Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Articles from Vol. XIII, No. 7, November 3

After Decades of Disappointments in Central Asian and Caucasus States, Post Mortem Begins
After Decades of Disappointments in Central Asian and Caucasus States, Post Mortem BeginsIn a recent study on Western engagement in the Caucasus and Central Asia, Oxford professor Neil MacFarlane says initial confidence that the region would swiftly...
After Earthquake, Turks' Disgust with Government Offset by Improved Image of Themselves
After Earthquake, Turks' Disgust With Government Offset by Improved Image of ThemselvesWhen our bus ground finally to a halt in a pile of rubble in central Izmit, some 50 miles east of Istanbul, on the night of Aug. 17, it was still difficult to judge...
Albright as "Facilitator" Tries a Sacrifice Bunt
Albright as "Facilitator" Tries a Sacrifice BuntSecretary of State Madeleine Albright, on her first solo trip to the Middle East in more than two years, was placed for a time in an awkward position by none other than newly installed Israeli Prime Minister...
Anti-Arab McCarthyism: ADL's Unconvincing Charges against Salam Al-Marayati
ANTI-ARAB McCARTHYISM: ADL's Unconvincing Charges Against Salam Al-MarayatiOne of Salam AL-Marayati's accomplishments as director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) and member of the Los Angeles Human Relations Commission was to win the respect...
Anti-Arab McCarthyism: Defamation, Revisionist Style; Commentary Seeks to Prove Prominent Palestinian Doesn't Exist
ANTI-ARAB McCARTHYISM: Defamation, Revisionist Style; Commentary Seeks to Prove Prominent Palestinian Doesn't ExistGiven the approach of the final status negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians it seems worthwhile to record here the lengths...
Are Soviet Jews There to Stay or Is Israel Just a Way Station En Route to the West?
Are Soviet Jews There to Stay or Is Israel Just a Way Station en Route to the West?The United States made available $10 billion in "housing loan guarantees" to help settle Soviet Jews in Israel after the U.S.S.R. fell apart. Did the U.S. waste its taxpayer...
As Islam Replaces Communism in Uzbekistan, Economy Stagnates, Men Remain "More Equal" Than Women
As Islam Replaces Communism in Uzbekistan, Economy Stagnates, Men Remain "More Equal" Than WomenNarsha Myohamasteva guzzles vodka as she swats the 50 or so flies swarming above the dinner table in the richly carpeted front room of her mother's home in...
Bring China into Kashmir
Bring China Into KashmirFormer Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, writing in The New York Times of June 8, 1999, has advocated a Camp David-like approach for Kashmir. By her own admission, she got her cues from former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon...
Canada Calling: Canada's Talisman Energy Company's Sudan Operations Targeted by Boston "Anti-Slavery Group"
CANADA CALLING: Canada's Talisman Energy Company's Sudan Operations Targeted by Boston "Anti-Slavery Group""This is a great day for all of the people of Sudan," said Dr. Jim Buckee in announcing the first loading of oil for export by Talisman Energy...
Christianity and the Middle East: Preparations for the Jubilee Holy Land Pilgrimage
CHRISTIANITY AND THE MIDDLE EAST: Preparations for the Jubilee Holy Land PilgrimageOn the average about two million tourists visit Israel annually. By all estimates this figure will increase substantially during the millennium celebrations in the coming...
Commander Barak Tries an End Run around Wye
Commander Barak Tries an End Run Around WyePessimists who predicted that newly elected Prime Minister Ehud Barak would turn out to be Binyamin Netanyahu with a human face had it almost right. Barak's approach is less confrontational, and on some points...
Demonstration in New York City in Support of Abdullah Ocalan and Kurdish Rights in Turkey
DEMONSTRATION IN NEW YORK CITY IN SUPPORT OF ABDULLAH ÖCALAN AND KURDISH RIGHTS IN TURKEYA broad coalition of groups supporting Kurdish rights demonstrated July 30 in New York City to call attention to Turkish oppression of Kurds and to protest the death...
