the Disillusioned kid: Lazy Blogging, Part 2.
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Thursday, December 09, 2004

Lazy Blogging, Part 2.

Jonathan Edelstein over at The Head Heeb has a fascinating post looking at the issue of settlements around the world. Edelstein comments, "Populating conquered territory with settlers is a tactic that may be as old as warfare" and cites Assyrian and Roman efforts as early examples. The tactic serves to consolidate control over territories by expansionist states and further, "makes resolution of a territorial dispute vastly more complicated" demonstrated, perhaps, by the settling of Ireland by British Protestants which continues to have ramifications today. In the modern world, Israeli settlement of the Gaza Strip and West Bank is perhaps the most obvious example, but is hardly unique. Edelstein cites eight other cases of settlement projects which are international in scope and notes that there are at least two others which do not strictly fall within the criteria he advances, although their exclusion might be controversial.

Edelstein has also done a concise and informative run-down of the candidates in the upcoming Palestinian elections. Much of the coverage of the elections has focused, understandably, on the two probable frontrunners: Mahmoud Abbas (AKA Abu Mazen) and Marwan Barghouti, but there are a further 8 candidates, among them Marwan's distant cousin and co-founder of the Palestinian National Initiative Dr. Mustafa Barghouti.

Elsewhere the Institute for War and Peace Reporting has a report by Galima Bukharbaeva and Malik Boboev in Tashkent which looks at responses to the closing of Uzbekistan's Parliament in preparation for its replacement with a new bicameral institution and elections on December 26. The general view seems to be that it didn't do very much and that its replacement is unlikely to be much better.

And while we're sauntering along the Information Superhighway, check out Noam Chomsky's comments, on the Z-Net Blog, on the conduct of occupation of Iraq, which I think are spot on:
I expected that this would be perhaps the easiest military occupation in history, and with even a minimum amount of sanity on the part of the civilian planners, it probably would have been. To my great surprise, Rumsfeld-Cheney-Wolfowitz and the rest have created a huge catastrophe?one of the worst in military history, so highly knowledgeable correspondents have pointed out (for one, Patrick Cockburn, who knows the region and its history well). The Nazis had an easier time setting up client governments and domestic security forces in occupied Europe, the Russians surely did in their satellites. In fact, it is hard to think of a counterpart, particularly when the circumstances were so favorable: a country that had been driven to total ruin, virtually no external support for resistance and no counter whatsoever to the occupying army that was, furthermore, by far the most powerful military force in history and with huge resources at its command, etc. It took real genius to fail.

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