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PAK: Two Waziristan tribes sign pact with US forces
WANA: Two tribes of the South Waziristan Agency on Sunday signed a peace agreement with the American allied forces to hunt down Al-Qaeda elements in the area. Malik Gula, Metta Khan, Muhammad Amin and Muhammad Nawaz represented the Utmanzai Wazir and Ahmadzai Wazir tribes in their agreement with a US Commander. Under the agreement, the tribes are responsible for maintaining peace and order in the border areas of Birmal, while the US troops and the forces of the Northern Alliance will withdraw from the area.
Had me a little confused on this one. Birmal's on the Afghan side of the border. They're contracting with the local armed rustics to chase the Bad Guys out. I doubt if it'll work, but you never know...
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 06/29/2003 18:23 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [333 views] Top|| File under:

Aging Europe Finds It’s Pension Running Out
..."Across Europe, only 39 percent of men age 55 to 65 still work, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development."

By contrast, in the US, 60% of men in this age group still work AND Europe's low birthrates will mean that the median age across the continent will be in the mid-50s by 2050, while in the U.S. it'll be about 37.

The whole story is worth reading because it lays out the real weakness facing Europe now and in the future.

But what really struck me was the apparent lack of work ethic. It's not good when you have fewer young people entering the job market at the same time that people in the 50s are bagging work.

Posted by: R. McLeod || 06/29/2003 6:19:56 PM || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [313 views] Top|| File under:

UK: Outrage as Oxford bans student for being Israeli
So Antisemitism isn't just a French trait.An Oxford University professor has provoked outrage by rejecting an application from an Israeli PhD student purely because of his nationality. Andrew Wilkie, the Nuffield professor of pathology and a fellow of Pembroke College, is under investigation after telling Amit Duvshani, a student at Tel Aviv university, that he and many other British academics were not prepared to take on Israelis because of the "gross human rights abuses" he claims that they inflict on Palestinians. Prof Wilkie made the comments after Mr Duvshani, 26, wrote to him requesting the opportunity to work in Prof Wilkie's laboratory towards a PhD thesis. Mr Duvshani, who is in the last months of a master's degree in molecular biology, included a CV detailing his academic and outside experience, including his mandatory three-year national service in the Israeli army.

In a reply sent by email on June 23, Prof Wilkie wrote: "Thank you for contacting me, but I don't think this would work. I have a huge problem with the way that the Israelis take the moral high ground from their appalling treatment in the Holocaust, and then inflict gross human rights abuses on the Palestinians because they [the Palestinians] wish to live in their own country. I am sure that you are perfectly nice at a personal level, but no way would I take on somebody who had served in the Israeli army. As you may be aware, I am not the only UK scientist with these views but I'm sure you will find another lab if you look around."

Mr Duvshani told The Telegraph that he was shocked by the email. Speaking from his home in Tel Aviv, he said: "I was appalled that such a distinguished man could think something like that. I did not expect it from a British professor. I sent similar applications all round Europe and did not have another response like that. Science and politics should be separate. This is discrimination." Mr Duvshani said he would not be put off coming to Britain, because "I think there are better people than him there". He said, however, that he was unlikely to accept any position offered by Oxford University.

Mr Duvshani had no further contact from Prof Wilkie or from the university after receiving the email. When this newspaper contacted the university on Friday, however, a spokesman said that she was aware of the email following a complaint from academics who had seen it. That evening, the university issued a statement from Prof Wilkie apologising to Mr Duvshani and making clear that he was not speaking on behalf of Oxford. The spokesman said that the university was investigating Prof Wilkie and added: "Freedom of expression is a fundamental tenet of university life but under no circumstances are we prepared to accept or condone conduct that appears to, or does, discriminate against anyone on grounds of ethnicity or nationality, either directly or indirectly." A report into the matter will be presented to Sir Colin Lucas, the Vice-Chancellor, later this week and Prof Wilkie could face disciplinary action or even dismissal.

