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News briefs, part 2

Exiled Somali Intellectuals Hold Controversial Meeting

Los Angeles Times


The "Somali Intellectuals Forum," the group of wise men and women that the United Nation publicly has said holds a key to Somalia's future, convened its first public meeting here Monday on the crisis tearing apart what is left of their homeland next door.

Perhaps predictably, less than 30 intellectuals showed up, dwarfed together in a cavernous Nairobi hotel ballroom that seats hundreds. They listened patiently through the morning to the hollow echo of speeches largely rehashing how their once-proud nation self-destructed in a descending spiral of clan wars, famine and desolation, which ultimately drove out this educated backbone of their society.

Then, the afternoon session exploded in fiery debate. Suddenly it was clear that this little gathering was, in fact, a living symbol of both the forces that destroyed Somalia from within and those that continue to block its recovery.

It was not until noon that Nairobi-based intellectuals loyal to warlord and U.N. nemesis Mohamed Farrah Aidid learned, through a Somali grapevine in this nation that hosts 300,000 Somali exiles and refugees, that they had been excluded from the forum. Their instant conclusion: The U.N. deliberately conspired to keep them out.

"We are intellectuals. We want to participate if there is some good attempt underway to solve the Somali problem. But nobody invited us here," declared Ahmed Mukhtar Aden, a spokesman for Aidid's Somali National Alliance. He and a dozen other supporters gate-crashed the conference, which was endorsed by the U.N, and which the Aidid loyalists said represented only clans and tribes opposed to Aidid.

Aspin Plans First Comprehensive Revision of Nuclear Doctrine

The Washington Post


Secretary of Defense Les Aspin PhD '66 has authorized the first comprehensive review of the country's doctrine on nuclear weaponry since the end of the Cold War, according to a senior defense official.

The review is meant to take a fresh look at the number, type and targets of all such arms remaining in the U.S. arsenal, with the aim of producing "a new national policy" that will be submitted to President Clinton for his approval, the official said.

The review will be the first to address what several officials called an anomaly of existing U.S. nuclear weapons policy: Although the size of the U.S. arsenal has shrunk by thousands of weapons since the mid-1980s and will drop much further under arms treaties signed under President Bush, the official "presidential guidance" governing their targeting and employment in any war has not been updated since 1981.

As a result, all U.S. nuclear weapons planning and operations are formally governed by National Security Decision Directive 13, signed by President Ronald Reagan at a time when Moscow had troops in Afghanistan and Berlin was a divided city.

The purpose of the review, which is to be conducted jointly by civilian experts at the Defense Department and military officers assigned to the Joint Staff, is to design the long-term structure of the U.S. nuclear arsenal, including how many weapons will be based on submarines, bombers or intercontinental-range ballistic missiles.