms
Luke Harding and Richard Norton-Taylor, The Guardian,June 1, 2002

"The situation is extraordinarily serious. It could very rapidly lead to nuclear war," a well-placed source said last night."This is a credible scenario, millions of people would be killed and untold damage be done to the infrastructure." Diplomatic sources insisted that such a doomsday scenario was "very real". Neither the Indian nor Pakistani government had grasped the seriousness of the situation and the leaders of both countries would find it very difficult for domestic political reasons to back down, the sources said.
[The complete article]

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Last week everyone had a chance to reflect on the sacrifices made by the thousands of Americans who in times past and present have travelled overseas to defend this country, so this week it only seems fitting that we pause again to reflect on the many warmongers inside and outside the current administration who couldn't find time for any military service of their own. They have appropriately been dubbed the Chickenhawks:

President George W Bush
Vice-President Dick Cheney
Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz
Chairman of the Defense Policy Board Richard Perle
Attorney General John Ashcroft
National Security Council Member Elliot Abrams
White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card
White House Senior Advisor Karl Rove
Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham
Solicitor General Ted Olson
Congressman Dick Armey
Congressman Tom DeLay
Senator Trent Lott
Senator Phil Gramm
Congressman Dennis Hastert

Together with a whole chicken farm with coops of honor for Bill Bennet, Britt Hume, William Kristol, Newt Gingrich, George Will, Frank Gaffney, Gary Bauer, Charleton Heston, and Geraldo Rivera, to name just a few.
[The complete Chickenhawk database]

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Misplaced suspicions in our 'crooked' looks
Derrick Z. Jackson, Boston Globe, May 31, 2002

Our Muslim brothers and sisters, or people suspected of being Muslim, cannot go to a store, school, or give a graduation speech without seismic paranoia erupting around them.
[The complete article]

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Post-9/11 Surge in public support of government reverses course
Brookings Institutution, May, 2002

Trust in government has been eroding since the 1960s. In the aftermath of September 11, however, this long-term trend was sharply reversed, with 57 percent of Americans saying that they trusted the federal government to do what is right just about always or most of the time. By May, this number had dropped 17 percentage points, to 40 percent.
[The complete article]

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Settlements expanding under Sharon

Daniel Williams, Washington Post, May 31, 2002

The government of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has steadily continued the expansion of Jewish settlements in the West Bank during the 20-month-old conflict with the Palestinians, in which control of the land is a main point of contention.

In the past few months, Israeli settlement agencies and settler organizations have set up the nuclei of three dozen new settlements, according to two Israeli groups that monitor construction and oppose the program. A Western diplomat estimated the number at 40. The rolling West Bank landscape is dotted with more water towers, more electrical generators and more mobile homes inhabited by small clusters of armed Jewish settlers under Israeli army guard, the groups reported.

The continued colonization builds on a 30-year-old national project that has progressed without letup since Israel captured the West Bank from Jordan and the Gaza Strip from Egypt in the 1967 Middle East war. Land confiscations and construction have continued no matter who ruled the country -- coalitions of the left or right, cabinets in favor of or against peace talks.
[The complete article]

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An erosion of civil liberties
Editorial, New York Times, May 31, 2002

Attorney General John Ashcroft has a gift for making the most draconian policy changes sound seductively innocuous. He was at it again yesterday, describing new domestic spying powers for the Federal Bureau of Investigation as nothing more than the authority to surf the Internet or attend a public gathering. That is profoundly misleading. In reality Mr. Ashcroft, in the name of fighting terrorism, was giving F.B.I. agents nearly unbridled power to poke into the affairs of anyone in the United States, even when there is no evidence of illegal activity.
[The complete article - registration required]

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Beware of Bolton
Ian Williams, AlterNet, May 30, 2002

John Bolton, the Under Secretary of State for Disarmament Affairs and International Security, can get a lot done in one day. On May 6, in a speech to the conservative Heritage Foundation, he added Cuba, Syria and Libya to the administration's "axis of evil" hit list. That same day, Bolton sent a letter to the United Nations reversing President Clinton's decision to back the founding of the International Criminal Court.
[The complete article]

