A New "Great Game" in Central Asia?

My Favorite Web Sites - Winchester Star - 10/11/01
 by Martin Zombeck

This is a bi-weekly column providing an annotated list of Web sites that may be of interest to the community. Each column will list sites that belong to a particular category: search engines, art, online newspapers and magazines, health and medicine, history, business and economics, etc. or sites relevant to a particular season, for example, skiing or gardening. Most sites will be non-commercial. To make it easier to access the sites, each bi-weekly column will be posted on the Town of Winchester's Web site so that the sites can be accessed and bookmarked without having to be typed. Previous columns will be archived at the Winchester site, also.

If you are interested in obtaining authoritative information about what the United States is now facing with respect to global terrorism and you don't have easy access to a university library, you will find that the Web will serve you very well. In fact, in many cases you will be able to find excellent source material more rapidly with the Web than by using a library. Many in-depth scholarly articles and essays providing historical, religious, and cultural contexts, detailed analyses, and forecasts are available, some by subscription but many gratis. Many foreign policy think tanks are online and provide a wealth of information and up-to-the-minute policy analyses. Not sure where Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, or Turkmenistan are? The are many splendid maps and capsule descriptions of these countries provided by the Central Intelligence Agency, Library of Congress, and CNN Web sites. Don't ignore search engines (www.google.com, for example) in searching for information, especially if you have a well-defined topic or article title. The list below is only representative of the myriad of Web sites providing high quality information on international affairs.

Think tanks, foreign policy journals, reference works, and research institutes:

STRATFOR - Strategic Forecasting
Analysis and strategic forecasting by a private company composed of business and intelligence professionals with backgrounds in the military, academia and think tanks.

United States Institute of Peace
"The United States Institute of Peace is an independent, nonpartisan federal institution created and funded by Congress to strengthen the nation's capacity to promote the peaceful resolution of international conflict. Established in 1984, the Institute meets its congressional mandate through an array of programs, including grants, fellowships, conferences and workshops, library services, publications, and other educational activities. The Institute's Board of Directors is appointed by the President of the United States and confirmed by the Senate."

Foreign Policy Magazine Online
Global politics, economics and links to major think tanks, university programs, global reference guides, international intergovernmental organizations, regional sources, and more.

Council on Foreign Relations
Council on Foreign Relations is a nonpartisan organization international affairs and US foreign policy.

Foreign Affairs Journal Online
Journal of the Council on Foreign Relations. Authoritative foreign policy articles by university experts, US and non-US government policy makers and officials.

Foreign Affairs Essays on Terrorism
The journal "Foreign Affairs is making available previously published articles that contribute to an understanding of the tragic attacks on New York and Washington. Several of the essays analyze the nature of contemporary terrorism and the capabilities of the United States to combat it. Other essays provide the Middle Eastern and radical Islamic contexts for so much recent terrorism, including, apparently, the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon."

The Heritage Foundation
The Heritage Foundation is a think tank whose mission is to formulate and promote conservative public policies.

Library of Congress Country Studies
" This website contains the on-line versions of books previously published in hard copy by the Federal Research Division of the Library of Congress under the Country Studies/Area Handbook Program sponsored by the U.S. Department of the Army. Because the original intent of the Series' sponsor was to focus primarily on lesser known areas of the world or regions in which U.S. forces might be deployed, the series is not all-inclusive. At present, 101 countries and regions are covered."

Sponsored by the Open Society Institute, "EurasiaNet provides information and analysis about political, economic, environmental and social developments in the countries of Central Asia and the Caucasus, as well as in Russia, the Middle East, and Southwest Asia. The web site also offers additional features, including newsmaker interviews, book reviews and a discussion forum. ........ The aim of EurasiaNet is to promote informed decision making among policy makers, as well as broadening interest in the region among the general public".

Institut Franšais des Relations Internationales
The French Institute of International Relations is France's leading center for research on international relations. The Web site has a version in english.

Middle East Forum
The Philadelphia-based Middle East Forum, a think tank, works to define and promote American interests in the Middle East. Founded in 1990, the Forum became an independent organization in 1994.

The Middle East Institute
The Washington-based Middle East Institute site has a primer on Islam, policy papers, and many links to scholarly, business, and government sites.

Library of Congress September 11 Archive
Over 500,000 pages related to the terrost attacks and US reprisals.

World Factbook 2001
The World Factbook is prepared by the Central Intelligence Agency for the use of US Government officials. It is in the public domain. The Factbook provides maps and brief geopolitical information for every country. The online directory of chiefs of state and cabinet members of foreign governments is updated weekly.

Jane's Information Group
Defence, aerospace, business, transportation, and security information online.

United Nations Action Against Terrorism
Security Council, General Assembly, and Secretary General actions; Dag Hammarskjoeld Library resources; latest developments; live and archived video of UN speeches; complete texts of UN speeches.

The National Security Archive
The National Security Archive is an independent non-governmental research institute and library located at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. The Archive collects and publishes declassified documents acquired through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Many documents are available online. Of particular current interest are the September 11th Source Books - National Security Archive Online Readers on Terrorism, Intelligence and the Next War. These materials include CIA biographic sketches of Usama Bin Laden and Taliban leader Mohammad Omar, reports from the Pentagon and the Senate Intelligence Committee on previous terrorist attacks, the State Department's overview of global terrorism, and the FBI's review of terrorism in the U.S.

Iraq Watch
"Iraq Watch is a comprehensive web site devoted to monitoring Iraq's progress in building weapons of mass destruction. Iraq Watch describes key Iraqi organizations and sites, lists their foreign suppliers, and provides access to U.N. and other documents that describe Iraq's activities."

Online news:
The online news sites below provide detailed background information. However, maintain the usual skepticism regarding late-breaking, sensational news stories as you would with any TV or print media. I have also provided links to foreign news sources so that you can obtain other, not necessarily balanced, points of view.

CNN In-Depth
Middle East, East Asia, Africa, and Afghanistan maps (political and topographical); in-depth specials: ongoing investigations, retaliation (current stories, potential bases for U.S. operations), Bin Laden details.

CNN Online
Latest news.

Washington Post
Latest news and in-depth background articles.

New York Times
Latest news and in-depth background articles.

The Frontier Post Online
The Frontier Post is published (in English) in the Pakistani town of Peshawar near the Afghan border. The Frontier Post reports on the latest political developments in the region.

The Hotline
A daily digest of war coverage from news organizations around the world.

KIOSKEN has links to news media all over the world, mainly to newspapers in the countries' own language(s).

US Department of Defense

Previous columns with live links can be found at www.winchestermass.org/wstar.

When he is not updating the Town of Winchester Web site (www.winchestermass.org), Martin Zombeck can be found at either the Packer tennis courts or at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, where he is a physicist.