Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Articles from Vol. XIII, No. 8, December 31

After High Court's Ruling against Torture, Will Israel Stop Breaking Its Own Laws in the Name of Security?
After High Court's Ruling Against Torture, will Israel Stop Breaking Its Own Laws in the Name of Security?The Israeli High Court's recent ruling that the use of physical force by Shin Bet security service interrogators is now banned was welcome news...
An Evening with Benazir Bhutto
An Evening With Benazir BhuttoFormer Prime Minister of Pakistan Benazir Bhutto, who is now in exile abroad, shared her thoughts with a small group that included this writer in a Virginia suburb of Washington, DC on Sept. 26. It was only two weeks before...
Both Parties Now Are Waiting to Assign the Blame for Failure of the Middle East Peace Process
Both Parties Now Are Waiting to Assign the Blame For Failure of the Middle East Peace ProcessThe escalating pace of "summit meetings" to set dates for the beginning of "final status" talks between Israeli and Palestinian leaders is more and more dictated...
Broadcaster Examines Reform Effort in Iran
BROADCASTER EXAMINES REFORM EFFORT IN IRANStephen Fairbanks, director of the Persian Service at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, spoke on Oct. 6, 1999, at the Woodrow Wilson Center on "The Struggle over Democratic Reform in Iran." Fairbanks, a former...
CAIR Celebrates Five Years in the Service of Islam
CAIR CELEBRATES FIVE YEARS IN THE SERVICE OF ISLAMThe Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a nonprofit, grassroots membership organization with its national headquarters in Washington, DC, held its fifth annual fund-raiser Oct. 2 in Arlington,...
Canadian Media Still Biased against Muslims
Canadian Media Still Biased Against MuslimsThe Canadian Islamic Congress (CIC) released in September the results of a yearlong study of the Canadian media's treatment of Islam and Muslims. "Overall, there has been a 17 percent improvement in minimizing...
Can Christians in the Holy Land Survive the Millennium?
CAN CHRISTIANS IN THE HOLY LAND SURVIVE THE MILLENNIUM?Three Christian groups held a congressional luncheon briefing to focus on factors affecting the decline of the Christian population in the Holy Land Oct. 4 at the Senate Dirksen Building in Washington,...
CIA Veteran Discusses His Agency's Role in the Middle East Peace Process
CIA VETERAN DISCUSSES HIS AGENCY'S ROLE IN THE MIDDLE EAST PEACE PROCESSFrank Anderson, former chief of the Central Intelligence Agency's Near East and South Asia Division, spoke on Sept. 14 at the Center for Policy Analysis on Palestine in Washington,...
Congress Uses Appropriations Process for Middle East Meddling
Congress Uses Appropriations Process for Middle East MeddlingCongress's wrangling over national spending priorities stopped progress on all individual Middle East-related bills, the good ones as well as the bad ones, since the August congressional recess....
Eighth Annual U.S. Mideast Policymakers Conference
EIGHTH ANNUAL U.S. MIDEAST POLICYMAKERS CONFERENCEThe historic Virginia Military Institute (VMI) hosted for the eighth consecutive year the annual U.S. Mideast Policymakers Conference, sponsored jointly by the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations...
Forcing God's Hand: Why Millions Pray for a Quick Rapture - and the Destruction of Planet Earth
Forcing God's Hand: Why Millions Pray for a Quick Rapture -- And the Destruction of Planet EarthIn his poem "The Second Coming," Irish poet William Butler Yeats contemplates a second coming but is vague about the nature of the divinity we can expect...
For the Israeli Peace Movement, Barak's Election Has Turned into a Bittersweet Victory
For the Israeli Peace Movement, Barak's Election Has Turned Into a Bittersweet VictoryAs Prime Minister Ehud Barak approaches the end of his first half-year in office, leaders of the tens of thousands of left-wing Israelis who poured into Tel Aviv's...
Hanan Ashrawi Speaks at University of Michigan
HANAN ASHRAWI SPEAKS AT UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGANAs Palestinian poet and University of Michigan Professor Anton Shammas introduced the famously articulate Dr. Hanan Mikhail-Ashrawi, he suggested, perhaps not wholly in jest, that she might someday be the...
In Aftermath of Egyptian Elections, No Surprises
In Aftermath of Egyptian Elections, No SurprisesWhat's been described as the most eagerly awaited cabinet reshuffle in decades has turned into one of the biggest disappointments instead. Even the slavishly loyal state-owned newspapers are acknowledging...
