Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Articles from Vol. 22, No. 10, December

After a Year in Office, Turkey's Moderate Islamist Government Deserves Some Credit
In the year since its November 2002 election victory, Turkey's moderate Islamist government has come a long way. While still deeply suspect in the eyes of the country's secular establishment-and a source of some anxiety in its financial markets-the ruling...
American Educational Trust Publishers' Page
The Biggest Threat to World Peace . . .Was one of the subjects of a Burobarometer poll, the results of which were released Nov. 3. Based on the dire warnings of the Bush administration neocons who led us to war on Iraq and want to expand their "war on...
Anthony Shadid on Covering Iraq
Arab-American ActivismOn a brief hiatus from covering the war in Iraq, Washington Post foreign correspondent Anthony Shadid visited Georgetown University's Center for Contemporary Arab Studies on Oct. 2 to talk about his experience in Iraq during and...
Arab and Jewish Women Discuss Peace and Reconciliation
As the political climate between Palestinians and Israelis falls deeper into the abyss and humanitarian conditions in the cccupied territories rapidly deteriorate, Yehudit Keshet and Mai Nassar still believe in peace and coexistence. Keshet, a Jewish...
As Ayodhya Anniversary Nears, Religious Frenzy, Caste Tensions Drive Indian Politics
State elections in November and December in five states within what is known as northern India's Hindi Belt are likely to determine the outcome of next year's national elections. Specifically, the real political battles will be fought in Uttar Pradesh...
A School on Top of Every Hill
Virtually everyone the Washington Report spoke with in Tunisia-government ministers, a high school principal, college professor, women's affairs specialists, and Solidarity Fund bankers-voiced a common goal: every Tunisian agency must provide educational...
Baghdad: The Movie
Waging PeaceThe Center for Contemporary Arab Studies (CCAS) at Georgetown University hosted an Oct. 7 screening of a documentary film trailer about Baghdad today. Five current or former Georgetown students-Sinan Antoon, Bassam Haddad, Maya Mikdashi,...
Banquet, Conference, Human Rights March, Bazaar, Film Tour, Scholarship, Deaths
Banquet"Muslims in America: Defining Moment" is the theme for the Council on American-Islamic Relation's annual fund-raising banquet, which will take place Nov. 29 at the Sheraton Hotel in Tysons Corner, Virginia. Focusing on the political and civil...
B'Tselem on Israel's Apartheid Wall
Human RightsIs the separation barrier that Israel is building around Palestinian territories a security necessity or an instrument for land grab? Jessica Montell, executive director of the Israeli human rights monitoring group B'Tselem, addressed this...
CAIR Dinner Draws 1,800
"Together...Defending Civil Rights and Promoting Tolerance" was the theme of the 7th annual banquet of the California Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) on Oct. 4. So effective has CAIR been in its efforts to educate non-Muslims...
Christianity and the Middle East; Holy Land Christians: A Bridge to Peace
Dr. Fred Strickert is professor of religion at Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa.The Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation held its Fifth International Conference at the National Presbyterian Church in Washington, DC Oct. 24 and 25.The highlight...
Coalition, Camejo Urge Candidates to Uphold Civil Rights for All
The California Civil Rights Alliance held its first press conference at the Commonwealth Club of California in San Francisco Oct. 1. Speakers presented the results of a questionnaire sent to all the candidates in the Oct. 7 gubernatorial recall election....
"Convergence" a Breakthrough Drama of Arab/Israeli Tragedy, Hopes, Despair
Playwright Shakir Yusif Farsakh proves he is a master of character development in his two-act drama, "Convergence." In a small Los Angeles theater, the audience's empathy for the players was palpable. This was no small feat, considering that the two...
Cristol Claim of 13 Investigations into Israel's Attack on USS Liberty a Travesty
Travesty: noun. A false or debased version of something; a literary or artistic work that ridicules something serious by imitating it in a gross and distorting manner.When A. Jay Cristol's The Liberty Incident was released a year ago, it was uncritically...
Despite U.S. Spin, U.N. Resolution, Madrid Donors' Conference Hollow Victories
George Orwell called it doublethink-the ability to believe two contradictory things at the same time, if that's what one's government demanded. For the past year, the Bush administration has been steeped in doublethink, with rosy public statements contradicted...
Dr. Rasha Al-Sabah on Women's Rights in Kuwait
The Kuwait Information Office in Washington, DC hosted an informal breakfast discussion Oct. 9 with one of Kuwait's highest ranking female policymakers, Undersecretary of Higher Education Dr. Rasha AlSabah. Dr. Al-Sabah, who earned both an M.A. and Ph.D....
