September 2006 Archives

Panelist's View  |  September 1, 2006 10:17 AM

Iran Won't Stop Enrichment Without Security Guarantees

Paris, France - The deadline set for Iran to suspend its uranium enrichment by the UN Security Council has passed. But sanctions are not only unlikely, they're illogical.

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Editor's Inbox  |  September 2, 2006 9:58 AM

The Outing of Romania's Secret Police

They were some of the world's most feared organizations: the GDR's Stasi, the USSR's KGB and other Soviet-era secret political police forces. As the Iron Curtain lifted, former officers' names slowly came to light -- costing some the new lives they had built as politicians or businessmen. Now, 16 years after the fall of Nicolae Ceausescu and Communism in Romania, that country is one of the last in the Eastern bloc to come to terms with its past. But to what end?

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Reader's View  |  September 5, 2006 11:56 PM

Debunking the U.S./Australia Alliance

Sydney, Australia - Australia has traditionally been an English outpost, a nation with strong cultural and political similarities to the Mother Country. Although these ties remain deep - as evidenced during British Prime Minister Tony Blair's visit to Australia - every Australian government since World War II has positioned the country closer to the world's sole superpower, the United States. But Australian citizens are now resisting.

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Debate  |  September 7, 2006 5:36 PM

Mexico's Democratic Debacle

From Mexico City, Caracas and Lima, Ibsen Martinez, Juan Enriquez, Gustavo Gorriti and Leon Krauze debate the regional consequences of Mexico's presidential election. Will Obrador run out of steam? What's next for Mexico? Join the discussion here.

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Debate  |  September 11, 2006 11:44 AM

Live from Baghdad: Salvaging Iraq

With the Oxford International Review (OIR), we are sponsoring exclusive blog commentary and debate from Baghdad on the security situation in Iraq. Baha al-Araji, primary spokesman for the movement led by Muqtada al-Sadr, writes in: "We can easily get weapons into the green zone if we want". The Chief Prosecutor in Saddam's trial, which reopened today, says that perhaps the courts "Cannot bring hope in this kind of situation." Read it here and join the debate.

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Guest Analyst  |  September 14, 2006 8:00 AM

Publishers Hesitated to Run Stories of U.S. Torture

Eric Umansky Rather than ponder policies of torture and abuse, I'd like to talk about the media's treatment of it. I recently wrote a cover story for the Columbia Journalism Review showing that whle some reporters deserve enormous credit for exposing the abuse and torture of detainees, reporters were often found themselves facing a kind of institutional hesitance from their papers.
*I'll be online today answering your questions. Also, Iraqi leaders blog about how to salvage Iraq.

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 |  September 15, 2006 6:37 PM

Bush's Message to the Iranian People

From the Oval Office; Sept. 13, 2006

President: I would say to the Iranian people: We respect your history. We respect your culture. We admire the entrepreneurial skills of your people. I would say to the Iranian people that I recognize the importance of your sovereignty; that you're a proud nation, and you want to have a positive future for your citizens.

In terms of the nuclear issue, I understand that you believe it is in your interest--your sovereign interest, and your sovereign right--to have nuclear power. I understand that. But I would also say to the Iranian people there are deep concerns about the intentions of some in your government who would use knowledge gained from a civilian nuclear power industry to develop a weapon that can then fulfill the stated objectives of some of the leadership. And I would say to the Iranian people that I would want to work for a solution to meeting your rightful desires to have civilian nuclear power--and that solution would be something I propose for other nations, and not just Iran. And that is that those of us who have the capacity to enrich uranium would provide that enriched material, so that you could have a civilian nuclear power industry. And we would collect that, and help dispose of that, the waste of that material.

And I would assure the Iranian people that I gave a speech in Washington that wasn't aimed at Iran, per se--it was part of a solution as to how do we encourage the spread of civilian nuclear power as a way to diversify away from hydrocarbons, and at the same time be good stewards of the environment. A lot of my talk in the speech was directed toward developing nations that burn coal in such a way that it creates an environmental hazard.

And I would assure the Iranian people that the objective was global in nature, and that this would be a solution that would answer a deep desire from the Iranian people to develop a civilian nuclear power industry.

I would tell the Iranian people that we have no desire for conflict. On the other hand, I would remind people that democracies yield the best hope for people. And that while America never dictates what form of democracy, we believe in the values inherent in democracy--and that is the freedom for people to worship, for public dissent - and that it troubles us when we see young democracies challenged by elements of government and/or surrogates for government.

And I would be very frank with the Iranian people and make it clear that the Hezbollah attacks on Israel were an unnecessary provocation and in my judgment an attempt to undermine, on the one hand, a Lebanese democracy and on the other the development of a Palestinian democracy.

And I would say to the Iranian people: I would hope that you would encourage the development of free societies, based upon the traditions and history of each particular country. And that it's in your interest that democracies exist on your borders.