Departing Egyptian Ambassador Salutes Increasing Influence of Arab Americans
DEPARTING EGYPTIAN AMBASSADOR SALUTES INCREASING INFLUENCE OF ARAB AMERICANSDeparting Egyptian Ambassador to the U.S. Ahmad Maher has hailed "the Burger King episode" as "an extraordinary manifestation of the importance of the Arab voice in the United...
Dheisheh Refugee Camp Dance Troupe Embarks on First American Tour in September
Dheisheh Refugee Camp Dance Troupe Embarks on First American Tour in SeptemberThe graffiti-splattered courtyard of the Dheisheh Refugee Camp United Nations Boys' School in Bethlehem is a sunbleached costume party. Palestinian folk music bounces off the...
Disney Criticized for Planned Jerusalem Pavilion
DISNEY CRITICIZED FOR PLANNED JERUSALEM PAVILIONDisney World is drawing criticism from Arab-American and Muslim-American groups over its plan to display a pavilion centering on Jerusalem. The pavilion, part of Epcot Center's Millennium Village, has been...
Georgetown Center Receives $1.5 Million Grant for Study of U.S. Muslim Outreach
GEORGETOWN CENTER RECEIVES $1.5 MILLION GRANT FOR STUDY OF U.S. MUSLIM OUTREACHThe bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, the Iran-Iraq war, the Arab-Israeli conflict, the Gulf war and the attempted destruction of the World Trade Center in New York all are associated...
Golden Mummies Abound at Bahariya Oasis
Golden Mummies Abound at Bahariya Oasis"The best discoveries come by surprise," was certainly an understatement by Dr. Zahi Hawass, director general of antiquities at Giza and Saqqara, as he opened a talk on the accidental find of what may be the largest...
India Goes to Polls Again
India Goes to Polls AgainEven if the turnout is very low in the elections underway in India, the number of voters will be way above the combined populations of the United States and Canada.The Indians, whose numbers have almost reached one billion, have...
Iranian-American Writers Discuss First Anthology
IRANIAN-AMERICAN WRITERS DISCUSS FIRST ANTHOLOGYIranian-American author Persis M. Karim, co-editor with Mohammad Mehdi Khorrami of A World Between, an anthology of works of Iranian immigrants and first-generation Iranian Americans, spoke at Book Passage...
Iran Regime's Leading Reformers and Conservatives Unite, Briefly, to Put Down Mass Protests
Iran Regime's Leading Reformers and Conservatives Unite, Briefly, to Put Down Mass ProtestsIt began with a letter. Tuesday, July 6, the reform newspaper Salam published a top-secret letter, dated Oct. 8, 1998, from Saeed Emani, a senior official of the...
Islam and the Middle East in the Far East: Now Malaysia Prepares for Elections
ISLAM AND THE MIDDLE EAST IN THE FAR EAST: Now Malaysia Prepares for ElectionsInfidel, Pharaoh, clown, transvestite, frog. These are some of the names which leading Malaysian politicians have thrown at each other recently. There's no doubt about it:...
Israeli and Palestinian Journalists Find Common Ground Easier Away from Common Ground
ISRAELI AND PALESTINIAN JOURNALISTS FIND COMMON GROUND EASIER AWAY FROM COMMON GROUNDAn eight-member delegation of journalists from Israel and Palestine came to the United States for three weeks in July to study how the media cover communities in conflict....
Kosovo: A Watershed in U.S.-Islamic Relations
Kosovo: A Watershed in U.S.-Islamic RelationsThe recent NATO campaign against Serbia, and the alliance's manifest resolve to continue military action until Serb forces had withdrawn from Kosovo, is a major step toward the restoration of international...
Lebanese Residents of Atiri: Living between the Lines
Lebanese Residents of Atiri: Living Between the LinesThe corrosive effect of the conflict in south Lebanon on the civilian population in front-line villages is clearly illustrated by the straggle for survival of a village called Atiri.Before the Israeli...
