Archive: Feb 2005

Former prime minister Ehud Barak sent a jolt through the political system when on Monday he told a television interviewer: "The Sharon family is corrupt to its very foundations, and in any other normal country, Sharon would have no longer been in power."  The remark was made just after Barak had participated in a meeting of his Labor Party's Knesset faction, where he accused his colleagues of losing their party identity and their loyalty to the rule of law as a result of their…
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Did the US-led invasion of Iraq restore American deterrence in the Middle East after it had been tattered by the precipitous withdrawal of American forces from Lebanon in 1983 and Somalia in 1993? It is an open question.  On the one hand, the actions of Lebanese opposition leaders and parties since the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri last week would indicate that the US has restored its credibility in the region. These opposition forces, led by people like Druse…
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Last Friday night, the TV stations were in a frenzy over the right-wing incitement against Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's plan to withdraw from Gaza and northern Samaria and to expel all Jews living in these areas from their homes and communities. Channel 2 devoted fully a third of its hour-long news broadcast to the issue -- super-imposing images of the political protests against the Oslo Accords in the months before Yitzhak Rabin's assassination with footage from the recent mass rally a…
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The government's decision to release 500 terrorists from prison raises a number of profound concerns about the direction the newfound friendship between Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Mahmoud Abbas – the democratically elected legitimate leader of the reformed, democratic and anti-terrorist Palestinian Authority – is taking.  Abbas is well regarded because he has made a number of statements saying the time of the so-called armed intifada has passed. His call for a temporary…
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On Thursday, for the first time, North Korea formally admitted that it possesses nuclear weapons. In so doing, the Stalinist state made clear that the Bush administration's recent policy of avoiding public censure of North Korea, in the hope of reigniting the six-party talks on its illicit nuclear program, was at best ineffective and at worst counterproductive.  The North Korean example is worth noting because it bears significantly on the current state of international reckoning with I…
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As US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice embarked on her maiden voyage, it was reported that she departed from America armed with a new policy paper on how to implement the Quartet's road map produced by the James Baker Institute for Public Policy at Rice University. According to Edward Djerejian, the former US ambassador to Syria who directs the Baker Center, the paper, with its detailed recommendations, is a "street map to the road map."  One of the things that make the pap…
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Speaking with State Department personnel on Monday, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice gave form to the Palestinian state that now stands at the center of American Middle East policy. "The Israelis," she said, "were going to have to recognize that there was going to have to be land for – contiguous land for the Palestinian state to exist on."  Contiguous land? Well, how can there be contiguity between Judea and Samaria on the east and the Gaza Strip on the west…
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