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03/24/2003 Archived Entry: "Arab cartoonists"

On the Political Front:

ZNet Toons is featuring a cartoon by Kevin Moore, "In Contempt," that captures the manner in which too many journalists -- and especially those from CNN -- have handled the invasion of Iraq. Too many of the "embeds" -- journalists embedded in military units -- are actually in-beds with the military, constantly reporting the equivalent of "Gee Whiz" as American tanks roll through Iraqi sand. How did American oil get beneath their sand? Meanwhile, to judge the mood of the Arab side of this conflict, it is valuable to view the work of Arab cartoonists from Al Jazeerah. Warning: slow download.

An interesting report from Ian Mather examines a diplomatic dispute between the US and the UK that seems to be bubbling beneath the surface. Mather writes, "Despite having bypassed the United Nations in order to go to war with Iraq, Tony Blair wants to bring in the organisation at the soonest possible moment and give it a major role in running Iraq until a legitimate government of Iraqis can be established. US plans for post-war Iraq are more like those they put into place for a defeated Japan after the Second World War....This solution is not what the British want."

The situation between the Kurds and Turks in Northern Iraq continues to develop in an ominous direction. (BTW, for those unfamiliar with Iraq's geography, this map may be useful.) On Sunday, Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan announced plans to send more troops into Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq to "provide stability" thus apparently brushing aside U.S. and other Western calls to stay out. Turkey is also ignoring protests from Arab nations, including Iraq.

Northern Iraq seems to be under the control of the Kurds who live there but an armed confrontation seems inevitable if Turkish soldiers -- the historic enemy of Kurds -- continue to mass and advance. The U.S. has put itself into an impossible situation and is likely to break promises made to both sides. Timothy Noah writes in his ongoing series of articles in Slate entitled, "Kurd Sell-out Watch," "The United States has threatened to take the Kurds' side against a Turkish incursion and, at the same time, has promised the Turks to keep the Kurds out of the city of Kirkuk, which lies south of Iraqi Kurdistan. The Kurds claim Kirkuk as their 'Jerusalem,' and, more to the point, Kirkuk sits atop an estimated 10 billion barrels of oil." The first article in Noah's series is entitled "How Screwed are the Kurds?" If Iran grabs the opportunity to get involved -- as it may due to its longstanding interest in Northern Iraq -- the situation may explode. Today's editorial by Justin Raimondo on antiwar.com comments that journalist Robert Novak has already reported "a meeting between the Turks and the Iranians for the purpose of dividing up northern Iraq." Novak states, "Turkey has already moved 7,000 troops [Northern Iraq] into that region, with several thousand more on the Turkish side of the border. It also indicates Iranian troops are working with their Kurdish allies. The Turkish-Iranian partnership, though odd on its face, is possible and points up the complexity of dealing with ''post-war'' Iraq's problems."

The Lincoln Plawg blog has interesting commentary on the Northern Iraq debacle that is unfolding.

On the Personal Front:

I highly recommend Shields-Up, a free tool that tests your firewall for vulnerabilities. Then, as our friend Paul Rogers writes, "Follow the Shields-UP links on that site to the two tests it offers. If it finds any weaknesses or open ports, follow it's recommendations to close them."

George Reisman of The Jefferson School has announced with obvious and deserved pride that TJS's website now offers a free download of Ludwig von Mises's great classic Socialism in pdf format. (A free download of Human Action has been posted for some while.) George warns, "the file size of Socialism is quite large--almost 30 megabytes. So, if you have a dial up connection, you may need some patience."

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