Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Articles from Vol. 21, No. 5, June/July

A Chronology of U.S.-Middle East Relations
Facts for Your Files March 1: U.S. ground and air forces pounded alleged Taliban and al-Qaeda positions in eastern Afghanistan as the U.N. began returning refugees to Afghanistan. * The Bush administration urged abolishing international court tribunals...
Admiral Moore Remembers Bahrain Service
Diplomatic Doings Vice Admiral Thomas J. Bigley, USN (Ret), president of the American Bahraini Friendship Society, welcomed guests to an April 17 reception hosted by Dr. Muhammad Abdul Ghaffar, Bahrain's ambassador to the U.S. The American Bahrain Friendship...
Aga Khan Trust for Culture Helps Bring Silk Road to National Mall
Janet McMahon is managing editor of the Washington Report.For the first time in its 36-year history, the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, to be held June 26 to July 7 on the National Mall in Washington, DC, will focus on a single subject. Far from simplifying...
American Educational Trust
Publishers' Page Tornados Swept Across... U.S. towns this spring. Newspapers and TV news programs showed scenes of devastated homes and businesses, and distraught families who had lost everything. A tornado in La Plata, MD on April 28 killed five and...
An American Eyewitness to Ramallah under Siege
On May 1, Georgetown University's Center for Contemporary Arab Studies hosted Adam Shapiro in his first public speaking engagement since leaving the occupied Palestinian territories. Shapiro made headlines when he was trapped in Chairman Yasser Arafat's...
Arabian Peninsula
ISSUES IN THE NEWS U.S. Goods Boycott Gains Steam The United States of America, despite increasing tension with its Middle Eastern allies, is still the top exporter of products and services to Arab states, reported the April 23 Saudi Gazette, as well...
Ariel Sharon Brings His Bag of Tricks to George Bush's White House
Richard H. Curtiss is the executive editor of the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs.Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and President George W. Bush seemed to be discussing two totally different subjects in their May 7 White House meeting--their fifth...
Art, Media, and Deaths
Bulletin/Board ART AND MEDIA Two exhibitions, "The History of Muslims in Washington, DC" and 'A Look at Muslim Americans of Yesterday and Today," are on view through June 15 at the Thurgood Marshall Center for Service and Heritage at 1816 12th St., NW...
A Survivor Speaks
SURVIVORS OF ISRAEL'S 1967 attack on the USS Liberty that killed 34 Americans and wounded 172 find it very sad that some Americans can argue endlessly that the attack on our ship was a tragic accident and not the deliberate attack on a known American...
Beirut Bulletin: Hezbollah Adviser Says U.S. Now "An Expert in Attracting Enemies, Not Friends"
Samaa Abu Sharar is a free-lance journalist based in Lebanon.Haj Hussein Khalil's office is located in a modest building in Beirut's densely populated Al Dahieh neighborhood, a stronghold of Lebanon's Islamist movement, Hezbollah.The middle-aged political...
Bush Gives Up Posing as "Peacemaker" to Emerge as Sharon's Staunch Ally
Rachelle Marshall is a free-lance editor living in Stanford, CA. A member of the International Jewish Peace Union, she writes frequently on the Middle East.I am convinced Mr. Sharon is a man of peace.--George W. Bush, April 18.It is hard to know whether...
Bush's April Remarks on Mideast: "End of an Irresponsible Wait-and-See Policy"?
European PressReview The European press greeted with relief President George Bush's speech at the beginning of April urging Israel to withdraw from Palestinian towns. "Finally, the American president has moved," Germany's Die Welt said April 5. "We have...
Central Asia
Money Doesn't Grow on Trees... It falls from the sky. At least, that was the case in southern Afghanistan April 20, when US. aircraft dropped Afghan currency over a region where leaflets promoting the semi-- defunct Taliban regime had been circulating....
CNIF Conference Aims to Rescue U.S. Foreign Policy
Events in Palestine-Israel since the beginning of the al-Aqsa intifada--and, more recently, when the Israel Defense Forces devastated West Bank cities and towns, with barely a chirp of protest from Washington--have made it clear to many Americans how...
CNIF Conference Aims to Resuce U.S. Foreign Policy
Events in Palestine-Israel since the beginning of the al-Aqsa intifada-and, more recently, when the Israel Defense Forces devastated West Bank cities and towns, with barely a chirp of protest from Washington-have made it clear to many Americans how unbalanced...
