Home > Roundup > Roundup of Analysis and Investigative Articles: Fall guys, elections, energy, and war

Roundup of Analysis and Investigative Articles: Fall guys, elections, energy, and war

U.S. Fueling Sectarian Civil War in Anbar by Funding Former Insurgents to Fight Al Qaeda. Excerpt from Democracy Now! “When Gen. David Petraeus spoke of success stories in Iraq, he largely focused on the situation in Anbar province where former Sunni insurgents are now fighting Al Qaeda alongside U.S. troops. In a U.S. broadcast exclusive, we air a report from Anbar by independent filmmaker Rick Rowley that exposes how the U.S. is fueling sectarian civil war in Iraq by funding the former Sunni insurgents.” Read the transcript or listen to the broadcast.

Can Gen. Petraeus and Ryan Crocker Save the Next Democratic President? The central question is whether the Democrats can force a significant reduction of troops from Iraq on Bush’s watch, so as to avoid Iraq becoming exclusively their headache when they (as is likely) take over the White House in January of 2009. If they could, this drawdown would be the best option. But the answer is: No. The Democrats cannot get the troops out of Iraq because they cannot overturn a Bush veto in the House of Representatives, and because they cannot overcome the need for a consensus of 60 senators in the Senate. Some Democrats, such as Joe Lieberman, oppose a rapid withdrawal. And the likelihood that 11 Republican senators will suddenly become withdrawalniks between now and November, 2008, is negligible. (Juan Cole, Informed Comment)

Morocco’s poor show. The lowest electoral turnout in its history. On 7th of September, 63% of Morocco’s electorate [hardly] bothered to cast their vote in the country’s eighth legislative election. The turnout of 37% is the lowest in Morocco’s history, and is almost half the number who voted in the 1984 elections, when 67% of voters exercised their democratic right. The downward trend was apparent in 2002, by which time voter turnout had dropped to 52%. (There has been a similar pattern in neighbouring Algeria, where the turnout in the general election in May was a paltry 36%.) (The Economist)

Interview with U.N. chief weapons inspector, ElBaradei: ‘We Are Moving Rapidly Towards an Abyss’. The international community will have to make that decision. We can only deliver the facts and our assessment of the situation. There are hopeful and positive signs. For the first time, we have agreed, with the Iranians, to a sort of roadmap, a schedule, if you will, for clarifying the outstanding issues. We should know by November, or December at the latest, whether the Iranians will keep their promises. If they don’t, Tehran will have missed a great opportunity — possibly the last one. (Spiegel)

Collapse of Legitimacy in Pakistan? Negotiations in Afghanistan? The illegal deportation of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif from Pakistan to Saudi Arabia combined with signs of internal weakness in the military, could be a dangerous turning point. Sharif is (hypocritically) challenging whatever shred of democratic legitimacy the General may concoct with Washington’s support by sabotaging the plan for a negotiated transition ignoring his party. Musharraf was forced into this confrontation when a mass mobilization of the legal profession in support of the chief justice exposed the vacuum of legality on which the military regime stood; only a 2 am telephone call from Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice stopped Musharraf from destroying the pretense of legality by declaring martial law. (Barnett R. Rubin, Informed Comment Global Affairs)

Pipeline Politics: India and Myanmar. Recent developments in the gas field projects of Myanmar have served to highlight the intense resource diplomacy that is ongoing in the region. The government of Myanmar withdrew India’s (under the Gas Authority of India Limited or GAIL) status of “preferential buyer” on the A1 and A3 blocks of its offshore natural gas fields and instead declared their intent to sell the gas to PetroChina. (Gideon Lundholm, Power and Interest News Report)

Who Disbanded the Iraqi Army? It was a move that put 250,000 young Iraqi men out of a job, out on the streets, angry, and armed—and all but guaranteed the violent chaos to come. (Fred Kaplan, Slate)

It’s Time For Fundamental Reforms at the United Nations. The United Nations proved unable to stop the illegal invasion of Iraq and is standing on the sidelines during genocide in Darfur. These days, it looks like the organization has lost its relevance. We clearly need a much stronger and more active UN. (Pratik P. Patil, Toward Freedom)

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