Saturday, December 20, 2003
In case you don't follow Division I-AA football--although I'm sure everyone does--Delaware has won the 2003 National Championship:
The University of Delaware's first national football championship in 24 years was realized quickly and emphatically Friday night in Chattanooga, Tenn.

The Blue Hens built an early 20-point lead and pounded Colgate 40-0 to the delight of more than 5,000 Blue Hen fans in an announced crowd of 14,281 at Max Finley Stadium.

The win made Delaware the NCAA Division I-AA champion for the first time and gave the school its sixth national title.

Go Hens!

Mbeki backs Zimbabwe appeasement:
Mr Mbeki has pursued a policy of "quiet diplomacy" towards Zimbabwe, which has been ostracised by much of the international community for what it says is Mr Mugabe's political repression and corruption.

The BBC's Barnaby Philips in Johannesburg says the South African Government is on the defensive over its refusal to condemn human rights abuses in Zimbabwe, but President Mbeki says his policy will not change.

He is, however, under pressure to show that his quiet diplomacy is effective, our correspondent says.

And what will "effectiveness" acheive? It looks like it can only hope to prolong Mugabe's days in power and it's unclear how that's a good thing for the Zimbabwean people.

Why does Mbeki continue to defend these guys???
Riot police have occupied the offices of Zimbabwe's only privately-owned daily newspaper, hours after a court ruled it could resume publication. A lawyer for the Daily News told the BBC that police had ordered home staff who were trying to produce the paper's first edition since October.

Jonathan Moyo, Zimbabwe's Information Minister, denounced the ruling--a ruling upholding freedom of the press--as being "outrageously political." I'd say that sending the police out to harass an opposition newspaper is pretty political, too.

Calling Moyo the "Information Minister" is positively Orwellian, isn't it?

Maybe this is why the US has been cozying up to Libya in recent months:
Libya’s leader Colonel Gaddafi has tonight promised to dismantle his country’s secret weapons of mass destruction programme, British Prime Minister Tony Blair announced.

My only question is how this will ultimately help the Libyan people. Yes, it does reduce the chance that Libya will get involved in a war against the US... But Qaddafi is a tyrant with or without WMD and disarmament doesn't necessarily assure freedom for Libya's people. Time will tell.

And here's the Washington Post story on the same topic.

Also, the BBC has a primer on Libya's WMD programs. Interestingly, there's no mention in this article that the war to unseat Saddam could have had any effect on Qaddafi's decision to give up his weapons program. In the world of the BBC everything would be okay if those neocons in Washington would drop their "unilateral sanctions against Libya" and "follow the example of the UN." Riiiight.

Nevertheless, my question still stands. Assuming that Libya is sincere about destroying its WMD. Inspectors are allowed to enter the country and within 18 months are able to identify, catalogue, and verifiably destroy all elements of Libya's weapons programs. As a result, Libya is welcomed back into the "community of nations" and the US drops its unilateralist sanctions.

Unless Libya's disarmament signals a fundamental change in the regime, Libya can continue to be a threat (locally, regionally and internationally) even without WMD. Libya can continue to provide conventional weapons and logistical support to terrorists planning attacks against the US and against Israel. Libya still maintains an enormous army which it has used in the past to invade neighboring nations. Finally, without WMD, Qaddafi still has an iron grip on power which he uses daily to terrorize and oppress his own people.

So--don't get me wrong--Libyan disarmament is a good thing, but it doesn't solve everything.

Tuesday, December 16, 2003
It's difficult to know how accurate this is, but, as I've said before, these kind of reports seem to establish a pattern of behavior for the Sudanese government:
Members of Sudan's National Assembly from Darfur have appealed for international intervention to stop killings and displacement in the region.

Fighting in Darfur between Arab militias and rebel groups, which escalated in March this year, has driven an estimated 670,000 people from their homes, 70,000 of whom have fled across the border into neighbouring Chad.

The MPs emphasised the political nature of the conflict, accusing the Sudanese government of manipulating traditional ethnic tensions and pursuing a policy of "Arabisation" in Darfur, in order to maintain a support base there.

Definitely worth keeping an eye on.

Monday, December 15, 2003
In case you missed it, Robert Mugabe has withdrawn Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth to protest his continued suspension. As you might expect, Mbeki is now outraged that the callousness of the Brits and the Aussies has driven Mugabe, a man well known for his evenness of temper, to take such a drastic step.

But you know, the Commonwealth is better off without him. Mugabe can rot in hell.

Well, as you may (or may not) have noticed, I've been taking rather an extended blogging hiatus. It is time for final exams, after all.

Here's a great example of bad timing--it's an editorial that was published in the News Journal on Sunday, the day of Saddam's capture:
Americans had been led to believe that conquering Iraq would be easy, and indeed Saddam Hussein's regular military forces collapsed quickly enough. But the widespread Iraqi rejoicing over the Hussein's defeat that the Bush administration led Americans to expect never occurred. Nor have U.S. soldiers or those of America's allies been hailed as liberators and reformers any more than they were in Southeast Asia all those years ago. Instead, they have encountered a nagging insurgency, reminiscent of the one that pulled us ever deeper into Vietnam's civil war.

It's not even worth my time to go into all the reasons that Iraq isn't like Vietnam, but I do wonder why this guy can't come up with another analogy. Maybe it's just my age, but the insistence on seeing every US military engagement as a replay of Vietnam (without regard to the facts on the ground) looks like nothing more than defeatism to me.

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