Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Are Chechans part of the "War on Terror"?

With the horrific attack on innocent school children & women in Russia, President Putin is most surely going to be more aggressive towards the Chechans than before using Bush's "war on terror" as an excuse. What was not much reported is that extended family members of the hostage-takers were taken into custody by Russian officials - this included few-month-old babies to old people. They were released after the situation was under control. It is the same strategy that Sharon uses in the Occupied Territories: they are exploiting the global situation for their own political gains because no dissident wants to look "weak" against terrorism. Interestingly, radical Islamic groups or nationalistic groups are using Al Qaeda's war on the West as their forefront too, even though they may not be connected to the group. This has created an extremely complex & sensitive situation, explained Nick Hayes, professor of history at Saint John's University in Minnesota on public radio today. He has studied & traveled the region extensively. If you are interested, here's a link to Human Rights Watch: Russia and Chechnya and Carnegie Moscow Center. The Christian Science Monitor has taken a more conservative approach to the situation.

More on the Israeli spy scandal: AIPAC is suggesting that the investigations are a malicious intent to undermine US-Israeli relations. From the Washington Post: "In a lengthy letter to supporters and allies, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee charged yesterday that the "very essence" of relations between the United States and Israel is under assault as a result of reports that the FBI is investigating whether AIPAC officials passed classified information to Israel." A very critical article from the Washington Times on US-Israeli relations has earned the newspaper criticism from AIPAC & other groups. I don't doubt that AIPAC is guilty & is trying to cover up the mess as fast as possible using all kinds of excuses including anti-semitism. Unfortunately, I do not see anything coming out of the probe because the lobby group is bound to pump tons of money to both campaigns.

Just wanted to share this touching story of the immense challenges that these Palestinian soccer players face. Also, a pessimistic story about why non-violence won't work in Palestine. I don't agree, but it's an interesting perspective.

On Iraq: a report from NY Times that top Pentagon officials said Tuesday that insurgents controlled important parts of central Iraq and that it was unclear when American and Iraqi forces would be able to secure those areas. From most of the people I talk to, they are extremely disappointed with Kerry's silence on Iraq. It is pretty frustrating - the latest I heard is that he is promising to bring the troops home within 4 years (his first term) whereas Bush hasn't made any commitment. My only hope is that Kerry is known to be a ferocious last-minute campaigner & the debates, but it definitely is not looking good for him. Here's an article about Muslims becoming more politically active & another one about their dismay with Kerry.