Mahjabeen's Musings: A Muslim-American Pilgrim along the American Way; Brilliant Pakistanis and the Sad State of Pakistan
MAHJABEEN'S MUSINGS: A MUSLIM-AMERICAN PILGRIM ALONG THE AMERICAN WAY: Brilliant Pakistanis and the Sad State of PakistanAs a Pakistani-American, I exult in the triumphs and grieve over the problems of both of my homelands on two continents. Lately I've...
Massive State Failure Highlights Need to Review Turkey's Vibrant but Flawed Democracy
Massive State Failure Highlights Need to Review Turkey's Vibrant But Flawed DemocracyThe tremors from the Aug. 17 earthquake that took some 15,000 lives and destroyed the homes and livelihoods of many thousands more will continue to be felt throughout...
Mayor Hanna Nasser Describes Bethlehem's Challenges
MAYOR HANNA NASSER DESCRIBES BETHLEHEM'S CHALLENGESAs Bethlehem mayor and keynote speaker Hanna J. Nasser gazed around the crowded ballroom at the 1999 Bethlehem Association reunion, he said, "We are like the Irish. There are more people living outside...
Middle East History: It Happened in November; De Gaulle Calls Jews Domineering, Israel an Expansionist State
MIDDLE EAST HISTORY: IT HAPPENED IN NOVEMBER; De Gaulle Calls Jews Domineering, Israel an Expansionist StateIt was 32 years ago, on Nov. 27, 1967, when President Charles de Gaulle of France publicly described Jews as an "elite people, sure of themselves...
Money Bills Hold Some Middle East Surprises Wye River Funding Withheld
Money Bills Hold Some Middle East Surprises Wye River Funding WithheldBefore disappearing for their August recess, each house of Congress managed to pass the FY 2000 money bills most affecting the Middle East. However, all of them still must go through...
Muslim and Arab Americans Win Burger King Battle
MUSLIM AND ARAB AMERICANS WIN BURGER KING BATTLEWhat started as a grassroots e-mail letter-writing exercise on July 29 by Ali Abunimah, a 27-year-old Palestinian-American teacher in Chicago, quickly grew into a threatened Muslim- and Arab-American boycott...
Northern California Chronicle: Iraqi Artist Displays Watercolors in San Francisco
NORTHERN CALIFORNIA CHRONICLE: Iraqi Artist Displays Watercolors in San FranciscoIraqi artist and surgeon Dr. Khalid Al-Qassab presented an exhibit of his watercolors at the Arab Cultural Center of San Francisco on July 24 and 25. The two-day showing...
Palestinian Police Undergo Human Rights Training to Curb Brutality They Learned in Israeli Prisons
Palestinian Police Undergo Human Rights Training To Curb Brutality They Learned in Israeli PrisonsThe staff at the Gaza Community Mental Health Program, a one-of-a-kind center that treats illnesses ranging from post-traumatic stress of former political...
Rafeeq Jaber: An Energetic Muslim Visionary and Fearless Palestinian-American Political Activist
Rafeeq Jaber: An Energetic Muslim Visionary and Fearless Palestinian-American Political ActivistIt's a cold, rainy spring day in Chicago and Muslim community leader and Palestinian activist Rafeeq Jaber is spending a relaxed Saturday afternoon -- in...
Rebuilding for Survival and Reconciliation in Kosovo: The Really Hard Part
Rebuilding for Survival and Reconciliation in Kosovo: The Really Hard PartMost of the refugee camps have shut down. The camera crews have moved on to other world hotspots. The stories of human misery have given way to those about the unprecedented return...
Reform Judaism Is Abandoning Its Universalist Roots and Embracing Jewish Nationalism
Reform Judaism Is Abandoning Its Universalist Roots and Embracing Jewish NationalismIn recent years, American Reform Judaism has moved dramatically away from its roots in universalism and has reversed its traditional position of opposition to Jewish...