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Washington's secrecy battles – from 9/11 to Enron
Daniel Schorr, Christian Science Monitor, May 31, 2002

The letter of Coleen Rowley, FBI agent in Minneapolis, bitterly complaining of the roadblocks that hampered the investigation of a leading terrorist suspect, is not only a severe embarrassment to the FBI. It also reopens the perennial issue of how much liberty to sacrifice in the interest of security.
[The complete article]

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The September 11 X-Files
David Corn, The Nation, May 30, 2002

Out there--beyond newspaper conference rooms and Congressional offices--alternative scenarios and conspiracy theories have been zapping across the Internet for months. George W. Bush did it. The Mossad did it. The CIA did it. Or they purposely did not thwart the assault--either to have an excuse for war, to increase the military budget or to replace the Taliban with a government sympathetic to the West and the oil industry. The theories claim that secret agendas either caused the attacks or drove the post-9/11 response, and these dark accounts have found an audience of passionate devotees.
[The complete article]

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This isn't posturing - we're on the brink of a nuclear war
Ahmed Rashid, The Telegraph, May 31, 2002

The 55-year dispute over Kashmir, a legacy of the partition of British India in 1947, has led to two wars, many crises, military mobilisations, threats and counter-threats, which have lulled the international community into believing that this is an oft-repeated shadow dance. In fact, never has the situation been so fraught with danger as it is now.
[The complete article]

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Security assistance after September 11
Tamar Gabelnick, Federation of American Scientists, May, 2002

Among the countless repercussions from September 11 is a new rationale for doling out security assistance: the war on terrorism. Not since anticommunism was used to excuse the arming and training of repressive governments during the cold war has there been such a broad, fail-safe rationale to provide military aid and arms to disreputable foreign militaries. Already the largest weapons supplier in the world, the U.S. government is now providing arms and military training to an even wider group of states in the name of “homeland security.”
[The complete article]

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Afghan warlord urges war vs. U.S.
Kathy Gannon, Associated Press, May 30, 2002

An Afghan warlord with links to Iran and Pakistan's powerful spy agency has called for a holy war against the United States and Britain and vowed to rally like-minded radicals, such as al-Qaida, under one banner to do battle.
[The complete article]

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The most dangerous place in the world
Salman Rushdie, New York Times, May 30, 2002

Would a war between India and Pakistan, if it came, go nuclear?

Pakistan, with its suggestively timed missile tests, its refusal to adopt a policy of not being the first to use nuclear arms and its hawkish talk, is trying to give the impression that it would have no compunction about using its nuclear arsenal. India's military leadership has said that if attacked with nuclear bombs it would respond with maximum force and that in such a conflict India would sustain heavy damage but survive, whereas Pakistan would be destroyed utterly.

Is it really likely, however, that Pakistan would, so to speak, strap a nuclear weapon to its belly, walk into the crowded bazaar that is India and turn itself into the biggest suicide bomber in history?

Mr. Musharraf doesn't look like martyr material. Ah, but if he were losing a conventional war? If India's overwhelming numerical superiority on land, at sea and in the air won the day and Pakistan lost its prized Kashmiri land, would reason be swept aside? Worst of all, if Pakistani fury at a military defeat by India were to result in Mr. Musharraf's overthrow by Islamist hard-liners, Pakistan's nuclear warheads could fall into the hands of people for whom martyrdom is a higher goal than peace, people who value death more highly than life.
[The complete article - registration required]

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To fight terror, FBI eases rules on domestic spying
Don Van Natta Jr., The New York Times (via IHT), May 30, 2002

‘‘These new guidelines say to the American people that you no longer have to be doing something wrong in order to get that FBI knock at your door,’’ Laura Murphy, director of the Washington national office of the ACLU, said Wednesday night. ‘‘The government is rewarding failure. It seems when the FBI fails, the response by the Bush administration is to give the bureau new powers, as opposed to seriously look at why the intelligence and law enforcement failures occurred.’’
Under the old surveillance guidelines, agents needed probable cause of a crime — or an informant’s information of a crime — to begin counterterrorism investigations. Under the new guidelines, agents will be free to search for leads or clues to terrorist activities in public databases or on the Internet.
[The complete article]

