Updated: 5/16/2006; 2:54:07 PM.

Current events
Post-9-11 events and analyses

daily link  Thursday, October 07, 2004

Former U.N. Inspectors Cite New Report as Validation: "Duelfer said he believed when Hussein first began discussions with the United Nations in late 2000 about readmitting inspectors, "to me that was a very key indicator that there probably wasn't large stocks there to be found." When the U.S. troop buildup began in the Gulf, it became "clear that Saddam chose not to have weapons at a point in time before the war," he added. "  10:15:26 PM  permalink  

UN role in Iraq elections at risk:  "Two UN staff associations, representing 60,000 members, yesterday asked Kofi Annan, the secretary general, to withdraw all staff because of the "unprecedented" risk to their lives. They said the organisation "has become a direct target". But the UN Security Council Resolution 1546, passed in June, saysthe UN should play a key role in helping the Iraqi interim government to hold elections, scheduled for January. The US, Britain and the European Union stress that UN involvement will give the poll credibility.

There are just 35 UN international personnel in Iraq. They returned two months ago after Mr Annan pulled all staff out of the country last year following a spate of attacks, including one in which the UN envoy, Sergio Vieira de Mello, and 21 others were killed. Fred Eckhard, a UN spokesman, said: "We will need more than 35 in there to do what we want to do on the elections." ..

A spokesman for the US ambassador to the UN, John Danforth, said that "we would hope the secretary general would recognise that the UN exists to help governments in crisis".  A UN staff member in Baghdad said: "Are they seriously saying that it is safe for people to go out and about and organise elections with suicide bombings every day? The EU are offering some money, but we notice they are not sending one single election monitor." The EU recently agreed to contribute 30m (£20m) for the UN mission.

So far not a single country has offered to provide troops for such a mission. So the UN team is protected by US troops, something which, they say, identifies them with the occupying power, and puts them at greater risk. "

  8:28:29 PM  permalink  

Terrorism & Security: Review linked to many stories about Al Queda's and Zarqawi's  use of the net.  "Al Qaeda has a "virtual university" that teaches "electronic jihad." .. 'They lost their base in Afghanistan, they lost their training camps, they lost a government that allowed them do what they want within a country. Now they're surviving on Internet to a large degree. It is really their new base,' says terrorism expert Peter Bergen." .. [It gives] new awful meaning to the words 'online community.' "  Specific example of use of YouSendIt file transfer service for videos.

  6:06:11 PM  permalink  

Afghans vote, ready or not: "The darkest assessment may be the refusal of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to send election monitors to Afghanistan, because "the present conditions in Afghanistan are significantly below the minimum regarded by OSCE ... as necessary for credible election observation." The UN, for its part, agrees that this election will have its flaws, but says these flaws are manageable. "

  6:00:40 PM  permalink  

UCLA International Institute :: Are the Jihadists Losing the War? Gilles Kepel Thinks So: Interesting recent history, reviewing a 2001 Al Queda booklet, the Palestinian intifadas, and Iraq:  "Despite car bombings, beheadings, and kidnappings, French scholar Gilles Kepel says the jihadists are losing their hold on the Muslim masses. ..

Gilles Kepel concluded that he saw cause for optimism in the failure of the jihadists to gain a mass base. "We now see as we saw in the 1990s, civil society turning its back on violence, and mobilizing to oppose it." Now, he said, it will be crucial for an American leadership to be perceptive enough to effectively speak to Muslim civil society. "

  5:50:27 PM  permalink  

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Copyright 2006 © Ken Novak.
Last update: 5/16/2006; 2:54:07 PM.