May 27, 2004  
Volume 98, Issue 02  

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The world outside of Western

By Megan O’Toole
Gazette Staff

War in Iraq: With United States President George W. Bush’s popularity floundering in opinion polls, it seems to be time for the Bush administration to take action to counter the negativity. Hence, the proposed bumping up of Iraq’s first national election from January 2005 to this fall.

Currently under fire for the widely publicized photos depicting U.S. soldiers abusing Iraqi prisoners — most notably at the now-infamous Abu Ghraib prison, where prisoners were photographed being paraded around on leashes and forced into naked human pyramids — Bush et al are determined to show their support for a rapid transition to self-rule in Iraq.

In the meantime, an interim government put together by the United Nations is set to take power in Iraq on June 30. However, the UN Security Council has raised concerns about whether this government will really restore sovereignty in Iraq, or if U.S. occupation will continue to prevent this from becoming a reality. This concern hinges on the reluctance of U.S. officials to hand over greater control of the U.S.-led multinational military force to the new Iraqi leaders.

Gaza raids: Israeli troops have left the Rafah refugee camp, located in the Gaza strip, after spending the past week demolishing Palestinian homes in an effort to destroy arms-smuggling tunnels, which the military believed to exist below the dwellings.

Estimates of the damage done vary greatly. Palestinian officials claimed 300 houses were destroyed in the raid while Israel pegged the number at 56. The United Nations total currently stands at 45.
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon faced criticism from all sides for the attacks, which prompted the withdrawal. Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat has promised to prepare a Gaza security plan by June 15.

Federal Election: Roll out the lofty promises, cutting attacks and stale rhetoric — the Canadian federal election is set for June 28, and the politicos are making their faces visible across the nation.

Nationalism has become a key word in the federal election campaign as Liberals accuse Conservatives of wanting to turn Canada into a mini-America, while Conservatives argue such claims are without merit and instead suggest Liberals are using a nationalistic stance as justification for financial scandal and mismanagement: “Waste my money, I’m Canadian.”

In other news, the New Democratic Party has worked hard to create a roster of extreme leftist promises while Bloc Quebecois leader Gilles Duceppe is intent on playing down his party’s sovereigntist stance in a valiant effort to capture one or two votes outside of Quebec.



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