It appears that the United States is preparing for a major military strike against Afghanistan. There is no question that the United States needs to respond forcefully to bring the perpetrators of last week’s terrorist attack to justice and to prevent future attacks. A large-scale military action against that country, however, would be a big mistake.
Central Asia: On the Periphery of New Global War By Abid Aslam September 24, 2001
Bin Laden and Mandela: Yesterday’s Freedom Fighters, Today’s Terrorist? By William G. Martin September 2001
The Tuesday tragedy in the U.S. is already having a profound impact on Pakistan. The apocalypse in the U.S. has forced upon the Pakistani ruling elite its day of reckoning sooner than it had anticipated. The Pakistan military, which is also running the government here since October 1999, now has to choose clearly and unequivocally between a direct confrontation with the militant religious groups–and there are dozens of them–and the wrath of a wounded and angry America.
Toward the end of President Bush’s September 24 statement about freezing terrorists’ assets, one finds the overlooked but no less remarkable assertion that the U.S. is “working closely with the United Nations, the EU and through the G-7/G-8 structure to limit the ability of terrorist organizations to take advantage of the international financial systems.” Still more remarkably, he declared, “The United States has signed, but not yet ratified, two international conventions, one of which is designed to set international standards for freezing financial assets. I’ll be asking members of the U.S. Senate to approve the UN convention on suppression of terrorist financing and a related convention on terrorist bombings and to work with me on implementing the legislation.”
The Two Worlds of Abu Sayyaf By Sean Yom August 2001
The detention by Indonesian police on July 20 of 15 human rights activists and six negotiators for the Free Aceh Movement (Gerakan Aceh Merdeka or GAM) could portend a polarization of the conflict between government and rebel forces at the height of the political crisis in Jakarta over President Abdurrahman Wahid’s impeachment and the taking office of the new president, Megawati Sukarnoputri.
Entitled The United States and Southeast Asia: A Policy Agenda for the New Administration, the report was drafted by Dov Zakheim, Reagan-era Pentagon planner and now one of Bush’s Under-Secretaries of Defense. The president will soon receive similar advice from Zakheim’s boss, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, who in mid-June set out defense principles that refer to “allies” and “adversaries” but not much to countries in between.
Kashmir and Kerala, perhaps the two most scenic of the Indian states, are at the northern and southern ends of the country, respectively. During his New Year holiday in Kerala, Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee wrote some “musings” on Kashmir, almost as if he were “thinking aloud.” He wrote that he was determined to address seriously the Kashmir problem, which he identified as one of the bitter legacies of the partition of the subcontinent, while also recognizing both the internal and external dimensions of the issue.
Increasing repression by government forces is strengthening independence sentiment in Indonesia’s easternmost province of West Papua, also known as Irian Jaya.