European Press Increasingly Comparing Iraq to Vietnam
With almost daily attacks in Iraq claiming the lives of an increasing number of Iraqis and U.S. soldiers, the word "Vietnam" began creeping into Europe's newspapers in October. "U.S.troops were in Vietnam for 10 years, and have only been in Iraq since...
Expert Charges Russia with Massive Human Rights Abuses in Chechnya
Two days after returning from a 10-day trip to Russia, Dr. Edward W. Walker, executive director of the University of California at Berkeley's Institute of Soviet and Post-Soviet Studies, spoke at Dominican University of California in San Rafael. The...
First-Hand Reports on Israel's Apartheid Wall
Fayez Audeh, coordinator for the Farmers Union in Tulkarm and for the Stop the Wall campaign, and Abdel Raheem Saleh Abdel Latif Khatib, of the Palestine General Federation of Trade Unions, spoke Oct. 8 at the Brecht Center in New York City on "Israel's...
For More and More Jews, Both in Israel and the U.S., the Zionist Dream Is Dying
Any hope for peace between Israel and the Palestinians in the near future is receding. In October, Israel not only approved construction of its "fence" in several areas deep into the West Bank, but the Sharon government also announced its intention to...
Getting from Here to There
Americans, Canadians and Europeans do not need visas to visit Tunisia. Europeans flock to Tunisian beach resorts during the summer months, but spring and autumn are also good for touring. Tunisia's Saharan dunes and sights attract winter visitors interested...
High-Handed Donald Rumsfeld: A Millstone around George W Bush's Neck
Henry Kissinger once said that, of all the despots he'd had to deal with, none was more ruthless than Donald H. Rumsfeld. According to Robert Novak on CNN's "The Capitol Gang," Donald Rumsfeld "has no friends."In fact, the secretary of defense and Vice...
Holy Land Christians: A Bridge to Peace
The Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation held its Fifth International Conference at the National Presbyterian Church in Washington, DC Oct. 24 and 25.The highlight of the gathering was the awards banquet, featuring the presentation of the Living...
Iftar Dinner At/outside White House
Muslim-American ActivismEarly in the Muslim holy month of Ramadan on Oct. 28, President George W. Bush decided to host a fast-breaking iftar dinner at the White House, as his predecessor, Bill Clinton, had done before him. The problem was that, rather...
Islam and the near East in the Far East; Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Goes out with a Bang
John Gee is a free-lance journalist based in Singapore and the author of Unequal Conflict: The Palestinians and Israel, available from the AET Book Club.Malaysian Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir Mohamad could have used his last major speech before retirement...
ISNA's 40th Annual Convention Celebrates Muslim Community's Solidarity
This year marked the Islamic Society of North America's 40th annual convention. Held in Chicago over Labor Day weekend, Muslims came from all over the United States and parts of Canada to attend the four-day event. Countless sessions focused on Islam,...
Israel Expands Its Nuclear Threat Thanks to German "Donation" of Dolphin Subs
Israel's nuclear reach has been doubled. Its radius of nuclear terror now extends as far as Tehran or northern Pakistan. It is now openly discussed that Israel has a flotilla of German-built, nuclear-capable submarines.Already, three years ago-but without...
Israel's Economy a Casualty of the Intifada
Israel's economic disaster has become a dominant subject in Israeli political discourse, affirmed Basel Ghattas, chief executive officer of the Galilee Society, in an Oct. 20 briefing he gave at the Palestine Center in Washington, DC. The Galilee Society,...
Late Queen Effat of Saudi Arabia
This year's fall lecture series sponsored by the Mosaic Foundation's cultural committee is examining the lives of internationally known and admired women of the Arab world who married men with great political power, then went beyond traditional roles...
Legitimacy Must Be Earned, Not Bestowed, Argues John Brady Kiesling
John Brady Kiesling was the first American diplomat to resign in protest of the George W. Bush administration's then-impending war on Iraq. His 20-year career in the State Department began in 1983, when he served as vice consul in Tel Aviv, and ended...
Letters to the Editor
Who Stands to Gain?Who detonated the roadside bomb on Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2003, in Gaza that killed three American security officers? The ususal suspects-Hamas, Fatah, al Aqsa Brigade, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, or lesser militants...
L. Humphrey Walz, D.D. (1910-2003)
The Reverend L. Humphrey Walz, longtime chairman of the board of the American Educational Trust and religion editor of the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, died Sept. 25, 2003 in Janesville, Wisconsin, where he had resided since 1988. He was...
Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Goes out with a Bang
Malaysian Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir Mohamad could have used his last major speech before retirement to deliver a few gentle homilies and then bowed out quietly. Instead, he chose to go out with a bang. Speaking before a gathering of the 57-member state...
