Hot Docs: Effects of the Mumbai Terrorist Attack, Israel's Strike on a U.N. School in Gaza

Today's selection of timely reports.

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Looking Back at the Mumbai Attack: The November Mumbai terrorist attacks "could further complicate U.S. policy in South Asia," a government report has found. The report by the Congressional Research Service, entitled "Terrorist Attacks in Mumbai, India, and Implications for U.S. Interests," concluded that the attacks could result in a "growing and increasingly sophisticated insurgency in Afghanistan and western Pakistan." The report highlighted the complexity of maintaining relations with two neighboring countries at serious odds with each other that are nonetheless important to U.S. strategic goals. For example, threats by Pakistan to redeploy forces from its Afghan border to its Indian border are viewed as a "form of extortion" designed to "elicit U.S. pressure on New Delhi and to continue what may be an ongoing low intensity proxy war against India." The report also looks at the implications for India, Pakistan, and U.S. relations with those countries. The report was first issued on December 19 but was just posted by Secrecy News, published by the Federation of American Scientists.

U.N. Should Investigate Israeli Attack on Gaza School: The nonprofit Human Rights Watch has called on the U.N. Security Council to investigate Israel's January 6 attack outside a U.N. school that killed some 40 people, including 10 children, who were taking refuge there. Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch, said, "Only the Security Council can provide the kind of impartial inquiry that can determine what happened." The group noted that both Israel and Hamas have failed to investigate past allegations of laws-of-war violations by their forces. Human Rights Watch also said it has been unable to conduct its own investigation because of the ongoing hostilities and because Israel has "severely restricted access to Gaza for all international media and human rights monitors since early November and blocked access entirely since the fighting began on December 27."

Military Personnel Shorted on Voting Rights: Sixteen states and the District of Columbia do not allow enough time for overseas military personnel to file absentee ballots, a report by the Pew Center on the States has found. The report, "No Time to Vote: Challenges Facing America's Overseas Military Voters," found that states sent out absentee ballots after the date necessary for military voters to meet required deadlines. The states that don't provide enough time are Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Georgia, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire, New York, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming. The report suggested a number of changes, including ensuring a minimum of 45 days for ballots to travel between voters and election offices, eliminating the requirement that ballots be notarized, and allowing election materials to be transmitted electronically.