In Case You Thought It Can't Happen Here: Mohammad Salah, an American Citizen, Is Facing Trial on Charges Neither He nor His Lawyer Can See
IN CASE YOU THOUGHT IT CAN'T HAPPEN HERE: Mohammad Salah, an American Citizen, Is Facing Trial on Charges Neither He Nor His Lawyer Can SeeI first encountered Mohammad Salah last April when he met me at Chicago's O'Hare airport. He introduced himself...
Indonesia, Asia's "Country of the Future," Begins a New Era as a True "Working Democracy"
Indonesia, Asia's "Country of the Future," Begins a New Era as a True "Working Democracy"When I was a very young man living in an even younger country, the Republic of Indonesia, just two years after it had won its independence in 1949, my American Embassy...
In Memoriam: Senator John H. Chafee (1922-1999)
IN MEMORIAM: Senator John H. Chafee (1922-1999)Seventy-seven-year-old Sen. John Chafee of Rhode Island, described by The New York Times as "the last of the Rockefeller Republicans," died Oct. 24 in a Washington, DC hospital, after becoming ill earlier...
International Communication: The Media in Bosnia; Signs of Change?
INTERNATIONAL COMMUNICATION: The Media in Bosnia; Signs of Change?U.S. Justice Louis Brandeis once wrote: "Sunlight is the most powerful of all disinfectants." Informed opinion, he said, is absolutely essential to prevent the abuse of government. That...
Iran's Charm Offensive: Economics and Realpolitik Ease President Khatami's Re-Engagement of Iran
Iran's Charm Offensive: Economics and Realpolitik Ease President Khatami's Re-engagement of IranIn a famous interview(1) with CNN's Christiane Amanpour on Jan. 7, 1998, popularly elected Iranian President Mohammed Khatami served notice that he intended...
Islam and the Middle East in the Far East: "Gus Dur" Wins in Cliffhanger Indonesian Presidential Vote; Megawati Sukarnoputri Is Vice President
ISLAM AND THE MIDDLE EAST IN THE FAR EAST: "Gus Dur" Wins in Cliffhanger Indonesian Presidential Vote; Megawati Sukarnoputri Is Vice PresidentThe ballot papers were opened one by one and each vote was marked up on a board: "Megawati"; "Abdurrahman Wahid";...
Israel and Judaism: Is Israel Ready to Be Judged by Its Second-Class Treatment of Its Arab Citizens?
ISRAEL AND JUDAISM: Is Israel Ready to Be Judged by its Second-Class Treatment of Its Arab Citizens?It has been said, by Jews and others, that a good way to determine the state of democracy, equality and human rights in any society is to see how it treats...
Justice Department Lawyer Joseph Zogby Speaks at MEI
JUSTICE DEPARTMENT LAWYER JOSEPH ZOGBY SPEAKS AT MEIJoseph Zogby, lawyer son of Arab American Institute president James Zogby, spoke Sept. 13 at the Middle East Institute on Arab-American participation in U.S. politics.Zogby used his experiences at the...
Khalil Jahshan Speaks on Middle East Peace at San Francisco World Affairs Council
Khalil Jahshan Speaks on Middle East Peace at San Francisco World Affairs CouncilKhalil Jahshan, president of the National Association of Arab Americans, addressed "Prospects of Peace in the Middle East" at the World Affairs Council in San Francisco,...
Letter from Lebanon: As Hezbollah Hastens Israeli Withdrawal It Integrates Itself into South Lebanon's Economic Life
LETTER FROM LEBANON: As Hezbollah Hastens Israeli Withdrawal It Integrates Itself Into South Lebanon's Economic LifeWith Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak reaffirming his intention to withdraw Israel's troops before his first year in office ends in July...
Los Angeles Court Hands Down Final Judgment in Anti-Defamation League Illegal Surveillance Case
Los Angeles Court Hands Down Final Judgment in Anti-Defamation League Illegal Surveillance CaseThe American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) versus the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith (ADL) litigation resulting from the 1993 ADL spy scandal...
New Jersey Federal Judge's Decision Hailed as Turning Point in Campaign against Secret Evidence
New Jersey Federal Judge's Decision Hailed as Turning Point in Campaign Against Secret EvidenceA federal district court judge's decision in Newark, New Jersey may prove to be a major turning point in the escalating struggle to abolish the use of secret...