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The confusion deepens over U.S. foreign policy
William Pfaff, International Herald Tribune, May 30, 2002

Bush's inability to control his own protégés in the war on terrorism undermines the administration's credibility. It lends weight to the accusation that U.S. policy in practice disrupts international order.
[The complete article]

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Pakistan cannot expect the support of India's Muslims
M.J. Akbar, The Independent, May 30, 2002

A revealing but rarely revealed fact is that Muslims in the rest of India give no support whatsoever to the separatist insurgency in the Muslim-majority valley of Kashmir, that charming bit of paradise that could yet trigger off history's first nuclear war. At this moment, according to reliable reports, there could be as many as 3,000 armed and trained jihadis ready to combat the Indian army – but not one of them is a Muslim from elsewhere in India.
[The complete article]

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Fresh memories of war
Kandea Mosley, Ithica Journal, May 25, 2002

In an April interview with The Ithaca Journal at his family's Cayuga Heights home, Guckenheimer, 22, shared his experiences during Operation Anaconda. He was sent on March 6 in a company of more than 100 soldiers to participate in the largest U.S.-led ground engagement in Eastern Afghanistan. "We were told there were no friendly forces," said Guckenheimer, an assistant gunner with the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum. "If there was anybody there, they were the enemy. We were told specifically that if there were women and children to kill them."
[The complete article]

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Nightmares of reason
Sorting fact from fiction in 9/11 conspiracy theories

Salim Muwakkil, In These Times, May 24, 2002

Has Rep. Cynthia McKinney been vindicated? On a Berkeley radio station in March, the Georgia Democrat called for a congressional investigation of the Bush administration, asking, “What did this administration know, and when did it know it?”

“What do they have do hide?” she asked KPFA’s Dennis Bernstein in that March 25 interview. “We know there were numerous warnings of the events to come on September 11.” The congresswoman was widely vilified in the national media for such statements. But in light of information that the White House had been repeatedly warned of terrorist threats before 9/11, McKinney’s questions have become among the most asked questions in the nation.
[The complete article]

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Journalism should never yield to ‘patriotism’
Robert Jensen, Newsday, May 29, 2002

What if a war violates international law or is prosecuted using immoral tactics? Nations - including ours - are not benevolent institutions, and U.S. history is replete with inhumane acts. If patriotism requires we support such acts, then patriotism becomes inhumane. An alternative, kinder-and-gentler patriotism is offered by others, especially war opponents: patriotism not as reflexive support for a policy or leader, but allegiance to American ideals of freedom and democracy.
[The complete article]

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Wake-up call
Henry Porter, The Guardian, May 29, 2002

Since September 11 the world has changed dramatically and in ways that we have so far yet to understand. If India and Pakistan had come to this pass last summer there would have been a far greater diplomatic effort to bring the nations to their senses. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan would have been shuttling between Islamabad and Delhi or standing on the border in Kashmir (which incidentally is where I believe he should be now), and America would have been galvanised by the crisis, putting its full might into making sure that these two countries understood that the nuclear option is unacceptable to the whole of humanity.

But since 9/11 the processes of conflict resolution have been diminished and the norms of international behaviour have been degraded. Al-Qaida's attacks not only terrorised the west, they also coarsened us and narrowed our ability to engage in a pro bono diplomacy. While Pakistan and India were mobilising these past few days, the Bush administration has been completely diverted by the president's tour of Russia and Europe and the continuing agenda of how to respond to the threat of al-Qaida.

Every emergency and every event is now passed through a new and dangerously egotistical filter that was erected by the Americans last autumn and is designed to see events exclusively in the context of American security and peace of mind.
[The complete article]

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Patriot Act's supposed justification is gone
Peter Erlinder, Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune, May 22, 2002

The storm of questions and criticism following revelations that the Bush administration had numerous warnings of an impending hijacking before the Sept. 11 tragedy have focused primarily on the Nixon-era mantra, "What did he know, and when did he know it?" But even if a congressional investigation agrees with Bush administration protestations that the warnings weren't specific enough to know what to do, administration policy after Sept. 11 is going to require some explaining, too.
[The complete article]

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COMMENT -- As suicide bombers continue slaughtering innocent civilians, the US-Israeli line continues to be that the Palestinian Authority bears responsibility. No one cares to explain, however, how it is that the Palestinian Authority, with its infrastructure in ruins, should be more effective in preventing terrorism than the vastly more powerful Israeli Defense Force. When will the failure be seen for what it is - a failure in Israel's security policy?

