A Chronology of U.S-Middle East Relations

Article excerpt

Facts for Your Files

June 1: Israel invaded Nablus, Bethlehem, Tamoun, and Tulkarm, killing one Palestinian in Nablus and kidnapping at least 59.

* Saudi Arabia sentenced some of the suspects in the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing that killed 19 U.S. servicemen.

* In an attempt to rally support for pro-Western Islamic countries, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz addressed the Asia Security Conference in Singapore.

June 2: U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell telephoned Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf to insist that Pakistanis stop crossing into Kashmir.

* As its forces raided Nablus for a third day, Israel complained that six Palestinians jailed in Jericho under U.S. and UK supervision had too many freedoms.

* A Director George Tenet met in Cairo with President Hosni Mubarak while Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs William Burns flew to Jordan, where he told King Abdullah that the US. supported a summer international Mideast conference.

* As U.N. relief agencies warned that funds for Afghan relief were running out, voters in four Afghan provinces began choosing delegates for the Loya Jirga, or grand council.

June 3: Ottowa refused to extradite Canadian citizen Liban Hussein to the U.S. for lack of evidence.

* Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon approved a proposal to build a fence from 70 miles northeast of Tel Aviv to southeast of Haifa, incorporating about 31 square miles of Palestinian land and 11 Palestinian villages.

* The Palestinian cabinet overruled a Palestinian court's order for the release of PFLP leader Ahmed Saadat, imprisoned under US. and UK oversight in a deal with Israel.

* Pakistan banned government assistance to Islamic schools associated with groups fighting Indian rule in Kashmir.

June 4: As the Pentagon announced plans to sell 80 air-to-air missiles to Kuwait, Washington announced plans for a July Middle East peace conference to be held in Turkey. OThe Bush administration proposed photographing, fingerprinting, and conducting background checks on thousands of Middle Eastern and Muslim visitors.

* The Israeli press reported that a Palestinian Cabinet decision overruling Ahmed Saadat's release was based on Israeli threats to assassinate him and renew the siege of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

* In Ramallah, Arafat presented CIA Director Tenet a reorganizing plan for Palestinian security forces, as crowds protested Tenet's visit.

* A former Human Rights Watch researcher testified at the U.N. war crimes tribunal that Slobodan Milosevic was kept informed of human rights abuses against Kosovo Albanians, while a Serbian witness was held in contempt for refusing to testify following what he called "unrelenting psychological pressure."

* Iranian leader Ayatollah Khameini accused the U.S. of massacring Afghan civilians.

* As leaders of both countries attended a regional summit in Kazakhstan, Indian and Pakistani forces exchanged mortar and machine-gun fire on the Kashmiri border.

June 5: As US. citizens were warned to leave the two countries, President Bush telephoned Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Pakistani President Musharraf in an attempt to ease Kashmir border tensions.

* As FBI director Robert Mueller said several people suspected of ties with al-Qaeda were under 24-hour surveillance, the INS took Lebanese flight student Zakaria Soubra into custody for visa violations.

* On the 35th anniversary of Israel's 1967 occupation, Israeli helicopters and tanks attacked Jenin after Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for a car bomb that killed 16 Israelis, including 13 soldiers. The PA said it would arrest those involved.

* Former South African President Nelson Mandela announced plans to visit Libyan Abdel-Basset al-Megrahi, convicted of the 1988 Pan Am 103 bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland. …