The first in our series of anniversary guest posts comes from the great Praktike, who normally writes for American Footprints.
The number two man in al-Qaeda, the Egyptian doctor Ayman al-Zawahiri, made waves when he announced on August 5th via a taped statement that five members of the Egyptian Islamic Group (EIG) had joined al-Qaeda. Ominously, he implied that they were just the tip of the iceberg. The revelation seemed to confirm what many terrorism analysts have been saying for some time: that the American response to September 11th has radicalized the region and made recruiting an easy task for al-Qaeda. Excerpts of the video, in which Al-Zawahiri appeared with the little-known Mohamed Khalil al-Hekayema, originally aired on the Al-Jazeera satellite channel. Continue reading →
Well here in sunny Catalonia we don’t have a fooball team of our own right now, so maybe that’s why we chose this precise moment to hold a referendum about our future.
Now the first thing to get straight is that despite all the direst predictions, Spain is still here the morning after the big vote, and in one piece, I just touched the floor to prove it. Indeed 11 footballers (some of them Catalan) will also come to earth on German turf tonight just to graphically illustrate the point. So it does seem that some of the concerns raised in the coments to this post were well wide of the mark.
Sorting through some old books yesterday, I came across one from Amin Maaloof that I hadn’t looked at in years. So I dusted it off, and started thinking about this post.
The English title of the book is “In the Name of Identity“, but the French title “Les Identit?s meurtrieres” (Lethal Identities?) or the Catalan one ‘Indentitats que Maten’ (Killer Identities) are much more expressive and to the point. Continue reading →
US Secretary of State Colin Powell has addressed the Ukrainian situation in a statement. He said the US does not accept the results of the election. Reuters has a summary (check the State Department website later for a full transcript):
Secretary of State Colin Powell said on Wednesday the United States did not accept the results of the disputed election in Ukraine as legitimate and called for immediate action.
Powell urged Ukraine’s leaders to “respond immediately” or there would be consequences in the relationship between the two countries.
His comments echo – even down to the strong warning of unspecified ‘consequences’ those made by Barroso and Solana for the EU earlier today and I think indicates that there is a lot of work going on behind the scenes so that the EU and US show a united front on this issue. As I’ve noted in the ‘Uh-oh’ post below, the signs are that there will be negotiations between the two sides (interestingly, the Kyiv Post reports that Lech Walesa is on his way to aid negotiations) and the prospect of violence is thankfully shrinking.
Ok, I’m feeling in a wicked mood today, so how about something really controversial (just for a change). It’s now as near to official as we’re going to get it that Sadam Hussein wasn’t making any serious advance towards the development of WMDs.
As someone who lives and works in Barcelona (capital of Catalonia, and formal definition in the eyes of the local nationalists of being Catalan), it is really rather frustrating to find that about the only time we make it to the European headlines (apart, of course, from when Bar?a wants to buy some world famous footballer like Beckham) is when one of the players in the greater-Spanish political arena – in this case Eta – wants to exploit some situation or other here to its own advantage. Outside of this context (and with, of course, the honourable exception of George Orwell) Catalonia is little heard of, and even less understood. Continue reading →