Palestinian Authority engaged in campaign against suicide attacks
Danny Rubinstein, Ha'aretz, May 29, 2002

It is difficult to accept the claims of many in Israel that Arafat and his men are following a two-faced policy and are actually encouraging suicide attacks. It is more reasonable to assume that the Palestinian leadership does not actually have the power to stop these murderous acts as the man in the street does not heed the PA's calls anyway.
[The complete article]

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An open letter to Senate Majority Leader, Tom Daschle
May 28, 2002

Dear Senator Daschle,

When Congress passed the USA PATRIOT Act on October 25th, the American people were told that law enforcement and the intelligence agencies were being given new surveillance powers that would be indispensable in the fight against terrorism.

It now appears that prior to September 11th, the FBI, even though they lacked these new powers, had successfully gathered information that could have played a critical role in averting the attacks. In light of this, it is important that an inquiry examining intelligence failures prior to September 11th also has the scope to investigate the actions of the Justice Department while they helped draft the USA PATRIOT Act.

It is possible that the Attorney General or other officials in the Justice Department purposely withheld information relating to pre-9-11 FBI inquiries, specifically in order to reinforce the argument that law enforcement and the intelligence agencies had thus far lacked adequate surveillance powers for combating terrorism. If this is the case, Congress and the public were seriously mislead.

I encourage you and fellow members of Congress to support all efforts for a comprehensive and thorough inquiry.

Yours sincerely,
Paul Woodward

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Pakistan's stark warning
Rory McCarthy, Luke Harding and John Hooper, The Guardian, May 28, 2002

Pakistan's president, General Pervez Musharraf, last night defied intense international pressure to defuse the crisis in Kashmir when he used a nationwide speech to champion the cause of Islamic militants and warn that his army would "shed the last drop of blood" to defend his nation.
[The complete article]

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Amnesty Internernational criticizes U.S. on detainee policy
Karen DeYoung, Washington Post, May 28, 2002

U.S. moral authority to criticize human rights abuses abroad has been undermined by the Bush administration's failure to guarantee the rights of foreigners detained in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and its "selective adherence" to international law, Amnesty International charged in a report to be released today.
[The complete article]

No trade off between human rights and security
[Summary of Amnesty's Report]

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A raid enrages Afghan villagers
Carlotta Gall, New York Times, May 27, 2002

An airborne assault on this village by United States-led troops three nights ago has raised anti-American fury among villagers, who say soldiers shot several people, killed the headman of the village and caused a 3-year-old girl to flee and fall to her death down a well. About 50 men were arrested and taken away in helicopters, they said. The anger and shock were evident today in the village. Women and children wailed as two journalists visited with local district officials. The grandfather of the dead girl lunged at the visitors, tearing at his clothes and throwing himself on the ground in distress. "They took my sons and they took my money. Only my wife and I are left in the house. We are crying all day," the man, Abdul Ali, 60, said. "It was dark, the little girl didn't know where she was running," he said of his granddaughter. As with two other recent raids aimed at suspected Taliban and Al Qaeda hideouts in southern Afghanistan, this one apparently failed to net any senior figures.
[The complete article - registration required]

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Old foes India and Pakistan inch ever closer to nuclear war
Eric Margolis, Toronto Sun, May 26, 2002

The world is now facing the most dangerous nuclear confrontation since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. Yet in the West [i.e. North America - Europe is paying more attention] there is little media attention to this enormous threat, and almost no public interest or concern. The crisis over Kashmir might as well be on Jupiter. The discovery of the body of a long-missing female intern in Washington has totally eclipsed news of a possible nuclear war in South Asia that could kill tens of millions and contaminate the entire globe with clouds of radioactive dust.
[The complete article]

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Missed messages
Seymour M. Hersh, The New Yorker, May 27, 2002

