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Thursday, July 24, 2003

Tactical objectives vs. strategic objectives

Readers might be interested in the transcript of yesterday morning's briefing by the commander of the Coalition ground forces. His remarks were the basis for the stories in this morning's newspapers about the killing of Uday and Qusay.

It's quite an instructive read, making plain that the only limit on the firepower the U.S. forces brought to bear on the house was the possible endangerment of non-combatants in the surrounding area. [more]

by Analyst @ 05:50 PM CST [Link]

Saturday, July 12, 2003

"The Palestinian People:" Perhaps the best of its kind - could be much better

Book Review: Kimmerling, Baruch and Migdal, Joel S, The Palestinian People: A History, Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 2003.

Kimmerling and Migdal have written a book that is essential reading for those interested in the Middle East. It gives a broad overview of the history of the Palestinian Arabs from the beginnings of their evolution as a modern nation to fairly recent developments in the peace process. It opens with an account of an early revolt against the Turks, covers nationalist anti-Zionist activity under the Turks and mandate, traces the birth and growth of the PLO, and follows the peace process with Israel to present day developments (before the election of PM Abu-Mazen).

"The Palestinian People" is essential reading because it is probably the best of its kind, but it has a number of faults that prevent it from being a definitive or authoritative work, and which make it difficult for outsiders to understand at times. The authors have assumed that readers know too much. They seem to have neglected some essential basics, concentrating instead on some interesting but often peripheral side issues. In their anxiety not to offend either side too much, they have also steered around explosive, embarrassing, but essential issues. There are many interesting questions begging to be examined in a book with this subject, but the authors have instead devoted extensive space to the Oslo accords and the recent violence, subjects that have been treated at length by others, and that tend to date a book that should otherwise become a long-lived description of the formation of a people. Hopefully, these faults will be corrected in a future edition. Meanwhile, this should not be the first book you read about the Israeli - Palestinian conflict, if only because you may find it difficult to follow. [more]

by Moderator @ 12:28 PM CST [Link]


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