Ron Moreau

Stories by Ron Moreau

  • DOUBLE VISION

    It looked like a formula for disaster. Against all odds, Sonia Gandhi led her Congress party and its 15 coalition partners to victory in India's parliamentary elections last May. Hindu zealots in the defeated Bharatiya Janata Party responded by threatening massive protests against India's first "foreign born" prime minister. To quell the rancor, Gandhi (who is of Italian descent) arranged for her friend and adviser, the technocrat Manmohan Singh, to become prime minister. Yet Gandhi remained Congress party president and became chair of the ruling coalition.Not surprisingly, many Indians doubted the two-headed arrangement would survive. For most of its 57 years of independence, the world's largest democracy has been ruled by a lone charismatic leader. Whether Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi or Sonia's late husband, Rajiv, these political leaders singlehandedly ran the government and party: convention-al wisdom held that the fractious country--a mosaic of competing languages,...
  • A CHANGE OF ADDRESS

    India's robust outsourcing industry grew up in the country's major cities--New Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore, to name three. Prominent information-technology firms like Wipro, TCS and Infosys set up shop in those places, took advantage of smart but inexpensive technical talent, and flourished. In the mid- to late 1990s, Bangalore became one of the world's hottest IT centers. The city was clean, leafy, uncongested and offered financial incentives to businesses. Many firms grabbed them and turned the southern city into a symbol of India's low-cost tech prowess.But nearly a decade later, Bangalore's success is turning into a liability. The city's infrastructure is creaking; citizens face power shortages, maddening traffic jams and poor public transportation. The cost of living has soared. Other big cities are experiencing similar urban problems, including high real-estate prices and worker salaries that are rising by 10 to 15 percent annually.That's an alarming trend for an industry...
  • Drifting To The Right

    Uma Bharti, a militant leader of India's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), has always courted controversy. A self-styled sanyasin, or Hindu ascetic, she's been at the forefront of the Hindu nationalist BJP's most confrontational anti-Muslim maneuvers in recent years. In 1992, when Hindu fanatics destroyed a mosque that had allegedly been built on the birthplace of the Hindu god Ram, she helped to lead the charge dressed in her saffron robes. Two years later Bharti rallied Hindu extremists in an illegal protest over a piece of land in the southern state of Karnataka that was claimed by both Hindus and Muslims. Several people died in an ensuing riot, and Bharti was accused of attempted murder. Because of her high political profile, the charges were filed away.But late last month the Congress-party- led state government clumsily resurrected the accusations and asked the 45-year-old rabble-rouser to surrender to state authorities. The move seems to have re-energized the BJP, still reeling...
  • PAKISTAN: MIGHT MAKES RIGHT

    In the war on terror, few foreign leaders produce results like Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf. His security forces have arrested some of Al Qaeda's most-wanted leaders, including Osama bin Laden's operational whiz, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed. Since the September 11 attacks, Musharraf has turned over more than 500 terrorist suspects to the United States for questioning. And only last month, in joint operations with U.S. personnel, the Pakistanis nabbed a senior Tanzanian Qaeda operative, Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, as well as Muhammed Neem Noor Khan, a Pakistani computer expert who had been running a--communications center for bin Laden's outfit in the eastern city of Lahore. For this and other antiterror successes, Musharraf has received nothing but admiration from American and other Western leaders. Wearing his favorite bemedaled commando's uniform, the president regularly meets in Islamabad with a parade of visiting European and U.S. officials who come to consult with and...
  • OPEN ARMS

    Mohammed Abbas and his brother, Mohammed Ibrahim, fled Kabul 19 years ago after Soviet forces occupied Afghanistan. They were among millions of Afghans who took refuge in neighboring Pakistan. In partnership with three other Afghans, they opened a small restaurant in Islamabad that soon became one of the most popular eating spots in the capital. "We have total freedom here," says Ibrahim. "We received tremendous support from Pakistanis." Like many successful Afghans, Ibrahim views Pakistan as his new home: "We have no intention of going back to Afghanistan."Over the past quarter century, Pakistan has played host to, and treated honorably, more refugees than any other country in the developing world. That's saying a lot for one of the world's poorest nations. Since the Soviets invaded Afghanistan in 1979, Pakistan has housed, fed and educated more than 5 million refugees, mainly Afghans, without isolating them and confining them to fetid, overcrowded camps. Rather, refugees have been...
  • More Miracles, Please