MEPC Conference Ponders "Imperial Dreams"
The Middle East Policy Council (MEPC) on Oct. 3 held the 34th event of its Capitol Hill Conference Series on U.S. Middle East policy. With the ambitious title of "Imperial Dreams: Can the Middle East be Transformed?" the conference attempted to explain...
Michael Moore at Georgetown
Academy Award-winning director Michael Moore stopped by Georgetown University Oct. 10, on the second day of his 35-city tour to promote his latest book Dude, Where's My Country?, a follow-up to his best-selling Stupid White Men. After keeping 500 students...
Michael Moore Pledges to Look More Closely at Israel in Future Projects
The Muslim Public Affairs Council's (MPAC) Media Award Presentations have become a highlight of the fall season, and this year's event, headlining Academy Award winning documentarian and author Michael Moore, attracted more than 400 guests. Also garnering...
Neocons Plot Regime Change in Iran
On May 23, 1972, President Richard Nixon and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger dined in Tehran with Muhammad Reza Shah Pahlevi. They told the ruler of Iran that he could buy all the American weapons he wanted, nuclear arms excluded. Under Kissinger's...
Ninth Annual Arab Cultural Festival Held in Golden Gate Park
Ajyaal ("generations," in Arabic) was the theme of the Arab Cultural and Community Center's ninth annual Arab Cultural Festival held at San Francisco's County Fair Building in Golden Gate Park on Sept. 14.Recognizing the importance of the Arab community...
"OneVoice" for Peace
Mohammad Darawshe and Daniel Lubetzky discussed their OneVoice outreach program at the San Francisco World Affairs Council on Sept. 22. Through OneVoice, the Palestinian Israeli and Mexican-born Jewish American hope to empower ordinary Israelis and Palestinians...
Other People's Mail
Some letters by or to other people are as informative for our readers as anything we might write ourselves.Edward Said's LegacyTo the Financial Times, Oct. 1, 2003.The fairness of your obituary of Edward Said (Sept. 26) is praiseworthy.What most obituary...
Palestinian Heritage Foundation Celebrates 16th Anniversary
On Sept. 13 the Palestinian Heritage Foundation held its 16th anniversary banquet in Teaneck, New Jersey. Some of the foundation's achievements of the past year include Palestinian costume shows, lectures, and exhibits in Montreal, Princeton, colleges...
Petra: The Red Rose City
Jane Taylor, author of Petra and the Lost Kingdom of the Nabateans, spoke about "Petra: Days of Glory, Days of Dust" at the Embassy of Jordan Oct. 6. The lecture was the fifth in the Mosaic Foundation's Ambassador's Cultural Series. The standing-roomonly...
Prince Bandar on U.S.-Saudi Relations
Saudi Ambassador to the United States Prince Bandar bin Sultan addressed a San Francisco World Affairs Council audience Sept. 19. The Fairmont Hotel's elegant Gold Room, with its gold-framed mirrors and sparkling chandeliers, was an appropriate backdrop...
Questions Abound Following Israeli Attack
When writing my first book, The Politics of Damascus 1920-1946, I documented the brutal 1945 French bombardment of Damascus that killed 660 civilians. This is one of the bloodiest chapters in the modern history of Syria, and Syrian citizens want by any...
Rutgers Hosts Third Divestment Conference
Campus ActivismAmidst a storm of controversy, including Zionist attacks and internal disagreements, New Jersey Solidarity (NJS) hosted the Third North American Conference of the Palestine Solidarity Movement (PSM) in New Brunswick, NJ, Oct. 10 to 12,...
Sudanese Women Hold Fair in Virginia
The Sudanese American Women's Organization (SAWO) held its first fair in support of Sudanese businesses in the Washington, DC area at Mason District Park in Annandale, VA on Oct. 12. SAWO founders briefly commandeered the henna-painting booth to sit...
Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iran under Increased Congressional Attack
In an effort to divert increasing criticism of President George W. Bush and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon for the failures of their policies in the Middle East, their supporters in Congress have stepped up diversionary attacks on other Middle East...
Tariq Ali on Ending the Occupation
Tariq Ali, author of The Clash of Fundamentalisms and Bush in Babylon, spoke Oct. 14 at the Synod Hall of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York. His appearance inaugurated a nationwide tour, "Speaking Truth to Empire: End the Occupation!"...
The Emperor Has No Clothes
In 1837, Danish author Hans Christian Andersen wrote a wonderful fairy tale which he titled, "The Emperor's New Clothes." It may be the very first example of the power of political correctness. It is the story of the ruler of a distant land who was so...