Report from Kosovo: Until NATO Restores Order, Revenge, Criminality Rule
REPORT FROM KOSOVO: Until NATO Restores Order, Revenge, Criminality RuleOn a July visit to Kosovo, I stayed with some friends in the western town of Djakovica, the scene of a particularly high number of murders during the recent NATO intervention. I...
Scattered like Seeds (A Novel)
Scattered Like Seeds (A Novel)Let's go back to Athens in the Sixth and Fifth centuries B.C. The Greeks were coping with the Persian invasions, winning such battles as Marathon and Salamis, but just barely, and Aeschylus, perhaps the greatest of the classical...
Separate but Unequal: Barak's Government Handling Jewish Settlers with Kid Gloves Three Months after His Election
SEPARATE BUT UNEQUAL: Barak's Government Handling Jewish Settlers With Kid Gloves Three Months After His ElectionUnlike her eight siblings, 16-year-old Ali'a al-Halsa finally snapped. Twice the Israeli authorities had ruined her parent's stone house,...
South Lebanon: Prospects for Peace
South Lebanon: Prospects for PeaceMILITARY STATUS MAKES WITHDRAWAL MORE LIKELYA series of events starting with the Feb. 23 Hezbollah attack that killed three Israel Defense Forces soldiers have combined to create an atmosphere in which withdrawal is...
Status of Middle East-Related Bills at the Congressional Recess
Status of Middle East-Related Bills at the Congressional RecessIssues affecting the Middle East continue to have a low priority with the 106th Congress. This may be just as well, because those legislators who are described (behind their backs) on the...
The Cost of Israel to U.S. Taxpayers: With Total U.S. Aid to Israel Already Exceeding $91 Billion, Congress Resists Clinton Pressure for More
THE COST OF ISRAEL TO U.S. TAXPAYERS: With Total U.S. Aid to Israel Already Exceeding $91 Billion, Congress Resists Clinton Pressure for MoreBoth houses of Congress have voted to reduce U.S. economic aid to Israel by $120 million but increase U.S. military...
The Israeli Cult of Disinformation: A Foundation with an Agenda, an Author for Hire, and His Virtual Reality "Straw Arabist"
THE ISRAELI CULT OF DISINFORMATION: A Foundation With an Agenda, an Author for Hire, And His Virtual Reality "Straw Arabist"In the 1950s in Beirut when I was studying Arabic at a branch of the Foreign Service Institute in the U.S. Embassy there, a major...
The Israeli Deception That Led to the Bombing of Pan American Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland
The Israeli Deception That Led to the Bombing of Pan American Flight 103 Over Lockerbie, ScotlandWith the handover to the United Nations this spring for trial in The Hague of two Libyan suspects in the bombing of Pan American Flight 103 over Lockerbie...
"The New Libya" Backs a U.S.-Libyan Dialogue Group
"The New Libya" Backs a U.S.-Libyan Dialogue GroupFormation of a U.S.-Libya Dialogue Group was announced at a conference held on neutral territory in Malta during the last week of August. The new group will aim at improving business and political relations...
The Ostrovsky Files: Buffeted by False Media Accusations, Former Mossad Case Officer Ostrovsky Starts His Own Web Site
The Ostrovsky Files: Buffeted by False Media Accusations, Former Mossad Case Officer Ostrovsky Starts His Own Web SiteLast Aug. 9, Ehud Ya'ari of Israel's state-run television reported on the "Mabat" evening news the content of an interview I supposedly...
The Other Side of the Coin: The Kennedys and I; JFK's Bold Words on the Middle East Conflict
THE OTHER SIDE OF THE COIN: The Kennedys and I; JFK's Bold Words on the Middle East ConflictLike millions around the world, I mourned the tragic and untimely death of John E Kennedy, Jr. I will always regret that I never made an attempt to be in touch...
The Story Americans Didn't Read in Their Media: Eighteen Muslim Countries Sent Rescue Teams and Aid to Turkey
The Story Americans Didn't Read in Their Media: Eighteen Muslim Countries Sent Rescue Teams and Aid to TurkeyISTANBUL: "We remembered the earthquake in Cairo in 1992," says Brigadier Sami Mohammed of the Egyptian army in a makeshift office in the basement...
