Global News Journal

Beyond the World news headlines

from Africa News blog:

Is Zimbabwe back to square one after AU summit?

zimbabwe_summit_mugabe1.jpgCan President Robert Mugabe be trusted to implement the resolution of the African Union summit calling for dialogue and a government of national unity to end Zimbabwe's long-running crisis? According to Mugabe's camp, he can. "The AU resolution is in conformity to what President Mugabe said at his inauguration, when he said we are prepared to talk in order to resolve our problems," his Information Minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu told Reuters a day after the AU passed the resolution on July 1.

While opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai and his Movement for Demoratic Change (MDC) say they have kept the door open for negotiations, he says conditions are not yet right for talks. The MDC also makes clear its objective is a transitional arrangement leading to fresh elections rather than a unity government.  The crisis could conceivably be stuck on that difference.

The summit followed Mugabe's controversial re-election in a run-off poll in which he was the sole candidate. Tsvangirai defeated Mugabe in the first round but pulled out of the run-off amid violence and intimidation directed at the MDC and blamed on Mugabe's camp. The AU resolution expressed concern about the violence.

The AU resolution clearly calls for a Government of National Unity (GNU) as opposed to demands by the MDC and Western governments for a Transitional Government. Political analyst Cheryl Hendricks of Pretoria-based Institute for Security Studies makes a strong case for transitional government in Zimbabwe given the highly polarised situation in the country.

Iran’s nuclear policy: what lies beneath?

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khamenei1.jpgThere is a running joke among Western journalists, diplomats and other foreigners based in Iran who have the task of trying to understand what is going on behind the scenes: the longer you stay here, the more opaque Iranian policy making becomes.

It may be said lightheartedly, but it contains more than a grain of truth. The longer you spend trying to peel back the layers of the Iranian establishment to understand what the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is thinking, the more layers you discover.

from Pakistan: Now or Never?:

Bush’s Pakistan policies: caution or carelessness?

1998 file photo of bin Laden in AfghanistanMuch has been made of this week's New York Times article accusing the Bush administration of allowing al Qaeda to rebuild in Pakistan's tribal areas after it was chased out of Afghanistan following the 9/11 attacks, not least because the White House took its eye off the ball as it turned its attention to Iraq.

"The United States faces a threat from al Qaeda today that is comparable to what it faced on Sept. 11, 2001," the newspaper quotes Seth Jones, a Pentagon consultant and a terrorism expert at the RAND Corporation, as saying. "The base of operations has moved only a short distance, roughly the difference from New York to Philadelphia."

Are we about to see a face-off between army and government in Turkey?

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Ataturk    Turkish police detained dozens of people on Tuesday,
including at least two retired army generals, and prominent
ultra-nationalist figures who have been sharply critical of the
governing AK Party. The so-called “Operation Ergenekon” is a
year-long investigation into a shadowy group called Ergenekon
that the authorities believe sought to sow chaos in Turkey in
order to trigger a military coup.
    The detentions, including a reported rare move by police
going into a military compound to detain a retired general, came
only a few hours before a chief prosecutor appeared before the
country’s top court in a hearing that seeks the closure of the
governing party on charges of seeking to establish an Islamic
state.
    What is going on? To many it is quite confusing, and the
latest detentions have even puzzled veteran Turkish political
commentators like Mehmet Ali Birand and Semih Idiz — both
having seen coups in the past and the rise and fall of
religious-oriented governments. “It’s a dangerous situation,”
Idiz said.

    The current political crisis seems to have as much to doAygun
with a face-off between the secularist elite of army generals
who see themselves as guardians of modern Turkey and the AK
Party, mainly represented by a more religious-oriented society.
With Turks sharply divided about what kind of country they want
to live in – whether with a more prominent role for religion or
for the military — tensions are likely to remain.
    For the secularists, what is at stake is the legacy of
Turkey’s revered founder, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, who founded the
modern republic in 1923. “I am being accused of loving Ataturk,”
Ankara Chamber of Commerce Chairman Sinan Aygun told reporters
as he was detained in the capital Ankara.
    So far the fight is being played out in Ankara and may
remain focused here while society at large is more preoccupied
with summer holidays or earning a living amid rising inflation
and slowing economic growth. If tensions escalate and Turks go
onto the streets the miliary might decide to act, like they have
in the past.

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