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Thread: Iraq: Undeclared Civil War???

  1. #1

    Iraq: Undeclared Civil War???

    Source: The Christian Science Monitor

    [QUOTE][B]Iraq: Does it matter if you call it a civil war?

    Iraq's constitution could be seen as a draft 'peace pact' for warring parties [/B]

    By Dan Murphy

    BAGHDAD - Finding a way to head off civil war is at the heart of all the major initiatives - including the talks over a new constitution - in Iraq. But by most common political-science definitions of the term, "civil war" is already here.

    "It's not a threat. It's not a potential. Civil war is a fact of life there now,'' says Pavel Baev, head of the Center for the Study of Civil War at the Peace Research Institute in Oslo, Norway. He argues that until the nature of the conflict is accurately seen, good solutions cannot be found. "What's happening in Iraq is a multidimensional conflict. There's international terrorism, banditry, the major foreign military presence. But the civil war is the central part of it - the violent contestation for power inside the country."

    What this means in practical terms, is that an immediate US withdrawal isn't likely to bring peace to Iraq, say analysts. Nor is simply "staying the course," if it isn't matched by a political peace treaty among the warring parties - a role that a new constitution, facing a midnight tonight deadline, could fill.

    [B]The academic thumbnail definition of a civil war is a conflict with at least 1,000 battlefield casualties, involving a national government and one or more nonstate actors fighting for power. [/B]

    While the US has lost 1,862 soldiers, getting an accurate casualty count beyond that is difficult. The Iraqi government and US military say they don't keep figures on Iraqi troops or civilians killed. According to [url]www.iraqbodycount.net[/url], a website run by academics and peace activists, 24,865 Iraqi civilians were killed between March 2003 and March 2005. The report said that US-led forces killed 37 percent of the total.

    The spreadsheets in Dr. Faad Ameen Bakr's computer shed some light on the casualty rate. Baghdad's chief pathologist pulls down the death toll for Iraq's capital in July: 1,083 murders, a new record.

    Under Saddam Hussein, Baghdad was a violent city. But the highest murder rate before the war was 250 in one month. (By comparison, New York City with about 2 million more residents, had 572 murders in 2004, and a peak of 2,245 in 1990).

    The month of June, with 870 murders, was the previous record in Baghdad. In a weary monotone, Dr. Bakr explains that 680 of the victims were shot, the rest "strangled, electrocuted, stabbed, killed by blunt trauma or burned to death." The totals don't include residents killed by Baghdad's frequent car-bombings.

    While he won't discuss the religious background of the victims - citing the vulnerability of himself and his staff - Bakr says a growing number of victims show signs of "extreme torture" and arrive at the morgue in handcuffs or bound with the plastic ties used by the Iraqi military and police. "I wouldn't call it a civil war, but I would call it chronic instability," he says.

    The second part of the definition of a civil war is whether the national government is battling nonstate or other internal forces.

    A year ago it was common to hear Iraqi politicians say most of the fighting was resistance to US occupation, and would subside with a US military withdrawal. Today, few voice that view.

    "We are living in an undeclared civil war among Iraq's political groups,'' says Nabil Yunos, the head of political affairs for the Dignity Party, a Sunni party. "It's not just Sunnis that are the problem. It's the Shiites, the Kurds, it's everyone. The violence has gotten worse, and we're entering a very dangerous period."

    In Baghdad, "soft cleansing" is taking place in a number of mixed neighborhoods, with targeted assassinations scaring Sunnis out of some, and Shiites out of others. In the south, Shiite militias, not the new army and police, are the major power.

    While there is still hope that Iraq can avoid going all the way down the same tragic road that ripped apart Lebanon, a growing number of political leaders and analysts are acknowledging that a de facto state of civil war is already here.

    In the Sunni and Shiite neighborhood of Horriya, on the western edge of Baghdad, three Shiite barbers have been killed this month by Sunni religious extremists who think it's sinful to cut men's beards. After notes were slipped under their doors that they could be next, at least half a dozen barber shops have closed, and the rest have prominently posted signs that will no longer shave beards.

    In largely Sunni neighborhoods like Dora and Al Ghaziliya, Shiite residents have received written death threats to leave the area. Sunnis in Shiite neighborhoods say they've received similar threats from the Badr Brigade, a militia loyal to the Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, one of the two big Shiite parties that now dominate the government.