The Unreported Middle East Catalyst for Richard Nixon's Downfall
The Unreported Middle East Catalyst for Richard Nixon's DownfallThe U.S. media have made much of the 25th anniversary of Richard Nixon's 1974 resignation as U.S. president, some of it tasteless (whatever that means nowadays), some of it interesting,...
The View from Europe: Jobs, Markets and Human Rights for Palestinians
THE VIEW FROM EUROPE: Jobs, Markets and Human Rights for PalestiniansThe election of Ehud Barak as prime minister of Israel refocuses attention on the idea that peace between Israel and the new Palestine could be achieved. And soon, provided that no...
The Zimmermann Telegram: Palestine, the Balfour Declaration and Why America Entered the Great War
THE ZIMMERMANN TELEGRAM: Palestine, the Balfour Declaration and Why AmericaEntered the the Great WarIn an earlier article(1) I set forth my view that, 80 years after the event, there is still no satisfactory explanation as to why, on Nov. 2, 1917, the...
Three Arab-Americans Describe Torture, False Convictions in Israeli Custody
THREE ARAB-AMERICANS DESCRIBE TORTURE, FALSE CONVICTIONS IN ISRAELI CUSTODYTwo Palestinian-Americans and a Lebanese-American, all of them U.S. citizens, have detailed for journalists in the U.S. national capital the brutal, prolonged and life-threatening...
Together at Last: After Civil Wars, Sectarian Split, Lebanese Army Maintains Cohesion in Dealing with Israel and Party Militias
Together at Last: After Civil Wars, Sectarian Split, Lebanese Army Maintains Cohesion in Dealing Israel and Party MilitiasOn a desolate hilltop in southern Lebanon a single Lebanese Army soldier looks across the wadi at the fortified compound of his...
Turkey's Kurdish Workers' Party Rebels Pledge Unilateral End to Armed Struggle, Withdrawal from Turkey
Turkey's Kurdish Workers' Party Rebels Pledge Unilateral End to Armed Struggle, Withdrawal From TurkeyAfter 15 years of armed conflict in southeastern Turkey between government forces and the Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK), July saw the possibility raised...
Under Barak, Isolations of Bantustans, Separation of West Bank Palestinians from Jerusalem Continues
Under Barak, Isolations of Bantustans, Separation of West Bank Palestinians From Jerusalem ContinuesAlthough Ehud Barak's initial overtures to Washington quickly made him the hero of the resurrected peace process, events on the ground and the discovery...
U.S. Slowly Changes Sanctions Policy
U.S. Slowly Changes Sanctions PolicyWill they or won't they? Will the Iranians go ahead with a reported offer to buy grain from the U.S.? Could be -- such sales are legal now. At the end of July, the Treasury Department published new regulations that...
Which U.S. Presidential Candidates Should Muslim Americans Support?
Which U.S. Presidential Candidates Should Muslim Americans Support?The U.S. presidential election won't be held until November 2000. But if America's six to eight million Muslims are to make a political impact in accordance with their numbers, and thus...
With the Christian Peacemaker Team in Hebron: What Do Israelis Do during a Drought? Destroy the Cisterns in Which Palestinians Store Rainfall
WITH THE CHRISTIAN PEACEMAKER TEAM IN HEBRON: What Do Israelis Do During a Drought? Destroy the Cisterns in Which Palestinians Store RainfallWhen Dianne, Bourke and I arrived in the Beqa'a at 8:15 this morning, we saw a front-end loader and what people...
Wye River II: Keeping 2.5 Million on Parole
WYE RIVER II: KEEPING 2.5 MILLION ON PAROLETHE INTERESTING ASPECTS of the Wye II or Sharm el Sheikh agreement negotiated before and during Secretary of State Madeleine Albright's September visit to the Middle East is that it may actually be implemented....