Speaking from his home in Oxfordshire last night, Prof Wilkie apologised "unreservedly" for his actions. "I made a mistake," he said. "The email was inappropriate. I expressed personally-held opinions that have nothing to do with Oxford University and they should not have been expressed in that manner. I have learned a lesson. I have a view on the situation in the Middle East but I am not a racist or anti-Semitic. I just want to draw a line under the whole thing." The professor, who was elected Nuffield professor of pathology last month, said that he could understand the distress and anger felt by Mr Duvshani. When asked if he would look again at the student's application for a PhD, he replied "absolutely" and added that he "entirely accepted" the university's equal opportunities and race equality policies.

A series of attempts have been made to isolate Israeli scholars in protest at their country's operations in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. In Britain, calls for an academic boycott have been led by Steven Rose, an Open University professor. Last year the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology was forced to hold an inquiry after The Sunday Telegraph revealed that Mona Baker, a professor, had sacked two Israeli academics from the editorial boards of two journals because of their nationality. A Umist inquiry found that Prof Baker had not acted improperly under its rules because the journals she owns were not connected to the university. Giles Henderson, the master of Pembroke College, said of Prof Wilkie's case: "The college will await the outcome of the university's investigation."
I hope this sanctimonious prick loses his tenure, his position and has to work in a kosher deli at minimum wage . Bastard
Posted by: Frank G || 06/29/2003 12:37:47 AM || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [313 views] Top|| File under:

Fifth Column
U.S.: Pro-Palestinian Organization Named After Rachel Corrie
The family of U.S. peace activist Rachel Corrie, who was killed last March in the occupied Palestinian town of Rafah when an Israeli Caterpillar bulldozer ran over her, are set to lay the foundations of a pro-Palestinians organization that would carry her name and will sue the Israeli army, chairman and co-founder of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) Adam Shapiro said Saturday, June 28. In an exclusive interview with IslamOnline.net, Shapiro said that the organization will start its activities next summer to carry the torch passed by Corrie. Corrie's parents urged the supporters of the Palestinian cause worldwide to boycott the U.S. Caterpillar construction company, which razes Palestinian land, demolishes houses and builds the separating wall between the West Bank and Israel.
Caterpillar does that? I thought all they did was make machinery...
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 06/29/2003 17:56 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [318 views] Top|| File under:

PAK: Perv sez Consider Recognizing Israel
As the Middle East struggles with its roadmap to peace, Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf on Sunday urged his countrymen to consider recognizing Israel, a position strongly opposed by religious hard-liners.
"Strongly opposed" is putting it mildly, to say the least...
"This is the responsibility of the nation to decide. This should be seriously thought over. The media should have an open debate on this," Musharraf said in an interview aired Sunday by the private Geo Television channel. "The debate should be serious. There should be no emotionalism of the extremists," he said.
I thought their stock in trade was rolling their eyes and jumping up and down?
"What is our dispute (with Israel)? We should think," he said.
That's right. Loosen your turban and think...
"I have been saying. 'Should we be more Catholic than the pope or more pious than the pope or more Palestinian than the Palestinians themselves?'" Musharraf said. "Is this the right attitude or should there be some change in it? There should be national consensus on it."
"But... Qatar talks to them..."
Pakistan has no ties with Israel and its citizens are not allowed to travel to Israel.
Which is kind of a blessing for Israel, come to think of it...
In Pakistan, where Musharraf is under attack by religious hard-liners, the issue of recognizing Israel has been an emotional one. "Musharraf is paving the way for recognizing Israel," Maulana Fazlur Rahman told reporters Sunday in Multan, south of Islamabad. He threatened nationwide protests if Musharraf pressed for Israel's recognition.
Just determined to roll his eyes and jump up and down, isn't he?
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 06/29/2003 18:09 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [302 views] Top|| File under:

IRAQ: Al-Hakim calls for resisting occupation by negotiations
The chairman of the "Supreme Assembly of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq" Muhammad Baqr al-Hakim yesterday expressed his rejection to what he called acts of violence against the US-led coalition forces. He said he prefers peaceful means to put an end to occupation. News reports said that by this announcement, al-Hakim has decided the position of the higher council to resort to political resistance. Al-Hakim was quoted saying that those who stand behind these operations which target the occupation forces are the remains of the Baath Party by which they want to bring back the former regime.
He realizes that? How 'bout that? He's not a blind cleric...
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 06/29/2003 17:39 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [291 views] Top|| File under:

