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RFE/RL Review July 31, 2007

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The Best of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Reporting
July 1-31, 2007
Iraqi National Security Advisor Highlights Saudi Role in Insurgency During Radio Free Iraq Interview...
On July 13, Muwaffaq al-Rubay'i, the National Security Advisor of Iraq, spoke to RFE/RL's Radio Free Iraq about the significant role Saudi nationals play in the insurgency in Iraq. Al-Rubay'i was interviewed after returning from Saudi Arabia, where he met with Saudi officials on ways to curb the influx of militants into Iraq. Al-Rubay'i told RFI that nearly half of the foreign militants targeting U.S. and Iraqi security forces and civilians are from Saudi Arabia (audio at; an English transcript of the interview can be found at
...Correspondent reports from Kurdish Region Threatened by possible Turkish Invasion
In mid-July, RFE/RL Radio Free Iraq correspondent Abd Al-Hamid Zibari visited the areas close to Iraq's border with Turkey, where thousands of soldiers have been gathered following repeated threats by Turkey to launch a cross-border operation to pursue Kurdish militants. Zibari spoke to local residents, as well senior officials of the Kurdish militant PKK organization and the Kurdistan Regional Government and Parliament (audio at, and; an article in English can be read at
** The Director of RFE/RL's Radio Free Iraq, Sergey Danilochkin, may be reached by email at <>. Radio Free Iraq's website is at; English-language news about events in Iraq can be found at
Radio Free Afghanistan First to Report Death of Former King...
When former Afghan king Mohammad Zahir Shah died on July 22, Radio Free Afghanistan was the first domestic media outlet to report the news. As part of its coverage, Radio Free Afghanistan interviewed Zahir Shah's biographer, Wreiz Stanikzai, about the impact that the former king had on post-Taliban Afghanistan; broadcast the July 24 funeral ceremonies live from Kabul; and held a roundtable discussion of Zahir Shah's legacy with the Minister of Commerce, an Afghan historian, and Zalmay Khalilzad, the former U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan.
...Interviews Arrested Journalists...
When two Afghan journalists were arrested in early July after criticizing the government, Radio Free Afghanistan devoted extensive coverage to the story, including interviews with both journalists. Mohammad Asif Nang, the editor of the government magazine "Peace Jirga," was detained on July 1, while Kamran Mir Hazar, editor of the website, was taken into custody on July 4. Besides interviewing the two journalists, Radio Free Afghanistan gathered reactions from Afghan media unions and foreign NGOs, and held a two-hour roundtable about the difficult media climate in Afghanistan.
...Reports On Pardoning Of 14-Year Old Attempted Suicide Bomber
Radio Free Afghanistan reported on a 14-year old Pakistani would-be suicide bomber named Rafiqullah, who was caught by Afghan forces in Khost on July 7 while on a mission to blow up an Afghan provincial governor. The young man was pardoned on July 15 by President Hamid Karzai. Radio Free Afghanistan interviewed experts on terrorism and religious leaders about the use of children in war. The terrorism experts asserted that it is rare, but not unusual, for insurgents to use children, while the religious leaders condemned the use of children in fighting for any purpose.
** The Director of RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan, Akbar Ayazi, may be reached by email at <>. Radio Free Afghanistan's website is located at; English-language news about events in Afghanistan can be found at
Russian Service Reports from Bush-Putin Summit in Maine
The Russian Service broadcast extensive coverage of the Bush-Putin summit in early July, which took place at the Bush family estate in Kennebunkport, Maine. Correspondent Yuri Zhigalkin reported from Kennebunkport for the duration of the meetings, while Russian Service editors in Prague conducted interviews with leading experts on U.S.-Russian relations, including former Financial Times Moscow correspondent David Satter (, Wellesley College professor Marshall Goldman (, Russian political analyst Andrei Piontkovsky (, Washington Post columnist Anne Applebaum, Carnegie Moscow Center fellow Lilia Shevtsova and the influential editor of "Russia in Global Affairs," Fyodor Lukyanov (
Correspondent Slips Into Pro-Putin Youth Group Retreat
About 10,000 Russian youth gathered at Lake Seliger, about 350 kilometers northwest of Moscow in July for the annual summer retreat of the pro-Putin "Nashi" movement. On July 17, the group opened their compound to a busload of accredited journalists. Several, including Russian Service correspondent Maksim Yaroshevsky, were not granted accreditation; Yaroshevsky was able to gain unauthorized entry, however, and managed to interview several "Nashi" activists (In English:; in Russian:;;
Kasparov Takes Questions During Russian Service Program...
