TIRANA, Albania — With the price of crude oil having recently hit $70 a barrel and energy markets staying hungry, two trans-Balkan pipeline projects are competing to bring Caspian oil to the West. Russia, Greece and Bulgaria signed an agreement for the construction of a Bourgas-Alexandroupolis pipeline on Sept. 4, and a rival Albania-Macedonia-Bulgaria pipeline is on the drawing board. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, oil companies have devoted vast amounts of capital to developing the oil and gas reserves of the Caspian Sea region. The total oil reserve of the region, estimated at above 200 billion barrels, […]

Editor’s Note: This is the first in a series of six articles by Rhea Wessel on the rights of Muslim women in Europe, particularly Turkish women in Germany, which will appear occasionally on World Politics Review. “When she was in the kitchen again, I went back and slipped the gun into the back of my pants. I stood in the doorway of the kitchen. . . . Gönül kept on saying, ‘Leave me alone. This is none of your business.’ She ranted and raved in Turkish and German. . . . ‘You’re a loser! Failure’. . . I got angry. […]

On June 23, 2006, Polish Prime Minister Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz fired his deputy and the minister of finances Zyta Gilowska after she had been formally charged with perjury. Gilowska allegedly had lied about being an agent of the Communist secret police (Sluzba Bezpieczenstwa, SB) before 1989. Her codename was “Beata.” Gilowska vehemently denied all charges. The ensuing vetting trial of the politician and the accompanying public debate laid bare serious flaws in Poland’s judicial and legislative process. They also exposed the impact of the nation’s totalitarian past on its democratic present. The Firing The rumor mill churned out stories about Gilowska’s […]

Many gifted writers have written retrospectives about the five-year anniversary of Sept. 11 and have asked what our country has learned, if anything, from the last five years of war with Islamic fascists. One of the most important questions that has been asked in this bout of introspection is: Does the West actually believe in its stated values, and does it have the will to defend them in the current struggle? In examining this question, I could only think of the stark contrast between Alexaksandr Solzhenitsyn’s commencement address in 1978 and last week’s speech by former Iranian President Mohammed Khatami […]

In a display of optimism for its prospects at landing a huge U.S. Air Force aerial refueling tanker contract, Northrop Grumman Corp. Sept. 13 hosted representatives of some 100 companies that could become suppliers to the company if it wins. With a likely price tag of at least $20 billion to build a minimum of 100 refueling aircraft, the competition is fierce among defense contractors to land the order. As the only U.S.-based aircraft manufacturer, The Boeing Co. once looked to be a shoe-in for the contract. But now Northrop Grumman, partnering with the European firm that owns Airbus, is […]

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After the collapse of the Soviet empire, the Caspian states of Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan generated a great deal of excitement because of their oil and gas fields, about which little was known. Despite falling oil prices, uncertain reserve sizes and a non-existent legal framework, an extraordinary volume of international investment poured into the region in 1997 and 1998. By 1999, more than 20 oil exploration contracts were signed in Azerbaijan alone, representing more than $30 billion in long-term capital investment and some $2.5 billion in committed investment. It was widely expected that the poorly explored, but high-potential Caspian oil reserves […]

SEVILLE, Spain — “Ridiculous! Nobody takes that seriously,” laughs Santiago, the young Spanish tourism executive, when asked to comment on Osama bin Laden´s references to reclaiming Spain´s once Moorish province of Andalusia. “The city of Seville expelled the Muslims in 1248, even before they were driven out of the rest of Andalusia. The threat is not worth discussing.” Bin Laden has in the past called for an Islamist takeover of what he calls “al-Andaluz” as the center of a restored Caliphate, a single Islamic state, one nation under Allah stretching from Indonesia to southern Spain that would contain 1.5 billion […]

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TIRANA, Albania — In attempt to boost its bid for a 2008 accession into NATO, the Albanian government has hired former U.S. homeland security chief Tom Ridge as a consultant to Prime Minster Sali Berisha. Ridge, a former governor of Pennsylvania and congressman, was appointed as the United State’s first homeland security adviser on October 8, 2001, shortly after the September 11 terrorist attacks. Ridge went on to become the first secretary of Homeland Security, overseeing the consolidation of the massive new department, created in the largest federal reorganization since World War II. Ridge resigned from government in December 2004. […]

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Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams is to travel to Israel on a self-styled “peace mission” on Tuesday at the invitation of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas leader Ismail Haniyam. Adams’ itinerary includes meetings with the Palestinian Legislative Council and its ruling group Hamas — a move that has angered a White House determined to isolate a group it designates as terrorists. However, it is not yet clear whether Adams will even be allowed through security at Tel Aviv airport. President Bush’s special envoy to Northern Ireland is reported to be “livid” about the proposed visit. It may also threaten […]

DAGESTAN, Russia — The newlyweds sat at the front of the dim banquet hall here looking out at their guests. Three hundred people intermittently gathered around the long food-filled tables or hopped around the dance floor, sweating through their fancy clothes as they swished their arms back and forth doing the region’s traditional dance, the lezginka. After three hours of reveling in the southern Russian heat, the flawlessly coiffed bride descended to the floor in her corseted white dress while her groom danced around her holding a fluffy taffeta baton. As he passed it off to various male relatives and […]