David Warren’s latest in the Ottawa Citizen
David Warren, of the Ottawa Citizen, has a great column that applies a liberal dose of common sense to the situation in Iraq. The last paragraph is below, but as they say, read the whole thing.
Time and patience will be required. All the reliable indications I have are that the vast majority of Iraqis, including those still terrified of the Fedayeen in such old Saddamite haunts as Fallujah and Tikrit, remain glad of the presence of U.S. and British soldiers, while grumbling more than helping. An independent poll conducted earlier this month on Western sampling principles showed that 73 per cent of Iraqis thought the coalition were doing a very poor job, and 76 per cent wanted them to stay. Add in overwhelming distrust of each of the native Iraqi governing alternatives proposed to the poll-taken, and you have the larger picture -- of a world in which perfection is unobtainable, but one somehow muddles through.
Posted by: Steve White || 06/29/2003 5:07:13 PM || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [313 views] Top|| File under:

IRAQ: U.S. Begins Bid to Crush Iraq Insurgents
And now for something completely different:
CAMP BOOM, Iraq - U.S. forces launched a massive operation early Sunday to crush insurgents and capture senior figures from the ousted regime in a show of force designed to stem a wave of deadly attacks on U.S. troops.
The operation, dubbed "Desert Sidewinder," was taking place in a huge swath of central Iraq stretching from the Iranian border to the areas north of Baghdad, and was expected to last several days. In Dojima, an upscale town where Sunni Muslim residents recently cleaned the still-standing portrait of Saddam, police raided homes of alleged Saddam loyalists they suspected of hiding caches of arms, including rocket-propelled grenades — the weapon of choice in many recent ambushes.
Usually freshly cleaned portraits of Saddam are a good sign that something might be afoot.
The operation, named after a rattlesnake, kicked off at about 2 a.m. Sunday, with officers simultaneously raiding as many sites as possible.
Officers only? I guess the enlisted got the day off.
It's AP — "soldiers, coppers, same idea"...
"We go in with such overwhelming combat power that they won't even think about shooting us," Lt. Col. Mark Young said earlier.
Overwhelming firepower is great when fighting enemy main force units. Sometimes not such a good idea when chasing guerillas.
U.S. officials in Washington have said repeatedly that no centralized Iraqi resistance to American rule remains. But on the ground, U.S. military personnel face "an organized effort," Young said.
I think that when Washington says "centralized resistance" they mean that the Iraqi army no longer exists as a force to be contended with. Insugency is decentralized by its very nature.
"Somewhere in Diala province, something happens every night," said Capt. John Wrann, referring to the province northeast of Baghdad where much of the operation was taking place. "It's got to be a coordinated thing." In a BBC interview, Paul Bremer said progress was being made in restoring basic services to the country and health care, water and power supplies were improving. He said 240 hospitals across the country and 95 percent of health clinics were now operating and Baghdad now had 18 to 20 hours of electricity a day.
Funny how you never see these sorts of stats in the NYT or Al Guardian. If Liberalhawk didn't publish them here regularly, I'd have no idea. BTW, when the NYT reports that the Iraqi people are complaining about no A/C, you know that they are only talking to ex-Baath party members. The regular Joes never had no freaking air conditioning.
Posted by: 11A5S || 06/29/2003 12:19:25 PM || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [310 views] Top|| File under:

Middle East
MIDEAST: Al Aqsa signs on
Militants from Fatah agreed to abide by a ceasefire in attacks on Israelis after Hamas and Islamic Jihad had agreed to do so. "We announce...our commitment to the truce as stated in the Egyptian initiative," said a Fatah statement, referring to Egypt's mediation of ceasefire talks. The announcement was issued after the Hamas and Islamic Jihad groups announced a three-month suspension of attacks on Israelis. A senior Fatah official says all groups in the faction, including its military wing, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, "abide by this position". Hamas spokesman Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi says the ceasefire will only hold if Israel stops its action against Palestinians. "If the Israelis will not stop aggression to Palestinians by all means, then Hamas and Jihad Islamic will consider Israelis aggressors who violate the initiative and then we will respond," he said.
"We're warning you guys..."
Some Israeli officials have criticised the ceasefire, many wanting to see the Palestinian Authority disarm militants such as Hamas. Israel's Foreign Ministry spokesman Gideon Meir has gone so far as to call it a "trap" for Israel.
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 06/29/2003 21:46 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [301 views] Top|| File under:

N Korea ’may test nuclear bomb’
From correspondents in Tokyo
June 29, 2003
NORTH Korea has enough plutonium to make six to 10 nuclear weapons and could test such a weapon by the end of the year, a former US negotiator with the Stalinist state said in an interview published today.
See you and raise 300,000 civilians
"To the best of my knowledge, based on very well-informed Washington sources, North Korea's nuclear program is moving ahead very quickly," Kenneth Quinones was quoted as saying by the Daily Yomiuri.

"Basically, this means North Korea's reprocessing (of plutonium from spent nuclear fuel) is almost finished, or has finished. This means North Korea now has enough plutonium to make six to 10 nuclear weapons," he said.

"If North Korea wants to use their nuclear weapon as negotiating leverage, they must test it," said Quinones, who is now the Korean affairs director at the Washington-based private think-tank, International Center.

"The more I talked to my friends, the more I realise that it is possible for North Korea to have a nuclear weapon by December. It is possible they'll have a test by December. There is nothing to stop North Korea from doing this."

Posted by: Frank G || 06/29/2003 6:42:52 PM || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [307 views] Top|| File under:

Middle East
Israel starts withdrawal
Israeli troops have withdrawn from the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoun, as part of a deal aimed at implementing the US-backed peace "road map". The redeployment coincides with the announcement of ceasefire by the hardline Hamas and Islamic Jihad groups, as well as by Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's Fatah faction. "The army is committed to...ensuring the success of the move and will carefully monitor the activities of the Palestinian security forces," the army said in a statement announcing the withdrawal had been completed. Israeli public television has shown footage of an armoured convoy crossing back into Israel from the northern Gaza Strip. Palestinian police will take up positions in the sector later in the morning. Earlier, Israeli army trucks started removing military equipment from Beit Hanun and Beit Lahia, both of which border Israel. The Israeli army moved into Beit Hanun and Beit Lahia two months ago in a bid to dismantle the infrastructure of militant groups and prevent them from launching rocket attacks on nearby Israeli communities.
And a painful experience it was for both sides...
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 06/29/2003 18:35 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [308 views] Top|| File under:

North Africa
MOROCCO: Another Salfist jugged
The police in the Moroccan southern city of Laayoune arrested on Wednesday Al-Alami Jalal, a member of the extremist group "Salafi Jihad", who was wanted as part of the investigation of the terrorist attacks against Casablanca last May 16. Born in 1965, Al Alami Jalal, a peddler, had served an eight-month jail term for association with a group linked to Salafya Jihadya.
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 06/29/2003 17:43 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [294 views] Top|| File under:

East/Subsaharan Africa
ANGOLA: Samakuva new UNITA leader
Isaias Samakuva on Friday won a landslide victory to become the new leader of Angola's former rebel movement UNITA. Samakuva, formerly UNITA's representative in London and Paris, was elected with 78 percent of the vote at a party congress held in Viana on the outskirts of the capital, Luanda. His closest rival was Lukamba 'Gato' Paulo, UNITA's interim head since the death in combat of founder-president Jonas Savimbi in 2002. As the UNITA congress drew to a close on Friday, the former rebel group claimed that it now "enjoyed the full legitimacy amongst Angolans". The four-day congress aimed to choose a new leadership and adopt strategies for the country's first post-war elections. UNITA secretary for foreign affairs, Alcides Sakala, told IRIN that debate during the congress focused mainly on preparations for the upcoming election and consolidating UNITA's presence throughout the country.
Is this a success story? Could it be because Jonas is dead, instead of ceasefired?
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 06/29/2003 17:35 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [302 views] Top|| File under:

SYRIA: Wounded soldiers are not war prisoners
The US has announced that the wounded Syrians held by it have been medically treated and arrangements are being made to return them home, refusing to describe them as "war prisoners." Lawrence De Rita, the advisor of the US defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld said that the Americans still do not know the identity of those who were in the caravan which was targeted by a US attack last week in the Iraqi territories near the Syrian borders. De Rita did not explain how the five Syrians were wounded. He indicated that the condition on how they were involved in the clashes were not clear. He also indicated that it was not known if they had connection with persons who were in the procession.
Ain't nobody talkin', is there?
He added that three Syrian soldiers were admitted to an American hospital in Baghdad for treatment because their wounds were more critical, while the other two were treated in the area of the accident. He added the five Syrians have been brought together and are waiting to return to Syria which "I expect to be soon," noting that arrangements are made with the Syrians through the American embassy in Damascus. The American official said that the Syrian wounded soldiers "are not prisoners. They are not in this status, we are hosting them at the moment."
I believe they'd be called "internees," having wandered into the war zone without being (officially) involved with it...
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 06/29/2003 17:25 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [296 views] Top|| File under:

Home Front
U.S.: Md. Pond Search Yields No Anthrax Clues
well, that was an expensive FU. Hatfill still the likely candidate?
FREDERICK, Md. — FBI agents finished searching a pond for clues in the 2001 anthrax attacks on Saturday, finding no additional evidence to immediately suggest any links to the case. The FBI this month drained the 4- to 5-foot deep pond in the Frederick Municipal Forest, where authorities believed the suspect may have filled the envelopes with deadly spores under water for his own protection. The work drew FBI agents, other law enforcement officials and contractors, who operated dump trucks and backhoes at the site several miles northwest of the city. The Washington Post, citing law enforcement officials, said the FBI took soil samples from the bottom of the pond for testing.

Frederick Mayor Jennifer Dougherty said the FBI told her "they found a bicycle, some logs and a street sign," leaving the items for workers to dispose of in a public landfill, the Post reported. Law enforcement officials said other items found in the pond included coins, fishing lures and a handgun, which was handed over to local authorities, according to the newspaper. Dougherty said the FBI told her they were done at the pond. "They are leaving. I don't have any expectation that they'll be back in this area, in the watershed." But she added: "They've given us no indication that they're out of Frederick County."

The FBI began draining the one-acre pond in the Frederick Municipal Forest on June 9. The attacks killed five people and sickened 17 others who were infected by anthrax bacteria sent through the mail. The pond is eight miles from the Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick, the primary custodian of the strain of anthrax found in envelopes sent to the victims.
Posted by: Frank G || 06/29/2003 10:15:26 AM || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [305 views] Top|| File under:

East/Subsaharan Africa
LIBERIA: Kofi Appeals for Peace Force
U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Saturday called for urgent deployment of an international force for Liberia, warning of a ``humanitarian tragedy'' in a war-ruined capital where fighting this week killed hundreds of trapped civilians. West Africa promised a peace force of at least 5,000 for Liberia if warring sides halt fighting, and France suggested Saturday it was open to contributing troops — stepping in where the United States, Liberia's colonial-era founder, so far has declined to tread.
There's the prerequisite Al-Guardian dig at the U.S.
After a four-day battle between government and rebel forces for the Liberian capital, Annan urged the Security Council on Saturday to authorize sending a multinational force to Liberia to enforce a cease-fire that fell apart soon after it was signed June 17. ``There are reports that several hundred innocent civilians have been killed in fighting in and around Monrovia and of wanton destruction of property and widespread looting,'' Annan said in a letter to the council. He called for the deployment to Liberia of a force ``to prevent a major humanitarian tragedy and to stabilize the situation in that country.''
I'd be willing to have the US do this, but it would have to be done with an American commander, with rules of engagement, strategy and tactics that we determine, not the UN and certainly not the French.
Liberia's capital counted its dead from this week's siege, the rebels' fiercest assault yet on Monrovia, a city of 1 million crowded with hundreds of thousands of refugees. Rebels pulled out of the city Friday after a four-day siege by artillery and rockets, and after fighting that left an estimated 500 civilians dead. Monrovia awoke to calm Saturday for the first time in five days. Thousands of Liberians who had taken shelter around the city's U.S. Embassy, hoping for protection through proximity to the American Marines there, streamed home Saturday — only to find homes looted by government soldiers and others.
Nope, no twitch on the surprise meter there.
``I went home this morning only to see that everything is gone,'' said one resident, 37-year-old Martin Weah. Rebels had overrun western neighborhoods of the city as far as the port, heavily contested both for its well-stocked food warehouses and for its strategic value. Liberian forces challenged rebels' claim that the insurgents had retreated under a unilateral cease-fire, saying rebels had left the city only because of an intense push by Taylor's forces. ``If you see their bodies on the road, you will tell whether they withdrew or were forced back,'' said Gen. Roland Duo, chief of staff of Liberia's navy.
But they'll be back, Roland...
In Ghana, French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin and Ghana President John Kufuor, current head of the West African leaders' bloc, urged both sides in Liberia toward a real cease-fire. When that happened, Kufuor said, West Africa would lead an at least 5,000-member peace force to Liberia.
I'm sure the Ivory Coast can spare them right now! Perhaps Chad will kick in a battalion; those Chadians sure are tough. And Sierra Leone is a peaceful place, they don't need any troops at home.
West African authorities spoke Saturday of the force deploying fairly quickly, with the aim of serving as a buffer between rebels and government. Kufuor said de Villepin had offered both French troops and logistical support for such a force. De Villepin did not confirm such an offer, but indicated French receptiveness. He cited Congo and the former French colony of Ivory Coast, where French troops have taken a lead role in trying to enforce cease-fires. ``It will not be difficult for us to do the same for any disposition force in Liberia,'' the French foreign minister said at Ghana's international airport in Accra, before leaving Saturday. ``But the first thing that must be done is a cease-fire.''
Which you'll only get if you're willing to crack some heads.
European and U.N. leaders have urged the United States to take a lead role in such a peace force, citing the effectiveness of Britain's and France's military deployments in their former colonies of Sierra Leone and Ivory Coast.
Yes, the French success in the Ivory Coast is an inspiration to all of us.
The United States has shown no inclination to commit a similar force for Liberia, a key West African Cold War ally of the United States that still sees itself as having special ties through its founding by freed American slaves in the 19th century. De Villepin, without mentioning President Bush, criticized the American leader when asked about Bush's call for Taylor to step down in the interest of peace.
"We are French, we have no interest in peace in Africa!"
``In such conflict resolution, outside dictatorship does not help anybody,'' the French foreign minister said. ``Rather, neighboring countries should be encouraged to take charge while we lend our support, and not the other way around.''
Damned if we do, damned if we don't.
Taylor, trained by Libya as a guerrilla in the days when Liberia was the United States' Cold War base in West Africa, launched Liberia into conflict at the head of a tiny invasion force in 1989. The seven-year civil war that followed killed an estimated 200,000 Liberians, and left the country in lasting ruin. Taylor emerged from the war as the last man standing strongest fighter, and won crooked presidential elections the following year. During the civil war, Taylor's fighters clashed frequently with a Nigerian-led peace force sent by fellow West African states to try to enforce peace deals. Taylor on Friday expressed support for a new international force in the current three-year rebellion.
So he can kill some more Nigerians.
The Liberian leader also joined his people in urging the United States to get involved.
That you don't want to do, Chuckie. We'd either smack you or hand you over to the war-crimes tribunal.
Posted by: Steve White || 06/29/2003 3:48:46 AM || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [330 views] Top|| File under:

Middle East
MIDEAST: Palestinian Leader Invited to Washington
Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas has been invited to visit Washington in the coming days, a senior Palestinian official said Sunday.
Abbas received the invitation Saturday during a meeting with U.S. National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice. The White House was not able to confirm the invitation. Abbas accepted the invitation which includes a meeting with President Bush, the Palestinian official said speaking on condition of anonymity.
Of course he was anonymous -- no one wanted to claim this one!
Rice is to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and senior Israeli officials later Sunday.
We'd better treat the Israelis better than we treat Abbas.
Posted by: Steve White || 06/29/2003 3:46:15 AM || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [280 views] Top|| File under:

MIDEAST: Paleos Expect Delay on Ceasefire
JPost - Reg Req'd - hold the tap-tap surprise meter jokes - they don't work on this one or Chuck Taylor's ceasefires, OK? The odds are too long ;-)
Hamas and Islamic Jihad are expected to announce their acceptance of a conditional cease-fire with Israel. But a new obstacle emerged Sunday to concluding the deal, as the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades of Prime Minister Mahmud Abbas' Fatah movement and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, both said they would not accept it.
the dreaded "breakaway factions"???
Consequently, the truce many not be announced on Sunday as expected. It was not clear whether such a delay would affect implementation of an emerging agreement for an Israeli troop withdrawal from the northern Gaza Strip. These problems are likely to be addressed at a meeting scheduled for later Sunday morning between US National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in Jerusalem. Rice is also reportedly going to ask Israel to speed up the pace of removing illgal settlement outposts in the West Bank.
Just a little stumbling block, not at all unexpected. That's why they have so many movements and factions. Hamas and IJ can "climb on board," but then al-Aqsa and PFLP can say, nope, not them. So then everything's put off, the bodies keep piling up, and the PA can "fix" things. Once they're on board, DFLP and Tanzim will absolutely refuse for some reason or other, and the bodies will keep piling up. By the time they're cajoled into joining in, Hamas will be bitching about Israeli "violations" and will ostentatiously go on the warpath. Drawn out long enough, and with enough vitriol dripped, the rest of the world will have forgotten what the original objective was and will be blaming Israel for not being "more understanding."
Leaders of Hamas and Islamic confirmed over the weekend that they have agreed to a hudna (temporary cease-fire), expressing their hope that Israel would now halt its policy of assassinations, house demolitions, incursions and arrests, as well as the release all Palestinian prisoners. Palestinian sources said an official announcement of the cease-fire would be made simultaneously in Cairo, Ramallah and Gaza City. One source predicted the announcement would be made as early as Sunday. Nonetheless, it was still unclear whether all the armed groups would heed the call to suspend their attacks against Israel. The latest deal was worked out mainly by the Hamas and Islamic Jihad leaders in Syria and is said to be unacceptable to many of the groups' officials in the Gaza Strip, who for months have been announcing that they would not accept any cease-fire agreement. It was also unclear whether Fatah's armed wing, Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, would accept the deal. Fatah's political leadership has endorsed the cease-fire deal and pledged to support the Palestinian Authority in implementing it.
"But what can we do? We can't control them. They're so angry and all the oppression..."
A statement issued Saturday by the Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades vowed to continue launching terrorist attacks against Israel, saying members of the group would not abide by any cease-fire agreement. "No one consulted with us regarding the hudna," said the statement issued in the northern West Bank. "We reaffirm that the key to the cease-fire is in the hands of the fighters on the ground. We warn those who claim they are speaking on our behalf. Any attempt to bypass the Aqsa Brigades and the blood of its fighters is a dangerous illusion." The statement warned that no cease-fire agreement would succeed as long as Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat is under siege in his headquarters in Ramallah and as long as the targeted killings and arrests are continuing. Fatah leaders in Ramallah said the statement does not reflect the opinion of the majority of the members of the armed group, pointing out that there are still a few Fatah elements, particularly in Nablus, Tulkarm and Jenin, who are completely opposed to the deal. In some refugee camps in the northern West Bank, gunmen belonging to Fatah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad said they would continue to launch attacks against Israel regardless of the cease-fire agreement.
"It ain't like the Paleostinian Authority has any authority, y'know?"
The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine issued a statement in Damascus saying it would not join the cease-fire agreement. Hamas spiritual leader Ahmed Yassin announced on Friday that his movement has decided to stop its attacks against Israel for a limited period of time. "The movement studied the latest developments and decided to declare a cease-fire," the wheelchair-bound Yassin told journalists at his home in Gaza City. Muhammed al-Hindi, one of the top leaders of Islamic Jihad, confirmed that his group had also agreed to suspend its attacks against Israel. "We have accepted a conditional cease-fire for three months," he said. Hindi said representatives of Islamic Jihad, Hamas and Fatah faction were working out the final wording of an official cease-fire declaration. "I expect that it's going to be finished within 24 hours and after that it will be declared, if not tomorrow, the day after," he added.
"Then we can proceed to ignore it and blame Israel."
Hindi said the Islamic Jihad does not believe that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon would honor the cease-fire deal. "Sharon only wants to rid himself of a certain crisis, and he's now in a crisis," he said. "He's now admitting that he can't defeat the Palestinian people with military force. Therefore I expect him to violate the agreement very soon by carrying out assassinations. Then we would be forced to respond."
Same old story...
Ahmed Ghnaim, a senior Fatah official who helped broker the cease-fire agreement, said in Gaza City Saturday night: "There is a consensus among the Palestinian factions on the issue of the hudna. There are no differences on this issue, although there are different views regarding the formulation [of the cease-fire announcement]. We are now holding last-minute discussions on the final wording of the agreement." The Palestinian Authority cabinet met in Ramallah earlier Saturday to discuss the details of the cease-fire agreement and the understandings reached with Israel over the IDF redeployment in the Gaza Strip and Bethlehem. As the meeting was under way, hundreds of Palestinians demonstrated in the center of Ramallah calling for the release of all prisoners from Israeli jails. Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas walked out to the protesters, grabbed a microphone and shouted: "There will be no peace and security as long as there is one prisoner behind bars." His declaration was received with thunderous applause.
Hope Condi handed out "special" cell phones so the Paleos could call in their reservations on the roadmap™ directly? heh heh
Posted by: Frank G || 06/29/2003 1:11:09 AM || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [721 views] Top|| File under:

East/Subsaharan Africa
So. Africa: Mandela won’t meet with Bush
Hat tip to LGF:
President George W. Bush is about to make a very important trip to Africa, and it already looks as if the conflict in Iraq will follow him there. Former South African President Nelson Mandela, seen by many as Africa's most important elder statesman, said he will not meet with Bush during his trip to Africa. Mr. Mandela, a vocal critic of anything Amerikkan the Iraq war, said Friday it was wrong for Bush to circumvent the United Nations and overthrow Iraqi President Saddam Hussein by force, and praised French President Jacques Chirac for his opposition to sending troops to the area.
So much for even formerly deserving Peace Prize members. Senility's so sad, first they think they're Bonaparte, then they act out like him, but enough about Chirac
"Since the creation of the United Nations there has not been a World War since 1945. Therefore for anybody, especially the leader of a superstate, to act outside the United Nations is something that must be condemned by everybody who wants peace," Mandela told reporters after a meeting with French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin. Reuters reports that the White House had no comment on Mandela's remarks. But in conservative circles, Mandela is not as highly regarded as he is by others, so it may not bother Bush that much if Mandela doesn't want to see him. Michael Ladeen, writing about Mandela earlier this year in The National Review, expressed great admiration for him as a person, but called Mandela's attitude towards foreign policy "his greatest failure."
Nelson? Any comments on Comrade Bob Mugabe? What about necklacing? anything but anti-American spew? How's the ex-wife?
Posted by: Frank G || 06/29/2003 1:04:12 AM || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [310 views] Top|| File under:

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Meet the Mods
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Two weeks of WOT
Sun 2003-06-29
  Paleos Expect Delay on Ceasefire
Sat 2003-06-28
  Paleo-Israeli 'truce'
Fri 2003-06-27
  Ayman, Sully and Sod in custody in Iran?
Thu 2003-06-26
  Ali al-Ghamdi nabbed
Wed 2003-06-25
  Rebels enter Liberia capital
Tue 2003-06-24
  Fighting opens up again around Monrovia
Mon 2003-06-23
  Hundreds jailed as Iran rounds up protesters
Sun 2003-06-22
  Aden-Abyan Islamic Army shoots up convoy in Yemen
Sat 2003-06-21
  Indonesia Arrests 10
Fri 2003-06-20
  Chuck won't step down
Thu 2003-06-19
  Truck-drivin' Qaeda man pleads guilty
Wed 2003-06-18
  Paks nab two Qaeda men
Tue 2003-06-17
  Taylor sez he'll step down
Mon 2003-06-16
  Second shootout in Mecca since Saturday
Sun 2003-06-15
  Shootout in Mecca

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