Congressional Voices of Reason: Speaking out for Justice in the Middle East
Rep. Nick Rahall (D-WV) "Mr. Speaker, here we go again. Here we go again. How many times has this body passed resolutions of this nature that are so unbalanced, so one-sided, that we become the laughing stock of the world?... Do we have peace today?...
Corruption Trials in Damascus: A Popular New Trend?
Letter From the Levant In June 1949, Syria's former President Husni al-Zaiim passed a law enabling the judiciary to bring any government official to court and inquire into the source of his income. First to be questioned was ex-Minister of Finance Wehbi...
Daoud Kuttab Recalls Destruction of TV Station, Al Quds University Plight
Pat McDonnell Twair is a free-lance writer based in Los Angeles.Repairing ruptured water lines, tending to the wounded and sheltering the newly homeless are just band-aids for Palestinian victims of Ariel Sharon's latest rampage against his sworn enemies,...
Dr. Desmond Tutu's Address at the "Ending the Occupation" Conference
GOD IS WEEPING over what He sees in the Middle East. God has no one except ourselves, absolutely no one. God is omnipotent, all-powerful, but also impotent. God does not dispatch lightning bolts to remove tyrants, as we might have hoped He would. God...
Dr. Hisham Sharabi Honored at Georgetown Conference
Scholars from all over the U.S. and from as far away as Lebanon, Spain, and Germany came to Washington, DC for a conference at Georgetown University April 26 and 27 on "The Role of the Intellectual in Contemporary Political Life." The real purpose of...
Dr. Sami Al-Arian Continues to Speak Out
Since Sept. 11, Dr. Sami Al-Arian has come under attack, as the University of South Florida (USF) tried to fire the tenured professor, allegedy for neglecting to specifically state that he was not speaking for the university when he appeared on a Fox...
European Press Review: Bush's April Remarks on Mideast; "End of an Irresponsible Wait-and-See Policy"?
Lucy Jones is a free-lance journalist based in London.The European press greeted with relief President George Bush's speech at the beginning of April urging Israel to withdraw from Palestinian towns. "Finally, the American president has moved," Germany's...
Family, Friends Pull out All Stops to Free Dr. Riad Abdelkarim from Israeli Prison
Pat McDonnell Twair is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles.Jesse Jackson volunteered to travel to Israel to negotiate the release of California physician Riad Abdelkarim--but, after two weeks of detention on unspecified charges, Israel freed him...
Fertile Crescent
Petra Preservation Begins The governments of Jordan and Germany have cooperated in opening the Conservation and Restoration Center in Petra, Jordan, dedicated to preserving and studying the ancient stone-carved city whose edifices date back to 1 BCE....
Finding Palestine
Books Finding Palestine By Liza Elliott. Hope Publishing House, 2001, 255 pp. List: $17.95; AET: $13.50. "I don't understand what you are saying, speak English." Thus begins Liza Elliott's extraordinary encounter with Palestine. With these words spoken...
Form Would-Be Volunteer Peacekeeper to Involuntary Israeli Detainee
SpecialReport Sometimes it seems essential to do more than you've been doing -to emphatically and physically oppose violence and injustice. And so on Easter Sunday I made the decision to go to the Palestinian occupied territories and join those who were...
For Palestinians, Nonviolent Resistance Hasn't Ended Racism
Delinda C. Hanley is news editor of the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs."I guess it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging darts of segregation to say, `Wait.' But, freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be...
From Would-Be Volunteer Peacekeeper to Involuntary Israeli Detainee
Alison Weir is a free-lance journalist based in San Rafael, CA and a founder of "If Americans Knew."Sometimes it seems essential to do more than you've been doing --to emphatically and physically oppose violence and injustice.And so on Easter Sunday...
Going the Extra Mile Does Not Mean Abandoning the Justness of Our Cause
Samah Jabr is a medical intern in her native city of Jerusalem. Betsy Mayfield is a writer living in Ames, Iowa.These are gloomy days in Palestine. Many people feel discouraged, betrayed, and fearful of what the future may bring. The governments of the...
Hezbollah Adviser Says U.S. Now "An Expert in Attracting Enemies, Not Friends"
BeirutBulletin Haj Hussein Khalil's office is located in a modest building in Beirut's densely populated Al Dahieh neighborhood, a stronghold of Lebanon's Islamist movement, Hezbollah. The middle-aged political adviser to Hezbollah SecretaryGeneral Hassan...
