In January our four Dispatches look at an enduring struggle, an on-going war and a catastrophe waiting to happen. Rafael Ben-Ari returns to report on continuing Kassam rocket attacks on Israel. Chris Hondros goes to Iraq again and assesses the deteriorating situation, while Morten Hvaal contemplates his mortality while traveling with private security forces. Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert investigates Papua New Guinea and what may be the first instance of a population being uprooted and relocated due to global environmental changes.
The long-standing hostilities between Israel and the Palestinian Authority never seem to resolve. After the Lebanon-Israel-Gaza war (see TDJ, August 2006) was ignited by Israeli soldiers being taken captive, the bloody conflict devolved into the Disengagement. Kassam rockets, growing more powerful, strike towns in Israel. The Israeli Defense Forces respond. And on and on. Rafael Ben-Ari tells the story of one town.
During his most recent embed, Chris Hondros describes the breakup of Iraq into small fiefdoms, each demanding more money for infrastructure projects. These projects are increasingly impossible to carry out because of the violence, which is due, in part, to the basic infrastructure needs of scared and frustrated residents. And on and on. Hondros looks at the soldiers in the middle.
Morten Hvaal travels through Iraq in various armored pickup trucks with private security forces—too close to get the images he wants and too far from reinforcements to feel safe. One company alone lost 30 men last year. The private security firms are relied upon by American forces but are they mercenaries?
Papua New Guinea is an independent state within Oceania. It occupies the eastern half of the island of New Guinea and includes many offshore islands. It is being inundated by the Pacific Ocean's rising salt water. The population has largely existed on subsistence-based agriculture that has, as Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert shows, been destroyed by the salt water. The people, having little to eat and afraid for their lives, hope to be relocated on another island before it is too late.
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