Garry Kasparov, the leader of the opposition group United Civil Front, visited RFE/RL's Moscow Bureau on July 9 to appear on the Russian Service's interactive talk show, Time of Guests. Kasparov answered questions from listeners and from host Mikhail Sokolov about the state of Russia's opposition forces, including the split in his own group, as a presidential election approaches. Kasparov said that divisions in the movement are natural as the opposition moves from staging street protests to preparing for the upcoming election season (In English:; in Russian:
...Covers Prominent Lawyer Who Flees Country, Fearing Prosecution...
In mid-July, prominent Russian defense lawyer Boris Kuznetsov fled Russia after a Moscow court sanctioned him for allegedly disclosing state secrets as part of an ongoing case (In English: RFE/RL's Russian Service talked to Kuznetsov after he fled on July 13 (Russian transcript at and interviewed Moscow City Bar Association chairman Henry Reznik, on the implications of the Kuznetsov case (July 13; and on demands by Russian prosecutors that Kuznetsov be stripped of his legal credentials ("Information Hour," July 20: Kuznetsov's lawyer, Robert Zinoviev was also interviewed during the July 20 program.
...Berezovsky Discusses Murder Plot...
On July 20, exiled Russian tycoon Boris Berezovsky spoke to the Russian Service program Information Hours about the recently foiled murder plot against him. British police revealed in July that they had arrested a man a month earlier in connection with a plot to murder the controversial oligarch. According to police, the man, probably a foreigner was arrested in London on June 21 and handed over to immigration officials two days later. Berezovsky told the Russian Service that, on the advice of Scotland Yard, he fled London during the week that his life may have been in danger. (In English at; in Russian at
...Interviews Khakamada, Zhirinovsky, Ryzhkov...
Among the featured guests that appeared on Russian Service interview programs in July were former presidential candidate Irina Khakamada ("Time of Guests," July 24;, State Duma Vice Chairman Vladimir Zhirinovsky ("Time of Guests," July 18; and independent State Duma deputy Vladimir Ryzhkov ("Time of Politics," July 16;
...Airs Interview With Both Sides of South Ossetia Dispute
On July 9, RFE/RL's Russian Service aired interviews from both sides of the dispute between Russia and Georgia over South Ossetia. Correspondent Andrei Shary interviewed Eduard Kokoity, the Russia-backed president of the breakaway South Ossetia Republic and Dmitry Sanakoev, leader of the pro-Georgia provisional administration of Tskhinvali region. Kokoity had refused to participate in a joint discussion with Sanakoev, so each answered questions separately (In Russian:
** The Director of RFE/RL's Russian Service, Maria Klein, may be reached by email at <>. The Russian Service's website is at; English-language news about events in Russia can be found at
Belarus Service Examines Link Between Spy Claims,
Sacking of KGB Chairman...
In July, RFE/RL's Belarus Service looked into the possible links between two major news events -- an announcement that the KGB had uncovered and arrested a group of spies who tried to sell defense secrets to Poland and the unexpected dismissal of the chairman of Belarus' KGB. The service contacted key players in the Belarusian Interior Ministry and KGB, aired reactions from governmental officials, parliamentary deputies, opposition and civic leaders and cited Belarusian leader Alyaksandr Lukashenka's comments about the dismissal. The service also analyzed, during several days of roundtable discussions, various explanations for the dismissal, including fears of corruption and disloyalty in the security services; fears that security services were building up warring, independent power bases; and an effort by Lukashenka to make room for a younger generation of leaders allied to Lukashenka and his son Viktar. Comments made during these roundtables were widely cited in the Belarusian independent press and on many Belarus-language websites. In addition, the service aired profiles of both the former and new KGB chairman, gave listeners reviews of the domestic and foreign press, and solicited opinion during "man on the street" interviews (;;;;
...Participates in Literary Festival
Four of the thirty authors who participated in a month-long Belarusian literature festival in Brno, Czech Republic are associated with RFE/RL -- Belarus Service Director Alexander Lukashuk, broadcasters Siarhej Ablameiko and Maksim Srur and RFE/RL Regional Analyst Jan Maksymiuk. Termed a "month of author readings" and enjoying the patronage of Czech Foreign Minister Karl Schwarzenberg, the festival also included such well-known writers as Uladzimier Arlou, Ales Razanau, Uladzimier Niakliajeu, Leanid Dranko-Majsiuk, Barys Piatrovich and Andrej Khadanovich.