Ibish/Herschensohn Debate at Nixon Library Challenges Outdated Israeli Myths
Pat and Samir Twair are free-lance journalists based in Los Angeles."Is Peace Possible?" was the topic of a May 2 debate at the Richard Nixon Library and Birthplace in Yorba Linda, where conservative Republican Bruce Herschensohn squared off against...
Imposed Peace or Imposition? A Proposal for Palestine
Longtime activist Jerome Segal, founder of the Jewish Peace Lobby and senior research scholar at the University of Maryland Center for International and Security Studies, addressed the Center for Policy Analysis on Palestine March 13, 2002 with a proposal...
In Memoriam: Dr. Hala Maksoud
Andrew I. Killgore is the publisher of the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs.Dr. Hala Maksoud, a most highly regarded American-Arab leader, died April 26 in Washington, at the too-young age of 56. From 1996 until 2001, when she had to step down...
Iran/Iraq
Armenians Protest 1915 Genocide Nobody seems to like the term genocide when it is used to describe their own actions, even if they themselves use it to describe the acts of others. Case in point: Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit, who, according to...
Is It Anti-Semitic to Criticize Israel and Its Policies?
Allan C. Brownfeld is a syndicated columnist and associate editor of the Lincoln Review, a journal published by the Lincoln Institute for Research and Education, and editor of Issues, the quarterly journal of the American Council for Judaism.As developments...
Is It Anti-Semitic to Critize Israel and Its Policies?
Israel and Judaism As developments in the Middle Eastfrom Palestinian suicide bombers to Israeli incursions into Palestinian territory to the assault upon Jenin-continue to be the focus of attention both in the US. and throughout the world, we have seen...
Israeli Arrests of Americans Subject of Urgent News Conference
American Muslims for Jerusalem (AMJ) and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) jointly held an urgent press conference May 6 at the National Press Club to condemn Israel's detention of two American citizens, Dr. Riad Abdelkarim and Dalell...
Israeli Onslaught Prompts Outpouring of Congressional Support
Shirl McArthur, a retired foreign service officer, is a consultant in the Washington, DC area.Israel's re-invasion of much of the West Bank came as Congress was on its Easter recess, but that did not stop many members from speaking out in defense of...
Israeli Peace Activist Considers Future Negotiations
American Muslims for Jerusalem (AMJ) and Jews for Peace in Palestine and Israel (JPPI) co-hosted an "Eyewitness Report From Palestine" briefing at the National Press Club May 6. Leading Israeli peace activist Jeff Halper, a professor at Ben-Gurion University...
Israeli Peace Activist Considers Future Negotiations
American Muslims for Jerusalem (AMJ) and Jews for Peace in Palestine and Israel (JPPI) co-hosted an "Eyewitness Report From Palestine" briefing at the National Press Club May 6. Leading Israeli peace activist Jeff Halper, a professor at Ben-Gurion University...
Israel/Palestine
Israel Ethnically Split Issues reported in May that increasing numbers of well-to-do Israeli citizens are leaving the country for less dangerous climes in Europe and North America. In order to make up for the demographic loss this new exodus entails,...
Israel's Victorious Scenario: Occupation and "Autonomy" for the Palestinians
Jeff Halper is the coordinator of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions. He can be reached at <icahd@zahav.net.il>.Despite protestations by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, the vote by acclamation of the Likud Central Committee against...
ISU Christians and Muslims Join to Support Palestine
Iowa State University Muslim and Christian students came together to organize Palestine 101, a panel discussion and multi-media presentation about the crisis in the Holy Land held April 23 in the university's Memorial Union Gallery Room.Well over a hundred...
Jeffrey Halper Discusses Settlements
Professor Jeffrey Halper of Ben-Gurion University, who is director of the Israeli Committee Against Home Demolitions and of the Alternative Information Center spoke in South Orange, New Jersey April 4 on "The Impact of Israeli Settlements on the Peace...
Journalist Robert Fisk Critiques "Lobotomized" U.S. Media Coverage
Kristin Szremski is news editor of a suburban Chicago newspaper.Saying that Americans are practicing a "dangerous form of self-absorption," English journalist Robert Fisk excoriated mainstream media coverage of the war against terrorism, the causes of...
Letter from the Levant: Corruption Trials in Damascus; A Popular New Trend?
