Friday, November 14, 2003

# Posted 5:28 AM by Patrick Belton  

SOME INTERESTING READING TO GO WITH YOUR COFFEE: And you can even read these if you don't drink coffee. In the Middle East, Sharon indicated he would meet with Palestinian PM Qurei, though he may backtrack now that Arafat has triumphed in a struggle with Qurei over control of the Palestinian security apparatus. Hezbollah leader Sheikh Nasrallah is negotiating with a German intermediary over a prisoner exchange with Israel. Some commentators argue that the prisoner swap will elevate Hezbollah's stature in Lebanon at a time it has been declining. And Bremer has been dispatched back to Iraq with instructions to accelerate the political transition to self-governance, as Operation Iron Hammer continues.

Central Asia Analyst has an interesting analysis of Uzbekistan's repression of its outlawed opposition parties (which the analyst argues has grown milder since the U.S. presence began; the opposition parties enjoy widespread domestic support). The site also analyzes Kyrgyzstan's antiterrorist units and their commander's strategy of seeking security assistance from any neighbor who would offer it. Georgian parliamentary elections drew stunning participation, and represented a strong rebuke for the governing party. In the Moscow Times, India is setting up bases in Tajikistan.

In the Americas, Columbia's AUC is beginning to disarm, unrest brews in the Dominican Republic, and Mexico is complaining of a relationship of "convenience and subordination" with its northern neighbor on the eve of the cabinet-level Binational Commission's meeting. (And incidentally, joining us later in the afternoon in the OxBlog studios will be our ex-girlfriends, to speak further on this theme of relationships of convenience and brutal subordination.)

In East Asia, reporting has centered on China's sexual revolution (the most shocking finding: "half of the urban males in their thirties say they have had more than one sexual partner." ed: oooooooh. half of urban males in graduate school haven't had more than one sexual partner), and the party is making limited gains in attempting to coopt Chinese entrepreneurs. China is also indicating it will shortly take up a more hawkish policy toward Taiwan. (And in OxBlog's consular affairs department, check your credit card receipts next time you're in Hong Kong.)
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