21 June 2003

U.S. Losing the Peace in Afghanistan

A new report titled Afghanistan: Are We Losing the Peace?, authored by the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and the Asia Society, says Afghanistan is going to revert back to warlord-dominated anarchy unless action is taken soon. Among the authors are ", three retired senior US government policymakers who specialize in South Asian affairs".

6,000+ Items Looted from Iraq National Museum

First report was 170,000 treasures. Then we're told that all the loot was stashed and it was only 33 items pilfered. Now, according to a Washington Post article today, the count is 6,000 and climbing.
U.S. and Iraqi officials have confirmed the theft of at least 6,000 artifacts from Iraq's National Museum of Antiquities during a prolonged looting spree as U.S. forces entered Baghdad two months ago, a leading archaeologist said yesterday.

University of Chicago archaeologist McGuire Gibson said the U.S. Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement told him June 13 that the official count of missing items had reached 6,000 and was climbing as museum and Customs investigators proceeded with an inventory of three looted storerooms.

The June 13 total was double the number of stolen items reported by Customs a week earlier, and Gibson suggested the final tally could be "far, far worse." Customs could not immediately obtain an updated report, a spokesman said.

"Double the number" meant up from 3,033, not the 33 that partisan blowhards like Charles Krauthammer and Howard Kurtz erroneously jabbered about. I doubt we'll see a retraction from Krauthammer on his charge of a hoax that served as a "revelation of the cheapest instincts of the antiwar left"...

19 June 2003

Bremer is a Baathist

So read the title of a front page editorial in one of the most widely read Iraqi newspapers. Paul Bremer, the top U.S. official in Iraq, introduced a new media policy that prohibits broadcasting or publishing material that incites violence against any individual or group "including racial, ethnic, religious groups, and women"; encourages civil disorder; or "incites violence against coalition forces."
Iraqi journalists are not taking kindly to the restrictions. Among the scores of new publications that have flooded Iraq's newsstands since the US-led overthrow of Saddam Hussein's regime, the broadsheet As-Saah is one of the most widely read. In a front-page editorial Wednesday, the paper's senior editor let readers know what he thought of the country's liberators: "Bremer is a Baathist," the headline reads.

In an interview, editor Ni'ma Abdulrazzaq says the press edict decreed by Bremer lays out restrictions similar to those under Mr. Hussein. Not long ago, an uppity writer could easily be accused of being an agent for America or Israel. "Now they put plastic bags on our heads, throw us to the ground, and accuse us of being agents of Saddam Hussein," the editorial reads. "In other words, if you're not with America, you're with Saddam."

"Mr. Bremer, you remind us of Saddam," the column continues. "We've waited a long time to be free. Now you want us to be slaves."

17 June 2003

White House Reportedly in Peace Talks with Taliban?

You remember Afghanistan? That war where we eradicated the evil Taliban in response for their support of Al Qaeda. Well, they're back, and it looks like they're strong enough to warrant a deal for a "political solution".
According to a Pakistani jihadi leader who played a role in setting up the communication, the meeting took place recently between representatives of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), the US Federal Bureau of Investigation and Taliban leaders at the Pakistan Air Force base of Samungli, near Quetta.

In exchange for them returning to a Kabul government, these conditions were put forth:

  1. Mullah Omar must step down as leader.
  2. All Pakistani, Arab, and foreign fighters engaged against the international troops in Afghanistan must exit the country.
  3. Any US or allied soldiers help captive must be released.
  4. Afghans living abroad must be given a part in the government.

Why the need for a reconciliation?

The backdrop to the first meeting is an ever-increasing escalation in the guerrilla war being waged against foreign troops in Afghanistan. Small hit-and-run attacks are a daily feature in most parts of the country, while face-to-face skirmishes are common in the former Taliban stronghold around Kandahar in the south.

According to people familiar with Afghan resistance movements, the one that has emerged over the past year and a half since the fall of the Taliban is about four times as strong as the movement that opposed Soviet invaders for nearly a decade starting in 1979.

13 June 2003

Bin Laden Declaration of War

What are the grievances of Bin Laden and Al Qaeda against the U.S.? Why do they hate us? Is it as President Bush says, "They hate our freedoms--our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other."?

Well, you can read Bin Laden's Declaration of War Against the Americans Occupying the Land of the Two Holy Places online. Lots of religous allegory and cries that the American Zionist alliance is thwarting the freedom of Muslims. Also, conditions for ending the war are embedded within this long winded outpouring.