    Probably no human being could do what's being asked of Manmohan Singh. The 72-year-old economist, widely known as "Mr. Credibility," took over last week as India's new prime minister. Now he's faced with the problem that brought down his predecessor, Atal Bihari Vajpayee. As the man who ushered India's tech sector into the 21st century, Vajpayee worked a few wonders himself, like the 10.4 percent annualized growth rate the economy posted in the quarter just before the May elections. The trouble was, too many people had nothing to show for the country's successes. A third or more of India's 1.1 billion inhabitants subsist below the poverty line. Nearly 150 million live without water fit for bathing, never mind drinking. Barely half the adults have learned to read. And the government has nowhere near the money to make much difference.Singh didn't ask for this hopeless task. The mild-mannered former Finance minister, an adviser to practically every Indian government for the past three...
  • Ready For Prime Time?

    The week began with a meltdown. As Congress Party leader Sonia Gandhi--fresh from a surprise election victory that ousted Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and his ruling Bharatiya Janata Party from power--worked to form a new coalition government, India's stock markets went into free fall. Congress's prospective communist allies, who garnered a record 62 seats in the recent polls, had begun spouting leftist-party dogma that sent panic through the private sector. The Mumbai Stock Exchange shed 11 percent of its value--its largest one-day plunge.Although regulators stepped in to halt trading, the market started to gain confidence only when a new rumor began to make the rounds: rather than take the post for herself, Gandhi was going to nominate Manmohan Singh as India's next prime minister. By midweek, when it was clear that the 72-year-old former Finance minister would indeed lead the new government, the markets had bounced back nearly to their pre-panic highs. "We know he'll take...
  • Royal Return

    Sonia Gandhi never harbored great expectations for this election. In 1999 the Italian-born leader of the Congress party, who had only reluctantly allowed herself to be dragged into politics the year before, had presided over her party's worst electoral defeat, in elections that brought Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee back to power. But by 10 a.m. last Thursday, only three hours after the vote count had begun, all signs suggested that this shy--some say reclusive--leader was about to lead Congress to its most dramatic political upset since independence in 1947. Huddled in front of the television with her staff at her New Delhi home as the poll returns rolled in, she was herself taken by surprise, sources said later. By noon Vajpayee and his Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party had accepted defeat, and for the first time in 20 years, a member of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty had led the party to victory. On Saturday Sonia's party elected her as its candidate for prime minister. "We...
  • AN INDIAN CHAMPION

    Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee is not the picture of health. The 79-year-old leader is overweight, has had both knees replaced and is physically feeble. With the help of two security guards he emerges with difficulty from his black BMW sedan and shuffles slowly, leaning from side-to-side, toward a speakers' stage. He climbs the dozen or so stairs hesitantly, his fingers tightly gripping the handrail. Just as he is about to sit down, a local politician presents him with a traditional, saffron-colored turban and a long sword--even though the senior statesman looks ready for anything but battle. When it is his turn to speak, two security guards help him rise from his chair and walk slowly to the podium.Vajpayee is, almost at once, a man transformed. His voice is deep, forceful and resonant. Now wearing the turban and wielding his blade, he quickly captivates an adoring crowd of several thousand supporters. They hang on his every word, and campaigning hard for a second five...
  • INTERVIEW: A LEADER RIDING HIGH

    Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee was all smiles as he sat down for an exclusive interview with NEWSWEEK's Sudip Mazumdar and Ron Moreau at his official residence in New Delhi late last week. His top aides had just informed him that India's GDP economic-growth rate in the last quarter was a whopping 10.4 percent and that India's cricket team was soundly beating Pakistan in their first test match in Multan. The 79-year-old Indian leader looked relaxed and confident as he talked about his plans for a second term. Excerpts:NEWSWEEK: Do you have a new vision for India?Vajpayee: I see India becoming a developed nation by 2020: economically strong, free of the problems of underdevelopment and playing a meaningful role in the world as befits a nation of more than 1 billion people. Our first priority is to speed up our economic-growth rate to 8 percent on a more sustainable basis. We will make India a service provider to the world, a major manufacturing hub and a center of the...
  • New Tales Of Graft And Greed

