Thursday, April 03, 2003

On April 1, Dilip Hiro was writing in the Guardian about Ayatollah Sistani's opposition to the invasion. The article had a very negative tone. Today the Ayatollah issued a fatwa urging Iraqis not to resist! Now the US will definitely win the war, because Shi'ites make up 60% of the population of Iraq and Sistani is the highest religious authority in Iraq. Perhaps Saddam's "becoming religious" has backfired on him. It remains to be seen how long the war will take, because the supply lines to Baghdad must be stretched very tightly like a rubber band...

Wednesday, April 02, 2003

Iran hardline watchdog rejects curbs on its powers. Unless I'm mistaken, so-called "reformers" were talking big a few months ago about how this bill would never go to the Expediency Council and they would call a referendum or Khatami would resign or something big. Now Mr Shakouri-Rad seems to be backing down. It's further evidence that no fundamental change is in the offing.
Summary of war/peace arguments from Daypop.

Tuesday, April 01, 2003

Truck crashes into British embassy in Tehran. This version from ABC News is by far the most "negative" version, quoting an eyewitness saying it looked like a suicide attack. But if you hav e seen how contraflow bus lanes work in Tehran it's hard to see how it could have been an accident. It's particularly bad timing too. The police drove off all the witnesses and this is not the way to dispel suspicion and establish trust. In open societies the truth is easier to establish, allowing for self-criticism.

Sunday, March 30, 2003

Medellin, Colombia is becoming a much safer place:

Homicide is down 38% over the same period last year, from 114 to 75, though according to a community leader from 20 de Julio, "they are not killing people in the neighborhood anymore. Rather, they take them out and kill them in neighborhoods nearby, which distorts the indices of violence in Comuna 13."

People now sleep easily at night:

Gunfire no longer echoes through the night because now more than half the killings are done with knives.

On the History channel I watched Killing Pablo twice in the last few days. The people who were being interviewed explained that there are important lessons in "fighting terrorism" to be learned from the whole story. A paramilitary group called "Los Pepes" (People Persecuted by Pablo Escobar) began killing everybody associated with him, so all of Pablo's allies were "running for their lives, dead, or arrested" (turned themselves in for their own safety). So Pablo didn't have any friends left and was hunted down by the police. Los Pepes evolved into AUC, which is now fighting Pablo's effective replacement, the FARC organisation. So, is fighting terror by "pre-emption" and "taking the gloves off" effective? Look at Colombia and learn...

Some Iraqis want war. (via Daypop.) The mental effects of living in a police state are described. The International Crisis Group while interviewing people in Iraq had characterised the situation before the US invaded as an ongoing war, which required an end. We will see whether this war was moral if the Iraqi post-war reaction is the same as the Afghan reaction.