Iran’s Nuclear Posture and the Scars of War

by Joost Hiltermann | published January 18, 2005

In waging war on Iraq, one of the points the Bush administration sought to prove was that President Bill Clinton’s policy of dual containment had failed -- that despite a decade of threats, sanctions, military action and UN-led disarmament, Iraq had continued to develop weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Iraq, of course, was not the only target of dual containment. So was neighboring Iran, which likewise was suspected of having secret programs for building weapons of mass destruction and was seen as a destabilizing force hostile to US interests.

Afghanistan's Presidential Elections

Spreading Democracy or a Sham?

by M. Nazif Shahrani | published October 8, 2004

Less than a month before George W. Bush's second bid for the White House, his protégé and partner in post-Taliban Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, faces an election that both men hope will not only establish the legitimacy of Karzai's presidency but also prove the Bush administration's claim that the war-ravaged nation's transition to democracy has been a success. Over 10.5 million Afghans have reportedly registered to choose from among a slate of 16 candidates on October 9, 2004, less than three years after the removal of the infamous Taliban regime and their al-Qaeda allies from power in Kabul.

From the Editors

by Chris Toensing , Elliott Colla
published in MER221

The hijackings and mass murders of September 11 were horrible and momentous, but the world did not suddenly change on that crystal-clear morning. Existing cracks in the US-led world order widened and deepened, and lurking insecurities strode forth from the shadows.

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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