A Chronology of U.S.-Middle East Relations

By Powell, Sara | Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, January/February 2002 | Go to article overview

A Chronology of U.S.-Middle East Relations


Powell, Sara, Washington Report on Middle East Affairs


OCT. I: A car bomb exploded in Jerusalem. There were no injuries.

A protest on Nauru prevented Australian troops from transferring about 200 Palestinian and Iraqi refugees to the island, which earlier had accepted some 400 Afghan refugees. Egypt's new Library of Alexandria temporarily opened preparatory to a grand opening in the spring.

Thousands of Afghan refugees continued to flee to the Pakistan border in anticipation of U.S. air strikes. Meanwhile the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk left for the region.

A Pakistani group, Jaish-e-Muhammad, claimed responsibility for an attack in Kashmir and Jammu that killed 38 people.

OCT. 2: US. President George W Bush conditionally endorsed Palestinian statehood.

A Jordanian man pleaded not guilty in a US. court to charges of murder for his part in a 1986 hijacking over Karachi. He had served 14 years for the crime in Pakistan.

After Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat acceded to Israeli demands and arrested Atef Abayat in Bethlehem, two Palestinians raided a Jewish settlement in Gaza, killing two and wounding 15. Israeli forces killed the two gunmen. Hamas claimed responsibility. Sudan dropped political charges against Hassan Turabi and 10 other opposition leaders.

The U.S. declined a Taliban offer to turn over Osama bin Laden if evidence of his culpability for the 911 attacks was provided, or to negotiate his surrender.

More than 1,000 US. troops were deployed to Uzbekistan and Tajikistan for the war against the Taliban, bringing the total number of troops deployed to over 30,000.

Russia signed a deal providing Iran with up to $300 million in conventional arms yearly.

As the Bosnian Serb parliament adopted a law paving the way for the arrest of accused war criminals Radovan Kadradzic and Ratko Mladic, the International War Crimes Tribunal indicted former Yugoslav officers Milan Zec, Miodrag Jokic, Pavle Strugar and Vladimir Kovacevic Zec for causing civilian deaths.

Former Bangladeshi Prime Minister Khaleda Zia and the Jamaat-i-Islami defeated the ruling Awami League headed by Sheikh Hasina in national elections.

Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri condemned anti-American protesters, as the Islamic Youth Movement called for U.S. Ambassador Robert Gelbard's expulsion.

OCT. 3: The U.S. shared information with Pakistan and various NATO governments regarding Osama bin Laden's alleged involvement with the Sept. 11 attacks. NATO agreed to fight with the U.S. if asked.

As President Bush committed an additional $300 million in humanitarian aid to Afghanistan, the U.S. Treasury Department announced the freezing of over $100 million in assets allegedly linked to terrorist groups, but none directly tied to Osama bin Laden.

As U.S. Assistant Secretary of State William Burns met with British and Libyan officials in an attempt to bring Tripoli in line with the U.S. view on terror, Secretary of State Colin Powell met with Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, the emir of Qatar.

Israeli tanks occupied Beit Lahiya in Gaza, killing four Palestinian policemen and two farmers as well as destroying crops and seven security posts. Later, Palestinians wounded two Israelis at a festival in Hebron and two others in a drive-by shooting near Jerusalem.

OCT. 4: After Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld met with Sultan Qaboos bin Said, securing Oman's cooperation in the US. war against terrorism, the Pentagon announced a planned sale of F-16 fighters and other arms to Oman.

The US. bombed Iraqi targets in Basra, killing two civilians and wounding another.

Although officials denied any links with the 911 attacks, 16 men of Middle Eastern descent were arrested for falsely obtaining Pennsylvania commercial drivers' licenses.

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon accused the US. of selling out Israel to appease the Arab world in its attempt to build a coalition against terror. …

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