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Thread: Middle East - Page 7

Post#151 at 09-22-2002 03:20 PM by Tom Mazanec [at NE Ohio 1958 joined Sep 2001 #posts 1,511]
09-22-2002, 03:20 PM #151
Join Date
Sep 2001
NE Ohio 1958

Soldiers order Arafat to leave; protests launched


Jamie Tarabay
Associated Press

Ramallah, West Bank

- Israel planted its flag in Yasser Arafat's compound yesterday, and shell bursts shook his offices, chipping away at the building in an ever-tightening siege designed to make the Palestinian leader surrender militants or go into exile.

In the evening, soldiers with loudspeakers shouted to the estimated 200 people holed up in Arafat's offices to evacuate the building - the last one standing in the compound - or else troops would blow it up.

From Our Advertiser

Protesting the siege, thousands of Palestinians, many defying military curfews, took to the streets early today, and four demonstrators were killed by army fire, doctors said.

The protests erupted in several towns across the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

In Ramallah, just a few miles from Arafat's compound, troops fired tear gas and live bullets to disperse hundreds of men, women and children chanting "Long live Arafat, long live Palestine." Two protesters were killed by army fire, hospital officials said.

Two more people were killed in the towns of Tulkarem and Nablus. In Tulkarem, gunmen traded fire with Israeli troops. In the town of Rafah in the Gaza Strip, about 5,000 people joined the protests, some firing submachine guns into the air and holding up Arafat pictures.

In the West Bank town of Jericho, about 400 protesters marched to a local prison, demanding the release of six men held under U.S. and British supervision as part of a deal that prompted Israel to lift its siege of Arafat's compound in May.

Israel has insisted that it does not aim to harm Arafat even as it has torn his command center down around him over the past three days, and it appeared unlikely troops would carry out the threat.

Earlier yesterday, Arafat appealed to Palestinian militants to halt attacks on Israel but refused to hand over 20 wanted members of his entourage. He spent the day making telephone calls and sending faxes from a conference room in the battered building, surrounded by shattered cars and barbed wire.

An Israeli shell destroyed a staircase in the building overnight, trapping Arafat in four rooms on the second floor. In the morning, several more shells hit the building, including one that hit the floor above and dusted Arafat with dirt and debris.

The United States and the European Union have urged Israel to show restraint and have been trying to defuse the crisis.

France demanded yesterday that Israel halt the operation, saying it was unacceptable. The European Union's foreign-policy coordinator, Javier Solana, said the raid would not end terrorism but would undermine efforts to reform the Palestinian Authority and work out a truce.

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak called on President Bush to intervene immediately to stop the Israeli operation, the Middle East News Agency reported.

In the United States, the Rev. Jesse Jackson told the Associated Press that he telephoned Arafat and spoke with him "directly."

Jackson said both he and the secretary general of the Arab League had been trying, without success, to telephone Bush and Secretary of State Colin Powell to register their opposition to the Israeli action.

"President Bush cannot give sanction to silence," Jackson said.

Palestinian officials said that Israel's demand for the surrender of wanted men, including West Bank intelligence chief Tawfik Tirawi, was just a pretext and that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's real objective is to humiliate Arafat.

Many Palestinians have been demanding that Arafat share power, and the United States seeks to sideline him. Israel's prime minister wants to expel him, but Israeli security chiefs have warned that such a step could backfire.

? 2002 The Plain Dealer. Used with permission.

Post#152 at 10-05-2002 04:08 AM by Vince Lamb '59 [at Irish Hills, Michigan joined Jun 2001 #posts 1,997]
10-05-2002, 04:08 AM #152
Join Date
Jun 2001
Irish Hills, Michigan

For non-profit educational and discussion purposes only:

by Mark Fisher -- WASHINGTON POST, Tuesday 10/1/2002, page B1

A Middle Eastern-looking man riding on the Metro while reading a
green-covered book about Islam is bound to get more than his share of stares
these days. A Saudi man who reads in the paper that the INS has ordered
immigration inspectors to start registering Saudi men ages 16 to 45 could be
expected to bristle.

Ali al-Ahmed laughs at the stares and welcomes the attention from the feds.
Al-Ahmed considers his life in a one-bedroom Fairfax apartment such a relief
from what he suffered back home in Saudi Arabia that he has given up a career
in finance to campaign for reform in his native land.

Al-Ahmed's Saudi Institute, a one-man operation subsisting on donations from
Saudi emigres, seeks to spread the word that Saudi Arabia is so deeply
intolerant and repressive a society that, as al-Ahmed says, "America must
come and force reform on us, because we are incapable of it."

Al-Ahmed is a reviled figure at the Saudi Embassy. But for a 35-year-old who
has spent most of his decade in this country studying political science and
finance at small colleges in Minnesota, al-Ahmed has created quite a stir.

His most recent product is a research paper that details numerous incendiary
statements in books and pamphlets distributed to Muslim students by two Saudi
educational institutes in Northern Virginia. The books call Christianity and
Judaism "deviant religions," urge Muslims to "create barriers" between
themselves and non-Muslims, and argue that Muslims are forbidden to have
Christians or Jews as friends, "with no consideration as to whether they are
at war with Islam or not."

Al-Ahmed asked officials of the Institute of Islamic and Arabic Sciences in
Fairfax County and the World Assembly of Muslim Youth in Alexandria why they
used these books. "They said, 'Oh, you're just working for the Christians and
the Jews,' " al-Ahmed says.

Al-Ahmed's next project is a Web site [ ]
that will allow Saudis to get uncensored news out to their neighbors and the
world. "People will be able to write to us, using pseudonyms, with what
happens in their neighborhood," al-Ahmed says. "This can help create a new
generation of activists."

He is under no illusion that change will come easily. When he was 14,
al-Ahmed, who had been active in a group of Shiite Muslims protesting Saudi
restrictions on followers of that branch of Islam, was imprisoned for a month
with his father and two brothers. According to Amnesty International, Ali's
youngest brother, Kamil, has twice been held in a Saudi prison without trial.
Ali believes Kamil's latest arrest was retaliation against Ali's activities
in Washington.

But al-Ahmed says he will not be deterred: "What worse can happen to my
family? They have already ruined my brother's life. My mother cries every
night because I cannot go see her. I want to go home, but I cannot until we
can breathe freedom there."

A Saudi official who insisted on anonymity says al-Ahmed is free to go home,
that his family is not being punished, that al-Ahmed's claims about Saudi
repression are "nonsense," that offensive works distributed by the Saudi
schools "were revised after 9/11," and that "he is funded by people with
political agendas in this country."

Who might that be, I asked. The official named two groups: the Jewish
Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) and the Foundation for the
Defense of Democracies (FDD), which the Saudi said was "essentially the same
group of Jews."

Al-Ahmed and JINSA have never heard of each other, let alone exchanged money
or work, say al-Ahmed and institute spokesman Jim Colbert. FDD did pay
al-Ahmed $2,500 for his "hate literature" research. Foundation President
Clifford May says his group, created after 9/11 to "provide intellectual
ammunition for the war against terrorism," is about as Jewish as its
directors and advisers, who include former House speaker Newt Gingrich,
Clinton CIA director James Woolsey and Al Gore campaign manager Donna
Brazile. "It's high time the Saudis got over their incessant and relentless
anti-Semitism," May says.

Al-Ahmed plans to plow ahead. "We don't have a Washington or Jefferson in my
country," he says. "We have these decadent rulers who think they own the
country. They attack me and say I make things up. Well, I'm not very smart,
but I am determined, and I know this is the right time in history. I will go
back to my country, I know it."


? 2002 The Washington Post Company
"Dans cette epoque cybernetique
Pleine de gents informatique."

Post#153 at 10-24-2002 10:38 AM by Justin '77 [at Meh. joined Sep 2001 #posts 12,182]
10-24-2002, 10:38 AM #153
Join Date
Sep 2001

The newest Iraqi Nomad gen?


Look! These are the children of Iraq," said Nouhad Abdel-Amir pointing at the cancer ward packed with frail children with no hair, many lying unconscious with drips strapped to their bodies.

She herself was holding her one-year-old baby who had his arm amputated to stop the progress of cancer in the absence of injections doctors say are banned by the sanctions committee which claims they have dual use.

. . .

International medical surveys have reported a dramatic jump in cancer cases, genetic deformities and abnormalities in children born after 1991, especially in the south where depleted uranium munitions were fired by U.S. and British troops as they drove Iraqi forces out of Kuwait.
"Qu'est-ce que c'est que cela, la loi ? On peut donc être dehors. Je ne comprends pas. Quant à moi, suis-je dans la loi ? suis-je hors la loi ? Je n'en sais rien. Mourir de faim, est-ce être dans la loi ?" -- Tellmarch

"Человек не может снять с себя ответственности за свои поступки." - L. Tolstoy

is no doubt obvious, the cult of the experts is both self-serving, for those who propound it, and fraudulent." - Noam Chomsky

Post#154 at 10-25-2002 09:50 AM by Virgil K. Saari [at '49er, north of the Mesabi Mountains joined Jun 2001 #posts 7,835]
10-25-2002, 09:50 AM #154
Join Date
Jun 2001
'49er, north of the Mesabi Mountains

Taft lives!

OCTOBER 25 - 31, 2002 LA Weekly

'The Right Peace: Conservatives against a war with Iraq
by Mr. Christopher Layne

NOT ALL AMERICANS CONCERNED about the Bush administration?s headlong rush to war with Iraq are on the political left. Many conservatives and serious academic students of international politics are equally troubled. I am one of them.

This administration?s Iraq policy is, simply, antithetical to American national interests. I come from the Realist school of foreign policy, which emphasizes the competitive, power-political nature of international politics. We Realists are by temperament calculators, not crusaders. We think in terms of national interest and the balance of power. We recognize that wise statesmen resist the temptation to use power promiscuously, and we stress the virtues of prudence, and self-restraint, in foreign policy.
Although we Realists get criticized a lot ? in part because self-styled ?Realists? like Paul Wolfowitz and other neoconservatives give true Realists a bad name ? we tend to be cautious when it comes to using military power. Military power is a blunt instrument, and war often leads to unanticipated geopolitical fallout that negates the fruits of victory on the battlefield. So we ask hard questions. How real is the threat? If the U.S. uses military power, will we be better or worse off at the end of the day than if we had refrained from going to war? Are the interests at stake important enough to justify the human and economic costs, and political risks, of going to war?

