May 2007 Archives

May 4, 2007

Why Riverbend is Finally Leaving Iraq

I'm late with this but I'm not surprised that, Riverbend, the internationally known proprietor of Baghdad Burning, has decided to leave Iraq. She wrote in an April 26, 2007 post that has gotten considerable attention:

On a personal note," she writes in a post  "we've finally decided to leave. I guess I've known we would be leaving for a while now. We discussed it as a family dozens of times. At first, someone would suggest it tentatively because, it was just a preposterous idea- leaving ones home and extended family- leaving ones country- and to what? To where?

Since last summer, we had been discussing it more and more. It was only a matter of time before what began as a suggestion- a last case scenario- soon took on solidity and developed into a plan. For the last couple of months, it has only been a matter of logistics. Plane or car? Jordan or Syria? Will we all leave together as a family? Or will it be only my brother and I at first?

River said, "After Jordan or Syria- where then? Obviously, either of those countries is going to be a transit to something else. They are both overflowing with Iraqi refugees, and every single Iraqi living in either country is complaining of the fact that work is difficult to come by, and getting a residency is even more difficult. There is also the little problem of being turned back at the border. Thousands of Iraqis aren't being let into Syria or Jordan- and there are no definite criteria for entry, the decision is based on the whim of the border patrol guard checking your passport."

To read River's entire post, please see "The Great Wall of Segregation...," I pray for her safe exit.

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If Attacked, Iran May Retaliate With terrorism, assassination and sabotage

"What would Iran's response be to such a unilateral use of force?" asks intelligence and security analyst Richard M Bennett in an  AFI Research article reprinted at Asia Times Online on May 5, 2007.  

Mr. Bennett thinks "Iran and the wider Muslim community would certainly see it as the crude use of overwhelming Western military power, an undeclared war, an unprovoked assault. Of course the Iranian military would resist the actual attack to the best of its considerable ability," he adds. :It would undoubtedly attempt to make Washington's military gamble and probable victory slow, painful and extremely costly in both human and material terms."

"However, Iran's main and probably most effective response might well prove to be military action of a different sort - retaliation by the widespread use of terrorism, assassination and sabotage," Mr. Bennett concludes.

To read more of his provocative post, please see "Iran: A careful look before a US leap."

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What's Behind Shinzo Abe's Trip to the Middle East

"Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's current Middle East tour is the second trip to the region by a Japanese prime minister in less than 16 months" notes Shirzad Azad over at OhMyNews International. He said, "By visiting five Arab countries in a single trip, Abe is pursuing a wide range of economic, political and strategic objectives for Japan."

To read more, pleases see "Abe Steps Up Japan's Middle East Diplomacy."

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CNS: Muslim Diplomats to Take Three-Week Course on Vatican Diplomacy

According to Carol Glatz of Catholic News Service, "A group of diplomats from predominantly Muslim countries in the Middle East, North Africa and Europe will meet with top Vatican officials during an intensive three-week course on the Catholic Church."

Ms. Glatz reported May 3, 2007, that, "The aim of the May 7-27 [2007] course is to help Muslim governments understand how the Vatican works, especially in diplomacy, and to familiarize participants with the church and its network of social and humanitarian services."

To read more, please see "Muslim diplomats to attend intensive course on Vatican diplomacy."

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Can Middle East Powers Solve the Region's Problems?

"The failure of the Bush Administration's Middle East policy is now so catastrophic as to pose a danger to international peace and security," contends British journalist Patrick Seale, author of The Struggle for Syria: A Study in Post-war Arab PoliticsAsad of Syria: The Struggle for the Middle East; and Abu Nidal: A Gun for Hire: The Secret Life of the World's Most Notorious Arab Terrorist  in a May 4, 2007, article in Dar al-Hayat.  "It is high time the United States stepped aside and turned the region's problems over to local powers," he writes.

To read why, please see "A Regional Security Pact to Calm the Middle East."

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