Corpses have been showing up on roadsides in North and South Waziristan for years. Some of the time they are headless; almost all of the time they display a note alleging that the deceased was a spy. Khalid Khawaja’s death was no different, except that he never hid the fact that he had once worked for Pakistan’s premier intelligence agency, the ISI. The association gave him credibility in many circles.
And it is running the inquiry, according to a Washington Post dispatch, “because of indications it was connected to international terrorism,” according to a senior law enforcement source. The secretary of homeland security seemed out of the picture, perhaps because her Pollyannaish inclinations were needed for the other disaster on the Gulf Coast. In any case, “Obama administration officials said the incident increasingly appears to have been coordinated by more than one person in a plot with international links.” Here’s another comment from Robert Gibbs, the White House spokesman: “I would sa
Janet Napolitano had another malapropism for a failed catastrophe. This one was about how the Times Square car bomb was a “potential terrorist attack.” Actually, it was a car bomb attempt that failed. The secretary of homeland security, who may have been tired from assuring folk down south that the gargantuan BP oil explosion was being put under control when it really wasn’t, calmed New Yorkers with the solace that there wasn’t “evidence right now that this is anything other than a one-off.” Let’s hope.
The Americans like Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. He is an extremely intelligent man, and U.S. personnel have dealt comfortably with him. The Israelis also like Fayyad, even Bibi Netantyahu, who believes that, if a deal can hold, it will be the P.A. PM who will hold it. Fayyad is, I am told by economist friends in Israel, practical, trustworthy, systematic ... and no patsy. The problem is that the Palestinians don’t seem to like him or, what’s more important, trust him.
My old friend Samantha Power, a member of the president’s National Security Council staff, came to dinner last Sunday night after a showing of the movie Sergio, drawn from her book of the same title and directed by Greg Barton. The film is an HBO production which will air on May 6. Sergio was Sergio Vieira de Mello, the Brazilian head of the United Nations mission to Iraq who was killed in a terrorist explosion at the U.N.’s headquarters in August 2003, months after the American invasion and months before Saddam Hussein was snared in his cave of hiding.
John J. Mearsheimer, who is co-author (with Stephen Walt) of The Israel Lobby, a who’s who they’d rather have called The Jewish Lobby, has finally come clean and done a morphology of American Jewry, splitting it into two schools each personified by perhaps a dozen individual Jews. The first he calls “righteous Jews.” This list includes Noam Chomsky, Richard Falk, Norman Finkelstein, Tony Judt, a certified nutcase named Philip Weiss, and other more-or-less unknowns—Naomi Klein, for example.
The last few months have seen a disquieting lull in news of political dissent from Iran. On the surface, at least, Ahmadinejad’s government seems to have outlasted the furor that erupted in the wake of last June’s election. Does this mean that the Green Movement is dead? Not necessarily.
The United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) yesterday elected Iran to a four-year term, beginning in 2011, as a member of the Commission on the Status of Women. Lucky Iran! Or is it lucky women? Other members elected were Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, and Zimbabwe, joining Belarus, China, Cuba, and Libya. A full report can be read in today’s “EYE on the UN.” So is not the U.N. a horrible joke?
This is real inside stuff. No commentary from me. Except to say that this is more proof that American diplomacy is going nowhere.
I am told that “Guantanamera,” a song derived from a poem by the Cuban turn-of-the century revolutionary Jose Marti and made famous by the American Communist folk singer Pete Seeger, refers to a girl, presumably very beautiful, from Guantanamo. The original Spanish lyrics do not confirm this.