What the President knew and when he knew it may not be the relevant question... No one in Washington seriously contends that the President or any of his senior advisers had any reason to suspect that terrorists were about to fly hijacked airplanes into buildings. A more useful question concerns the degree to which Al Qaeda owed its success to the weakness of the F.B.I. and the agency's chronic inability to synthesize intelligence reports, draw conclusions, and work with other agencies. These failings, it turns out, were evident long before George Bush took office. Neither the F.B.I. nor America's other intelligence agencies have effectively addressed what may be the most important challenge of September 11th: How does an open society deal with warnings of future terrorism? The Al Qaeda terrorists were there to be seen, but there was no system for seeing them.
[The complete article]

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Thanks for the heads-up
Frank Rich, New York Times, May 25, 2002

Cheney, Rumsfeld, Ridge, Mueller. Is there anyone who has not warned us of Armageddon over the past week? As far as I can tell, the only slacker in this White House game of Wag the Dog is Spot.

You don't have to be a cynic to believe that the point of the warnings is not to save lives so much as political hides. After all, we can't go about our daily business much differently just because of these dire pronouncements. Nor have they budged the Homeland Security Office's color-coded "threat level" from its weaselly yellow. What this orchestrated chorus of Cassandras can do is guarantee that we duly credit the Bush administration for giving us a heads-up should disaster strike between now and Election Day 2004. Not so incidentally, the new warnings also help facilitate our amnesia about the fracas over how low a priority Al Qaeda was for the White House before Sept. 11.
[The complete article - registration required]

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COMMENT -- As it becomes increasingly clear that the FBI's failure to avert the September 11 attacks did not result from a lack of investigative powers, it's worth paying close attention to all those additional powers that, post 9-11, Ashcroft and his cohorts argued would be indispenisable in the fight against terrorism.

The FBI's Magic Lantern
Ashcroft can be in your computer

Nat Hentoff, Village Voice, May 24, 2002

Beware of "The Magic Lantern." Under the "sneak and peek" provision of the USA Patriot Act, pushed through Congress by John Ashcroft, the FBI, with a warrant, can break into your home and office when you're not there and, on the first trip, look around. They can examine your hard drive, snatch files, and plant the Magic Lantern on your computer. It's also known as the "sniffer keystroke logger."
[The complete article]

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Militants in Pakistan have roots in military
Howard W. French, New York Times, May 27, 2002

For more than 20 years, the Pakistani government has used Islamic radicals as an instrument of both domestic and foreign policy. Now, many Pakistani security experts said they doubt the government has the will or the means to neutralize what has become a huge network of violence.
[The complete article]

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Coleen Rowley's memo to FBI Director Robert Mueller
Time, May 21, 2002

I have deep concerns that a delicate and subtle shading/skewing of facts by you and others at the highest levels of FBI management has occurred and is occurring.
[The memo - edited]

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Between India and Pakistan, a changing role for the U.S.
Steve Coll, Washington Post, May 26, 2002

September 11 and its aftermath have altered South Asia as profoundly as did the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. Among other things, the U.S.-led war on terror provides the dominant language of Indo-Pakistani rivalry. American power -- on display in the thousands of U.S. troops now spread across Central and South Asia -- has become the pivotal factor in war-or-peace decisions in New Delhi and Islamabad. The role of American mediation also has been recast; Washington's massive new investments in the region have made the United States not just a broker, but a principal.
[The complete article]

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The scariest show on earth
Peter Popham, The Independent, May 26, 2002

There are two reasons why the present stand-off is more dangerous than previous crises between the feuding neighbours [India and Pakistan]. One is the growing sophistication of the nuclear potential on both sides: yesterday, Pakistan embarked upon a series of missile tests, firing its medium-range Ghauri missile, which can carry either a nuclear or a conventional warhead. It flew 900 miles and, the Pakistani authorities claimed, accurately hit its allotted target. Its nuclear-capable Shaheen-II missile has a range of nearly 1,600 miles that would enable it to hit almost any Indian city. The other reason is the process of disaffection of Islamic hardliners in Pakistan from President Musharraf, which began soon after he seized power in 1999 and accelerated when he threw his weight behind President Bush's war on terror. It has reached the point where the hardliners would be happy to see Musharraf embroiled in a disastrous war.
[The complete article]

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America can persuade Israel to make a just peace
Jimmy Carter, SojoNet, May 23, 2002

In January 1996, with full support from Israel and responding to the invitation of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, the Carter Center helped to monitor a democratic election in the West Bank and Gaza, which was well organized, open, and fair. In that election, 88 members were elected to the Palestinian National Authority, with Yasir Arafat as president. Legally and practically, the Palestinian people were encouraged to form their own government, with the expectation that they would soon have full sovereignty as a state.

