Monday, January 10, 2005

Strings attached

4 Jan, from BBC WS: food aid can create a parallel distribution system, undercutting local producers. This can be avoided if food is sourced from local sources, but the US mandates that all aid should be grown by American farmers, 50% should be processed and packaged in the US and 75% should be delivered by US-flagged ships wherever possible.

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Poppies need 10 times more labour hours than wheat, but they bring in 30 to 40 times the net profit.
Chris Horwood, from Afghanistan (FT Magazine, 18 Dec).

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8 Jan, article in The Daily Mail: Africa needs a new imperialism (from the English-speaking countries only of course), citing Niall Ferguson and unspecified pieces in Foreign Affairs.

Kenan Malik, 'Are Muslims Hated?', on C4, takes the secularist line (I only saw the last 15 minutes).

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10 Jan : I have commented here on the Newsweek article.

Update(24 Feb):  Since CetP seems to have done some sort of clear out of his comments, I will republish here:
Surely like most critics of the war (or French people), you would agree that we are already a long way down the slippery slope? And I don't find your citation from Orwell very apposite.

Quite apart from the risk of American counterstrikes (and errors therein), support by the Sunnis for the insurgency is not 'cost-free': they complain that the elections will not be fair, given the security situation, but by supporting the insurgency, the minority are depriving themselves of representation.  

By the way, I heard that the PS (Francois Hollande) were criticising Chirac's advice to journalists not to go to Iraq, especially with the elections coming up (France Inter ( 10 Jan).
 01.11.05 - 1:43 pm
Emmanuel replied:
The Orwell citation was meant to reflect the "fight terror with terror" aspect of death squads (see Kleiman for more).

You're quite right on the (already) costly and self-defeating path chosen by (a certain portion of) the Sunni population. But remember that the Sunni minority consider it has very little to gain from the elections, and much to lose if a Shia gov't in Baghdad decide to play the ethnic card. And the chosen electoral system has done little, to say the least, to allay those concerns.

Concerning Hollande : you heard right. See Le Nouvel Obs', for instance (you read French, don't you?).
01.11.05 - 5:24 pm
From the 2nd link:
[Bremer's] aides say the decision was urged on him by United Nations experts who argued that there was no other way to ensure elections quickly.
 NYT - U_S_ Is Haunted by Initial Plan for Iraq Voting

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