Belarus Service director Lukashuk opened the festival on July 1, noting that perhaps the only country where such a gathering could not be staged was, ironically, Belarus itself. The service reported on the festival in its evening programs throughout July ;all of the reports as well as photos of the festival are available on the Belarus Service website (A report on the first day of the festival can be found at; a gallery of photos from the festival is at
** The Director of RFE/RL's Belarus Service, Alexander Lukashuk, may be reached by email at <>. The Belarus Service's website is at; English-language news about events in Belarus can be found at
Georgian Service Focuses on Tensions in South Ossetia...
RFE/RL's Georgian Service was one of the few media in Georgia to have a correspondent providing daily coverage in late June and early July of a rise in tensions over cuts in the water supply in the breakaway province of South Ossetia. An English article with Georgian Service coverage on the crisis can be read at
...Interviews PACE President Rene Van Der Linden on Armenian Media Restrictions
A Georgian Service correspondent interviewed Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe president Rene Van Der Linden during his early July visit to Tbilisi, where he met with Georgian officials as part of a tour of the South Caucasus region. During that interview, Van Der Linden criticized attempts by Armenia's parliament to place restrictions on foreign broadcast media, including RFE/RL Armenian Service broadcasts (
** The Director of RFE/RL's Georgian Service, David Kakabadze, may be reached by email at <>. The Georgian Service's website is at; English-language news about events in Georgia can be found at
South Slavic Service Marks Anniversary of Srebrenica MASSACRE...
In July, RFE/RL's South Slavic and Albanian Languages Service (SSALS) did several stories to mark the passage of 12 years since the 1995 massacre of thousands of Bosnian males in the town of Srebrenica. Service correspondents interviewed relatives at a recent funeral for 465 recently identified bodies of Srebrenica victims. A second story, on the confession of a UN interpreter from Srebrenica, was widely quoted by media in the region. In the last 12 years 2.500 bodies have been identified and buried in Srebrenica; those of at least 5 thousand Srebrenica victims are still lie in undiscovered mass graves (;
...Interviews British UN Ambassador on Draft Kosovo Resolution
During a July 19 interview with British UN Ambassador Karen Pierce, RFE/RL's South Slavic and Albanian Languages Service became the first media in Kosovo to report that Russian objections would keep the UN Security Council from voting on a draft resolution addressing the future status of Kosovo. Ambassador Pierce also urged Serbia to be more constructive during negotiations on Kosovo's status: "What Serbia offers for Kosovo today is less that what the Serbian minority in Kosovo gets through Ahtisaari's plan." The interview was widely quoted by local media (
** The Director of RFE/RL's South Slavic and Albanian Languages Service (SSALS), Omer Karabeg, may be reached by email at <>. The SSALS website in Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian is located at, in Albanian at and in Macedonian at; English-language news about events in Bosnia-Herzegovina can be found at, in Macedonia at, in Serbia and Montenegro at and in Kosovo at
Copyright © 2007. RFE/RL, Inc. All rights reserved. "RFE/RL Review" is a weekly compilation of the best programming produced by the 19 services of the RFE/RL broadcast network. RFE/RL broadcasts more than 1,000 hours of programming a week in 28 languages to 20 countries in Eastern Europe, Russia, the Caucasus, and Central and Southwestern Asia.
Acting Editor: Anna Siskova <>
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