Gray Money, Corruption and the Post-September 11 Middle East

by John Sfakianakis
published in MER222

Graft, smuggling and kickbacks in the Middle East create huge sums of money requiring concealment in a secretive banking system. Al-Qaeda has simply used existing mechanisms for hiding cash. Regime and elite corruption, not pervasive regional sympathy with Osama bin Laden, are the main factors inhibiting the cooperation of banks in the Middle East with Bush’s “war on terrorist finances.”

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The Guantánamo "Black Hole"

The Law of War and the Sovereign Exception

by Scott Michaelsen , Scott Cutler Shershow | published January 11, 2004

Afghan Women

Bombed to be Liberated?

by Saba Gul Khattak
published in MER222

When we are hungry, nobody listens, but when we are fighting, they send us loads of firearms and artillery. Why? -- Zubaida (April 1998)

Controllable Democracy in Uzbekistan

by Alisher Ilkhamov
published in MER222

Few doubt that the prolongation of the presidential term in Uzbekistan’s January referendum paves the way for presidency for life for Islam Karimov. The Uzbek regime is building a controllable democracy, combining the expansion of democratic-looking institutions with restricted civil liberties and human rights. All this is unlikely to affect Washington’s ever-strengthening ties with its newest ally.

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The Decline (But Not Fall) of US Hegemony in the Middle East

by Yahya Sadowski , Fareed Mohamedi
published in MER220

Americans who voted for “compassionate conservatism” in the November 2000 presidential election have been disappointed. George W. Bush has proven to be much more radical than his moderate campaign rhetoric implied. In the area of environmental policy, Bush’s moves to lift regulations on pollutants, promote the use of nuclear power and “clean coal” and encourage oil exploration off the coast of Florida and in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge have triggered opposition even on the right. Where Ronald Reagan sought to overturn the social policies of Franklin Roosevelt, George W. seems to seek an even wider reversal of the health and labor regulations instituted by Theodore Roosevelt.

From the Editor

published in MER220

Upon its installment in the White House, the second Bush administration was universally expected to be the loyal handmaiden of Big Oil. The US oil and gas industry lavished $1,387,975 upon the hastily assembled committee which planned the inaugural festivities for George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. BP-Amoco contributed $100,000, and executives from Conoco, Chevron and Exxon Mobil ponied up the same amount. In all, Big Oil gave $26 million to Bush, Cheney and their fellow Republicans in the 2000 election campaign.

From the Editor

published in MER218

On February 16, US and British warplanes bombed targets outside the no-fly zones for the first time since December 1998, prompting a brief media frenzy that refocused the world's attention on the low-level US-UK air war waged against Iraq since the 1990-1991 Gulf war. But the media mostly missed the real story. With bitter irony, George W. Bush's characterization of the raid as a "routine mission" highlighted the media's near-total neglect of the remarkable escalation of bombing inside the no-fly zones over the last two years.

From the Editors

published in MER223

At least 700,000 people jammed the streets of New York on June 12, 1982 to demand full disarmament from the heads of state gathered to discuss nuclear policy at the United Nations. The raucous crowd's chants of "No nukes!" drew favorable comment from German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt, who praised the "great and positive moral force" protesting outside the UN building.