Morning Report: May 3, 2004

· Al-Qaeda strikes Saudi oil facility – details murky. (Debka) A day-long suicide attack and gunfight claimed several lives at Yanbu on May 1. Official reports said that three attackers were gunned down and a fourth captured. Debka’s analysis questions official casualty figures, and suggests that several “bands” of terrorists may have spread out through the town. The Israeli report suggests that the goals of the attack were to undermine the Saudi regime, to weaken US/Saudi oil ties, and to cause oil prices to rise prior to the US elections in November.
· Brahimi a Saddam fan? (Free Arab Forum) Quoting Kurdish media, FAF alleges that Iraq’s UN representative has close ties with former dictator Saddam Hussein.
· VDH on overcoming dependency. (National Review Online) In a long and eloquent piece assessing the current situation, Victor Davis Hanson calls for decreased dependency on foreign oil:
“Surely conservatives can agree to reasonable mileage standards for new cars that will have the eventual practical effect of reducing our nation's daily consumption of oil. By the same token, surely liberals can agree to explore our own Arctic Circle for known petroleum, under careful environmental scrutiny to ensure that such resources are extracted with more care at home than they are currently extracted abroad, in areas where our own environmental protocols have no sway. We Americans cannot expect to drive cars that consume more gasoline than they need nor demand of others to tap their own fragile environment for resources that we desire but would not do the same for at home."
· Gaza pullout: Likud says no. (Various) Voters in Ariel Sharon’s Likud party soundly rejected the Israeli Prime Minister’s plan for a withdrawal from the Gaza Strip. The Head Heeb comments succinctly: “This is a good day for Hamas and a bad one for Israel.” Debka, which had previously noted its lack of enthusiasm for the plan, essentially pronounced the vote the end of Sharon’s political career. I hope to post my own thoughts on this a little later.