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:: Saturday, August 17, 2002 ::

Quick self-promotion: If you like this site and want to see more traffic here, help me get on Eric Alterman's blogroll. Email Alterlinks@aol.com (and CC it to me too at judah at brandeis.edu) and let them know you like this site.
:: Judah 9:22 PM [+] ::

:: Friday, August 16, 2002 ::

Possibly in advance of Palestinian elections, we're starting to see the national consensus break apart in Palestine. According to Nabil Sha'ath, a PA Minister, Hamas has rejected efforts by moderate, secular Palestinian groups to create a united Palestinian front of reistance to the Israeli occupation that included claims only to the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem and that rejected attacks against civilians in Israel.
Growing out of efforts lead by on-the-grond West Bank Fatah leaders like Hussein a-Sheikh (and supported by the imprisoned Marwan Barghouti, and assisted by EU diplomat Allistain Crooke) that have since been taken over the PA, the attempts to create a unified political platform reflect a growing debate over the efficacy of certain violent methods. While the original unified cease-fire attempt was thwarted by Israel's bombing of Sheikh Salah Shehadah, efforts continued to get all Palestinian political groups to back a single unified concept of resistance to Israel. With Hamas unwilling to sign on and give up its suicide bombings or its rejectionist Greater Palestine fantasy, we may see a fight for public opinion between the moderate groups as the Islamists. Israel can make a big difference in who wins this debate - if they're willing to give up their "Yasser Arafat is the kingpin of terror" argument and get down to negotiating. If they keep arresting people like Barghouti, I can guarantee the public will side with those advocating the most violent methods possible against Israel.
:: Judah 3:36 PM [+] ::

Busy, Busy, Busy has been doing a good job of following the Iraqi issue. Its good to finally see a debate.
:: Judah 3:23 PM [+] ::

While he might be another example of Amnon Lipkin-Shahak/Ami Ayalon style "burn bright-burn out" political leaders, Haifa Mayor Amram Mitzna is all the rage in the Labor Party. He seems to have real left-wing credenitals, talking about new negotiations with the Palestinians and having good relations with Palestinians citizens in Haifa, a mixed city. He even single-handedly guaranteed the presence of Palestinians at last year's Seeds of Peace camp, after the PA pulles out. If Mitzna should win the Labor chairmanship, me still might not be enough to save the party from collapse. However, with MK Yael Dayan moving to his camp and courting leading doves such as Yossi Beilin and Avraham Burg, he might be what Labor needs. There still isn't a left-wing leader with enough legitimacy to challenge Sharon or Netanyahu, but Mitzna might turn into the closest thing we have. File this one under: wait and see...
:: Judah 3:22 PM [+] ::

This may be one of the very few times I agree with people like Brent Scrowcroft, Norman Schwartkopf, Lawrence Eagleberger, and (war criminal) Henry Kissinger. If the majority of anti-war voices continue to be Republicans, I might just find myself voting for some in the next election (just kidding, sort of...). Where are all the Democrats who oppose Bush's plans to send (mostly lower-class) young men and women to kill and be killed for no reason? If there's more to the Democrats' silence than pre-election politics, I'm going to be very dissapointed.
:: Judah 3:09 PM [+] ::

Josh Marshall keeps asking questions about a meeting between Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) and Taliban Foreign Minister Ahmad Muttawakil in April 2001. Marshall apparently thinks that Rohrabacher did something very wrong by meeting with Muttawakil and presenting the Taliban with his "personal peace plan". I don't harbor any illusions that this would have been a viable peace plan, still I think the congressman should be congratulated for trying to bring stability and peace to troubled Afghanistan. At the time, the Taliban weren't considered enemies of the U.S. In fact, when they came to power in 1996 the State Department considered them potential allies. Yes, one can take issue with negotiating with such a repressive regime, but the government does it all the time - China, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia. In the end, I think contacts between peoples and government are almost always going to be helpful, no matter how far apart the two sides start.

Josh Marshall reponds: I take your "apparently" is included there because I never say there was anything wrong with the meeting. But I think you miss a few important points. In April 2001 we had sanctions on the Taliban because they refused to turn over Osama bin Laden who we held responsible for the murders of a number of US citizens, and a couple hundred African in Tanzania and Kenya

My response: I still stand by my belief that negotiations are a positive thing, even in that case (as I would have supported them during the Cold War, or with Iraq, Cuba, Libya, Iran or anyone else we have sanctions against). I guess a lot of the questions could be resolved by knowing what Rohrabacher's plan was. Was it a plan for American to run an oil pipeline through Afganistan and allow the Taliban to collect tax revenue and use the money to enforce "stability"? Or was it a real plan for peace, power-sharing, democracy, and improved US-Afghan relations? I would love to know....
:: Judah 3:00 PM [+] ::

:: Wednesday, August 14, 2002 ::

New Year's Eve. Madison Square Garden. Phish. Be there...
:: Judah 5:05 PM [+] ::

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