In this context, I and leading Realist scholars ? including, notably, John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago and Barry Posen of MIT ? harbor grave doubts about the administration?s Iraq policy.
My political convictions also lead me to doubt the wisdom of Washington?s Iraq policy. Although there are not many of us left, the Republican
foreign-policy tradition represented by the late Ohio Senator Robert Taft has not entirely disappeared. In our tradition, we worry that a policy of foreign-policy excess ? to be blunt, a policy of imperial aspirations ? undermines important domestic political values that we conservatives hold dear (or, at least, used to hold dear before the so-called ?national greatness? neocons hijacked American conservatism): a federal government of limited size and power (which, by the way, is a point with which civil libertarians on the left should agree), fiscal responsibility, moderate taxation and an emphasis on domestic needs over external ambitions.

Taft Republicans have never been ?isolationists? and, indeed, always have understood that the U.S. needs robust military capabilities. But we also believe that America is fundamentally secure, that its interests are not served by grandiose foreign-policy ambitions, and that a bloated Pentagon comes with the pursuit of those ambitions. Taft Republicans entertain no desire to embark on crusades to democratize the world, or to impose American culture and values on the distant corners of the globe.
Given this background, I have the following doubts about the wisdom of the administration?s Iraq policy. To begin with, there is no threat to American national interests that justifies going to war at this time. Iraq does not have nuclear weapons, and is not likely to have them anytime soon. And with respect to chemical and biological weapons, Iraq lacks the capability to attack the United States. Iraq could only attack the U.S. with these weapons by turning them over to terrorists like al Qaeda and relying on them to do the job.

For sure, if the United States wants to go to war with Iraq, the rest of the world is powerless to stop us. The U.S. today is a hegemonic great power. ?Hegemony? is the fancy term we political scientists use to describe a single great power that dominates international politics by virtue of its overwhelming military and economic power ? as the U.S. does today. History tells us a lot about the fates of hegemonic powers, and it is a tale that should give Americans pause. Hegemony has never proved a winning grand strategy for great powers for the simple reason that when one state is too powerful, everyone else feels threatened. And just as kids on the playground join forces to oppose a school-yard bully, other states in international politics coalesce to put hegemonic powers in their place. The history of modern international history is littered with the wreckage of defeated hegemons and empires.
Bush administration officials seem to think the U.S. enjoys a special exemption from history in this regard. Flushed with triumph in Afghanistan, and the awesome display of American power, they talk of a ?new American empire.? U.S. policymakers have succumbed to hubris in the false belief that American dominance is an unchallengeable fact of international life.
They believe the U.S. can use its muscle to bring about regime changes, and to compel others to embrace American-style democracy and free markets. They believe America can impose its will on the world, and stabilize endemically turbulent regions like the Persian Gulf and Central Asia.
Don?t bet on it, however. The lessons of the past tell us that the very fact of America?s overwhelming power is bound to produce a geopolitical backlash. It is only a short step from the celebration of imperial ?glory? to the recessional of imperial power. The United States must be careful not to overreach, and fall victim to the ?hegemon?s temptation? by overextending itself strategically. At the end of the day, hegemons are defeated not just by the counterhegemonic behavior of other states, but by mounting internal weaknesses ? economic, political and social ? caused by the burdens of hegemony, which are a consequence of their own overweening geopolitical and ideological ambitions. That is, hegemons fall victim to what Yale historian Paul Kennedy famously called ?imperial overstretch.? If the Bush administration indeed goes to war with Iraq, it will have embarked on a fateful policy that pushes the United States down the road to imperial overstretch, and decline. And that is why Realists, and we Taftian conservatives, believe the administration is following an ill-considered policy with respect to Iraq.

Post#155 at 11-05-2002 01:44 AM by katchen [at joined Oct 2001 #posts 16]
11-05-2002, 01:44 AM #155
Join Date
Oct 2001

Saudi Arabia--Stratfor

Could it be that the US is moving to take over the Iraqi oilfields because it does not believe that it will retain its access to Saudi fields once the upheaval over there really gets going?

Changes in Saudi Arabia Mirror Pressures in Pre-Revolution Iran
Nov 04, 2002


Several indicators point to looming political upheaval in Saudi Arabia. Though its political system is vastly different from Iran's, upheaval in the kingdom could have much the same effect as the 1979 Islamic revolution on the international system and U.S. interests in the region.


Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al Faisal told CNN recently that his government would not allow the U.S. military to use Saudi territory for a war against Iraq. The statement comes amid a months-long deterioration of relations between Riyadh and Washington and growing pressure from religious leaders for the kingdom to distance itself from the United States.

The decision reflects a narrowing set of options for the ruling House of Saud. Faced with a stagnant economy, an angry and alienated business and merchant elite and a radicalized and critical religious leadership, the government now is trying to regain its balance by reducing its ties with Washington.

From the U.S. perspective, the situation in Saudi Arabia seems eerily similar to what was happening in Iran immediately before the 1979 Islamic revolution. The way Washington handles relations with Riyadh will be colored by that experience.

The Economic Factor

There are several similarities between Iran's internal political dynamic before its revolution and what is going on in Saudi Arabia now. As was the case for Iran in the 1970s, Saudi Arabia's core political problem is a dysfunctional economy.

The kingdom's vast oil wealth continues to fuel a gross domestic product estimated at $191.2 billion in 2002. But the underlying structure of the economy, which is dominated by the non-labor-intensive oil industry, leaves much of society out of the economic loop.

Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah has been trying to tighten the kingdom's fiscal belt since he took over daily government affairs after his half-brother King Fahd's stroke in 1995. Abdullah's policies have not sat well with many Saudis, however. Many of the spending cuts or privatization plans he has pushed either were shelved or reversed due to opposition from business leaders and religious authorities.

Angry and Alienated Elites

This ties in with another key consequence of the economic downturn: the fracturing of the government's alliance with the kingdom's wealthy elites.

There is already an institutionalized split between the government and the business classes in the Hijazi region. Home to Mecca and Medina, the Hijaz also is home to the country's economic capital, Jeddah. But the House of Saud comes from the central Najd region, and over the last few decades -- when the government had less money to distribute as patronage -- it has concentrated on maintaining its Najdi allies, thereby fueling the resentment of the Hijazi elite.

In Iran, the government of the shah lost the support of business classes when it launched an anti-corruption drive designed to gain popularity. Now, the government in Saudi Arabia also is trying to manipulate the economy -- for instance, banning foreign expatriate workers from certain sectors to provide more jobs for Saudis. Such manipulations are aggravating the business class, which has to pay Saudi citizens much more than foreign workers.

Religious Opposition and Anti-Americanism

Another problem in Saudi Arabia is the emerging fissure between the government and the religious leadership over Riyadh's ties with Washington.

For instance, Sheikh Salih al-Lahidan, the chief of the country's Supreme Council of Justice, earlier this year criticized the presence of U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia and came to the defense of another senior religious figure, Sheikh Abd al-Muhsin al-Turki, the chief of the Islamic World League. Turki, who reportedly has had links to charities connected with al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden, challenged the House of Saud's supremacy and publicly warned Abdullah that the government and the religious establishment were both of equal rank, a clear indicator of a power struggle between the two groups.

Unlike Iran, which was in many respects a modern political state, Saudi Arabia's political landscape is still defined by the traditional tribal structure. The dominant issue for religious leaders is not that the government is illegitimate because it lacks religious authority, which is what the clerics in Iran claimed. Rather, it's that the dual policy of backing radical fundamentalists -- while at the same time allowing foreign, and especially American, troops on Saudi soil -- is unacceptable.

In pre-revolution Iran, the shah also took a hit for his government's close ties to Washington and for being perceived as a U.S. lackey. That's not the case in Saudi Arabia, where many citizens believe the monarchy has cleverly manipulated the United States for decades. Even so, anti-American sentiment is strong, particularly when it comes to the issue of the presence of U.S. troops.

Riyadh in recent years has arrested dozens of imams and senior religious leaders for criticizing government policy, but the arrests have not stopped the criticism. And as shown by the recent decision to deny U.S. troops the use of territory for an Iraq war, the criticism does strike a nerve throughout the kingdom.

An Exiled Madman, a Cause and a Following

The presence of U.S. troops on the Arabian Peninsula also has been bin Laden's top complaint. Like the late revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Saudi exile bin Laden hopes to mobilize a radical movement within his former country by zeroing in on such hot-button issues and by demanding the ouster of the current regime.

The Sept. 11, 2001, attacks have given bin Laden the same kind of iconic status that Khomeini enjoyed. He, too, maintained a cadre of support within his home country and used religious fatwas, or declarations, to condemn the government. However, unlike Khomeini, bin Laden could never return to the kingdom to lead the government.

Iranian Revolution vs. Saudi Instability

Despite these similarities, there are key differences between what happened in Iran in 1979 and what is happening in Saudi Arabia today, especially regarding the two nations' political systems and the role of the masses in those systems. Iran was a modern nation-state wherein all sectors of society played key roles in fomenting and carrying through the revolution.

Saudi Arabia is still largely a traditional society, and though the masses may feel frustrated, they are unlikely to rise up together against the government. Indeed, revolutions are unheard of in the modern Arab world, where military coups are the typical means of regime change. What's happening in Saudi Arabia is a systemic restructuring of a tribal system, with economic, theological and political issues serving as the platforms for disagreement.

Externally, the parallel is unmistakable. On issues of foreign policy, Saudi Arabia -- like Iran -- is an Islamic country that is a pillar of U.S. interests in the Persian Gulf region, which also is switching directions. In Washington, the question now becomes: If we can't work with the Saudis, who can we work with? The last thing Washington wants would be for the House of Saud to be replaced by a regime like the one in revolutionary Iran.

Moreover, a change in leadership in Saudi Arabia -- with a system still based on tribal politics -- would be substantially different than the revolutionary government in Iran, where the clerics came to be the sole voice of government. How that change will come about and what the makeup of a new government would be is far from decided. That the push for change has begun in earnest is, however, clear.

Related Headlines
Circle of Opposition Forming Around Saudi Government
Apr 16, 2002
Saudi Law Makes Foreign Labor Less Appealing
Jun 10, 2002
Saudi Arabia: Expats Under Attack Again
Jun 20, 2002

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Post#156 at 11-08-2002 05:25 AM by Vince Lamb '59 [at Irish Hills, Michigan joined Jun 2001 #posts 1,997]
11-08-2002, 05:25 AM #156
Join Date
Jun 2001
Irish Hills, Michigan

A Boomer is in position to be a GC leader in Turkey...

...That is, if Turkey really is on the same saeculum as Western Europe (except Ireland), North America, East Asia, and South Asia.