Ignatius: What about the question of Iraq, particularly? That's the place where American and Iranian interests intersect

President: Today, Prime Minister Maliki, the head of the sovereign government of Iraq, is talking with Iranian officials - all aimed at convincing the Iranians that a stable Iraq is in their interest. They have said so, many times. And I think Prime Minister Maliki is now attempting to find out what that means and how the Iraqi government can work with the Iranians to create a sense of stability.

Ignatius: [Khatami visit]

President: One of the dilemmas facing policymakers is to understand the nature, the complex nature, of the Iranian regime. And I thought it would be beneficial for our country to receive the former leader Khatami--to hear what he had to say. And as importantly for him, to hear what Americans had to say. I felt like he was a man who...a dignified man who would come and listen carefully to commentary and to private conversations. That ours is a nation that wants to solve the nuclear weapons issue diplomatically. And that he would see the level of concern amongst people in this country, beyond the administration. It's not just George W. Bush speaking. That he would have a sense of the desire of the American people to resolve the issue, particularly in light of the fact that the current leader had made some statements, one of which would be to obliterate our ally, as well as other statements.

It was important for Mr. Khatami to come and see the reaction of more than just the government toward Hezbollah's move in Lebanon. It's too early for me to tell whether the visit accomplished anything or not. It did accomplish this: It said that the United States is willing to listen to voices. And I hope that sends a message to the Iranian people that we're an open society, and that we respect the people of Iran.

Ignatius: What's a good next step?

President: I think exchanges. I would like to see more cultural exchanges. I would like to see university exchanges. I would like to see more people-to-people exchanges. One of the greatest diplomatic assets we have is a welcoming university system. I like the idea of people coming from parts of the world that have deep suspicions of America coming to see America as it is. What are the issues we face? One of the great ironies of this period of time is that which we invented has become very useful for those who want to create an image of America that's not true. The propaganda machine, by some, is effective. And in many people's minds, for example, there's an image that the United State is anti-Muslim. We're anti-killer. We're anti-extremist. We respect people of all faiths. I know people when they [come] to America who have an image of our country being intolerant toward Islam will be shocked by how open the American people are to the idea of people being able to worship freely. I think they would be pleased to see that a Muslim in America is equally as American as the Methodist American president. So my point to you is that the ultimate decider of rational public policy in Iran will be the people -their desire to live in peace. The center of my foreign policy is my belief that most people want peace and hope for their children. That's what they want. The idea of conflict and bloodshed is something they will avoid, if given the choice. When you vote for a government, you want to vote for that government that will lead to stability and peace. I believe that's what the Iranians want. The Khatami visit hopefully had that signal as well. But I know that the more we can show the Iranian people the true intention of the American government, the more likely it is that we will be able to reach a diplomatic solution to a difficult problem.

Ignatius: [Establish a channel on Iraq, where we both have security interests?]

President: Our first priority was to establish a sovereign government of Iraq that will be capable in dealing with its neighbor. I've read commentary where somebody says, "Prime Minister Maliki shouldn't have gone to Iran." I disagree. Prime Minister Maliki should go to Iran. It's in Iraqis' national interest that relations with Iran be such that there are secure borders and no cross-border issues, including the exportation of equipment that can harm Iraqi citizens as well as coalition troops and exportation of extremism that can prevent this young democracy from flourishing. And then we'll take it from here.

Debate  |  September 16, 2006 8:32 PM

Iraqi Leaders Blog Solutions

Dr. Mahmoud al-Mashadani Iraqi parliament leader says Americans protected Saddam from Assassination.

Baha al-Araji, Baghdad, Ayatollah's al-Sadr's Spokesperson: "We Can Easily Get Weapons into the Green Zone If We Want."

Jaafar al-Moussawi, Baghdad, Prosector of Saddam Hussein: "Saddam Hussein trial cannot bring hope in this kind of situation."

Read all ten.

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 |  September 18, 2006 10:54 AM

Questions for the Pope

MJ Akbar - An intriguing part of the conversation between the Byzantine Emperor Manuel II Paleologus and "an educated Persian" now made world-famous by Pope Benedict XVI, is that the Persian seems to have no name. There is no mention of it in the speech made by the Holy Father during his "Apostolic Journey" to the University of Regensburg on 9/12.

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On the Ground  |  September 19, 2006 1:20 PM

Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood

Mahmoud Sabit - I interviewed the Supreme Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood, Dr. Mohammed Mahdi Akef, at his office today. Those working there gave the impression of being rather pleasant, gentle, avuncular uncles. They went about their business and work in a soft, measured, disciplined quiet. Read my interview transcript.

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Debate  |  September 20, 2006 12:23 PM

The Thai Tycoon-Politician

Nayan Chanda, PostGlobal panelist and expert on Asia poses the following questions for us to debate:

Was the Thai tycoon-turned politician Thaksin Shinawatra too successful in dominating the political scene so that only the military could constrain him?Can Thailand ever become a normal democracy?