    A Shiite doctor in Dora, who asked that his name not be used, says he's looking for a new home since a note was slipped under his door last month. "All the dirty Shiites out of Iraq, or face death!" it warned, which brought back memories of his brother, killed for political activity by the Hussein regime in the early 1990s.

    He says at least 15 Shiites in Dora have been killed in the last month. "We wake up with hope every day, but when the sun goes down, things are worse for us. I walk with death just because I'm a Shiite."

    A Sunni women in the Latifiyah neighborhood, whose husband was a government official under Hussein and was assassinated earlier this year, points to the cluster of bullet holes in her front gate and the front window of her living room. "We know the Badr Brigade has a list of Sunnis they want to kill and we're on it. They want us out of this house. And the police are working with them."

    Though the allegations are unproven, many Sunni Arabs make such comments. Similarly, there's a conviction among the Shiite Arab community that Sunni insurgents are seeking to reimpose a regime like Hussein's, which favored the Sunni minority and ruthlessly suppressed Shiite political activity.

    Such breakdowns along confessional or ideological lines are the hallmarks of civil war and speak to why the drafters of Iraq's constitution have run up against so many problems.

    Mr. Baev, at the Oslo peace institute, is skeptical that a solution will be found to Iraq's current violence in any constitution that could be completed soon.

    "If you have major actors in a civil war who control a large part of the violence who sit down and negotiate power sharing, then you can hope that violence might subside,'' he says. "But it's very much a question of to what degree the negotiating parties control the armed formations. And in these processes, you can always have spoilers. It looks as if the Sunnis are increasingly being excluded from power-sharing arrangements."

    At the moment, the major powers in much of Iraq are Shiite militias like the Badr Brigade, and the Peshmerga militias of the Kurds in the North. While Kurdish areas are much more peaceful than the rest of the country, residents of Kirkuk - an oil rich and ethnically mixed city that the Kurd's are claiming as a future capitol, allege they've been involved in systematically driving Arabs from their homes.

    "I'm amazed Kirkuk hasn't flared up yet,'' says a Western diplomat in Baghdad. "I hate to say this - but the only solution might be to simply let the people of Iraq fight it out and get so fatigued from the fighting, that they eventually reach some sort of compromise."

    Kurdish leaders, who see the current constitutional debate as a potential stepping stone to autonomy, occasionally threaten pulling out of Iraq entirely if they're not satisfied by negotiations soon. "If the constitution doesn't settle the issue of Kirkuk, we could just back up and go back to the north. We know these other parties, they're just stalling until they get stronger than us in the future,'' says says Faraj al-Haydari, a senior official in the Baghdad offices of the Kurdish Democratic Party.

    Saleh Mutlak, a leading Sunni on the drafting committee, says it looks to him like Shiites and Kurds are looking to cut a deal among themselves on the constitution that will leave areas they dominate with the lion's share of Iraq's resources, "something we will never allow to happen." Mr. Mutlak dismisses the dominant Shiite parties, Sciri and Dawa, as "Iranian Shiites,'' whose first loyalties aren't to Iraq. Many Sciri and Dawa activists were exiled to Iran, a Shiite theocracy, until Saddam fell.

    But that's not his only worry. As with many modern civil wars, its contestants have multiple enemies. Mutlak says he fears reprisals not only from Shiite militias, but from the wing of the Sunni insurgency led by the terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian militant behind many of Iraq's most devastating attacks on civilians.

    Mr. Zarqawi and his followers reject all participation in the political process, and are suspected to be behind the murder last week of three activists from the Iraqi Islamic Party, a Sunni group that Mutlak is close to, in the northern city of Mosul. The three were canvassing for Sunni participation in upcoming elections.

    Though there has been extensive training and equipment programs for the new Iraqi army and police, few Iraqis seem to be putting much faith in them. While Sunnis complain that new forces are infiltrated by the militias of the major Shiite parties, even many Shiites prefer to rely on sectarian militias for their own protection.