Standard fair use disclaimer applies:

Turkey Waits and Wonders: How Closely Bound to Islam Is Election Victor?
by Ian Fisher -- NEW YORK TIMES, Thursday 11/7/2002

ISTANBUL, Nov. 6 ?€” The question is even more relevant now that Recep Tayyip Erdogan is, in all but name, the leader of this nation that vitally joins East to West: Has he really changed? The beliefs he expressed as a younger man, though not much younger, make many in Turkey wonder and fear a little.

"Thank God, I am for Shariah," Mr. Erdogan once said, referring to Islamic law. Another time he said, "For us, democracy is a means to an end." Perhaps most infamously, "One cannot be a secularist and a Muslim at the same time."

The public mythology of Mr. Erdogan, 48, is that he began to see the world in a different way as these things happened: Turkey's only Islamist government fell in 1997, he lost his job as Istanbul mayor the next year, and he went to jail for reciting a religious poem.

He then began to back off the muscular Islam that had always defined his
life, praise Turkey's secular state, and engage the West. "I changed," he
said this year. "It was necessary to catch up with developments, the modern age."

Voters in Turkey, a nation proud of its religious moderation, believed him,
or at least were willing to take a risk for broader political change. In the
elections on Sunday, they swept away a generation of established politicians to give his Justice and Development Party enough seats in Parliament to form a government on its own, though Mr. Erdogan is himself barred from holding a formal post because of his conviction for reading the poem.

Many here, and in a Western world wary of Islamic radicalism after Sept. 11, say he still has to prove that change. But many who know Mr. Erdogan, or have followed his career, say he has either given up his more strident views or understands now that he is unlikely to hold onto power if he acts on them. Some say he has always been more pragmatist and populist than Islamist.

If he is sincere, Mr. Erdogan may usher in what Guenter Verheugen, the
European Union official in charge of expanding its membership, this week
hopefully called "one of the most interesting experiences in the future ?€”
whether we can have a modern democratic party in an Islamic country, a party based on religious values."

Can Turkey, or any Muslim country, create a system like those in many Western democracies, where religion is paid due heed, but as a matter of values, not governance? Turkey, so far, has flinched from overtly religious political leaders as a threat to its vulnerable secular state, often at the expense of full democracy.

"It is very important," said Metin Heper, a professor at Bilkent University
in Ankara, who has written a detailed study of Mr. Erdogan. At best, he said, Mr. Erdogan may bring "an enlightened interpretation of Islam, to make it compatible with the modern world and compatible with modern democracy, while he is a pious, devout Muslim himself."

Mr. Erdogan has a long record of injecting Islam into politics. On his
election as mayor of Istanbul in 1994, he proclaimed himself the city's imam, a Muslim religious leader, and opened public meetings with prayers.

His belief was formed in childhood in Kasimpasa, a conservative, religious, poor and somewhat rowdy neighborhood in Istanbul. In Kasimpasa today, women may cover their heads, but they also sit outside smoking cigarettes or navigate cars down the narrow, busy streets ?€” uncommon sights in many Islamic countries, and a legacy of the more tolerant Islam practiced in the Ottoman Empire, centered in Turkey, where Jews, Christians and Muslims all lived.

Since the emergence of modern Turkey's secular founder, Ataturk, the
country's leaders have often sought to stifle many expressions of Islam, and that has energized religious activists. But, Mr. Heper says in his study, this still gave rise to a more tolerant view of Islam than that in many other Islamic nations, and it is this view that Mr. Erdogan imbibed as a young man.

He attended a religious school in Kasimpasa ?€” an experience he later said "I owe everything to" ?€” and played soccer well enough to become a neighborhood celebrity and, nearly, a professional athlete.

In everything, said Esref Yararbas, 47, a grocer in Kasimpasa who knew him since childhood, Mr. Erdogan wanted to win. He started in politics organizing for a religious youth group, and by the mid-1980's was active with the Welfare Party, headed by Necmettin Erbakan, the leader of Islamist politics in Turkey.

As Istanbul mayor, Mr. Erdogan won praise for an efficient administration.
But his early career also stoked controversy: he banned alcohol in municipal restaurants; proposed returning prayer to the Ayasofia, the Byzantine church here, later a mosque, now a museum; suggested that Pierre Cardin "stage a fashion show of dresses with veils."

Some who know him say that it was as mayor that his view of the world began to shift ?€” he traveled abroad and was exposed to broader ideas.

But in 1997 he recited a poem and opened the defining chapter of his career. It read, "The mosques are our barracks, the minarets are our bayonets."

Mr. Erdogan was convicted of inciting religious hatred in 1998 and served
four months in prison in 1999. Several people who know him say that
experience was pivotal. "It was a turning point," said Rusen Cakir, a former journalist. "There were two alternatives. One was to be an Islamist Mandela in Turkey, resisting in jail and never obeying. The other was trying to find a compromise with the state, with the system. He tried the first one, but one week later, he changed his mind and accepted his punishment."

H. Cuneyd Zapsu, a businessman and leader of Justice and Development, added: "That made him see much clearer. When you are four months out of everything you know, you have to figure out what's really going on."

People who know him say that Mr. Erdogan was coming to a larger, more
pragmatic realization about politics with an Islamic tinge. It did not work
well in Turkey, and he is a man interested in grasping political power. The
lesson was clear: in 1997, the army shoved aside Mr. Erbakan, who had become prime minister a year before, for what soldiers saw as taking religious politics too far. Mr. Erdogan also saw other Islamic regimes in the region, many underdeveloped and despotic.

"He found that radicalism is not the way to solve problems," said Fehmi Koru, an influential columnist and Muslim intellectual. "Now I believe he has changed and he deserves to be given at least the benefit of the doubt."

Last year, Mr. Erdogan and several other former Welfare Party members founded Justice and Development and turned it into what some experts call a center-right political party, not a religious group. On several major issues, Mr. Erdogan has indeed shifted. He no longer opposes Turkey's joining the European Union.

On election night, he assured the nation ?€” and the outside world ?€” that he supported a secular, democratic and West-looking Turkey. "Secularism is the protector of all beliefs and religions," Mr. Erdogan said in an interview.

His explanation of the party's victory was more populist than anything.
"Justice and Development is the party of the people," he said. "It's
reliable, democratic, honest, respects and protects basic rights and
freedoms. It is the voice of the silent masses, protector of the defenseless."

The question many have in Turkey is whether Mr. Erdogan's new moderation was merely a means to win. Newspapers often talk of a "secret Islamic agenda."

Many experts do believe he will attack issues that anger devout Muslims, like the ban on head scarves for women attending university, but say he will do it slowly so as not to rattle Turkey's army, which sees itself as the guardian of the secular state and has intervened in the past ?€” most recently in 1980 ?€” to impose its vision of order.

Mr. Heper argues that Mr. Erdogan will most likely continue to represent his views of Islam, but more as a moral force than an outright political one. If he strays over the line, he knows the military may clamp down on him.

"Erdogan differs from this secular view of the world," he said. "He thinks
that for the individual you need ethics derived from Islam. He also thinks
that at the community level, Islam should to some extent regulate
interpersonal relations. This is the extent to which he wants to use Islam."
"Dans cette epoque cybernetique
Pleine de gents informatique."

Post#157 at 11-09-2002 11:56 PM by katchen [at joined Oct 2001 #posts 16]
11-09-2002, 11:56 PM #157
Join Date
Oct 2001

China's vote

Mon, 4 Nov 2002 06:28:14 GMT

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Nov 08, 2002

Russia Seeks Regime Change To Prevent Iraq War
Nov 08
U.S. Interest Rate Cut Addresses Future, Not Current, Problems
Nov 07

Israeli Arabs Reach Out For Allies
Nov 06

Philippines: Delay of Joint Training May Reflect U.S. Focus on Iraq
Nov 05

Russian-Israeli Oil Deal Could Weaken Saudi Position
Nov 04

Iraq Resolution: China's Shifting Policy
Nov 08, 2002


The U.N. Security Council on Nov. 8 unanimously approved a new resolution on Iraq. China, which currently holds the rotating chair of the Security Council, played a strong negotiating role in the final days before the vote, a shift for a nation that traditionally has shied away from such forward action. China?s actions reveal its tactical near-term interests and its broader strategic goals.


The U.N. Security Council on Nov. 8 unanimously approved a long-awaited U.S.- and U.K-sponsored resolution on Iraq, paving the way for the resumption of arms inspections and increasing the potential for U.S. or international military action in Iraq. Interestingly, China -- which had taken over the rotating chairmanship of the Security Council ahead of the vote -- played an important part in the final days of debate and negotiations.

Despite Beijing's normal backseat role in international affairs, and its historical reticence about possible U.S. military actions in strategically important regions, Chinese officials were among the least vocal opponents of the U.S.-British draft resolutions in the United Nations. After Washington offered its third draft, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan told a news conference Nov. 7 that "China will play a positive and constructive role and push for further consultations over the U.N. Security Council draft."

Indeed, a day earlier, Chinese Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan held separate telephone consultations with U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov and French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin. And Beijing made it a point to play up these talks in its state-run media.

In fact, as China's official media outlets were filled in recent days with reports about the national Communist Party conference -- which will determine China's next generation of leaders -- frequent articles about China's role in the Security Council and the debate over the Iraq resolution continued to emerge. Beijing's self-proclaimed role as facilitator of the vote, underscored by its new role as chairman of the Security Council, is part of a broader shift in strategic policy.

Under President Jiang Zemin, China has emerged slowly as a regional and even global player, and Beijing envisions this role expanding in the future -- with the ultimate goal of establishing a true multilateral international system in which China is weighted equally against the United States.

But at the same time, Beijing is looking at tactical-level benefits, not the least of which is gaining a debt of gratitude from the current U.S. administration. In addition, Beijing might be hoping to constrain Washington's options in the Middle East by keeping U.S. maneuverings within the framework of the United Nations, though Washington's commitment to the vagaries of the U.N. remains in doubt.

Even if Beijing cannot keep the United States out of Iraq, it still can benefit if Washington remains tied up in conflict in the Middle East. And China would have time to further develop its domestic economy and military strength while simultaneously positioning itself as a multilateralist power, exploiting international discontent with the United States to gain new and enhanced economic and political ties around the globe.