Sami Moubayed is a Syrian political analyst.In June 1949, Syria's former President Husni al-Zaiim passed a law enabling the judiciary to bring any government official to court and inquire into the source of his income. First to be questioned was ex-Minister...
Letters to the Editor
Assault on the Liberty I would like to go on record as saying Israel must reveal their true intent with regard to the USS Liberty attack. Last evening the History Channel repeated the Liberty story, one that I had unfortunately forgotten about. Having...
"Megaphones and Muffled Voices" Conference Addresses Media Coverage
Jane Adas is a free-lance writer based in the New York City metropolitan area."Megaphones and Muffled Voices: What Constitutes Full and Fair Media Coverage of Israeli-Palestinian Issues?" was the topic of a two-day conference held in New York April 17...
Nobel Peace Laureate Desmond Tutu Calls for End to Israeli Occupation
Sr. Elaine Kelley is the administrative officer of Friends of Sabeel-North America.Boston's Old South Church, which, according to its brochure, boasts a 350-year history of dissent "proclaiming the Gospel of justice, inclusiveness, and reconciliation,"...
North Africa
Algerian Parliament Makes Berber a National Language In an historic move, Algeria's parliament on April 8 voted unanimously to approve a constitutional amendment making Tamazight, the language of the country's Berber minority, a national language. According...
On Behalf of Israel, Washington's War Party Hopes to Divide and Conquer Oil
Richard Curtiss is executive editor of the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs.This is a story about oil and the Israel lobby. At present, the amount of oil in the Middle East seems virtually unlimited. Only one country, Bahrain, has for all practical...
Osama Bin Laden-From Hero to Renegade
Richard Curtiss is executive editor of the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs.Much has been written about Osama bin Laden. If only he had rested on his laurels as a hero of Afghanistan's liberation from the Russians. As history has shown, however,...
Other People's Mail
Some letters by or to other people are as informative for our readers as anything we might write ourselves. Drums of War Mute Liberals To the Los Angeles Times, May 6, 2002 (as published online). These days I feel like Rip Van Winkle rousing from a long...
Palestinian Representative Speaks to National Press Club
At a May 9 news conference at the National Press Club, Palestine National Authority (PNA) Representative in the United States Hasan Abdel Rahman provided an answer to the $6 billion question: "Where to Go Next in the Middle East." Abdel Rahman first...
Prayers for Peace a the National Cathedral
Washington National Cathedral was the dramatic setting for a May 5 interfaith prayer vigil for peace in the Middle East. Washington, DC Jewish, Muslim and Christian religious leaders shared the text and spirit behind "The Alexandria Document," an historical...
Pro-Israel and Pro-Palestinian Demonstrations Gauge American Support
Richard H. Curtiss is the executive editor of the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs.Rallies held a week apart in Washington, DC provided American Jews and Arab Americans with an almost test tube case to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of...
San Francisco Awaits Opening of "Eternal Egypt" Exhibition from British Museum
Elaine Pasquini is a free-lance photojournalist based in Ignacio, CA.More than 22 years have passed since "The Treasures of Tutankhamun," the most popular traveling exhibition in U.S. history, thrilled Bay Area residents during its showing at the DeYoung...
Secretary of State Powell Looks toward the "Horizon"
Affairs of State COLIN POWELL WAS A HIT with 600 retired foreign service officers who attended the annual Foreign Service Day in Washington May 10. He joked his way through a 20-minute talk about the large increase in the State Department's recruitment...
Seeing beyond Israeli Security
On May 1, the Center for Policy Analysis on Palestine hosted Diana Buttu and Michael Tarazi, legal advisers to the PLO.Diana Buttu insisted that Israel and the U.S. must recognize the link between Israeli security concerns and the PA's concern for Palestinian...
Seeing Beyong Israeli Security
On May 1, the Center for Policy Analysis on Palestine hosted Diana Buttu and Michael Tarazi, legal advisers to the PLO. Diana Buttu insisted that Israel and the U.S. must recognize the link between Israeli security concerns and the PPs concern for Palestinian...
Sharon's Fifth Visit: Another Bombing, Dramatic Moments
Eugene Bird is president of the Council for the National Interest and diplomatic correspondent for the Washington Report.It was more than a little surreal to be standing in the Oval Office among the Israeli press corps and hear the prime minister of...
Strong Reaction in SE Asia to Israeli Attacks, U.S. Indulgence
John Gee is a free-lance journalist based in Singapore and the author of Unequal Conflict: Israel and the Palestinians, available from the AET Book Club.Israel's standing in East and Southeast Asia, having gradually risen while the "peace process" lasted,...
