Commentary Week In Review

The Commentary Week in Review is posted on the blog every Friday. Drawing from more than two dozen English-language news outlets worldwide, the column highlights a handful of the week’s notable op-eds. After last week’s New York Times piece by Nicholas D. Kristof made the case for U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney being a spy for Iran, Iason Athanasiadis drew attention in his March 29 World Politics Review exclusive to similarly tongue-in-cheek claims in the Israeli media that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad could be working for Israel. Athanasiadis’ WPR piece, written from Tehran, examines Iranian foreign policy and chronicles his […]

The Islamic Republic’s Propaganda

The Islamic Republic regime seems intent on getting all the propaganda mileage it can out of the captured members of the British Royal Navy. Below, the video of the latest “confession” televised on Iranian state television, from Nathan Thomas Summers (the sound kicks in after about seven seconds): And here’s the earlier “confession,” from Leading Seaman Faye Turney: Finally, here’s the text of the second letter that was apparently dictated to Turney by her captors: Representative of the House of Commons, I am writing to inform you of my situation. I am a British serviceperson currently being held in Iran. […]

Cuban and American Military Officials Meet Regularly

U.S. NAVAL STATION GUANTANAMO BAY — A column of blue-gray smoke rose on the horizon Wednesday as we drove slowly up a winding road to what military officials here call the “Northeast Gate” — a heavily guarded opening in the line that separates this patch of U.S. soil from the rest of Cuba. The smoke column was a strange enough site to cause the mind to wander briefly from the fast-paced frenzy surrounding the creation of a special war crimes tribunal here, and the pending guilty plea of Australian detainee David Hicks (the fate and details of which are expected […]

Albright and Gingrich on American Foreign Policy

Charlie Rose Tuesday aired a couple of interesting conversations with Madeleine Albright and Newt Gingrich. He asked them what advice they would give the next president about U.S. foreign policy. One area of agreement: improve America’s image abroad, and learn to work better with other countries, where possible. Albright: “We have in many ways now come across as a bully.” “The biggest problems . . . are ones that require even a country as powerful as the United States to develop partnerships with other countries.” Gingrich: “We have to practice listening at levels we do not understand as a country.” […]

A (Military) Plan for Darfur?

Darfur activists are getting more muscular in their prescriptions for ending the genocide in Sudan. In a March 13 column, Nicholas Kristof documented this new zeitgeist. Assuming that such activists are well represented among Kristof readers, and judging by the feedback he received, it seems the lack of progress toward peace in Sudan has made Darfur watchers downright hawkish: Six weeks ago, I invited readers to send in their own suggestions for what we should do about Darfur, and the result was a deluge of proposals from all over the world. The common thread was a far more muscular approach. […]

What About KSM?

U.S. NAVAL STATION GUANTANAMO BAY — Military officials refused on Tuesday to specify where and under what conditions admitted Sept. 11 plotter Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is being imprisoned here. They did, however, say that many of the 390 or so other terror suspect detained in the sprawling prison complex continue to face regular interrogation sessions. With the war crimes tribunal of Australian terror suspect David Hicks in a state of temporary limbo as prosecutors convene a series of private meetings with Hicks’ defense lawyer to hash out the details of a plea deal Hicks agreed to enter on Monday, military […]

War Crimes Tribunal at Guantanamo

World Politics Review Senior International Editor Guy Tayloris spending this week in Guantanamo Bay. He’ll be filing updates on thewar crimes tribunal and other developments all week. ON TUESDAY, Taylor appears on a public radio panel discussion aboutGuantanamo hosted by To The Point, a program co-produced by KCRW andPublic Radio International. For details, click here.Flying Into a Legal Storm U.S. NAVAL STATION GUANTANAMO BAY — On Monday, the 15-seat propeller plane carrying me here banked hard right around Cuba’s southeastern edge. As it descended through the clouds, something rare came into view: Long, thick beams of yellow, orange and green […]

U.S. House Passes Iraq Timetable, Bush Says He’ll Veto It

The U.S. House of Representatives voted in favor Friday of ordering President George W. Bush to pull U.S. troops out of Iraq by September 2008. At the White House, Bush responded by saying the bill was pushed by House Democrats, “in an act of political theater” and declared that he “will veto it if it comes to my desk.” The Democrats, who’ve had a majority in the House since January “set an arbitrary date for withdrawal without regard for conditions on the ground. And they tacked on billions for pet projects that have nothing to do with winning the war […]

Commentary Week In Review

The Commentary Week in Review is posted on the blog every Friday. Drawing from more than two dozen English-language news outlets worldwide, the column highlights a handful of the week’s notable op-eds. Harsh Mander argued this week in The Times of India that little positive response has been made by the Indian government during the five years since mobs of Hindus fatally attacked the Muslim minority in Gujarat state in 2002. “Several thousand people have still not returned to their original homes and are losing hope of doing so in the future,” wrote Mander. “Many have moved out of the […]

What Do Iraqis Think About the War?