Related Headlines
Washington, Beijing Maneuvering Ahead of Crawford Summit
Aug 27, 2002
Understanding China's New Regime
Jun 19, 2002
The Bush-Jiang Summit: A New Chapter in U.S.-Chinese Relations
Oct 23, 2002
First Glimpses of China's Next-Generation Leadership
Oct 24, 2002
Balance of Global Opinion Shifting on Iraq
Sep 12, 2002

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Post#158 at 11-10-2002 12:01 AM by katchen [at joined Oct 2001 #posts 16]
11-10-2002, 12:01 AM #158
Join Date
Oct 2001

crunch time for Saudi Arabia

From: katchen
To: katchen
Posted: 10 Nov 2002 03:42
Subject: crunch time for saudi arabia
Dear Vince and list:
In a way, this is welcome news. As you know, I have very mixed feelings about our war with Iraq. Quite clearly we seem to be following T.S. Eliot's words "The last temptation in all seasons. To do the right thing for the wrong reasons".
President Bush and the American people are overconfident about the costs and results of overthrowingSaddam. Our real reason for doing it is to prevent Europe from violating the sanctions imposed on Iraq after the Gulf War. At least that's one of the reasons to grab that oil. Clearly, if Stratfor is correct, another reason (and a much more valid reason) is to make it impossible for Saudi Arabia to jack us around with oil prices. They manipulate oil prices and keep them low to maintain their share of the market. And they use their oil wealth to fund Wahabi Islam all over the world--including probably Al Qaeda. Their protestations that the regime is not involved with supporting Al Qaeda ring as false as the Chinese claim that their weapons sales are the product of rogue units of the PLA. While Bush cannot confront the Saudi Royal Family directly yet, going after Iraq against all their opposition may force them to align openly with Al Qaeda which will justify going to war against Saudi Arabia to our oil interests, whom Bush knows very well. It's a bit like the problem Roosevelt had in making the consensus to go to war with Hitler. He finally got his war, but through the back door and he wound up having to ignore a lot of double dealing by US companies who were more afraid of justifying cancelling dealings with Hitler to their stockholders than they were of being indicted for trading with the enemy.
Make no mistake. This war will make terrorism a lot worse, not better, at least initially. Bush isn't coming clean about the real costs of this war to the American people and may not be admitting it to himself, any more than Abraham Lincoln was honest with the American people and himself about going to war against the South. But this is what happens when a young idealist becomes President. Only time will tell just what the real costs of this war shall be.
all the best
Martin H. Katchen

Iraq Resolution: Crunch Time for Riyadh
Nov 08, 2002


Following the U.N. Security Council vote on a resolution against Iraq, Saudi Arabia is isolated in opposition to a U.S. military campaign against Baghdad. What Riyadh does next, however, hinges heavily on the question: What is the source of its almost terrified opposition to an attack against Iraq?


Despite fierce lobbying by Riyadh, the U.N. Security Council voted unanimously Nov. 8 to support the U.S.- and British-drafted resolution on Iraqi arms inspections. The final shift in favor of the resolution by Russia, France and even Syria has left Saudi Arabia isolated in its opposition to a U.S. campaign that ultimately and overtly seeks regime change in Iraq.

Riyadh now faces a crucial decision: Does it capitulate and throw its support behind the campaign against Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, or does it redouble its efforts to thwart Washington's plans? The underlying question is: What is the reason behind Riyadh's almost terrified opposition to an attack on Iraq?

There are two sources of Saudi concern.

First, the regime is worried that a U.S. attack on Iraq could trigger popular unrest or uprisings within Saudi Arabia. The government's decision to invite U.S. forces into Saudi Arabia in 1990, and to reject Osama bin Laden's offer to raise an Islamic army to defend Saudi territory, drove a crucial wedge between bin Laden and the House of Saud that eventually evolved into al Qaeda's jihad. Al Qaeda has been seeking a trigger to mobilize the Saudi population and military against the House of Saud, and the organization might see its chance in the Iraq campaign.

In fact, sources close to al Qaeda have reported the group plans a campaign of attacks to coincide with U.S. movement against Iraq, to demonstrate that only al Qaeda fights for Arab and Islamic interests. However, sources say Riyadh does not yet believe the forces are in place to seriously challenge Saudi rule, and Saudi security and intelligence forces have demonstrated a tremendous capacity to keep a lid on dissent.

Riyadh's second concern is that if Washington does succeed in installing a pro-U.S. regime in Baghdad, whether through military action or a palace coup, then Saudi Arabia immediately would lose its privileged relationship with Washington, its domination of global oil supplies and its influence in the region. Moreover, the kingdom could find itself in the U.S. crosshairs as Washington returns its focus to the primary mission of eradicating al Qaeda.

Iraq's proven oil reserves are roughly half those of Saudi Arabia, but because exploration in Iraq has been nearly dormant since 1979, application of new exploration technologies potentially could reveal massive new reserves. If U.S. companies are allowed to participate in upstream exploration and production in Iraq, then Saudi Arabia's ability to manipulate oil prices through production levels would diminish significantly. This would impact not only Riyadh's relationship with Washington but also its influence over other regional oil producers, many of whom would be delighted to kick Saudi Arabia while it was down.

Moreover, if the United States enjoys a strong oil supply relationship with a post-Hussein Iraq and has access to Iraqi military bases for its own troops, then it no longer has any need to go easy on Riyadh in the war against al Qaeda. Saudi Arabia has provided core support for al Qaeda in the form of financing, recruiting and ideology. Support for al Qaeda runs deep, even within the royal family. Even if Riyadh cooperated on the Iraq campaign, it could not afford to cooperate with U.S. efforts to root out support for al Qaeda inside the kingdom. While the Saudi public might not revolt over an invasion of Iraq, it would revolt over deep U.S. sweeps inside Saudi Arabia.

Washington is moving inexorably toward confronting the issue of Saudi support for al Qaeda. For Riyadh, delaying such a confrontation is always the first option, and the regime first tried to divert U.S. attention by raising the prominence of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Later, Riyadh tried to drag out the U.N. debate concerning Iraq. But with complete capitulation to the U.S. anti-terrorism war simply impossible to consider, the Saudi regime is running out of options.

The kingdom's two concerns argue for different strategies. If Riyadh's primary fear is that a U.S. attack on Iraq will spawn a popular uprising in Saudi Arabia, then Riyadh's next step would be to lend its hand to efforts to bring about a peaceful regime change within Baghdad, perhaps going so far as to offer sanctuary for Hussein and his family. It would not be the first time Riyadh sheltered an exile -- Uganda's Idi Amin Dada took advantage of Saudi hospitality, as has Pakistan's Nawaz Sharif, Qatar's Emir Khalifa and various dissident Egyptian clerics. An offer to Hussein could be conveyed through Saudi businessmen, who recently resumed visits to Iraq.

However, it appears that the primary fear is that a U.S. foothold in Iraq will eliminate Saudi Arabia's privileged position with Washington, the regional influence that that relationship generates and immunity from the anti-al Qaeda campaign. Therefore, Riyadh cannot allow a pro-U.S. regime change in Baghdad, whether through violent or peaceful means. Yet it is difficult to see how Riyadh can stave off such a change at this time.

Tactically, the Saudis could try to erode support for the war by opening the oil taps and driving down crude prices. This could work, but only for a short time since Saudi Arabia cannot survive low oil prices for long -- and even then the negative impact would fall primarily on the Gulf states; Turkey and Jordan would welcome cheap oil. If Riyadh is to attempt this gambit, it must act quickly: A U.S. attack on Iraq appears likely in less than three months.

The Saudi regime also could reheat the war in Israel, though it is not clear that this would be enough to thwart a U.S. war plan that is already well-advanced. Officials also could attempt to convince Hussein to comply fully with weapons inspections, thus depriving Washington of any grounds for attack. This would be difficult and would not preclude U.S. support for a palace coup.

Riyadh still might have some hope for support against the war -- massive U.S. investment in the Iraqi oil sector would hurt oil-producing Russia, and an entrenched U.S. military presence in Iraq would challenge Iranian security. But both countries have expressed at least tacit support for toppling Hussein.

That leaves only one potential ally for Riyadh: al Qaeda. It is a radical prospect -- but short of submitting fully to the U.S. war on al Qaeda and hoping support from Washington is sufficient to prop up what is left of the Saudi regime against the inevitable backlash, Riyadh's options soon could dwindle to hostile resistance.

Related Headlines
Saudi Report Meant To Pressure Qatar
Nov 07, 2002
Russia Seeks Regime Change To Prevent Iraq War
Nov 07, 2002

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Post#159 at 11-14-2002 03:06 AM by Dave Stafford [at joined Nov 2002 #posts 64]
11-14-2002, 03:06 AM #159
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Nov 2002

THE CURSE OF LAWRENCE OF ARABIA - the last third turning

The Curse of Lawrence of Arabia
by Jack Wheeler

The most legendary American journalist of the 20th century was Lowell Thomas. I had the opportunity to meet him in 1978, when we were both guests on The Merv Griffin Show.

Off camera, I asked him, "Do you feel you contributed, however inadvertently, to the political mess that is the Middle East today?"

He looked at me sharply and asked me what I meant. "Well, after all," I answered, "it was you who gave Lawrence's promise to the Hashemites so much power." His eyes narrowed, and he responded, "That was a long time ago."

In 1917, Lowell Thomas was a young, ambitious journalist in search of an interesting story in the lost backwater of World War I.

In Jerusalem, he met a small (5 foot 4) British Army captain assigned as a liaison officer to Arabs living in a desert no one had ever heard of.

Thomas saw his chance. His breathless dispatches had the purpose of creating a myth around the liaison officer who had begun teaching Arab tribes to blow up Turkish trains nobody cared about in the desert nobody ever heard of.

The liaison officer's name was T.E. Lawrence, but Lowell Thomas called him "Lawrence of Arabia." In 1919, Thomas went on a lecture tour in the United Kingdom and United States, showing pictures of Lawrence posing in a sheikh's robes in a London studio, and entranced audiences with stories about the 'White King of the Arabs.'

By the time the Treaty of S?vres was negotiated in 1920, with Lawrence in attendance and the media mob hanging on his every word, the British felt compelled to keep Lawrence's promise to the chieftains of an Arab tribe called the Hashemites.

The political structure of the Middle East today is the result of that promise. The Treaty of S?vres permitted the British to seize pieces of the Ottoman Empire, which had ruled the Middle East for centuries, but joined the Germans in WWI.

Instead of British colonies, the pieces were called League of Nations 'mandates,' for which the Brits needed puppet rulers.

One of these 'mandated' areas was the west coast of Arabia, a desert region called the Hejaz. Lawrence had promised the chieftains of the Hashem tribe that if they would join the British against the Turks, they would get to rule the Hejaz as their own kingdom. Thus the Hashem patriarch, Hussein Ibn Ali, became the King of the Hejaz.

