Updated: 5/16/2006; 3:05:10 PM.

Current events
Post-9-11 events and analyses

daily link  Saturday, December 04, 2004

Friedman: Fly Me to the Moon: "When did the Soviet Union collapse? When did reform take off in Iran? When did the Oslo peace process begin? When did economic reform become a hot topic in the Arab world? In the late 1980's and early 1990's. And what was also happening then? Oil prices were collapsing.

In November 1985, oil was $30 a barrel, recalled the noted oil economist Philip Verleger. By July of 1986, oil had fallen to $10 a barrel, and it did not climb back to $20 until April 1989. "Everyone thinks Ronald Reagan brought down the Soviets," said Mr. Verleger. "That is wrong. It was the collapse of their oil rents." It's no accident that the 1990's was the decade of falling oil prices and falling walls."

  9:14:29 PM  permalink  

U.S. Health Chief, Stepping Down, Issues Warning: "Tommy G. Thompson, the secretary of health and human services, announced Friday that he was resigning, and he expressed grave concern about the threat of a global flu epidemic and the possibility of a terrorist attack on the nation's food supply.

"For the life of me," he said, "I cannot understand why the terrorists have not attacked our food supply because it is so easy to do." ..
Although the government has increased inspections of imported food, Mr. Thompson said he worried "every single night" about threats to the food supply.

"We are importing a lot of food from the Middle East and it would be easy to tamper with that," he said. He called for better technologies to detect contamination. ..

Mr. Thompson, freed from the constraints of administration policy, gave candid, unexpected answers to questions posed to him at a news conference at his department. He said he wished Congress had given him the power to negotiate with drug manufacturers to secure lower prices for Medicare beneficiaries. ..

Asked what worried him most, Mr. Thompson cited the threat of a human flu pandemic caused by mutations in a strain of avian influenza virus, known popularly as bird flu. "This is a really huge bomb that could adversely impact on the health care of the world," killing 30 million to 70 million people, he said."

  8:54:58 PM  permalink  

How to make a jihadist: Good UPI coverage of a recent conference.  "Many al-Qaida terrorists study abroad in Europe and the United States. They join the network to identify with a group and to feel at home in an unfamiliar place. They are not fighting because they are poor, but they are fighting for the poor people in their homes.  "They are their poor brothers and sisters who they empathize with," Sageman said Wednesday at a daylong symposium put together by the New America Foundation. 
Yosri Fouda, lead investigative reporter for Al Jazeera television network and author of "Masterminds of Terror," believe these highly educated men are a danger to society due to their lack of knowledge of Islam. "The highly educated know nothing about Islam," Fouda said. "That's what makes them so vulnerable. And in times of uncertainty, people become more extreme." 
Sageman agreed.  "These guys are the best and brightest in society, they speak three, four or five languages and they're computer savvy," Sageman said. "They go abroad to study, they become homesick. Expatriates look for people like themselves and where do they find them? Mosques."  When they meet people like them, they form friendships and make cliques; these men are desperate to be a part of a group, no matter the price, Sageman said. 
Sageman found that 68 percent of men who joined jihad -- holy war -- had close friends in jihad, or joined with friends. Twenty percent joined because they had fathers, brothers or cousins in jihad. Seventy percent went to jihad while living outside of their country. "  10:00:10 AM  permalink  

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Copyright 2006 © Ken Novak.
Last update: 5/16/2006; 3:05:10 PM.