    Majid Jabr Faihod, for example, sits in his family's spare home in Baghdad's Sadr City neighborhood, and describes how the death of his father in May turned into a family tragedy. He stayed behind as eight family members - including three of his four brothers - took their father to be buried near the holy Shrine of Imam Ali in Najaf, a centuries-old Shiite practice.

    On the way there, the minibus transporting them was waylaid in Latifiyah, a Sunni insurgent stronghold. The eight men were separated from the women in the bus, and driven away, along with their father's coffin. Mr. Faihod says that all of the men were mutilated, then killed and dragged through the streets of Latifiyah, along with their father's body.

    "This is entirely because we're Shiite, and they hate us," says Faihod. "The armed forces are weak and can't protect us. Here in Sadr City, thank God, we can rely on the Mahdi Army."

    The Mahdi Army is the militia of Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, and while it's been out of the headlines since fighting pitched battles with US forces last year for control of Najaf, it appears as strong as ever in Sadr City, an almost completely Shiite section of Baghdad with 2 million people.

    In recent weeks, Islamic vigilantes believed to be aligned with the Mahdi Army have killed a number of Sadr City residents for the crime of "immorality." In Faihod's case, the Mahdi Army paid for the family's mass funeral and provided security on the second trip to Najaf.

    "We believe in the old law, blood for blood,'' says Raad Faihod, the other surviving brother. "The truth has to come out, and the truth is that all of these terrorists are Sunnis and their political parties. They have to be dealt with." [/QUOTE]

    thoughts?

  2. #2
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    What we've got here, is, failure, ........to communicate.

  3. #3
    CENTCOM: Successes in Iraq
    newsmax.com ^ | Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2005

    Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2005 10:12 a.m. EDT CENTCOM: Successes in Iraq

    U.S. military commanders on the ground in Iraq must be scratching their heads in bewilderment over Sen. Chuck Hagel's recent comments painting their efforts as an abject failure.

    A day after Hagel trotted out his message of doom and gloom on ABC's "This Week," CENTCOM officials issued a press release listing some of their recent accomplishments - a list of achievements that has somehow escaped the notice of the establishment press.

    Before Sen. Hagel does anymore damage to the war effort, we'd urged him to review the CENTCOM release for the week of August 22. Here's a few highlights:

    • More reconstruction projects in Sadr City started this week, including the $13 million electrical distribution project for sectors one through eight. When complete, an estimated 128,000 people will have a reliable source of electricity. The project includes installation of power lines, 3,040 power poles, 80 transformers, 2,400 street lights, and power connections to individual homes, complete with meters.

    • Construction started on the $3.8 million Al Rayash Electricity Substation project in Al Daur District of Salah Ad Din Province, located between Tikrit and Bayji. The project, which is expected to be completed in early December, will provide reliable service to 50,000 Iraqi homes and small businesses. An electric distribution and street lighting project in Daquq was completed on Aug. 17, providing new overhead distribution lines and street lighting in the community.

    • Approximately two million people will benefit from the Baghdad trunk sewer line, which was completed this week. Workers cleaned and repaired the Baghdad trunk sewer line and its associated manholes and pumping stations. The $17.48 million project restored principal sewage collection elements in the Adhamiya, Sadr City and 9-Nissan districts of Baghdad, and will provide for the intended sewer flows to the Rustamiya wastewater treatment plant.

    • More than 600 children will return to renovated or rebuilt schools in Maysan Province when school starts this fall. This week, renovation on the Al-Eethnar Mud School was completed, and the Al Eethar Mud School was replaced at a cost of $87,000, benefiting 500 students who attend classes there.

    • Children in Dobak Tappak village of Al Tamim Province received much-needed school supplies, clothing and toys from the Nahrain Foundation, a non-governmental organization that focuses on providing proper nutrition, decent clothing and medical supplies to Iraqi women and children. The foundation received its supplies as part of a joint effort between American donations and a Coalition forces-run program known as "Operation Provide School Supplies,” which accepts donations from private citizens and corporations in the U.S.

    • In Basrah, construction is complete on phase one of the $865,000 Basrah courthouse project. This five-phase project is expected to be entirely complete in October of 2005. This main courthouse in Basrah, expected to hold a number of high profile trials, continues to operate during construction. Iraqi subcontractors are working on the project, and employing an average of 70 local Iraqi workers daily.