New Middle East-Centered Story Books and Histories for Schools and Holiday Gift-Giving
New Middle East-Centered Story Books and Histories for Schools and Holiday Gift-GivingOnly 10 or 15 years ago history books or stories set in the Middle East designed for elementary, middle- or high school students were rare indeed. Now many new books...
News from New York: Tri-State Activism; Refugee Children of Ibdaa Palestinian Dance Troupe Delight New York Audiences
NEWS FROM NEW YORK: TRI-STATE ACTIVISM; Refugee Children of Ibdaa Palestinian Dance Troupe Delight New York Audiences"Ibdaa" in Arabic means "a marvelous achievement; to create something out of nothing." The name could not be more fitting for the folkloric...
One Nation under Israel
One Nation Under IsraelMy theory on book reviews is that 99 percent of those who read the review will never read the book, no matter how strongly I recommend it. So it's okay to reprint as many of its salient facts and conclusions as space permits. However...
Owner of Turkish Calligraphy Exhibit Seeks Western Understanding of Turkey's Cultural Heritage
Owner of Turkish Calligraphy Exhibit Seeks Western Understanding of Turkey's Cultural HeritageAn art exhibit now on view at Harvard University's Sackler Museum in Cambridge, Massachusetts, displaying the splendor of the Ottoman Empire is more than simply...
Pakistani Professor Discusses Parallels between Palestine, Kashmir Problems
PAKISTANI PROFESSOR DISCUSSES PARALLELS BETWEEN PALESTINE, KASHMIR PROBLEMSMoonis Ahmar, professor of international relations at the University of Karachi in Pakistan, spoke at the Middle East Institute on Oct. 7, on similarities and differences in the...
Palestinian and American Christians Meet to Support Peace with Justice in the Holy Land
PALESTINIAN AND AMERICAN CHRISTIANS MEET TO SUPPORT PEACE WITH JUSTICE IN THE HOLY LANDAbout 200 representatives of American and Palestinian Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant churches met Oct. 2 with prominent Arab Americans and Middle East diplomats...
Peace Institute Examines Jordan
PEACE INSTITUTE EXAMINES JORDANIn an Oct. 14 panel with other Middle East specialists at the U.S. government-funded U.S. Institute of Peace, Adnan Abu Odeh, a Palestinian-born official in Amman who has been close to the Jordanian royal family for three...
Rating the Remaining Presidential Candidates on Mideast Issues
Rating the Remaining Presidential Candidates on Mideast IssuesU.S. television viewers saw the two Democratic presidential candidates in their first debate at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire Oct 28. The following night voters saw five of the six remaining...
Religious Leaders Urge End to Iraqi Embargo
Religious Leaders Urge End to Iraqi EmbargoTwenty-four leading American Christian religious leaders sent a letter to President Clinton on Sept. 27 urging him to support the lifting of the nine-year-old economic embargo against Iraq, describing this as...
Religious Scholar/Writer Karen Armstrong Receives Muslim Public Affairs Council's 1999 Media Award
Religious Scholar/Writer Karen Armstrong Receives Muslim Public Affairs Council's 1999 Media AwardBritish scholar and best-selling author of books on religion Karen Armstrong received the 1999 media award of the Muslim Public Affairs Council. Michael...
Senator Kerrey Discusses Iraq Policy at Wilson Center
SENATOR KERREY DISCUSSES IRAQ POLICY AT WILSON CENTERSenator J. Robert Kerrey (R-NE) addressed an audience at the Woodrow Wilson Center Sept. 29 on the topic of "Are Freedom and Democracy Possible in Iraq?" Senator Kerrey feels that the current air of...
Talking Turkey: As Turkey Again Eyes EU Membership Requirements, Pressure Builds to Liberalize Turkish Competition
TALKING TURKEY: As Turkey Again Eyes EU Membership Requirements, Pressure Builds to Liberalize Turkish Constitution"Turkey should not enter the new millennium with a Constitution whose depth of legitimacy is close to zero." These words came not from...
The Indefatigable Handmaiden to Agreements to Agree Sometime about Something Somewhere
The Indefatigable Handmaiden to Agreements to Agree Sometime About Something SomewhereShe is unfazed by critics and indefatigable as a traveler to trouble spots, meeting with rebels and trying to negotiate stand-downs and temporary truces if not peace...
The Innocents of Iraq
The Innocents of IraqThe story of the life-destroying sanctions on Iraq should be on the front pages, but it is not. Nevertheless, according to the New York-based International Action Center led by former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, "economic...
