U$ military expands its presence in Africa
By Eric Schmitt, The New York Times, SATURDAY, JUNE 10, 2005

[originally entitled: "As Africans Join Iraqi Insurgency, U.S. Counters With Military Training in Their Lands"]
the Bush administration is expanding a small military training program that has operated on a shoestring the past two years into a more ambitious program spending $100 million annually

As part of this broader strategy, the United States on Monday began training exercises in Mali, Chad, Mauritania, Niger and Algeria. Four other countries, Senegal, Nigeria, Tunisia and Morocco, will also participate by the time the exercises finish in two weeks. About 1,000 American troops, including 700 Special Operations forces, will train 3,000 African soldiers in marksmanship, border patrol and airborne operations.

On Tuesday, the Algerian group claimed responsibility for a surprise attack last Saturday against an isolated Mauritanian Army outpost that left 15 Mauritanians and 9 insurgents dead. The group said in a message posted on a Web site in Arabic that the assault was a direct response to the training exercises that were "put in place by the enemy of God, America, and its agents in the region," The Associated Press reported.

The Pentagon is also paying more attention to other parts of Africa. About 1,300 American troops are based at a former French Foreign Legion compound in Djibouti

American forces two years ago began training and equipping six light infantry companies of roughly 150 soldiers each from Mali, Mauritania, Chad and Niger in a program called the Pan Sahel Initiative. The Sahel straddles the southern edge of the Sahara. "It was barely a drop in the bucket given the nature of the problem we were dealing with," Ms. Whelan said.

The European Command lobbied hard to expand the $6 million program, and in March the administration approved the new effort, the Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Initiative, with plans to finance it with $100 million a year for five years, beginning in 2007, Ms. Whelan said.

Under the plan, the military will train battalions of 500 soldiers from the nine countries, and provide Toyota Land Cruisers, radios, uniforms, global-positioning devices and fuel trailers. American instructors would also teach the African militaries how to coordinate planning and operations with each other.

About 25 percent of the nearly 400 foreign fighters captured in Iraq come from Africa, according to the military's European Command, which oversees military operations in most of the African continent.

[Ah, but US troops were in Africa before these Africans were caught in Iraq. Maybe the increased U$ presence in Africa has more to do with the article I posted a few days ago (2nd scramble for Africa's resources) than with "terrorism."]

Incitement in Palestinian Textbooks ‘a Myth’
Palestine([search]) Media Center, 11/06/2005

In a report titled “The Myth of Incitement in Palestinian Textbooks,? the Palestinian Ministry of Education and Higher Education has refuted as “unfounded? the Israeli and US allegations that Palestinian textbooks incite hatred and violence, ahead of attempts by some US Congressmen to attach conditions to direct US aid to the Palestinian National Authority (PNA), including changes to the Palestinian syllabus.

US Congress is taking the unprecedented step of establishing an in-house oversight apparatus to monitor daily how American aid money to the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) is being spent.

There has been a flood of accusations for several years over the content of Palestinian textbooks; that the textbooks incite children to hatred and violence towards Israeli Jews, and fail to promote the values of peace, tolerance and coexistence. This claim has been widely accepted as a fact mostly in the United States and Israeli official circles. Such claims are largely based on reports by the Center for Monitoring the Impact of Peace (CMIP), a Jewish organization with links to extremist and racist Israeli groups that advocate settlement activities in the Palestinian territories, expulsion (transfer) of Palestinians from their homeland, and claims that Palestinians are all "terrorists" that peace with them is not possible.

Criticism of Palestinian textbooks has been largely based on claims by Israeli government sources and CMIP, who's work has been criticized as "tendentious and highly misleading" by Nathan Brown, Professor of Political Science at George Washington University, and Senior Associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, who has also published his own studies on this subject. According to Prof. Brown, CMIP's "method was to follow harsh criticisms with quotation after quotation purporting to prove a point…In short, the CMIP reports read as if they were written by a ruthless prosecuting attorney anxious for a conviction at any cost… Exaggerated rhetoric, charges of anti-Semitism and racism, and denial of the significance of existing changes in the curriculum will hardly convince anyone further improvements are worth the effort." (Nathan J. Brown, Getting Beyond the Rhetoric about the Palestinian Curriculum, 1 January 2002)

Mossad Chief: U.S. to Be Mired in Middle East in Perpetuity
by William Norman Grigg June 10, 2005

According to Ephraim Halevy, former chief of Israel([search])'s Mossad intelligence service and current national security adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, plans have been made for a substantial U.S. military presence in the Middle East lasting decades.
“The U.S. campaign in Iraq was perceived [in the Middle East and Washington] as a signal of long-term American commitment to do whatever is required and to ‘stay in the neighborhood’ for as long as needed,? commented Halevy in a lengthy op-ed column carried by the April 24 issue of Ha’aretz. High-ranking U.S. policymakers have “raised the idea of establishing an American trusteeship regime in the areas of the Palestinian Authority, if it should turn out that the Palestinians are not ripe for self-rule. That arrangement would require an American operational military presence along Israel’s border with the Palestinian territories.?

“Speaking in a semi-closed forum during a visit to Israel a few months ago,? continued Halevy, “Bill Kristol, one of the most influential ‘neocons’ [neoconservatives] in the United States, noted in this connection that the American presence in Europe after World War II lasted for nearly 60 years. Israelis who are trying to promote a role for NATO in the region, in one form or another, are actually promoting a generation-long American presence.?

U.S. entanglement in the Middle East in the name of “democracy? has further destabilized the region and made violent fundamentalist revolution more likely, especially in Saudi Arabia. “In [an early April] visit to the United States,? comments Halevy, “I was told by several well-informed observers that should one of the more severe scenarios come to pass, the United States will have no choice but to deepen its presence in the Middle East. To that end, it will have to renew the draft, to ensure that there are enough forces to deal with developing situations in countries like Saudi Arabia.?

GOP chairman walks out of meeting
By Jim Abrams, June 10, 2005-

The Republican chairman walked off with the gavel, leaving Democrats shouting into turned-off microphones at a raucous hearing Friday on the Patriot Act.

Democrats asked for the hearing, the 11th the committee has held on the act since April, saying past hearings had been too slanted toward witnesses who supported the law. The four witnesses were from groups, including Amnesty International USA and the American Immigration Lawyers Association, that have questioned the constitutionality of some aspects of the act, which allows law enforcement greater authority to investigate suspected terrorists.

Diverse Afghan groups behind unrest
By Halima Kazem, Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor
from the June 10, 2005 edition

Though blame is often laid at the feet of Al Qaeda and the Taliban for most of the unrest here, security officials say that drug profiteers, warlords reluctant to disarm, rival politicians, and ordinary Afghans with personal vendettas are behind many violent incidents.

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Source: "Glances at History" (suppressed)

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