    Indians can be forgiven if they are suffering from corruption fatigue. Almost daily they seem to be bombarded with yet another official scandal. Despite her vociferous denials, the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh was forced to resign this summer amid allegations that she was accepting kickbacks from a real-estate developer, tucking the money away in her 87 personal bank accounts. Last month Dilip Singh Judeo, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party's state minister for Environment and Forests, was caught on videotape accepting bundles of rupees in a posh New Delhi hotel room from a man claiming to represent an Australian mining company looking to secure mineral rights in two Indian states. And over the past few weeks what may amount to the country's largest scam has been slowly coming to light: a $5 billion nationwide forgery racket, allegedly run by a former south Indian village peanut vendor, which reportedly involved some of the nation's top cops and politicians.Official venality, of...
  • Walking A Fine Line

    Around 8 each morning, Afghan President Hamid Karzai emerges from his two-story residence within the sprawling grounds of Kabul's royal palace and walks to his presidential office, several hundred yards away. He is not alone. An American agent armed with a concealed pistol walks by his side; another is in front and another behind, both carrying M-4 automatic rifles. More than a dozen U.S. trained Afghan guards trot alongside, also heavily armed. U.S. and Afghan sharpshooters watch from the rooftops of nearby buildings as he passes. Karzai survived a hail of assassin's bullets last September, but neither that memory nor the blanket security seems to dampen his mood. He waves cheerily to palace staff and visitors, then ducks inside the granite-block presidential building, pockmarked by bullets from the long civil war, and bounds up a flight of stairs to his office. There, more American and Afghan agents stand at the ready.There are good reasons that Karzai is guarded like a national...
  • Stepping Away From Doomsday

    The peace gesture was as sudden as most declarations of war. Late last week India's prime minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, stunned Parliament with plans to send a new ambassador to Pakistan, resume air traffic and open peace talks with Islamabad. "The talks this time will be decisive," he promised. "I am confident I will succeed." Islamabad quickly confirmed the news. "Talks will begin very soon," said Pakistan's Information minister, Sheikh Rashid Ahmed. "Things are moving very fast."The two nuclear-armed neighbors have been perilously close to all-out war since the end of 2001, when five terrorists were killed trying to seize New Delhi's Parliament building. India blamed separatist guerrillas supported by Pakistan in the disputed territory of Kashmir. Both countries withdrew their ambassadors and traded tit-for-tat ballistic-missile tests, as well as artillery fire and mortar barrages.This April, Vajpayee visited the Kashmiri city of Srinagar, where he made the first public speech...
  • Reining In The Warlords

    Afghan warlord Ismail Khan, the governor of Herat province, tries his best to sound like a loyal subordinate. When asked if he submits to President Hamid Karzai's authority, Khan laughs and points to a portrait of the president hanging on the wall behind his desk. "If I didn't respect him and his authority I wouldn't have his picture hanging up there." But posters plastered on shop windows around Herat City come closer to the truth: they feature a large, imposing portrait of Khan with a smaller image of Karzai tucked away in the background.Indeed, Khan, the self-styled "Emir of the Southwest," pays little more than lip service to Karzai and Kabul. With a military--force some 25,000 strong, Khan keeps a tight grip on the trade routes from Iran and Turkmenistan. Last year his control of this border trade netted him an estimated $100 million to $300 million in customs revenue alone. With that kind of money, Afghanistan's warlords need not answer to anyone, least of all Karzai. They run...
  • Pakistan: A Growing 'Talibanization'

    For 40 years, Shaukat Khan has made a modest income singing and dancing to traditional Pashtun music at weddings and family celebrations. Now the 50-year-old performer, along with hundreds of other musicians, is being run out of show business in Pakistan's North-West Frontier province. They are among the first casualties of the aggressive "anti-obscenity" crackdown being orchestrated by the Islamist United Action Council, or MMA in its Urdu-language acronym. "The mullahs hate us," says Khan, sighing. "They only want us to study the holy Qur'an."The MMA rode to victory in October's NWFP provincial election on the strength of a campaign that was virulently anti-American and that promised to uphold Islamic values. Like the stridently religious Hindu nationalists in neighboring India, the pro-Taliban coalition of six conservative parties says it is doing exactly what the voters asked it to do. "People elected us to destroy culture that is alien to Islamic values," says Bakht Jan, the...
  • A New Game