It would be stretch to say a new poll of Iraqi public opinion by the U.K. firm Opinion Research Business is getting a lot of attention. But the poll, which first appeared in the press late last week in the Rupert Murdoch-owned papers The Times of London and The Australian, seems to be getting noticed more widely. Today, the Chicago Tribune has a story on the ORB poll, and National Review Online has a piece by Richard Nadler examining its findings. Those findings were generally much more positive than past surveys. Nadler says the poll’s findings will provide ammunition for […]

50th Anniversaries Everywhere

What was it about March 1957? As at least two prominent 50th anniversary celebrations this month indicate, that month saw a number of notable events in international history. Among them: —Ghana became the first country in colonial Africa to gain independence. –the Treaty of Rome establishing the European Economic Community was signed, the origin of the present day European Union. (Stay tuned for a WPR piece marking the anniversary.) –Egypt re-opened the Suez Canal in the wake of the 1956 Suez Crisis. –Congress approved the Eisenhower Doctrine. — Osama Bin Laden was born (scroll down to the last item). Know […]

Demonstrations In Washington

The protest slogans got colorful at Saturday’s anti-war demonstrations in Washington, D.C., when about a hundred counter-demonstrators lined the parade route behind the Lincoln Memorial. “Where are your burkas?” screamed one young man, repeatedly, as he pumped his fist at the anti-war marchers passing by. The anti-war marchers engaged in theater — one man dragged behind him a casket with a Massachusetts license plate on it — and had cutting catchphrases of their own. At the thick of the crowd, a middle-aged woman held a purple sign with pink words on it carrying the message: “A Real Man Knows When […]

Commentary Week In Review

The Commentary Week in Review is posted on the blog every Friday. Drawing from more than two dozen English-language news outlets worldwide, the column highlights a handful of the week’s notable op-eds. This could be the end for Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, not because he’s 83, but simply, according to Ben Macintyre’s assessment in the March 17 Times of London, because of his regime’s sloppily managed torture recently of opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai. “All tyrannies have a tipping point, a moment when the power of the dictator crumbles and he reads the writing on the wall,” wrote Macintyre. “Usually, that […]

Photo Feature: Guatemala Gangs

With U.S. President George W. Bush stopping in Guatemala on his March 2007 tour of Latin America, we published a special two-part exclusive feature on gang culture and violence in Guatemala. Part I and Part II of the series were written by a new contributor to WPR, Billy Briggs, who traveled to Guatemala last fall with veteran photographer Angela Catlin. Briggs is a freelance journalist based in the United Kingdon, who in 2005 was the recipient of Amnesty International’s Nations and Regions Award for his reporting on human rights issues. His writing has appeared in various publications. For more about […]

KSM Speaks in Secret Hearing at GITMO

The man the Bush administration and other authorities around the world have long said masterminded the suicide hijackings of 9/11 apparently confessed during a secret hearing held recently by military officials at Guantanamo Bay that, indeed, he “was responsible for the 9/11 operation from A to Z.” Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM) also said he was tortured by CIA operatives after being captured in 2003 and, according to a report by The New York Times, the once chief aide to Osama bin Laden, made various other rambling statements, including one in which he described his actions were part of a military […]

BBC Report on KSM Confession

The BBC’s report on the confession of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed at Guantanamo Bay is notable for the extent to which the BBC anchor bends over backwards to cast doubt on the veracity of the Pentagon transcript of KSM’s confession. No matter where you stand politically, you must admit that a British newsman’s seeming willingness to give a person like KSM the benefit of the doubt, while being suspect of a transcript from a U.S. military tribunal, is a tragedy. Is the cause of the anchor’s apparent attitude the result of knee-jerk anti-Americanism and his sort’s penchant for terrorist appeasement, or […]

U.S. Isn’t Only Country Surging Troops in Iraq

On Friday, Nikolai Rurua, head of the Georgian Defense commission announced that Georgia’s current 850-strong Iraq contingent will be expanded, bringing the total to 2,000 Georgian boots on Iraqi ground in 2007. The deployment is intended to last around a year. Rurua also announced a smaller surge in Georgian presence in Afghanistan. With refreshing earnestness, Rurua laid out the logic behind the move: “Our strategic partner needs help. This is why we are doing this.” He described the additional deployment as “a form of political support for the United States.” In fact, it would have been hard to imagine tiny […]

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