At Lawrence's insistence, the Brits installed Ali's son Feisal as ruler of the 'mandate' of Syria, divided the 'mandate' of Palestine in two, and installed Feisal's brother Abdullah as ruler of the part east of the Jordan River (the western part eventually became Israel 28 years later, no thanks to the British).

Lawrence (and Thomas) had bought into the phony claim that the Hashem tribal leaders were directly descended from Mohammad himself. The Hashemites claimed that this assumed mantle of Islamic holiness gave them a right to rule, without elections, all Arabs everywhere. So the Brits created the Hashemite Kingdoms of Hejaz, Jordan and Syria.

Except, the chieftain of the Wahhabi tribe from central Arabia, Abdul Aziz ibn Saud, kicked Ali out of Hejaz, took it over, and called his entire conquered area Saudi Arabia - while France claimed Syria was their 'mandate' and kicked out Feisal.

As a consolation prize, Lawrence insisted the Brits install Feisal as the ruler of yet another "mandate," that of Mesopotamia. Created out of three former Ottoman vilayets (provinces) without any regard to national coherence, this area was renamed Iraq.

The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan still exists (the current ruler, Abdullah II, is the first Abdullah's great-grandson), but the Hashemite Kingdom of Iraq was erased (with the entire "royal family," including Feisal's grandson Feisal II, slaughtered) by a military coup in 1958.

Through the help of Soviet KGB agent Yevgeny Primakov, Saddam Hussein completed his control over the Iraqi military regime by 1979.

The bottom line to this saga is that Iraq is not a real country - like, say, Persia (Iran), which has existed for 2,500 years. It is an artificial construct and can only be held together by force.

Iraq and its people have neither history of nor familiarity with democratic institutions. The three former vilayets of which it is composed still have no mutual cohesiveness.

Mosul in the north is Kurdish, Basra in the south is Shiite Arab and Baghdad in the middle is Sunni Arab. The Kurds, Shiites and Sunnis all hate each other. It takes a Saddam to hold the place together.

And that's why Saddam has been kept in place and allowed to ignore all those U.N. Resolutions. A disintegrated Iraq could easily mean an independent Kurdistan, which the millions of Kurds in Turkey, Syria and Iran would clamor to join, splitting apart those three countries.

It could mean an independent Basra, or just an inchoate anarchy, another Somalia. The fear of these post-Saddam scenarios is what drives much of the international frenzy against GW taking Saddam out.

It is to GW's enormous credit that he has the intelligence to realize that the threat of Saddam's rule vastly outweighs the threat of its dissolution, and the determination to eliminate the former.

It will be near impossible, however, to eliminate the latter. Let us hope that GW accepts this reality and assiduously avoids desperate attempts to put the Humpty Dumpty of a post-Saddam Iraq back together.

America's and the world's security must no longer be held hostage to a promise made by a junior British officer to a bunch of camel-herders wandering around a lost desert 86 years ago - a promise made important by an ambitious journalist's romantic froth of promotional puffery, resulting in incalculably tragic consequences as the Curse of Lawrence of Arabia.

Post#160 at 11-15-2002 03:30 AM by katchen [at joined Oct 2001 #posts 16]
11-15-2002, 03:30 AM #160
Join Date
Oct 2001

Dear Dave:
Excellent points. I didn't know that Primakov helped Saddam attain power. As far as the Hashemites claim to the lineage of the Prophet, lots of people in the Middle East claim that lineage. They are called Saids. Ayatollah Khomeinei was one of them, which was why he got to wear the black turban.
all the best
Martin H. Katchen

Post#161 at 11-19-2002 01:37 PM by '58 Flat [at Hardhat From Central Jersey joined Jul 2001 #posts 3,300]
11-19-2002, 01:37 PM #161
Join Date
Jul 2001
Hardhat From Central Jersey

There appears to be a movement in the U.S. media to paint Saddam as representing the "Islamic" cause worldwide, when history does not support this: Indeed, the Ba'ath Socialist Party has pursued an anti-clerical agenda since its takeover of both Iraq and Syria in 1958 - a fact that is being conveniently glossed over in America today, no doubt with intent to inflame passions.
But maybe if the putative Robin Hoods stopped trying to take from law-abiding citizens and give to criminals, take from men and give to women, take from believers and give to anti-believers, take from citizens and give to "undocumented" immigrants, and take from heterosexuals and give to homosexuals, they might have a lot more success in taking from the rich and giving to everyone else.

Don't blame me - I'm a Baby Buster!

Post#162 at 12-17-2002 03:54 AM by Vince Lamb '59 [at Irish Hills, Michigan joined Jun 2001 #posts 1,997]
12-17-2002, 03:54 AM #162
Join Date
Jun 2001
Irish Hills, Michigan

Some long-term optimism

Standard disclaimers apply:

BUSINESS WEEK -- December 23, 2002 (page 49)

Commentary -- by STAN CROCK

No Bush Administration vision is grander than the White House blueprint for an Arab Reformation. Overhauling the Palestinian Authority and changing the regime in Iraq are just the beginning. What the Bush team would like is nothing less than a renaissance of a culture and economy that successfully competed with the West centuries ago and now by some measures is barely ahead of sub-Saharan Africa.

Washington's recipe for rebirth is a familiar mantra: Democracy, free
markets, and human rights -- women included. But can these notions finally take hold in this complex and troubled region?

Not a few Administration critics dismiss the idea out of hand. While some
Administration officials talk of a profound impact if Saddam Hussein goes, a recent paper from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace dubs the prospect of a democratic domino effect from Saddam's ouster a "mirage." "Rather simplistic and utopian," notes one Arab intellectual. Yet there is a strong argument for optimism about the Arab world, in particular if you look out beyond the next couple of years.

Longtime experts on the region such as Zalmay Khalizad, recently appointed the Administration's point man for post-Saddam Iraq, and Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz, a leading Bush Administration thinker on national security, see more encouraging signs of change than at any time in recent history. The number of elected legislatures in the Arab world is growing, political participation by women is on the rise, and more countries are mulling economic reforms that could reduce the clout of the existing power structure.

"It's in the strategic interests of the U.S. to see progress toward
representative government," Wolfowitz recently told BusinessWeek. "Over the long run, that's the source of real stability."

Three converging factors could make the arid Arab political terrain
surprisingly fertile over the next decade or two -- the time frame Wolfowitz and other Administration officials have in mind. The first is outside pressure from forces that range from American rhetoric to the economic demands of globalization.

A second is the growing realization by some in the Arab elite that the region has fallen desperately behind. Last summer, a group of highly regarded Arab economists authored a report under the auspices of the United Nations Development Programme that contained a withering critique of Arab social, political, and economic policies. Among other things, the report pointed out that in 1960, per-capita output was higher in the Arab world than among the Asian Tigers. Now it's half that of South Korea.

And productivity in the Arab sphere is dropping, while it's rising elsewhere. Even sub-Saharan Africa has higher rates of Internet use than most Arab states. Officials from Lebanon, Jordan, Kuwait, and Bahrain have been meeting with the report's authors to discuss ways to implement its recommendations for reform, which echo the U.S. agenda.

The third and most important factor likely to drive change in the Arab world is its youthful population. The Arab region is the world's youngest, with 38% of the population 14 years old or younger. Unemployment is already 15%, one of the highest rates in the developing world, and most experts agree that the current economic system just can't handle the workforce growth that's coming. Ruling elites, terrified by this ticking demographic time bomb, have two choices. "It could be an implosion," notes Zahir Jamal, a top official of the UNDP's regional bureau for Arab States. "Or it could be a massive incentive to renew the social contract."

Administration officials already see the mounting pressures on the region
spurring movement on the ground in several countries. Women can now vote and run for office in Qatar and Morocco, while in Kuwait they hope to be able to do so in two years. The Sultan of Oman recently instituted universal suffrage, decreeing that everyone over the age of 21 will be able to vote in next year's elections.

As rigid as Saudi Arabia is, its de facto leader, Crown Prince Abdullah, is
pressing for economic, social, and educational reform, and a crackdown on corruption. On Nov. 12, Riyadh proposed a sweeping privatization plan for industries ranging from telecommunications to transportation. And the
platform of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's National Democratic Party
Congress, which has received little attention in the West, called in
September for reforms ranging from floating exchange rates to women's rights.

Of course, even the most progressive regimes are far from American-style democracies. While the October election in Bahrain got high marks in Washington, the country's largest Shiite political society, Al Wefaq,
boycotted the vote because the legislature wouldn't have enough clout. Egypt, Jordan, and Algeria meet most standard benchmarks for popular elections, yet the legislatures are little more than Potemkin parliaments.

"Rubber stamp might be overstating their power," quips Leslie Campbell, a top Middle East hand at the Democratic National Institute for International Affairs, which helps build democracy abroad.

Even so, the Administration thinks it can build on these initial steps. That
means encouraging both existing and new experiments in democratic political reform, free _expression, free markets, and educational reform, even if they are imperfect. On Dec. 12, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell is expected to call in a major speech for a new U.S. push in these areas. The big challenge: Promoting change without provoking an even greater anti-American backlash than is already taking shape in much of the Arab world.

One way is to operate below the radar screen, through nuts-and-bolts programs aimed at ensuring reforms are effective -- perhaps even more effective than Arab rulers would like. These programs are small in the overall scheme of things and don't get much attention.

The State Dept., for example, is dipping into a $25 million pot of money to
teach parliamentary staffers how to draft legislation. And recently, 50 women activists from 14 Arab countries visited Washington to learn about
campaigning and lobbying -- skills that increase the number of women in Arab governments. "We can build upon our visit, not to benefit us ourselves, but to benefit a big group back home," says Rolla Abdulla Dashti, the 38-year-old chairman of FARO International Corp., a Kuwaiti financial-services consulting business, who attended the seminars.

Education. Exchange programs. On-the-ground assistance. It doesn't sound like a revolutionary way to build democracy in a region with regimes as entrenched as those in the Arab states. But combine these small steps with larger forces at work in the region, and Washington's optimists think that the Arab world will indeed change for the better over time.

It took about 20 years for Asia's and Latin America's authoritarian states to evolve into more democratic systems. A swift change of regime in Iraq could speed up that process in the Middle East. But, even if it doesn't, a slow transformation is better than none at all.
"Dans cette epoque cybernetique
Pleine de gents informatique."

