Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Articles from Vol. 10, No. 2, July

Abdulrahman Alsadhan: A Saudi "David Copperfield"
A few years ago I listened as a Washington, DC after-dinner speaker described the thoughtfulness of a Saudi government official who had interrupted a business trip to travel to Montana to visit the speaker's aging father, who was worried about his son...
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After the Gandhi Assassination, Only Unpredictability Is Predictable
If Rajiv Gandhi had any premonition about the tragedy that awaited him on May 21, 1991, he would not have precipitated the political crisis that led Prime Minister Chandra Shekar to resign and call for general elections. Of all the possible outcomes...
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Airlift Culminates 17 Years of Secret Israeli Links to Mengistu Government
The May 21 flight from Ethiopia's capital of Addis Ababa by its strongman President Mengistu Haile Mariam briefly raised the curtain on his government's shadowy 17-year-old relationship with Israel. Among some 14,000 Ethiopian "Falasha" Jews airlifted...
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Arab-America Activism
Bush Attends Kahlil Gibran Memorial DedicationPresident George Bush cut the ribbon to open the Kahlil Gibran Memorial Garden on May 24 in Washington, DC, stating that the greatest bequest of the Lebanese-born poet "was the key by which we opened our...
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As a Middle Eastern Woman, What I Would Change in My Country: Three Views
Apply the Equality Women Are Attaining in Professional and Educational Life to Family LawThe mere idea of challenging Western stereotypes about my identity as an Arab woman seems to me very daunting indeed. Having lived for six years in Britain and for...
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Avidly Pro-Israel Minister Takes over as Minister of External Affairs
The appointment of Barbara McDougall as Canada's new external affairs minister has delighted Jewish organizations, but raised concern among Arab groups over the direction of the country's foreign policy in the Middle East.Joe Clark -- who after six years...
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Benjamin Netanyahu: The Joe Isuzu of the Middle East Media Wars
Like General Norman Schwarzkopf or CNN's Peter Arnett, he became one of the Gulf war's instant superstars. Many American television viewers will probably have no problem recognizing his boyish smile and accented English, although they might confuse him...
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Caste: Still a Key Issue in the Minds of Indian Voters
Even before Rajiv Gandhi's assassination, India's election of May and June 1991 had the potential either to unify or further destabilize the "world's largest democracy." It is disconcerting, therefore, to realize that this election was necessitated partly...
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Casualty Statistics Reveal Tremendous Level of Israeli Violence in Gaza
Statistics and numbers seldom come close to conveying the depths of human suffering under an oppressive military occupation. Still, it is difficult, when writing about the intifada, to find adjectives adequate to describe the level of violence in the...
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Congressional Arms Control Is Freeze for Arabs and Increase for Israel
The congressional double standard on Mideast issues resurfaced full-force this spring, as senators and representatives introduced proposals either to ban outright or delay indefinitely all arms sales to countries in the Middle East -- except for Israel.For...
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Facts for Your Files: A Chronology of US-Mideast Relations
Apr. 1: Up to three million Kurds were reported to be fleeing into the mountains of northern Iraq in the face of a strong government drive to retake northern Iraqi cities seized by Kurdish rebels after the defeat of Saddam Hussain's forces in Kuwait.-...
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Fighting the "Soldiers of Occupation," from WWII to the Intifada
So we sang, in childhood. I never knew then that Muslims and Jews also revered Jerusalem. Did not William Blake, he of the chariot of fire, call for Jerusalem to be rebuilt "in England's green and pleasant land"? Would that the Zionists had rebuilt it...
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How to Explain American Apathy over Israeli Killings of Palestinian Children?
Nothing has deepened the collective despair that is life in Palestine today more than the killing of children, nor has any one dimension produced greater anger and fuel for the intifada. Though it may be so common now that it is hardly noticed in Israel,...
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Human Rights
Many Palestinians Facing Starvation in Occupied TerritoriesPalestinians in the occupied territories are suffering more hardships than at any time since the 1967 Israeli takeover, the Co-Ordinating Committee of the International Non-Governmental Organizations...
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In Five North African States, Talk of Democracy Outpaces Action
Until the first week of June, progress toward democracy and human rights seemed perceptible in all five North African countries. The pace was a measured one, however, in Morocco, Tunisia, Mauritania and Libya, with only Algeria actually pursuing multi-party...
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Islam in America
Presidential Greeting to American Muslims Marks Eid Al AdhaGeorge Bush became the first US president to extend a videotaped holiday greeting to the Muslim community when he recorded a two-minute message marking Eid Al Adha, celebrated at the end of June.Standing...
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Ismail Khelil: An Old Washington Hand Is Tunisia's New US Ambassador
In April, talks by Ismail Khelil at Meridian House in Washington, DC gave the new Tunisian ambassador to the United States his first opportunity to meet with people in the national capital who consider North Africa's Maghreb region their beat.The Tunisian...
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Israel's 1967 Attack Was Aggression; Israel's Current Occupation Is Illegal
In The Wall Street Journal of April 22, Harry V. Lerner, an attorney in Bethesda, Maryland, issued a challenge to anyone who believes that the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip is illegal. In his article, "Read the Law: Gaza Is Not...
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It's Lift-Off or Abort as Bush-Baker Initiative Nears Point of No Return
President George Bush must decide whether or not to defy conventional first-term political wisdom and move the Israeli-Palestinian problem to the top of his foreign policy agenda now, or tread water in the Middle East until after he is re-elected in...