    • Iraqi security forces benefited from reconstruction projects this week as well. A patrol station in the Karkh district of Baghdad Province was completed, as was a $390,300 border-post project on the Saudi Arabian border. A division headquarters building for the Iraqi Army in Salah Ad Din Province was also completed this week. The $7 million project includes a single-story building with a concrete roof and interior office space to accommodate the unit. Additionally, a $2 million firing range in Taji was completed this week.

    • To accommodate additional detainees, a new prison project was started in Khan Bani Sa’ad, a mountainous municipality in the Ba’quba District of Diyala Province. The $75 million project will house up to 3,600 inmates. The entire site is approximately 550,000 square meters, which includes an educational center, medical facilities and administration buildings. The project will employ approximately 1,000 Iraqi workers during construction.

    • In another move that highlights the increasing turnover of security responsibilities to Iraqi forces, generals from Iraqi and Coalition forces joined local tribal leaders at a ceremony where Forward Operating Base Dagger in Tikrit, one of Saddam Hussein’s former palaces, was officially handed over to the 4th Iraqi Army Division this week.

    • Iraqi Security Forces continued training this week. In Taji, Iraqi soldiers completed a Strategic Infrastructure Battalion Train-the-Trainer course. The 90 graduates will go on to serve as instructors at an Iraqi Army training base. A class of future IA non-commissioned officers graduated from their primary leadership development course on Aug. 15 in Tikrit. Iraqi Army unit training also included combat lifesaving, staff training, computer skills and weapons training.

    • This week, the 1st Iraqi Army Brigade succeeded at implementing the first Non-commissioned Officer Academy in the country. Iraqi soldiers from the most recent class were the last group to be instructed by the U.S. Soldiers who had developed the training. During Saddam Hussein’s regime, an NCO corps did not exist in the Iraqi Army. The class will continue after the U.S. instructors leave, and will be taught by NCOs from the 1st IA who assisted earlier courses.

    • Baghdad police continued to demonstrate their capabilities this week. Iraqi Police Service officers in the New Baghdad District conducted a variety of operations including raids involving over 450 officers. Police confiscated 30 AK-47 rifles, two hand guns, and one machine gun during the raids.

    • They also arrested 30 suspected insurgents, three of whom were targeted in the raids. In addition, police at the Al Khanssa Police Station in Baghdad captured a kidnapper involved in the abduction of a local physician, whose family paid a ransom to have the victim released. Following the arrest, police officers recovered the doctor’s vehicle as well as the ransom money paid by his family.

    • Iraqi Army soldiers found a weapons cache under a vehicle in Rawah this week. The cache contained two light machine guns and 3000 rounds of ammunition, nine AK-47 rifles and 500 rounds of ammunition, one NATO machine gun and 200 rounds of ammunition, four concussion grenades, one fragmentary grenade without fuses, and various other ammunition.

    • Based on two separate tips from Iraqis, Coalition forces discovered weapons caches that contained rocket-propelled grenades and two launchers, 16 mortar rounds and a launcher, and five boxes of anti-aircraft ammunition hidden in northwest Baghdad.

    • Another tip led Coalition forces to a large cache of artillery shells in the early hours of Aug. 16. The shells were apparently intended for use as improvised explosive devices. The 25 to 30 individual rounds, located inside a building within Al Anbar Province, were destroyed after security forces confirmed there was no one in the building.

    • After a local Iraqi identified his neighbors as insurgents, Iraqi Army soldiers and Coalition forces conducted a joint cordon and search operation in northwest Fallujah and detained two suspects.

    • Iraqi Security Forces killed terrorist Abu Zubair, also known as Mohammed Salah Sultan, in an ambush in the northern city of Mosul this week. Zubair, who was wearing a suicide vest when he was killed, was a known member of Al Qaeda in Iraq and a lieutenant in Jordanian terrorist Abu Musab Zarqawi’s terrorist operations in Mosul. He was being sought for his involvement in a July suicide bombing attack of a police station in Mosul that killed five Iraqi police officers. He was also suspected of resourcing and facilitating suicide bomber attacks against Coalition, Iraqi Security Forces and Iraqi citizens throughout the country.