    President Pervez Musharraf thought he had the election all sewn up. His powerful Inter-Services Intelligence agency, or ISI, assured him that Pakistan's Oct. 10 race would produce what he wanted: a friendly Parliament filled with "new faces." And he had no reason to doubt his spooks. His political operatives had already organized a pro-military breakaway faction of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League, called the PML-Q, as the president's political vehicle. Over the summer his advisers crafted a slew of laws and constitutional amendments that barred charismatic former prime ministers Benazir Bhutto and Sharif from the contest. And Musharraf's camp made one other pre-election gambit: it allowed the candidates of a coalition of six right-wing religious parties, called the United Action Council, or MMA in its Urdu-language acronym, to campaign freely on their virulently anti-American platform long before other parties entered the contest. The mullahs had won only...
  • A Big Vote For Jihad

    The Islamist leader could scarcely contain his glee. "This is a revolution!" crowed Qazi Hussain Ahmed, promising to evict not only U.S. troops but every trace of Western culture from Pakistan's soil. No one, not even Qazi himself, had expected the pro-Taliban candidates of his United Action Council (also known by its Urdu-language initials, MMA) to show such power at the polls. The coalition's six parties had always clung to the rag-ged fringe of Pakistani politics: the last time National Assembly elections were held, in 1997, they won only two seats. But when last week's ballots were in, the mullahs had captured at least 51 out of 342 seats--and at least an outside chance of helping form Pakistan's new government. What's more, they seem eager and able to disrupt the cooperation of Pakistan's military ruler, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, in the war on terror.The MMA ran on a venomously anti-U.S. and anti-Musharraf platform--a message warmly received in the tribal areas near the Afghan...
  • Power And Privilege

    A score of Pakistani peasants, dressed in shalwar kameez and turbans, stood nervously before a table piled high with land contracts. They had come to the sprawling Military Farms--a 17,000-acre dairy, meat and grain-producing agribusiness in the heart of the fertile Punjab--at the urging of its owner, the Pakistani Army. According to Army Col. Saleem Khan, the commander of a paramilitary unit assigned to the area, the tenant farmers were voluntarily signing new land-tenure contracts. After two years of resistance, he claimed, a majority of the 15,000 tenant families who'd been working the land had agreed to the military's new terms. As proof, he pointed to several "signed" contracts on the table marked by a farmer's thumbprint in purple ink. (Most of the farmers are illiterate.)But when retired Adm. Fasih Bokhari--who personally visited Military Farms to investigate charges of Army coercion--asked the peasants if they were signing willingly, almost all of them demurred. "We are...
  • Failed Cities: Terror's Urban Jungle

    The tragedy of 9-11 brought home the danger posed by failing states like Afghanistan and Pakistan, where poverty, chaos and corruption formed petri dishes for would-be radicals. Now Pakistan's largest city and commercial capital--the sprawling port of Karachi, teeming with 14 million people--is highlighting the danger posed by failing cities, where the same combination of factors may prove even more destabilizing.Since their Taliban allies were ousted in Afghanistan, Qaeda terrorists have infiltrated Karachi, making the city--already known for ethnic, sectarian and political violence--one of the epicenters of the war on terror. At Karachi International Airport, banks of video cameras now watch every arriving and departing passenger. The cameras and new immigration computers are both linked to the U.S. FBI, so that American agents can quickly check faces and names against lists of wanted terrorists. Pakistani Army Rangers, dressed in flak jackets and carrying automatic weapons, guard...
  • Tailoring Democracy

    In Pakistan, politics is often a family affair. This week's parliamentary election called by Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf is no different. ...
  • Pakistan: Christians Under Fire

    Since the start of U.S. military actions in Afghanistan last October, terrorists in Muslim Pakistan have attacked three Christian churches and a school with automatic weapons and hand grenades, killing more than 30 people and wounding more than 50. Increasingly, Pakistani Christians fear that these Islamic extremists, who are bent on settling scores with America for its war against the Taliban and Al Qaeda, will target them, now that Western diplomatic missions have hardened their defenses against attacks. "[The extremists] say, 'Americans are Christian, the West is Christian, so let's kill Christians here in retaliation'," says Shahbaz Bhatti, head of the All Pakistan Minorities Alliance.Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf has denounced the attacks in recent weeks, and Pakistani security forces boasted that they'd arrested 12 militants who belong to outlawed extremist groups. The government is also making it easier for Christian communities to get firearms licenses. Still,...
  • Her Eye On The Prize