Editor's Inbox  |  September 21, 2006 4:03 PM

Just How Corrupt Was Thaksin?

Bangkok Pundit Blogger - Numerous allegations of corruption have often been made against the government of Thaksin Shinawatra, but are they really backed up with credible evidence? The Thaksin government is the not the first Thai government to face accusations of corruption. During the opposition led Chuan Leekpai government (1997-2001), there were also numerous allegations of corruption yet no coup was staged by the military. What should the threshold of corruption be before a coup is staged? How corrupt is Thailand under Thaksin after all?

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Guest Analyst  |  September 22, 2006 12:15 AM

Sudan Solution: Politics is Paramount

Alex de Waal - We have learned several harsh lessons in the last fifteen years about how to manage conflicts and atrocities in Africa and around the world. One lesson is that armed intervention is a high-cost and high-risk option that cannot deliver a solution on its own. A political settlement is essential. Another lesson is that political settlements cannot be imposed. Warring parties must negotiate their own agreement.

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Editor's Inbox  |  September 23, 2006 1:50 PM

Janjaweed Are Winning

Eric Reeves - This past week the international community acquiesced before the obdurate refusal of Khartoum's ruling junta to permit deployment of a robust UN peace support operation to Darfur, authorized several weeks ago by UN Security Council Resolution 1706 (August 31, 2006). Instead of demanding access for the large and well-equipped force necessary to protect millions of vulnerable Darfuris, and the increasingly imperiled humanitarian operations upon which they depend, the world's most powerful nations agreed to allow Darfur's security to remain entirely in the hands of a weak, under-manned, under-equipped, and badly demoralized African Union force.

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Editor's Inbox  |  September 24, 2006 12:11 AM

A Virtual US-Iran Dialogue

David Ignatius - "Proximity talks" is the phrase diplomats sometimes use to describe the process of indirect signaling and negotiation that takes place when two parties aren't actually talking. That's what has been happening over the past few weeks with the United States and Iran, and it has been an intriguing -- if somewhat opaque -- process for journalists like me to watch. Where is this non-negotiation leading? That's anybody's guess. But I can at least suggest some useful background reading, as we take our seats for the main event. And I'm looking forward to suggestions from Iranian bloggers about how to understand what's happening.

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Guest Analyst  |  September 26, 2006 12:16 PM

International Community Paralyzed By Khartoum

Last week, the Washington Post's online PostGlobal addressed Khartoum's rejection of plans to send desperately needed U.N. peacekeepers to Darfur, asking "should regional solidarity be allowed to trump human rights needs?" The question makes a grave misapprehension.

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Guest Blog  |  September 27, 2006 8:16 AM

Australia's Meddling in East Timor

During Indonesia's brutal, 24-year occupation of East Timor, the Western world remained complicit in the oppression. Current President Xanana Gusmao handed the UN a report in January that detailed gross human rights abuses over those years. It alleged that Jakarta's deliberate policy of starvation and murder cost the lives of between 84,000 and 183,000 people between 1975 and 1999. Furthermore, the Indonesian military used Western-supplied napalm bombs during their reign of terror.

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 |  September 27, 2006 9:34 PM

Pressure Pakistan's Leadership

Lahore, Pakistan - The crisis in Afghanistan is a result of the failure of the international community to respond adequately after the Taliban regime was defeated in 2001. The Bush administration began preparations to invade Iraq just weeks after the Afghan war ended and divided the world community in the process

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Editor's Inbox  |  September 28, 2006 9:54 AM

Bowing to Muslim Pressure in Berlin?

When the last opera tone fades to silence, Idomeneo, King of Crete, enters the stage carrying a blood-covered bag. He turns to the audience laughing and triumphantly reveals the decapitated heads of religious icons: first Poseidon, next Jesus, then Buddha and finally the Prophet Mohammed. An anonymous tipster threatened the leadership of the Berlin opera house because of its depiction of the Prophet. The show was pulled from the lineup yesterday.

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Guest Blog  |  September 29, 2006 2:16 PM

Inside Scoop on the UN Race

Candidates drafted campaign platforms, created campaign websites and spoke at public events around the world. India, Canada and other middle-power states demanded a stronger role for the General Assembly in proposing and vetting candidates under consideration. The Security Council - often criticized for its unrelenting, secretive grip on the nomination process - responded by limiting its consideration to only formally (read, publicly) nominated candidates from member governments.

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« August 2006 | October 2006 »

PostGlobal is an interactive conversation on global issues moderated by Newsweek International Editor Fareed Zakaria and David Ignatius of The Washington Post. It is produced jointly by Newsweek and, as is On Faith, a conversation on religion. Please send us your comments, questions and suggestions.