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Jews and Israel
AIPAC vs. Middle East WatchThe Near East Report, newsletter of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), has charged the human rights group Middle East Watch with "bashing" Israel in a new report entitled Prison Conditions in Israel and the...
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Kuwaiti Oil Exports by End of Year
Despite initial pessimistic reports about heavy damage to Kuwait's oil sector, revised estimates indicate that the Kuwait National Petroleum Company (KNPC) may be able to begin oil exports by the end of this year.The Oil and Gas Journal reports that...
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Mideast Arms Control: Attainable Dream or Desert Mirage?
A news item in The New York Times calls back the dream expressed by a prominent Saudi businessman and former senior diplomat during the last hours of Desert Storm. In an interview in his Jiddah office in early March, he said: "The Middle East should...
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Movers and Shakers in the Washington Institute for near East Policy
The Washington Institute for Near East Policy denies formal ties with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), Israel's principal Washington, DC lobby. A glance at names of its officers and board members reveals, however, extensive overlap...
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Packwood Raising 95 Percent of Re-Election Funds outside Oregon
During his third re-election battle in 1986, Senator Bob Packwood (R-OR) had a public relations problem. With the help of special-interest political action committees (PACs), Packwood, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, had amassed a huge $6.7...
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Palestinian Economy in Chaos after Gulf War
The Palestinian economy has been devastated by the Gulf war and its aftermath. Already crippled by 24 years of discriminatory economic restrictions imposed by the Israeli occupation authorities, three major disasters have knocked out the underpinnings...
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Perilous Crossroads for Iran and the US
Two basic concerns have long motivated Iranian foreign policy. The first is fear of Russia, which for 200 years pressed southward and threatened Iranian territory. The second is ambition to play a dominant role in the Persian Gulf, especially during...
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Pet Peeves: Misleading Descriptions, Inaccurate "If Onlys," Etc
Journalists who assume that their readers, or viewers, are experts on the subject upon which they are reporting.For example, in The Washington Post of March 19, George Lardner, Jr., had a story from Washington about the arrest of a Palestinian "terrorist,"...
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Publishers' Page
Before the Bad News.In the previous issue we reported a record 1,100 new subscribers for the April issue and another 600 for the May-June issue. The latter was an educated guess.But It Wasn't a Smart One.By the time circulation director Catherine Willford...
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The Gulf, American Indians, and the History of Middle East Peace-Making
Three factors offered new perspectives for dealing with Middle East issues at the 203rd Presbyterian General Assembly held in Baltimore from June 4 to 13. The first was the challenge posed by Desert Storm for innovative, cooperative church study, stewardship...
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The Messenger and the Message
A proper understanding of prophecy in Islam is crucial in reaching any meaningful understanding of the faith. As a revealed religion, the history of Islam is in large part the story of God's prophets and the messages He sent down to them. Essential questions...
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The Mideast War of Words Continues
The debate over the Palestinian-Israeli conflict has once again moved into San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) stations. As reported in the February Washington Report (page 31), last December the Bay Area Middle East Peace Network bought space...
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The Unmaking of Palestine
By W.F. Abboushi. Amana Books, 1990. 259 pp. List: $12.50; AET: $9.50 for one, $12.50 for two.When did the Middle East begin its long slide downhill? Year after year, the Arab-Israeli crisis plods onward, seemingly without resolution. When were the foundations...
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Turkey Cautiously Moving toward "Normalizing" Relations with Iraq
From the moment that Saddam Hussain's forces invaded Kuwait, the Turkish government decided to oppose strongly the Iraqi action and to side with the US and its Western allies.President Turgut Ozal joined the anti-Saddam front promptly and without hesitation,...
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Two Kinds of Parades Commemorate "Desert Storm"
Two kinds of parades commemorating the conclusion of Desert Storm were held May 19 in Southern California. The first was organized by honorary mayor of Hollywood Johnny Grant, who visited Saudi Arabia last October to arrange entertainment for the troops....
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US Joins Security Council Condemnation of Israel
Scarcely noted in the media, on May 24 the United Nations Security Council unanimously passed its 64th resolution condemning Israel. The condemnation this time was for Israel's deportation of four Palestinians. Far from vetoing the resolution, US Ambassador...
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Virginia Catholic, Episcopalian and Methodist Bishops Defend Colleague
It wasn't quite an intifada of Christian bishops, and it took a month to begin, but Virginia prelates have closed ranks with embattled Bishop C. Charles Vaché of the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia. Vaché, whose 34,000-member diocese extends from...
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Washington Institute for near East Policy: An AIPAC "Image Problem"
If access equals influence and influence equals power, then the Washington Institute for Near East Policy ranks among the most powerful think tanks in Washington.At the institute's helm are two Jewish activists from different parts of the world who had...
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Water: The Real Reason Behind Israeli Occupations
There is a conspicuous silence in the craggy wadi above Jericho these days. During any normal winter, an insistent roar frames the quiet of that place, as water cascades from the mountains into Wadi Saqr and rushes past St. George's Monastery, built...
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With Militias Offstage, Beirut No Longer a Theater of War
The air-conditioned coaches are filled with camera-toting types looking very much "the tourist." They point, stare and chat with their seatmates as the bus bounces along the old Green Line crossing near Beirut port. Rutted by 15 years of war and neglect,...
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Year of the Elephant: A Moroccan Woman's Journey toward Independence
By Leila Abouzeid. University of Texas, 1989. 103 pp. List: $8.95; AET: $6.95 for one, $8.95 for two.Contemporary Moroccan fiction is both vibrant and varied. It is a young literature, still in the process of testing boundaries and searching for its...
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