Subcontinental Drifts - toward Instability, War and Constitutional Changes
Prof. M.M. Ali, a specialist on South Asia and a consultant with the United Nations Development Program, is based in the Washington, DC metropolitan area.Things have fallen so far apart in Afghanistan the last two decades that even the country's father...
Subcontinetnal Drifts-Toward Instability, War and Constitutional Changes
TheSubcontinent Things have fallen so far apart in Afghanistan the last two decades that even the country's father figure, King Zahir Shah, has lost the traditional Pathan loyalty and tribal allegiance he once enjoyed. His return home after a 20-year...
Talking Turkey: The Logic of Economics Helps Bury Traditional Hatchets in Turkey's Neighborhood
Jon Gorvett is a free-lance journalist based in Istanbul.Turkey often is presented as a country frequently at odds with its neighbors. Historical feuds appear to dominate Ankara's relations with Greece to the west, Syria and Iraq to the south, and the...
Tariq Ali Debates Christopher Hitchens
Renowned author and activist Tariq Ali appeared at Georgetown University April 17 to debate the equally renowned and active Christopher Hitchens as part of a book tour sponsored by Verso, publishers of Ali's new volume, The Clash of Fundamentalisms:...
The Killing of American Suraida Saleh: "Defensive Shield" or Offensive Slaying?
Roxane Assaf is a free-lance writer based in Chicago.Watching scenes of Ariel Sharon's murderous and merciless assault on the West Bank one was transfixed with horror, as though mesmerized by a deadly cobra. It was impossible for most Americans even...
The Logic of Economics Helps Bury Traditional Hatchets in Turkey's Neighborhood
Turkey often is presented as a country frequently at odds with its neighbors. Historical feuds appear to dominate Ankara's relations with Greece to the west, Syria and Iraq to the south, and the Caucasian states-- particularly Armenia-to the east. In...
The Peace Cafe Hosts Stars of "Promises"
Washington, DCs Visions Cinema Bistro Lounge held two special showings of the riveting documentary "Promises" followed by a meeting of The Peace Cafe. While "Promises" played at Visions for nearly a month, two of the Palestinian girls featured in the...
The Siege of the Church of the Nativity: A Quest for Credibility
Fred Strickert is professor of religion at Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa.When the magi first visited Bethlehem 2,000 ago, King Herod and his advisers projected an image of a benevolent ruler. "Please return to report to us," they requested, "so that...
The Subcontinent
World Bank Report Provokes journalists The March 22 Arab News reported that a group of Bangladeshi journalists were threatening to boycott future publications by the World Bank in protest of a report the organization issued stating that the journalists...
The USS Liberty: Still Covered Up after 35 Years
James Ennes retired from the Navy in 1978 as a lieutenant commander after 27 years of enlisted and commissioned service. He was a lieutenant on the bridge of the USS Liberty on the day of the attack. His book on the subject, Assault on the Liberty (Random...
United Nations Report: U.S., Israel Backtrack, Lose Track of Who Started It All in the First Place
Ian Williams is a free-lance journalist based at the United Nations.It was George Orwell who invented the concept of "doublethink" to explain how people could convince themselves that what they were saying was what they had always said, even if it was...
U.N. Membership for Palestine-Now
John V. Whitbeck is an international lawyer who writes frequently on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.Counterintuitive though it may seem, now may be the ideal time for Palestine to apply for--and obtain--full United Nations membership. Indeed, U.N....
UNRWA Director Hansen Begins Third Term, Continues to Speak Out
Ian Williams is a free-lance journalist based at the United Nations.One may not have guessed from most American media reports, but anyone who watched European dispatches from Sharon's April West Bank horror show would have seen reporters' shock at how...
U.S., Israel Backtrack, Lose Track of Who Started It All in the First Place
United Nations Report It would have been very embarrassing to veto a reasonable resolution proposed by a close ally. It was George Orwell who invented the concept of "doublethink" to explain how people could convince themselves that what they were saying...
Walid Khalidi at Palestinian Heritage Foundation Anniversary
Fifteen years ago, Hanan and Farah Munnayer inaugurated the Palestine Heritage Foundation with a collection of traditional Palestinian costumes and embroidery. The Foundation has grown to the extent that the Munnayers hope to open the first museum in...