Beyond the Blast

MotherJones.com's guide to undercovered news, commentary and resources to help put the Sept. 11 terror attacks and their aftershocks into context. Updated throughout the day.

Fri Nov. 30, 2001 4:00 AM EST

November 30, 2001

Iraqi opposition: Don't bomb Baghdad -- The Daily Star (Lebabon)
Despite their eagerness to see Saddam Hussein unseated, many Iraqi oppostion groups are opposed to the possibility of US air strikes on Baghdad as part of the anti-terror campaign, reports The Daily Star. The groups, which include Kurdish and Shi'ite organizations, warn that bombing raids would only worsen the lives of ordinary Iraqis without necessarily doing the regime any damage.

FBI monitoring Pakistani travellers -- The News International (Pakistan)
Travellers leaving from Pakistan's Karachi International Airport are being monitored by on-site FBI agents -- the first-ever such foreign outpost for the Bureau, reports Masood Anwar. The G-men are scanning passports and personal information of outgoing passengers in a bid to intercept terrorists. Similar offices are expected to open soon in Pakistan's other main points of departure: Lahore, Islamabad and Peshawar.

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Are Soviet bio-weapons spawning an epidemic? -- Jane's Terrorism and Security Monitor
In the biggest known outbreak in history, scores of Afghan refugees in Pakistan and Iranians living near the Afghan border have come down with the often-lethal Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever. Now, Jane's reports the epidemic may be traceable to Soviet-era biological weapons. The USSR built up stocks of the virus, along with many others, as part of its bio-warfare research effort in the 1980's. Many intelligence analysts believe that Osama bin Laden has acquired biological weapons agents from arms dealers in the former Soviet Union.

November 29, 2001

Driving with a clear conscience -- Alternet
Sales of sports utility vehicles are still strong, but "SUV guilt" is driving a number of fretful liberals to trade in their gas guzzlers for more eco-friendly transport, reports Michelle Chihara. "With all eyes on the Middle East and Central Asia, many Americans have been reminded of our unsustainable dependence on foreign oil," she writes. Now if they could only find a nice zero-emission vehicle ...

Killing for humanitarian aid -- The Boston Globe
With the battle against the Taliban over in their territory, militias in northeastern Afghanistan -- many of them Northern Alliance fighters -- are now fighting over food and clothing being dropped by US planes, reports David Filipov. Three men were killed and four wounded during a scuffle Wednesday over packages containing US-donated grain, parkas, sleeping bags, and long underwear. "Armed people are waiting for it,'' Mohammad Imam, a local security chief, tells Filipov. ''They stand there and guard their territory. If someone else tries to take the aid, they shoot.''

November 28, 2001

Could North Korea be next? -- The Financial Times
Shortly after President Bush warned North Korea not to develop nuclear or biochemical weapons, that country's soldiers fired a burst of machine-gun fire over the tense border with South Korea, reports Andrew Ward. That event, Ward suggests, raises the question of whether Pyongyang might be the next target of America's anti-terror campaign. "Diplomats in Seoul are skeptical about a US attack on North Korea," writes Ward, who points out that the Koreans would be a "far more formidable opponent than the Taliban." However, Bush's stance toward the country has hardened of late. "Some diplomats in Seoul say the White House needs to portray North Korea as a threat to justify its planned missile defence shield," says Ward.

Military action misses the point -- Eurasianet
Despite the successes of the US campaign in Afghanistan, Ariel Cohen reports that experts warn terrorism will not be wiped out by military means. Root causes that give rise to terrorists, like widespread poverty, narcotics trafficking, human rights abuses, and the growing influence of Islamic radicals in mosques and other religious establishments, can't be addressed by armies. "Reform and reconstruction are vital," he says, "but they are beyond the mandate of the US military.

November 27, 2001

The Northern Alliance's dirty work -- Guardian (UK)
The US must stop the Northern Alliance from massacring people indiscriminately under the guise of mopping up remaining Taliban resistance, warns Brian Whitaker. Reported massacres in Mazar-e-Sharif, he writes, are reminiscent of the Israel-supported killings of Palestinians in Sabra and Shatila in 1982. "Both are examples of 'green light' warfare, where the main protagonists try to escape responsibility by allowing surrogates to do the unspeakable (and politically unacceptable) dirty work while providing discreet encouragement and assistance."

Anti-terror appliances -- Reuters (via The Times of India)
The Sept. 11 attacks may have been bad for the broad economy, but they're proving a boon for the makers of James Bond-style gadgets, Reuters reports. A recent trade show in Paris showcased exploding robots, remote-controlled spy planes, a handgun which recognizes its owner's fingerprints, and the latest in facial-recognition software. An anthrax detector is reportedly in the works as well. "People knew a lot of these technologies existed before but they were unwilling to invest in them," said Francois Mottin from the French firm Exavision. "Since September 11 we have had a lot more interest because security has become such a top priority."

Afghanistan's nervous neighbors -- Gulf Daily News
The uncertain consequences of the Taliban's defeat in Afghanistan are unsettling some regional powers, Nabeel Saeed writes. Russia, still smarting from their failed 1980's Afghan escapade, has already sent advisers to Afghanistan to establish relations with the "legitimate government," Iran has opened an embassy in the western city of Herat, and India is cautiously watching developments in arch-rival Pakistan.

November 26, 2001

Troop buildups in Turkey and Iraq -- Turkish Daily News
Evidently impressed by Pentagon rumors declaring Baghdad the next target in the war on terrorism, both Iraq and Turkey are reinforcing troops stationed along their common border while boosting the military presence at other likely targets. Turkish officials have opposed any suggestion of bombing targets in Iraq, but say they will reconsider their position should credible evidence be presented linking Saddam Hussein to the Al Qaeda terrorist network.

And the economic winner is ... China? -- Working for Change
With the Bush administration focused on Afghanistan and the economic stimulus package held up in Congress, China may emerge as one of the world's leading economies, writes Franz Schurman. "Of all countries in the world, (China) has been least affected by and has benefited most from the persisting slowdown of the world's economic giant, America," says Schurman. "It is widely believed now that the world's economic center has moved from the Euro-Atlantic to the Asia-Pacific. If America cannot act as the locomotive of the global economy, then China is sooner or later going to move into that role."

Fewer ducats for non-profits? -- Christian Science Monitor (via Newsmax.com)
Americans chipped in $1.3 billion for relief efforts after Sept. 11, but many small non-profit organizations are concerned their donations may dwindle, reports Jeremiah A. Hall. Charities across the nation already say the numbers are down, and some have had to cut staff, reduce spending, or close altogether. Experts say groups usually collect most of their funding around the holidays, but with a stiffening recession, a rising jobless rate, and slumping consumer confidence, it remains unclear how generous people will be this year.

Compiled by MotherJones.com staff.

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