Post#163 at 12-17-2002 10:02 AM by jds1958xg [at joined Jan 2002 #posts 1,002]
12-17-2002, 10:02 AM #163
Join Date
Jan 2002

Re: Some long-term optimism

Quote Originally Posted by Vince Lamb '59
The third and most important factor likely to drive change in the Arab world is its youthful population. The Arab region is the world's youngest, with 38% of the population 14 years old or younger. Unemployment is already 15%, one of the highest rates in the developing world, and most experts agree that the current economic system just can't handle the workforce growth that's coming. Ruling elites, terrified by this ticking demographic time bomb, have two choices. "It could be an implosion," notes Zahir Jamal, a top official of the UNDP's regional bureau for Arab States.
Combine these stats with some others I've seen on Europe and Russia that suggest that, by 2050, their median age stats will be almost 50, with their birth rates dropping even further below their death rates (and thus below their replacement rates) in the meantime, and it's not hard to see how Islam will be able to handle it's demographic time bomb: by exporting it to Europe and Russia, partly by immigration on a 'Camp of the Saints' scale, partly by jihad, until Europe and Russia have become the newest additions to the Islamic World. Allah be praised! :o

Post#164 at 12-19-2002 10:57 PM by cbailey [at B. 1950 joined Sep 2001 #posts 1,559]
12-19-2002, 10:57 PM #164
Join Date
Sep 2001
B. 1950

Former U.S. Pepresentative (Utah) Wayne Owens (b. 1938) was found dead on a beach in Tel Aviv, Israel, on Wednesday. He was 64.

I post this here because Wayne had been working in Israel on behalf of the Center for Middle East Peace and Economic Cooperation, a non-profit organization for which he served as president since 1993. He had lobbied Congress and other U.S. institutions to help bring about peace inthe Middle East by creating jobs through economic development. "Wayne had such a wonderful idealistic core. He was one guy who believed, really believed, that he could help solve the Middle East crisis. He kept going back there trying to do just that. And he died there. He never quit on people."

He went to Congress at the age of 34. He voted for the impeachement of President Nixon as a member of the House Judiciary Committee. He contnually fought for wilderness designation to protect vast expanses of Utah's wild lands. In 1987 Owens filed legislation to reintroduce wolves into Yellowstone. He voted against Bush's Gulf War. He was one of those guys with convictions.....and courage...and he inspired so many of us who were fortunate enough to know him.

A good soul has left us.

Post#165 at 12-24-2002 05:04 AM by Dave Stafford [at joined Nov 2002 #posts 64]
12-24-2002, 05:04 AM #165
Join Date
Nov 2002

No One Says it Better Than Victor Davis Hansen

No One Says it Better That Victor Davis Hansen

December 21, 2002 12:45 p.m.
The War
A reminder.

est we forget why we have been fighting the al Qaeda terrorists and are now ready to invade Iraq, we should remember some basic facts about the present war.

What is its immediate cause?

About a year and a half ago, Middle Eastern terrorists ? at a time of peace and without provocation ? simply murdered 3,000 Americans. They blew up four airliners together with their crews and passengers, toppled the World Trade Center, and attacked the Pentagon. In addition, they caused billions of dollars in damage to the American economy, threw millions out of work, and forever changed the daily lives of an entire country and of much of the world besides.

Why did they attack us in such a manner?

Our enemies struck at icons of American economic and military power and used terror in lieu of conventional weapons and tactics. Knowing they could not defeat the United States military or appeal for support to the American people, they thought to create a climate of horror and fear to further their own political agendas. Perhaps we were supposed to quietly withdraw our troops from the Middle East, insist on concessions for Yasser Arafat, and grant de facto spheres of influence to al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas, and other terrorist groups. Yet just as the fundamentalists gave us no thanks for saving Muslims in Kosovo, Bosnia, Kuwait, and Somalia, so too they would have looked at such dispensation as decadent compassion and been emboldened rather than appreciative.

But who exactly are our enemies?

The hard-core group of Islamic fascists, known as al-Qaeda, involves perhaps no more than 10,000 or 20,000 loosely coordinated killers. But like the Italian fascists, German Nazis, and Japanese militarists, their largely pampered leaders hope to capitalize on latent anger against the West among Islamic populations at large ? to bully, threaten, or hijack weak regimes in the Middle East to obtain de facto political power. Post-9/11 cheering on the West Bank or amused smiles in the salons of Beirut and Cairo were seen as initial successes. Without at least tacit support from civilians, the terrorists could not exist.

What do they really want?

It is hard to tell, inasmuch as their grandiose schemes are as illogical as Hitler's ? but no less dangerous. But if we take them at their word, their Middle East would look something like the Taliban's Afghanistan or the mullahs' Iran ? a vast tribal, patriarchal, and theocratic society on a continental scale. It would be run by zealots and religious extremists who would institute a medieval sort of Islamic law, even as the leaders themselves, like Ottoman grandees of old, would continue to be parasitic on the West ? importing their own eyeglasses, medicines, videos, and electronic technology. Politically, they would hope to expand on the model of Iranian theocracy and terror, using vast oil revenues to buy missiles and eventually components for nuclear weapons ? first to obliterate Israel, then to either blackmail or attack us. The ultimate goals of demented thugs like a Mullah Omar or bin Laden are, of course, contradictory and absurd ? how can one hate and wish to destroy the West, when it is the only source of everything one uses ? from oil-drilling equipment and SUVs to machine guns and cell phones? So they are a lot like the Visigoths and Vandals who liked the appurtenances of Rome yet on their own accord could not create, but only ransack them. Take a look at present-day Iran and recent Afghanistan to ponder the ruin and barbarity that their rule could bring to hundreds of millions in just a few years.

Do they have any support?

Criminals like these at first never have real support. But if, like a Hitler or Mussolini, they demonstrate success in stirring up resentments and winning concessions from supposedly weak enemies, then they can win over the masses through their ardor and ?lan. Most people usually welcome a sense of increased national importance and pride on the cheap ? as long as it does not entail real costs. So al Qaeda is like the Nazi party circa 1926, in a high-stakes game for the hearts and minds of the so-called Arab street, which so far likes the rhetoric but is not yet sure of the eventual price tag. Blowing up Jewish kids in schools or shooting a few unarmed Americans is easy and plays well, but being barred from traveling to Europe or America, earning ostracism from the World Bank, and having your entire military obliterated in mere hours ? all that and more requires some careful consideration. Wearing a bin Laden T-shirt or bragging that Saddam Hussein stands up to a strong America afraid to use its power is one thing; seeing GPS bombs glide through the windows of mansions in Lebanon and Syria is another.

But why would any in the Middle East follow such a pitiful band of cutthroats?

Fear, for starters ? the terrorists can murder newspaper editors, government officials, or military officers who oppose them. Despair plays a role too among the Arab dispossessed. Over 300 million in the Middle East live under regimes that are corrupt and tribal, dysfunctional autocracies without elections or the rule of law. With rising populations and failing economies, despots can only defer reform by using their state-run presses to vent tension against those more successful, such as Israel and the West. Hating the Jews is old stuff for the weak and envious, and so apparently is despising the country that gives you Star Wars, 757s, and vaccinations. A mass, crybaby adolescence has infected the Middle East. At first this pathetic, passive-aggressive view of the West intrigued Americans, then it disturbed them; but now it has become not merely tedious, but downright repellent to us. There are root causes for the spread of terror, but they are entirely self-induced.

So who are we really at war with?

We fight first the terrorist nucleus, and so must hunt all of them down in a global chase where there is little quarter asked for or given. Further, radical regimes that in the past have harbored terrorists, stockpiled frightening weapons, and are either openly or covertly aiding al Qaeda must be confronted to change or be vanquished. In the past where would an Abu Nidal or Abu Abbas have gone without a haven in Syria, Libya, or Iraq?

Who is winning?

It is not even close so far. After little more than a year, and at a cost of fewer than 100 American casualties, al Qaeda is about half ruined. The Taliban is gone. Iraq is terrified. And equally awful regimes like those in Syria, Iran, and Libya are apprehensive precisely because they know they are guilty of spreading murder and mayhem against Western innocents. We know where the terrorists thrive ? in outlaw states like an Afghanistan, Somalia, or Sudan, theocracies like Iran, or dictatorships like Iraq. When those regimes are either gone or reformed, the world of our enemies shrinks.

Could we lose?

Militarily, no. Their only hope is to frighten or demoralize us to such a degree that in our wealth and leisure we feel too afraid, smug, or distracted to take them seriously. So far only about 10 percent of Americans ? naively hoping that compromises could guarantee our security ? would throw in the towel, withdraw, hand over a sixth of the world to them, and thus grant them the power to do the greater evil that they wish.

How will we know when the war is over?

When Europeans and Americans are no longer rounding up terrorists in their countries, when mullahs and sheiks are quite afraid to broadcast calls to kill Americans, and when so-called allies volunteer their help without our own bribes and coercion. I might add, also, when an American diplomat, without qualification or embarrassment, says publicly that he has nothing but support for Israelis who hunt down killers and terrorists. In other words, we will win when a sense of deterrence ? lost during the last decades ? is reestablished, one that sends the message to our would-be enemies that the killing of Americans is synonymous with their own near-instantaneous destruction. The Nazis and the Japanese militarists alike came to realize the Americans were not necessarily pacifistic and malleable people, but rather scary and unpredictable; al Qaeda's supporters must come to the same conclusion.

But won't they just attack us again and again?

War is tragically endemic to the human condition. We can only do our best in our own time as befitting our station and pass on our lessons to the next generation ? even though we sometimes forgot such precepts ourselves. Just as the collapse of the Soviet Union created an entirely new climate in eastern Europe, so too the defeat of al Qaeda, the new government in Afghanistan, and a post-Hussein Iraq will send a powerful message to the lunocracies of the Middle East: join the world of democracy, freedom, law, and prosperity ? or perish trying to destroy it.

Post#166 at 03-13-2003 01:17 AM by Tom Mazanec [at NE Ohio 1958 joined Sep 2001 #posts 1,511]
03-13-2003, 01:17 AM #166
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The next nuclear crisis

I have been posting much about, first, India-Pakistan and now Korea; but we must not ignore the "forgotten member" of the Axis of Evil. Iran is working just as hard (if more quietly and starting from behind) as Korea to get a nuclear arsenal. Maybe this is the place where everything will go flooey in 2004 or 2005.

Post#167 at 03-17-2003 10:31 PM by Vince Lamb '59 [at Irish Hills, Michigan joined Jun 2001 #posts 1,997]
03-17-2003, 10:31 PM #167
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A possible model in the Gulf

Standard Fair Use disclaimers apply.