    Former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto has been knocked down many times. Dictator Mohammad Zia ul-Haq hanged her father in 1979 and imprisoned her after her return from exile in 1986. She has been elected prime minister twice and twice been pushed out by the military. For the past six years her husband has sat in a Pakistani jail for corruption charges he denies. Avoiding similar charges, Bhutto has lived in exile--dividing her time between London and Dubai--since 1997. Now Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf is dead-set on blocking her return to power. He recently issued a package of executive orders and constitutional amendments largely aimed at preventing her from becoming prime minister for a third time. But Bhutto, 49, is still on her feet. She's vowing to make a political comeback despite the long odds. "I am returning home to contest the October elections," she told NEWSWEEK recently. "No one can stop me."Bhutto can't be written off. She is a talented, hands-on...
  • A Fragile Friendship

    Many Pakistani men joined the Army to defend their homeland from India. They are ready and willing to fight and die, if necessary. The problem is, for many of these men, they are fighting the wrong enemy. Young officers, ranging in rank from captain to colonel, are not convinced they should be risking their lives on Pakistan's new, western front to hunt down Taliban and Qaeda remnants. These missions in support of the U.S.-led war on terror require patrolling rugged areas, where troops could face threats from local tribes as much as from Qaeda holdouts. "America forced these guys in here," grouses one colonel, "and now we are being asked to clean up their mess."Late last month a Pakistani Army major, captain and eight infantrymen, operating on U.S.-supplied intelligence, were killed in a Qaeda ambush near the Afghan border. Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf continues to promise the risks are worth the rewards. But the rank and file are not so sure. Now, in mess halls and officer...
  • Perils Of Power

    The war on terror made the world glad that Pakistan had a dictator. On Sept. 12, Gen. Proves Musharraf did not need to consult any pesky politicians or civic groups before turning against the Taliban. In January he did not check with his lawyers before banning several Muslim extremist groups and arresting thousands of their cadres. The decision to aid U.S. military forces in hunting down Qaeda remnants in Pakistan had to be cleared with only a few, handpicked generals. And the war on terror should have made Musharraf glad, too: desperately needed by Washington, he has been all but immune to international criticism.Yet over the past nine months, Musharraf's dictatorial bent has eroded his standing within Pakistan. The January crackdown infuriated the military's former allies in the Islamist movement, as did his more recent decision to block insurgents from crossing into India's half of Kashmir. He has consistently refused calls from moderate politicians to share power: despite claims...
  • THE MISSING WEEK

    Sometimes it seems like the only person telling the truth in the Daniel Pearl case is the man accused of kidnapping The Wall Street Journal reporter. After turning himself in on Feb. 5, Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, 28, told agents from Pakistan's powerful Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) that Pearl's captors had sent him a coded message saying the American had been executed. The ISI, NEWSWEEK has learned, chose not to mention that to Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, saying instead that Pearl would be rescued shortly. For his part, Musharraf didn't publicly admit that Saeed was in custody until a week later, when at a press conference in Washington he said he was "reasonably certain" Pearl was alive.In fact, that missing week may have sabotaged the investigation by giving Pearl's killers time to disappear. "The ISI never shared with us any information about what Saeed had told them," says a senior Pakistani police investigator. Equally worrying is what the deception says about...
  • The Toughest Job In The World

    The Wall Street of Kabul is a place called Shahzadeh Market. And the closest thing that Shahzadeh Market has to a Master of the Universe is Said Fahim Khaksar. Dressed in a black leather jacket and a white skullcap, Khaksar flicks through grimy wads of rupees, dollars and afghanis with fingers ringed in gold. In recent weeks he has lost $10,000 doing what comes naturally in Afghanistan: betting against the future of his currency--and his country. Instead, the afghani has tripled in value against the U.S. dollar, a stunning signal of confidence that something is going right in Afghanistan for a change. A key reason: the newly installed interim government of President Hamid Karzai, who took office on Dec. 22. Such is the mood that even Khaksar doesn't seem to mind much the bath he's just taken. "If the political situation improves and there's peace, it's OK," he says with a shrug.Hamid Karzai will need all of his remarkable diplomatic skills to win over a country that has learned,...
  • The Great Conciliator