  4. #4
    [QUOTE=Jetcane]CENTCOM: Successes in Iraq
    newsmax.com ^ | Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2005

    Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2005 10:12 a.m. EDT CENTCOM: Successes in Iraq

    U.S. military commanders on the ground in Iraq must be scratching their heads in bewilderment over Sen. Chuck Hagel's recent comments painting their efforts as an abject failure.

    A day after Hagel trotted out his message of doom and gloom on ABC's "This Week," CENTCOM officials issued a press release listing some of their recent accomplishments - a list of achievements that has somehow escaped the notice of the establishment press.

    Before Sen. Hagel does anymore damage to the war effort, we'd urged him to review the CENTCOM release for the week of August 22. Here's a few highlights:

    • More reconstruction projects in Sadr City started this week, including the $13 million electrical distribution project for sectors one through eight. When complete, an estimated 128,000 people will have a reliable source of electricity. The project includes installation of power lines, 3,040 power poles, 80 transformers, 2,400 street lights, and power connections to individual homes, complete with meters.

    • Construction started on the $3.8 million Al Rayash Electricity Substation project in Al Daur District of Salah Ad Din Province, located between Tikrit and Bayji. The project, which is expected to be completed in early December, will provide reliable service to 50,000 Iraqi homes and small businesses. An electric distribution and street lighting project in Daquq was completed on Aug. 17, providing new overhead distribution lines and street lighting in the community.

    • Approximately two million people will benefit from the Baghdad trunk sewer line, which was completed this week. Workers cleaned and repaired the Baghdad trunk sewer line and its associated manholes and pumping stations. The $17.48 million project restored principal sewage collection elements in the Adhamiya, Sadr City and 9-Nissan districts of Baghdad, and will provide for the intended sewer flows to the Rustamiya wastewater treatment plant.

    • More than 600 children will return to renovated or rebuilt schools in Maysan Province when school starts this fall. This week, renovation on the Al-Eethnar Mud School was completed, and the Al Eethar Mud School was replaced at a cost of $87,000, benefiting 500 students who attend classes there.

    • Children in Dobak Tappak village of Al Tamim Province received much-needed school supplies, clothing and toys from the Nahrain Foundation, a non-governmental organization that focuses on providing proper nutrition, decent clothing and medical supplies to Iraqi women and children. The foundation received its supplies as part of a joint effort between American donations and a Coalition forces-run program known as "Operation Provide School Supplies,” which accepts donations from private citizens and corporations in the U.S.

    • In Basrah, construction is complete on phase one of the $865,000 Basrah courthouse project. This five-phase project is expected to be entirely complete in October of 2005. This main courthouse in Basrah, expected to hold a number of high profile trials, continues to operate during construction. Iraqi subcontractors are working on the project, and employing an average of 70 local Iraqi workers daily.

    • Iraqi security forces benefited from reconstruction projects this week as well. A patrol station in the Karkh district of Baghdad Province was completed, as was a $390,300 border-post project on the Saudi Arabian border. A division headquarters building for the Iraqi Army in Salah Ad Din Province was also completed this week. The $7 million project includes a single-story building with a concrete roof and interior office space to accommodate the unit. Additionally, a $2 million firing range in Taji was completed this week.

    • To accommodate additional detainees, a new prison project was started in Khan Bani Sa’ad, a mountainous municipality in the Ba’quba District of Diyala Province. The $75 million project will house up to 3,600 inmates. The entire site is approximately 550,000 square meters, which includes an educational center, medical facilities and administration buildings. The project will employ approximately 1,000 Iraqi workers during construction.

    • In another move that highlights the increasing turnover of security responsibilities to Iraqi forces, generals from Iraqi and Coalition forces joined local tribal leaders at a ceremony where Forward Operating Base Dagger in Tikrit, one of Saddam Hussein’s former palaces, was officially handed over to the 4th Iraqi Army Division this week.

    • Iraqi Security Forces continued training this week. In Taji, Iraqi soldiers completed a Strategic Infrastructure Battalion Train-the-Trainer course. The 90 graduates will go on to serve as instructors at an Iraqi Army training base. A class of future IA non-commissioned officers graduated from their primary leadership development course on Aug. 15 in Tikrit. Iraqi Army unit training also included combat lifesaving, staff training, computer skills and weapons training.