When the election was over, I made a strong effort to persuade the leaders of Hamas to accept the election results, with Mr. Arafat as their leader. I relayed a message offering them full participation in the process of developing a permanent constitutional framework for the new political entity, but they refused to accept this proposal. Despite this rejection, it was a time of peace and hope, and there was no threat of violence or even peaceful demonstrations. The legal status of the Palestinian people has not changed since then, but their plight has grown desperate.

Ariel Sharon is a strong and forceful man and has never equivocated in his public declarations nor deviated from his ultimate purpose. His rejection of all peace agreements that included Israeli withdrawal from Arab lands, his invasion of Lebanon, his provocative visit to the Temple Mount, the destruction of villages and homes, the arrests of thousands of Palestinians, and his open defiance of President George W. Bush's demand that he comply with international law have all been orchestrated to accomplish his ultimate goals: to establish Israeli settlements as widely as possible throughout occupied territories and to deny Palestinians a cohesive political existence.

There is adequate blame on the other side. Even when he was free and enjoying the full trappings of political power, Yasir Arafat never exerted control over Hamas and other radical Palestinians who reject the concept of a peaceful Israeli existence and adopt any means to accomplish their goal. Mr. Arafat's all-too-rare denunciations of violence have been spasmodic, often expressed only in English and likely insincere. He may well see the suicide attacks as one of the few ways to retaliate against his tormentors, to dramatize the suffering of his people, or as a means for him, vicariously, to be a martyr....

[But] with the ready and potentially unanimous backing of the international community, the United States government can bring about a solution to the existing imbroglio. Demands on both sides should be so patently fair and balanced that at least a majority of citizens in the affected area will respond with approval, and an international force can monitor compliance with agreed peace terms, as was approved for the Sinai region in 1979 following Israel's withdrawal from Egyptian territory.

There are two existing factors that offer success to United States persuasion. One is the legal requirement that American weapons are to be used by Israel only for defensive purposes, a premise certainly being violated in the recent destruction of Jenin and other villages. Richard Nixon imposed this requirement to stop Ariel Sharon and Israel's military advance into Egypt in the 1973 war, and I used the same demand to deter Israeli attacks on Lebanon in 1979. (A full invasion was launched by Ariel Sharon after I left office). The other persuasive factor is approximately $10 million daily in American aid to Israel. President George Bush Sr. threatened this assistance in 1992 to prevent the building of Israeli settlements between Jerusalem and Bethlehem.

I understand the extreme political sensitivity in America of using persuasion on the Israelis, but it is important to remember that none of the actions toward peace would involve an encroachment on the sovereign territory of Israel. They all involve lands of the Egyptians, Lebanese, and Palestinians, as recognized by international law.

The existing situation is tragic and likely to get worse. Normal diplomatic efforts have failed. It is time for the United States, as the sole recognized intermediary, to consider more forceful action for peace. The rest of the world will welcome this leadership.

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Will the circle be unbroken?
Gideon Levy, Ha'aretz, May 26, 2002

It is difficult to believe that the Israelis, who are renowned for their resourcefulness and ability to improvise, their initiative and creativity, are stunned into inaction in the face of the greatest threat ever posed to their routine way of life. The use of force has been completely exhausted - Israel will not be able to increase significantly the scale of the force it has already utilized - and nothing has been accomplished, yet no one asks, in the face of the terrorism that is constantly intensifying its murderous methods, whether the entire course of action is not fundamentally flawed.

There is no magic cure for terrorism, and nothing will bring about its instant cessation. However, there are measures that spur it and others that can weaken it. Israel's current policy is bringing about the exacerbation of terrorism and is not giving the Palestinians much reason to put a stop to it.
[The complete article]

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