The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times lead with continued uncertainty in Haiti, as President Aristide agrees to share power but refuses to resign, as some of his opponents demand. The U.S.-lead diplomatic delegation left the country on Saturday without reaching an agreement. The New York Times off-leads Haiti, going instead with the Terrorist Explosive Device Analytic Center (Tedac), the U.S. intelligence operation that has been quietly studying improvised explosives used in terrorist attacks. Among the findings: car bombs of similar design used on different continents, suggesting the possibility of a “global bomb-making network.”
In the morning’s latest depressing news, a suicide bomber in Jerusalem killed at least seven people. The Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades has claimed responsibility.
The coverage of the crisis in Haiti is difficult to unravel—a testament to the complexity of the situation there, perhaps. Aristide says he’s willing to share power with members of the opposition, but also says he won’t “go ahead with terrorists,” a phrase open to interpretation. According to the WP, he’s referring only to the insurgents who have attacked police stations and staged uprisings in northern Haiti. But the LAT takes a broader, more cynical view. “Aristide uniformly applies that label [terrorist] to his mainstream opponents here in the capital as well as to the armed gangs and former junta figures controlling most of the key ports and provincial centers north of Port-au-Prince, the capital.”
To complicate matters further, the “opposition” in Port-au-Prince has distanced itself from the “opposition” ravaging much of the rest of the country, the LAT reports. The paper estimates that there are “more than 300 political parties, unions, social groups and movements” vying for a piece of the governmental pie. Some of these factions will accept nothing less than Aristide’s resignation.
The NYT explains that the U.S.-lead negotiators had to leave because they had a plane to catch—a Canadian government plane. In accordance with Canadian regulations, the plane could not remain on the ground unguarded overnight in a hostile setting. There’s no word of when the negotiators will return, but the opposition—that word again—is expected to respond to the proposed sharing of power by Monday.
According to the NYT lead, Tedac may shed light on the relative strength of the al-Qaida network. The intelligence operation, disclosed to terrorist specialists in Congress just this week, found that al-Qaida-designed bombs have been used in recent attacks around the world. But it’s unclear if al-Qaida expertise is still being disseminated via a global network, or if the bomb makers are merely relying on training once received at Osama Bin Laden’s camps in Afghanistan.
On a related front, the LAT off-leads Pakistani scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan’s brazen nuclear smuggling operation, which made use of glossy brochures to peddle equipment that could separate nuclear fuel from uranium. Libya and North Korea were part of Khan’s customer base.
The WP fronts a long excerpt (the first of two) from a book by Steve Coll, the paper’s managing editor, about the CIA’s dogged attempts to capture Bin Laden long before the Sept. 11 attacks. Coll says “the search became mired in mutual frustrations, near misses and increasingly bitter policy disputes in Washington between the Clinton White House and the CIA.”
Under the headline ‘What Was That All About?’ in the Week in Review, the NYT’s Todd Purdum guesses at the lasting impact (if there will be any) of Howard Dean’s dramatic ascent and fall. ” … politics have changed forever,” says Dean’s director of Internet organizing, and the consensus is that he may be sort of right. Cass Sunstein, the author of Republic.com, says Dean created an internet “cult.” “The intensity of Dean’s support came less from his own personal efforts than from the fact that Dean supporters were in pretty constant touch with each other, whereas geography would normally isolate them and spread them out. … I’m sure we’ll see someone, another version of Dean, who uses the same strategy, but is successful.”
Then there’s this, also from the NYT’s “Week in Review,” to explain the appeal of John Edwards: “Unlike many of his rivals, Edwards is believable because his body, his voice and his words are all saying the same thing,” says the author of How To Make People Like You in 90 Seconds or Less. “He has mastered the fundamental rule of motivational speaking, which is tell the audience that I’m one of you—I had it worse than you and look where I am today, so we can all dream together.”
Finally, a NYT fronter calls Teresa Heinz Kerry an “X factor” in her husband’s bid for the Oval Office. Yes, she’s refreshingly impetuous, but may also—with her beliefs in alternative medicine and Eastern philosophy, coupled with her tendency to say something weird—be too far out there for the average voter. (The Times provides a slew of colorful quotes, with doubtless more to come.) Curiously, she was a Republican until a year ago and yet claims to have voted for McGovern in ‘72. How could that be?