    • This week, the 1st Iraqi Army Brigade succeeded at implementing the first Non-commissioned Officer Academy in the country. Iraqi soldiers from the most recent class were the last group to be instructed by the U.S. Soldiers who had developed the training. During Saddam Hussein’s regime, an NCO corps did not exist in the Iraqi Army. The class will continue after the U.S. instructors leave, and will be taught by NCOs from the 1st IA who assisted earlier courses.

    • Baghdad police continued to demonstrate their capabilities this week. Iraqi Police Service officers in the New Baghdad District conducted a variety of operations including raids involving over 450 officers. Police confiscated 30 AK-47 rifles, two hand guns, and one machine gun during the raids.

    • They also arrested 30 suspected insurgents, three of whom were targeted in the raids. In addition, police at the Al Khanssa Police Station in Baghdad captured a kidnapper involved in the abduction of a local physician, whose family paid a ransom to have the victim released. Following the arrest, police officers recovered the doctor’s vehicle as well as the ransom money paid by his family.

    • Iraqi Army soldiers found a weapons cache under a vehicle in Rawah this week. The cache contained two light machine guns and 3000 rounds of ammunition, nine AK-47 rifles and 500 rounds of ammunition, one NATO machine gun and 200 rounds of ammunition, four concussion grenades, one fragmentary grenade without fuses, and various other ammunition.

    • Based on two separate tips from Iraqis, Coalition forces discovered weapons caches that contained rocket-propelled grenades and two launchers, 16 mortar rounds and a launcher, and five boxes of anti-aircraft ammunition hidden in northwest Baghdad.

    • Another tip led Coalition forces to a large cache of artillery shells in the early hours of Aug. 16. The shells were apparently intended for use as improvised explosive devices. The 25 to 30 individual rounds, located inside a building within Al Anbar Province, were destroyed after security forces confirmed there was no one in the building.

    • After a local Iraqi identified his neighbors as insurgents, Iraqi Army soldiers and Coalition forces conducted a joint cordon and search operation in northwest Fallujah and detained two suspects.

    • Iraqi Security Forces killed terrorist Abu Zubair, also known as Mohammed Salah Sultan, in an ambush in the northern city of Mosul this week. Zubair, who was wearing a suicide vest when he was killed, was a known member of Al Qaeda in Iraq and a lieutenant in Jordanian terrorist Abu Musab Zarqawi’s terrorist operations in Mosul. He was being sought for his involvement in a July suicide bombing attack of a police station in Mosul that killed five Iraqi police officers. He was also suspected of resourcing and facilitating suicide bomber attacks against Coalition, Iraqi Security Forces and Iraqi citizens throughout the country.[/QUOTE]



    Don't be so ridiculous, Iraq is not Disneyland one year after a war, there's nothing good going on over there, having Saddam back would be 10 times better.
    :rolleyes:

  5. #5
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    There is a lot that could go wrong, and a lot that could go right. Sunni participation is definitely a big variable. Perhaps this article has nuggets of truth. It is definitely an important phase, right now. I've been reading stuff from NR online (Matt - you should visit that) and from some other sources...some pessimistic, some optimistic, etc. It could get bad, no doubt.

  6. #6
    [QUOTE=bitonti]Source: The Christian Science Monitor



    thoughts?[/QUOTE]

    Damn lefist newspaper.... LOL

  7. #7
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    This is kind of funny personally, since I wouldn't consider the CS Monitor a good source for global politics, but hey - whatever.

    I was debating someone about a year ago, and they produced a column from some really obscure source (the Nashville Sun-Times?); I had to laugh because I wasn't sure the paper even existed. And even if it did, was their movie critic writing about the Iraq war? Wow.

  8. #8
    [QUOTE=quantum]This is kind of funny personally, since I wouldn't consider the CS Monitor a good source for global politics, but hey - whatever.
    [/QUOTE]

    the question begs what would you consider a good source for global politics?

  9. #9
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    [QUOTE=bitonti]the question begs what would you consider a good source for global politics?[/QUOTE]


    I try to read papers from think tanks, from both sides, directly; if not directly, then I settle for reprints, which may or may not be complete due to space limitations, political editing, etc.

    Media is interesting because they get reporters who know very little to comment on these things; I prefer to go to experts.

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