The "Israelization" of the United States
Few disputed at the time that Israel was a factor that pushed Bush to go to war on Iraq. Just how much weight it had among all the others was the only controversial question. But what is clear is that Israel has become a very important one indeed in...
The Jerusalem Wall: Barrier to a Two State Solution
Since occupying Jerusalem in 1967, Israel has used various means to change the legal status of East Jerusalem-which, like other West Bank cities and the Gaza Strip, is occupied territory. "Jerusalem is as occupied as Jenin," explained Anwar Darkazally,...
The Palestinian Resistance: Its Legitimate Right and Moral Duty
The overwhelming and ceaseless atrocities of Israel's government leave most Palestinians with little opportunity to reflect on the moral aspect of our resistance. Most often our reactions to events are immediate, instinctive and emotional. The few who...
The Politics of Anti-Semitism
Books The Politics of Anti-Semitism By Alexander Cockburn & Jeffrey St. Clair (eds), AK Press, 2003, 178 pp. List: $12.95; AET: $10."There's no more explosive topic in American public life today than the issue of Israel, its treatment of the Palestinians...
The Swirl of Life in Tunisia
Stripped-down, compact cars-Renaults and Peugeots, primarily-move and swerve, race and cut in, clogging the streets, endangering passersby. Even intersections are legitimate parking places: Cars squeeze catty-corner against the curb.Pedestrians crisscross...
The U.S and Israel Threaten Syria and Its President
The Bush team, which should be acting as a reality check, has fallen so deep into the pocket of Ariel Sharon you can't even find it any more. -Thomas L. Friedman, Oct. 2 column, The New York Times,As if their arguments for going to war in Iraq were not...
The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum: A Decade of Increasing Taxpayer Funding
Since it first opened 10 years ago, one of Washington, DC's most popular attractions has been the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, located adjacent to the National Mall. Created by a unanimous Act of Congress in 1980, the Museum describes its...
"This Has to Stop": Rachel Corrie's Parents Journey to Palestine/Israel
Our daughter Rachel Corrie was killed by an Israeli bulldozer in Rafah in the Gaza Strip on March 16, 2003, while she was trying to prevent the demolition of a Palestinian home. Since that time, as we have grieved for our daughter, we have also worked...
Tunisian Jews Enjoy Religious Tolerance and Peace in Djerba
The Washington Report recently visited the Tunisian island of Djerba, home to one of the world's oldest Jewish communities, looking for answers to a vital question: Can Jews, Muslims and Christians live together in peace? A common myth claims they can't....
Tunisia: The Light of Our Sight; A School on Top of Every Hill
Virtually everyone the Washington Report spoke with in Tunisia--government ministers, a high school principal, college professor, women's affairs specialists, and Solidarity Fund bankers--voiced a common goal: every Tunisian agency must provide educational...
Tunisia: The Light of Our Sight; Getting from Here to There
Americans, Canadians and Europeans do not need visas to visit Tunisia. Europeans flock to Tunisian beach resorts during the summer months, but spring and autumn are also good for touring. Tunisia's Saharan dunes and sights attract winter visitors interested...
Tunisia: The Light of Our Sight; the Swirl of Life in Tunisia
Michael J. Keating is managing editor of The VVA Veteran, and a freelance photographer.Stripped-down, compact cars--Renaults and Peugeots, primarily--move and swerve, race and cut in, clogging the streets, endangering passersby. Even intersections are...
Tunisia: The Light of Our Sight; Tunisian Jews Enjoy Religious Tolerance and Peace in Djerba
The Washington Report recently visited the Tunisian island of Djerba, home to one of the world's oldest Jewish communities, looking for answers to a vital question: Can Jews, Muslims and Christians live together in peace? A common myth claims they can't....
U.S. Institute of Peace Grants for Projects on International Peace, Conflict Resolution
Each year, the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) sponsors two types of grants. The Solicited Grant has a designated topic or theme of "special interest to the Institute." This past year's two topics, for instance, were, "The Proliferation of Weapons...
Vice President Dick Cheney: A Tricky, Foxy Grandpa
Vice President Richard B. Cheney has a very smooth and pleasant demeanor. A survivor of three heart attacks and a friend of the senior George Bush for more than two decades, Cheney looks like a kindly grandfather. It's easy to forget that he's only five...
Women in Black-LA Visit Israel/Palestine
In early September, Karin Pally and Dr. Yael Korin, who helped organize the Women in Black/Los Angeles chapter, traveled to Israel and the West Bank to meet with peace activists on both sides of the Green Line.One of their first destinations was Tulkarm,...
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