Morning Report: November 2, 2004

Filmmaker Theo van Gogh slain. Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh - a relative of the famous painter of the same last name - was murdered in Amsterdam, in apparent retaliation for a film critical of the treatment of women in Islam. According to the AP article, van Gogh had received threats after the airing in August of the film "Submission". The film's writer, a Somali-born ex-Muslim woman named Ayaan Hirsi Ali, has been under police protection. Ms. Ali is a member of the Dutch parliament. For more on women and Islam, please visit Irshad Manji.

Anti-regime resistance in Ahwaz, Iran. According to this item at Free Iran: 'Tens of residents rushed to rescue the ambulant sellers,
located in the Imam Khomeini (former Pahlavi) avenue, in order to oppose the regime's militiamen who were seen
attacking them and trying to confiscate their assets. Stones and sticks responded to the militiamen's tear gas and heavy clubs while slogans were shouted against the Islamic regime and its leaders.' More resources on Iranian freedom activism are available at the Free Iran homepage.

Tel Aviv bombing signals Palestinian power play. A November 1 bombing in Tel Aviv, which killed four Israelis, was carried out by the Damascus-based Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). This is the PFLP's first attack since the 2002 pizzeria bombing, and it may indicate that the group is eager for a bigger share in the post-Arafat Palestinian Authority. Analysts point out that the rejectionist PFLP is a long-time rival of Arafat's Fatah faction, and has accused Fatah of accommodating Israel by recognizing the Jewish state's right to exist; hence, the attack can be seen as an attempt by rejectionist elements to reassert themselves. Debka views it as a direct message to Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen):
The blast which killed four Israelis and injured more than 30 must also have echoed in the ears of US secretary of state Colin Powell a day after he urged Abbas to get moving and assert control of the Palestinian Authority. Abu Mazen was already in receipt of a flood of threats from the absent leader’s supporters, who showered the West Bank with leaflets vilifying him and accusing his son, Yasser Abbas, of corruption. The writers asked: “Would you want the man who raised this son to lead and educate the rising Palestinian generation?” As part of their campaign to prevent Abu Mazen’s takeover, the ailing leader’s close advisers, from the base they established in Paris, pumped out optimistic reports suggesting he was on the road to a miraculous recovery. ...
Further information and analysis is available through Stratfor.