Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Hostage crisis in Iraq

Sad news coming in from Nepal: 12 hostages were killed in Iraq. The lack of security for foreign workers and journalists has led to several kidnappings; the waltzed one of 2 French journalists. The kidnappers are demanding that the rule banning women/girls from wearing headscarves to state schools be overturned. The Nepalese are in great shock, which led to a riot where protesters attacked Kathmandu's Jama mosque.

There has been violence in Russia, blamed on Chechan dissidents. The two planes that crashed last week is being suspected to be the work of two Chechan women, whose relatives did not claim the bodies. BBC reports that armed gang has taken about 150 people, most of them children, hostage. Yesterday, a suspected suicide bombing killed 10 people in Moscow. More than 100 hostages died in a Moscow theatre siege in 2002. I do not know much about the region except that after the fall of the Soviet Union, heavily Muslim dominated Chechnya like others wanted to be an independent country. However, Chechnya is rich in resources & Russia did not want to let it go. Thus, a violent uprising to fight for independence has been underway for several years. So far, President Putin has used heavy handed techniques towards the Chechans & has been unable to resolve the situation. In Chechnya's election last Sunday, In last Sunday's election in Chechnya the Kremlin virtually appointed its candidate Alu Alkhanov to lead the republic and barred more popular candidates from the poll.

As expected, the Republican National Convention is talking about freedom & democracy in Iraq & Afghanistan & the good work that Bush is doing. One thing that has come as a disappointment to me is John McCain. Despite Bush's ugly campaigning during the 2000 primaries against McCain & McCain's friendship with Kerry, he has come out in strong support of the President. USA Today has asked Michael Moore, a strong liberal & producer of Fahrenheit 9/11, to comment on the RNC - very amusing!