The Israeli Attack on the USS Liberty, June 8, 1967, and the 32-Year Cover-Up That Has Followed
The Israeli Attack on the USS Liberty, June 8, 1967, And the 32-Year Cover-up That Has FollowedIn 1963 three World War II Victory hull freighters were refined as Technical Research Ships. Their function, formally, was "to conduct technical research operations...
The Ostrovsky Files: How the IDF Intelligence Community Uses the Media to Manipulate Israeli Public Opinion against Iran
THE OSTROVSKY FILES: How the IDF Intelligence Community Uses the Media To Manipulate Israeli Public Opinion Against IranAccording to "Israeli intelligence sources" Iran has become the main threat to the revived peace process. These sources have been...
The Subcontinent: History Repeats Itself in Both India and Pakistan
THE SUBCONTINENT: History Repeats Itself in Both India and PakistanThe 23-member National Democratic Alliance (NDA) led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been elected into power in India and BJP leader Atal Bihari Vajpayee has become the prime...
Tunisia's First Contested Presidential Election
TUNISIA'S FIRST CONTESTED PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONThe Middle East Policy Council held a policy forum Oct. 12 at the National Press Club in Washington, DC to discuss Tunisia's first multiparty presidential election on Oct. 24. This was the sixth presidential...
United Nations Report: It's Ostracism Time for U.S., Israel at United Nations
UNITED NATIONS REPORT: It's Ostracism Time for U.S., Israel at United NationsWith the opening of the General Assembly every September comes the beginning of the hunting season, when Nasser El Kidwa, the Palestinian ambassador to the U.N., begins persecuting...
U.S. Government: American Muslim Boycotts of U.S. Companies Operating in Israeli Settlements Are Legal
U.S. GOVERNMENT: AMERICAN MUSLIM BOYCOTTS OF U.S. COMPANIES OPERATING IN ISRAELI SETTLEMENTS ARE LEGALAmerican Muslim boycotts of companies doing business in Israeli settlements in the occupied territories do not violate U.S. law, an official at the...
USS Liberty Veterans Honor Former Joint Chief's Chairman
USS LIBERTY VETERANS HONOR FORMER JOINT CHIEF'S CHAIRMANAdmiral Thomas H. Moorer, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1970 to 1974, received the first annual Liberty Award at a Sept. 21 luncheon at the Army-Navy Club in Washington, DC. A number...
Uzbekistan Barring Students in Islamic Attire from Schools and Universities
Uzbekistan Barring Students in Islamic Attire From Schools and UniversitiesSchools and universities throughout Uzbekistan are closing their doors to Muslim men with beards and women in headscarves, Human Rights Watch reported on Oct. 20.In a new report...
War, Peace, Israeli Withdrawal and Repatriation of Palestinian Refugees: Voices from the South
War, Peace, Israeli Withdrawal and Repatriation of Palestinian Refugees: Voices From the South"Our main hope for the future is to have peace, and not to see Israel as an enemy but as a neighbor who respects our rights and our property," said Tawfiq Ala-alDin...
What Is the American Muslim Perspective?
What Is the American Muslim Perspective?Increasingly, Muslims in America are talking about the "American Muslim Perspective" (AMP). The term is gaining currency and has even developed its own political implications, but surprisingly very little context...
While Barak Talks Peace, He Tightens Israel's Grip on the West Bank, Hints at Further Negotiation Delays
While Barak Talks Peace, He Tightens Israel's Grip on The West Bank, Hints at Further Negotiation DelaysThe Middle East peace process undergoes constant change. Israeli prime ministers come and go, relations between the two sides change from hot to cold...
Who Won the Battles of Burger King and Walt Disney Productions?
Who Won the Battles of Burger King and Walt Disney Productions?The battle of Burger King, the threat of an Arab and Arab-American boycott of the Walt Disney Corporation, and three related skirmishes in the U.S. all broke out quickly this fall and dropped...
With the Christian Peacemaker Team in Hebron: Jerusalem, Mickey Mouse and His West Bank Fans
WITH THE CHRISTIAN PEACEMAKER TEAM IN HEBRON: Jerusalem, Mickey Mouse and His West Bank Fans"It's not Mickey's fault," I explained to nine-year-old Rawan last week in the middle of a discussion about the Israeli-sponsored Jerusalem exhibition at Disney...
Women in International Law
WOMEN IN INTERNATIONAL LAWSupreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor was the keynote speaker at a Sept. 28 forum on "Women in International Law: A Closer Look at the Arab and Muslim World," jointly hosted by Hannibal Club U.S.A., the Tunisian Embassy...