BUSINESS WEEK -- Monday 3/24/2003, pages 51-55

by Laura Cohn in Doha, Qatar

At the end of a desert road leading to the Persian Gulf lies the key to
prosperity for tiny Qatar: the world's largest natural gas field. The reserve
holds enough gas to satisfy U.S. demand for more than 30 years and makes
Qatar a natural place for giants such as Exxon Mobil, France's Total Fina
Elf, and Japan's Mitsui.

Energy supplies Qatar's wealth. But the progressive style of the emir, Sheikh
Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, may supply something else: A role model for other
gulf states as they contemplate life in the region after Saddam.

If President Bush decides to invade Iraq, Qatar will play an important part.
Home to Camp As Sayliyah, headquarters of the U.S. Central Command, Qatar is
one of the most outspoken supporters of U.S. policy toward Iraq in the gulf.
"The United States is a very close friend to Qatar," says Qatari Foreign
Minister Hamad bin Jassem bin Jaber Al Thani, a cousin of the emir.

Friendship with the U.S. is an important pillar of Qatar's security and
possibly its long-term prosperity. Just as important are the emir's goals and
policies. The Qataris have no desire to exist either in the shadow of the
Saudis or the Iranians -- they want a future more secular and more Western
than either of those states provides.

"The emir has a genuine belief that the world is changing and that it's
better to do things now, when we can, and not wait until there's more
tension," says Hassan M. Al Ansari, director of the Gulf Studies Center at
the University of Qatar in Doha. "Change is not an easy thing."

Qatar is no transplanted piece of American society and never will be. But its
leaders are shrewdly combining economic and security policy to secure the
country's future. After the first Gulf War, Qatar quietly agreed to host
American forces.

Then, in 1995, the emir deposed his figurehead father in a bloodless coup and
began instituting radical changes. These included investing more than $1
billion in an air base, Al Udeid. It's home to a 15,000-foot runway, the
longest in the gulf -- and now a centerpiece of America's power in the region.

Just as crucial, Sheikh Hamad followed his welcoming of the U.S. with an
easing of immigration rules and the introduction of tax breaks to overseas
investors. He oversaw the drafting of a constitution that will eventually
create an elected Parliament, lifted the ban on alcohol, and established Al
Jazeera, the freewheeling satellite-TV station -- which frequently annoys
Qatar's neighbors with its pointed reports.

"He has broken all the taboos," says Riad Kahwaji, chief executive of the
Institute for Near East & Gulf Military Analysis, an independent think tank
in Dubai. "He flagrantly talks about democracy. This is encouraging to
investors from the West."

Along with having a maverick leader, Qatar's size makes it conducive to
change. Fundamental shifts in a big country like Saudi Arabia would be much
more difficult, Kahwaji says.

The sheikh can conduct his social experiments in a prospering country. Lured
by the gas fields and tax breaks, multinationals are pouring money in --
unlike, say, in Jordan, another progressive Arab state that has no major gas
or oil reserves to attract foreign capital. Qatari growth has averaged 13.5%
over the past five years. Last year, gross domestic product per capita soared
to an estimated $27,050 -- higher than France's.

The development of the 900 trillion-cubic-foot natural gas field has provided
the state with the money to offer enormous benefits for its citizens. Qataris
don't pay taxes, have free health care, and enjoy free electricity and water
-- and cheap gas. Nearly every other car zipping along the palm tree-lined
highways of the capital, Doha, is a sport-utility vehicle. "Everything is
done for the benefit of the people," says Mubarak Mohamed Alboainin, an
engineer at Qatar Petroleum who got his degree at Lamar University in
Beaumont, Tex., at the state's expense.

In this atmosphere, liberal thoughts creep in. Qatari women participate in
the prosperity, in contrast to Saudi Arabia, where their rights are limited
and they must remain covered from head to toe. True, most women in Qatar
still wear the traditional long black robe, the abaya. But thanks to a push
from Qatar's first lady, Sheikha Mouza, women can now drive, vote, and run
for office in municipal elections.

Behind the push for women's rights is the belief that all Qataris need to be
educated for the country to become a true modern state. In addition, since
the Arab state is so small and has such a large immigrant population,
officials want as many natives as possible participating in the workforce.

One successful woman is Hind Abdulla Al Maraghi, a sales and marketing
executive at the Doha Club, an exclusive social center in the city's
downtown. Al Maraghi, who is working on a bachelor's degree in computer
programming, views recent changes as revolutionary. "There's a big future for
women in Qatar," she says. That's not to say every aspect of a woman's life
has changed: In July, Al Maraghi will marry a man who was picked for her.

Just as cultural traditions will take time to change, so will the government.
While Qatari rulers talk glowingly of democracy sprouting up in this barren
desert state, the reality is a bit different. Yes, there are hopes for an
elected Parliament, but no plans to replace the monarch with an elected head
of state.

"The question is how you judge democracy," says an adviser to the emir. "Is
it democracy in the Western sense? No. Is it progress? Yes." Progress the
U.S. hopes to see replicated in the region.
"Dans cette epoque cybernetique
Pleine de gents informatique."

Post#168 at 03-24-2003 07:21 PM by Earl and Mooch [at Delaware - we pave paradise and put up parking lots joined Sep 2002 #posts 2,106]
03-24-2003, 07:21 PM #168
Join Date
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Delaware - we pave paradise and put up parking lots

For Arabs, a Cruel Echo of History
Rami G. Khouri, LA Times

BEIRUT, 23 March 2003 ? To Washington and London, this week?s attack against Iraq is part of a historical process to promote Arab peace, liberty and democracy. To most Arabs, it is a cruel reappearance of demons that have haunted them for centuries.

For many Arabs, this revives historical ghosts from 1915-22, when British and French armies brazenly rearranged our region into strange-shaped countries with Euro-made power structures. The Arab view is that this was done mainly to protect Western colonial interests, divide up local spoils and promote Zionist national goals, largely ignoring indigenous Arab, Kurdish and other local interests. The consequences have been catastrophic: Nearly a century of chronic wars and insurrections, unstable frontiers, underachieving and distorted economies, and the most persistent modern legacy of political autocracy anywhere on the planet.

This attack on Iraq may be novel and noble for Americans, but for many Arabs it is seen as yet another return of the Western armies that have regularly marched into our lands over the last two centuries to establish a political-economic order that is unsatisfactory to most of us, or to create a new political order aiming mainly to serve the interests of the United States, Israel or the tiny elite of Western-created Arab wielders of power and amassers of wealth.

As we watch this war on television, most of us in the Arab world see just another Arab power being sacked by another Western armada; Arab armies and rich states watching helplessly or assisting the attackers; a US-backed Israel again battering Palestinians and taking more of their land; mass Arab anger and humiliation welling up, only to be suppressed by US-backed Arab regimes; and a hapless UN and its spirit of the rule of law expediently used, then discarded, by Washington.

This is the recurring historical horror show that most Arabs see. This terrible and haunting saga of Arab weakness, failure, vulnerability and chronic humiliation cumulatively has led to mass degradation and dehumanization that leaves most Arabs numb in disbelief. We desperately want change, reform, democracy, prosperity and modernity, but few of us believe that this will come through the barrels of Western guns. Those guns have been firing at us for centuries, and all we have is continuing failure.

(Khouri is executive editor of the Beirut-based Daily Star newspaper.)

Post#169 at 04-30-2003 06:13 PM by zilch [at joined Nov 2001 #posts 3,491]
04-30-2003, 06:13 PM #169
Join Date
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Bush Road Map

Back in February, I posted:

Quote Originally Posted by Marc S. Lamb
Here's one for Mike Alexander.

Surprise, surprise! Just as soon as I open my mouth, on what I think Bush's goals are, and shazzam! Bush lays it all out. Yesterday, as a matter of fact, at a speech he gave at AEI. He's quite ambitious and idealistic in what he sees as a post-Saddam Middle East. If you're thinkin' cycles here, Bush is either FDR, or gawd-forbid, Wilson.
Well, here's the outline of Bush's very important Performance-Based Road Map to a Permanent Two-State Solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, released just today (in wake of last night's suicide bombing at an American nightclub in Israel).

Like I said, "If you're thinkin' cycles here, Bush is either FDR, or gawd-forbid, Wilson."

But one thing is for sure, Herbert Hoover (of whom, Saint Hillary just accused Bush of being the other night) never even came close to attempting this sort of vision in 1930-32. And Democrats are being very, very foolish in evoking this sort of nonsense now.

Bush may well fail... his vision may unravel, but that is all Democrats can hope for. And I submit, folks, that is not the sort of hope upon which enduring realignments are forged.

Post#170 at 06-30-2003 09:06 AM by '58 Flat [at Hardhat From Central Jersey joined Jul 2001 #posts 3,300]
06-30-2003, 09:06 AM #170
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Hardhat From Central Jersey

If you ask me, Bush's "road map" was drawn up with another map in mind - namely, the red-and-blue map that gets colored in on election night.

In the event that concrete steps toward a Palestinian nonsense-state are already in place by the first Tuesday in November of 2004, might this not help the President carry Michigan, with its huge Arab-American community? And with just about every other region of the country having its mind terminally made up on which party to vote for, the Rust Belt is where the election will be decided - states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and oh yes, Michigan.
But maybe if the putative Robin Hoods stopped trying to take from law-abiding citizens and give to criminals, take from men and give to women, take from believers and give to anti-believers, take from citizens and give to "undocumented" immigrants, and take from heterosexuals and give to homosexuals, they might have a lot more success in taking from the rich and giving to everyone else.

Don't blame me - I'm a Baby Buster!

Post#171 at 07-08-2003 10:24 AM by The Wonkette [at Arlington, VA 1956 joined Jul 2002 #posts 9,209]
07-08-2003, 10:24 AM #171
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Arlington, VA 1956

Resurgent Al Qaeda

This article came from today's Government Executive. It is troubling, to say the least.

Link is

July 8, 2003
Cult of personality

By Mark Kukis, National Journal

Like many federal buildings in the Washington area, the headquarters of the Central Intelligence Agency has a gift shop, where employees can pick up souvenirs such as CIA T-shirts and ball caps, or browse a selection of work-related books.

Broadly, the writings available at the CIA store fall into two groups: spy thrillers written by agency scribes who apparently would rather be Tom Clancy, or wonkish nonfiction tomes about policy and espionage. Among the volumes these days, however, is a book that fits neither category. It's titled "Through Our Enemies' Eyes" and is written by an anonymous author who argues, among other things, that Osama bin Laden is more than a terrorist, and hence more dangerous than is generally thought. Bin Laden, according to Anonymous, is revered in the Islamic world much as Thomas Jefferson or Theodore Roosevelt is in the United States.