    Even his supporters say that Hamid Karzai is best suited to lead Afghanistan because of what he's not. He is not an obstreperous warlord with blood on his hands, plunder on his mind and a ragtag army. He is not tainted by association with the mujahedin who flattened Kabul after driving out the Soviets, or with the fanatical Taliban who took their place. He is not a bully, or a crook, or a chauvinist, or a zealot--none of the things that have defined Afghan leaders over the past 23 years. During the six weeks he spent behind enemy lines, masterminding the collapse of the Taliban in their southern Pashtun strongholds, he never once held a gun.He also lacks certain leadership qualities. "He is alone, doesn't represent a party, has no political base outside his tribe and is not widely known in Afghanistan," says a Western diplomat in Islamabad. Negotiators in Bonn chose the 44-year-old Karzai to head the Afghan interim government that takes office on Dec. 22 in part because he hadn't...
  • The Next Battle

    In the cities and towns of war-torn Afghanistan, the lightning collapse of Taliban control has felt to many like liberation. Men have cut off their long beards, children have flown kites, women have listened to musty old film songs. The country would appear to have been reborn overnight, its most urgent problem solved. Yet for hundreds of thousands of Afghans, trapped in isolated mountain villages battered by years of drought and war, suffering will not be dispelled so easily.In fact, the rapid advance of anti-Taliban forces has in many ways complicated the task of getting aid to those Afghans most in danger of starving. Relief workers face many of the same obstacles they did when the Taliban dominated the country--winter being the most pressing. In the so-called hunger belt running across the highlands of seven northern provinces, the survival of up to 3 million people depends on the arrival of food shipments before mid-December; some 700,000 of those are already malnourished and...
  • Delivered From Evil

    Heather Mercer and Dayna Curry were used to being roused from their cell beds by ranting soldiers toting AK-47s. Since the U.S. bombing campaign started five weeks earlier, their Taliban captors had kept the two American aid workers and six other Western hostages on the run with them nearly every night. But this time, as they were herded into a van packed with rocket launchers and other military equipment, the women sensed something was different. These were new jailers who seemed frighteningly on edge, not warm and friendly like the previous ones. After a three-hour trip down dark roads lined with tanks, the van stopped and the soldiers forced the hostages into a cold metal shipping container. The prisoners curled into the fetal position and waited out the night. "We knew the only way we'd get out of this is if God intervened," said Curry.The next morning the prisoners were trucked to another makeshift jail in the town of Ghazni, 80 miles from Kabul. Within moments the daily round...
  • Saving The Coral Reefs

    For 34 years said Nuhung made a fairly easy living as a fisherman. He would take his small boat out off the coastal village of Tumbak, on the eastern coast of Indonesia's North Sulawesi province, to the reefs. Looking into the clear water, he would see schools of groupers, wrasse and coral trout feeding off the protozoans, algae and crustaceans that live among the coral. Then he would make use of the fishing techniques handed down from his father and his grandfather: he filled empty Coke bottles with fertilizers and kerosene and fashioned matches into fuses that could burn underwater. Five or 10 bombs dropped one by one over the side would send plumes of water 15 feet into the air and kill fish anywhere within a dozen meters. Nuhung had only to dive down and collect a boatload of the larger, marketable fish and leave the rest for the gulls and sharks.Like thousands of other demolition fishermen, Nuhung never gave much thought to the coral below. The waters of the Indonesian...
  • East Timor: A Victory For One, Not Many

    Once upon a time the result would have been clear cause for celebration: a tiny country frees itself from the shackles of a colonizing power and, in free and democratic elections, brings its freedom fighters to power. But in East Timor, that precise outcome may spell trouble ahead.Election results to be announced this week indicate that the Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor, or Fretilin, has likely won a commanding 55 out of 88 parliamentary seats in a vote held on Aug. 30. That's five seats shy of the number required to pass a constitution--the Legislature's first task--without consulting other parties. But the victory ensures that Fretilin will dominate the island nation's first government. Even revered independence leader Xanana Gusmo, almost certain to be voted president of the new republic in elections in April 2002, stumped for smaller parties during the campaign, arguing that his former comrades should not be given too much power. "A big Fretilin win could...