"Whether you like it or not, he is a great man," Anonymous said of bin Laden. "Without the connotation good or bad, he has changed history."

Such notions have stirred controversy at the CIA, where the author's identity is no mystery. Anonymous is a senior officer at the agency and has worked there for nearly two decades. The book went through the CIA's publication review.

"I gather that it's selling very well within the building," said Anonymous, who described how people at his office whom he's never met now sometimes introduce themselves and congratulate him on the book. He also described how he has been sidelined at work because of his decision to promote views largely out of step with the Bush administration's public characterization of the war on terrorism.

Anonymous's comparison of bin Laden to venerable historical figures is actually one of the least troubling points he makes in his current book and a second work he's now writing. More disturbing is his assertion that bin Laden and al Qaeda are not, as many U.S. officials claim, weakening after almost two years of intense attacks against them. Bin Laden is instead gaining ground, according to Anonymous.

"What we're really looking at is an insurgent-type organization, rather than a terrorist organization," Anonymous said. "Its terrorist or urban-warfare arm is really a small part of the whole."

As bin Laden sees things shaping up now, Anonymous asserts, Iraq has emerged center stage in an Islamic insurgency against the United States that spans several continents. Anonymous is convinced that bin Laden and the remaining Qaeda leaders understand the economic and political toll that insurgencies can exact on nations. Their precedent is the Soviet Union's defeat in Afghanistan, where a superpower not only fell militarily but also suffered politically to a point where the state itself began to crack. Bin Laden and his followers seek, Anonymous contends, to re-create such a victory against the United States by fomenting guerrilla attacks on military and civilian targets in many countries rather than just one.

"I think he's delighted since 9/11 that we turned up in the Philippines, in Yemen, in the East Coast of Africa, in Georgia," Anonymous said in describing how bin Laden likely views recent U.S. military deployments. "I think that's exactly the kind of thing he's looking for?to have Americans engaged against Muslims in as many places as possible."

A report released this week by a terrorism-monitoring group of the U.N. Security Council bolsters this argument. The report described an emerging generation of Islamic militants organizing themselves as a scattered guerrilla force for whom al Qaeda is both an ideology to follow and a group to join. The U.N. terrorism committee cited Afghanistan, Algeria, Kenya, the Philippines, and the Chechnya region of Russia as areas where guerrilla activity is tied to al Qaeda. Anonymous sees a similar pattern forming in Iraq, where fighters from neighboring countries are among the insurgents striking almost daily at U.S. troops. The recent suicide bombings in Morocco and Saudi Arabia also seem to bear al Qaeda's signature.

Anonymous suspects that at least in Morocco, however, the bombers were not agents of al Qaeda but men simply inspired by bin Laden's political vision of war against the West. Anonymous said the profiles of the attackers, all young men from Casablanca who apparently never had Qaeda training, suggest that homegrown Islamists are adopting the violent edge that bin Laden has long tried to foster, without being formally part of al Qaeda.

Certainly bin Laden's stature as a world leader continues to grow. A recent global survey conducted by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press showed diminishing approval for the U.S. war on terrorism in most Muslim countries and, significantly, a groundswell of support for bin Laden. In Jordan, according to the Pew poll, people trust bin Laden as a world leader more than they do their own King Abdullah. Bin Laden enjoys greater support than Yasir Arafat in the Palestinian territories, while also holding considerable popularity in Indonesia, Morocco, and Pakistan.

"We still live in world where ideas count, and what we're fighting here is a man with ideas," said Anonymous. "The president has continually gone out of his way to say this isn't a war against Islam. Well, it may be turning into a war by Islam against us, and we at least should consider that."
I want people to know that peace is possible even in this stupid day and age. Prem Rawat, June 8, 2008

Post#172 at 10-07-2003 03:50 PM by Tom Mazanec [at NE Ohio 1958 joined Sep 2001 #posts 1,511]
10-07-2003, 03:50 PM #172
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NE Ohio 1958


Iraq limits U.S. options in Iran


This is the make-or-break month for per suading Iran to shunt its nuclear weapons ambi tions onto a sid ing. The Interna tional Atomic Energy Agency has set an Oct. 31 deadline for Tehran to come clean before the dispute moves up a notch and punitive measures are considered.

The truth is, there's not much that diplomacy can do.

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After years of sneaky research, uranium mining, clandestine construction and overseas purchases, Iran has a nuclear program that's virtually self-sustaining and on a very fast track. The country may be only a couple years away from the bomb.

But the world has to try, and try hard. The alternatives are unacceptable.

For one thing, Israel won't sit idly by and allow Iran to become a nuclear power. It might even attack pre-emptively, as it did in 1981 with an unfinished nuclear reactor in Iraq. Yet that could be stirring a hornet's nest.

Iran is not an adversary to take lightly. Heirs to a great empire, Iranians have the capacity for incredible sacrifice and suffering. Their country lost nearly 1 million men and boys during the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s, including to chemical weapons.

Iran's longtime sponsorship of terrorism raises other disturbing possibilities. Would Tehran enlist Islamic extremists - and provide them with horrific weapons - as proxy warriors to strike the heart of the Western world? It can't be ruled out.

Indeed, a conflict involving Iran could open a chasm in world politics and lead to bloodshed such as the Middle East has never known.

Yet U.S. options are limited largely because of Iraq.

The war that was supposed to put the Middle East on a more democratic and hopeful track has instead vastly complicated the diplomacy of weapons of mass destruction. Far from deterring Iran, the Iraq War has hastened it down the nuclear path. Iran figures if it has the bomb, America won't attack. It also figures, in company with North Korea, that if it can show how close it is to getting a bomb, it will have more leverage in negotiations.

Iraq also has made other would-be nuclear powers extremely hesitant to agree to intrusive U.N. inspections, believing they'll just be used as a stepping stone to military attack.

The Iran crisis, in fact, underscores all the "wrongs" in how America approached Iraq that are helping to propel the current standoff and augur ill for fixing it:

Degradation of the United Nations as a good-faith intermediary. The United States fought the Iraq War without U.N. mandate but under cover of prior U.N. resolutions. That makes it far harder to persuade other nations to apply sanctions, impose inspectors or otherwise enforce the wishes of the international community.

Sidelining of International Atomic Energy Agency weapons inspections. Angry that IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei wouldn't toe the U.S. line on Iraq, the United States barred his inspectors from returning after the war and gave the job instead to a U.S.-run Iraq Survey Group, which has found no weapons to date.

Adoption of a doctrine of pre-emptive warfare that makes "enemy" regimes fair game even if they haven't attacked first. By listing Iran, Iraq and North Korea as part of an "axis of evil" and then marching to war against one of them, President George W. Bush made the other two believe they were next. Almost immediately, both "admitted" to being farther along toward The Bomb than previously believed.

It's not too late to make diplomacy count in Iran, where few people would consciously choose nuclear weapons over regional stability, security and economic advancement. But to make it count for more than just hot air, the United States must give up the idea that diplomacy can't work, and start embracing multilateral solutions again.

Sullivan is The Plain Dealer's foreign-affairs columnist and an associate editor of the editorial pages.

Contact Elizabeth Sullivan at:, 216-999-6153

? 2003 The Plain Dealer. Used with permission.

Post#173 at 10-09-2003 10:02 AM by pwamsley [at joined Sep 2001 #posts 25]
10-09-2003, 10:02 AM #173
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Biggest Generation, Worldwide

*** Here's an article about global demographics, particularly applicable to the Middle East. ***

Teenage generation is biggest ever, 18:16 08 October 03
Shaoni Bhattacharya, news service

Today's teenage generation is now the biggest the world has ever seen, according to a UN report released Wednesday. One in five people on Earth are adolescents between 10 and 19, and about half the world's population is under 25 . . .

About 1.2 billion of the world's 6.3 billion people are aged between 10 and 19, says the report. Almost 90 per cent of these teenagers live in the developing world. High fertility rates and a lower death rate have caused this adolescent surge in population . . .

In contrast, the under 10 population is smaller, says Alex Marshall, editorial consultant on the UN report. He says the global fertility rate has dropped from an average of six children per woman 25 years ago, to about three . . .

"It's a pig in a python thing," Marshall told New Scientist. The large teenage blip on the demographic chart will grow older demographically dominating the smaller younger and older age groups . . .

*** Marshall's term was previously used to describe the Baby Boom Generation in the United States. ***


Post#174 at 10-09-2003 12:46 PM by The Wonkette [at Arlington, VA 1956 joined Jul 2002 #posts 9,209]
10-09-2003, 12:46 PM #174
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Re: Biggest Generation, Worldwide

Quote Originally Posted by pwamsley
*** Here's an article about global demographics, particularly applicable to the Middle East. ***

Teenage generation is biggest ever, 18:16 08 October 03
Shaoni Bhattacharya, news service

Today's teenage generation is now the biggest the world has ever seen, according to a UN report released Wednesday. One in five people on Earth are adolescents between 10 and 19, and about half the world's population is under 25 . . .

About 1.2 billion of the world's 6.3 billion people are aged between 10 and 19, says the report. Almost 90 per cent of these teenagers live in the developing world. High fertility rates and a lower death rate have caused this adolescent surge in population . . .
Ugh! A huge hero generation walking in lock step with their Gray Champion Osama Bin Laden! :o
I want people to know that peace is possible even in this stupid day and age. Prem Rawat, June 8, 2008

Post#175 at 10-09-2003 01:42 PM by Prisoner 81591518 [at joined Mar 2003 #posts 2,460]
10-09-2003, 01:42 PM #175
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Re: Biggest Generation, Worldwide

Quote Originally Posted by The Wonk
Quote Originally Posted by pwamsley
*** Here's an article about global demographics, particularly applicable to the Middle East. ***

Teenage generation is biggest ever, 18:16 08 October 03
Shaoni Bhattacharya, news service

Today's teenage generation is now the biggest the world has ever seen, according to a UN report released Wednesday. One in five people on Earth are adolescents between 10 and 19, and about half the world's population is under 25 . . .

About 1.2 billion of the world's 6.3 billion people are aged between 10 and 19, says the report. Almost 90 per cent of these teenagers live in the developing world. High fertility rates and a lower death rate have caused this adolescent surge in population . . .
Ugh! A huge hero generation walking in lock step with their Gray Champion Osama Bin Laden! :o
If you're right, Jenny, then we Americans, as well as the Israelis, can expect to suffer something akin to the fate of the Jews of Europe during the last 4T, no matter what some of the American Left might say to the contrary. I seriously doubt that Bin Laden or his followers would settle for anything less for either 'brood of Satan spawn'.