Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Articles from Vol. 23, No. 4, May

A Civilian Occupation: The Politics of Israeli Architecture
A Civilian Occupation: The Politics of Israeli Architecture By Rafi Segal and Eyal Weizman (eds.), Verso, 2003, 191 pp. List: $20; AET: $15.A Civilian Occupation, by Israeli architects Rafi Segal and Eyal Weizman, opens a debate that exposes the truth...
Admiral Moorer's Funeral Celebrates a Man of Courage
Admiral Thomas Moorer's funeral, held Feb. 24, 2004 at Arlington National Cemetery, was a fitting tribute to a great man. The longest serving four-star admiral in U.S. history, Moorer was the only admiral to command both the Atlantic and Pacific fleets....
AFSC Human Rights Observers Paint Grim Picture of Iraqi Life under U.S. Occupation
Uppermost in the minds of Iraqis, say human rights observers Rick McDowell and Mary Trotochaud, are fear of the future, the threat of civil war and dread of suicide bombers.The two Iraq Representatives for the American Friends Service Committee (Quakers)...
American Christians' Responsibility to End the Occupation
U.S. churches must educate people regarding the Israel-Palestine conflict, Corinne Whitlatch, executive director of Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP), told a large gathering at the Palestine Center in Washington, DC Feb. 26.For mainstream middle...
A Moment to Pause and Reflect
The gruesome train bombings in Madrid and the stunning regime change which followed should be seized upon to rethink whether the "war on terrorism," as conceived and conducted since Sept. 11, 2001, is really the most effective way to deal with a problem...
An Eyewitness Account by ISM Volunteer Neal Ahern from Olympia, Washington
Hello my friends and family, sorry if this is all over the place, I just had to get it down before I forgot it all, or most of it. Today [March 21] has been quite the crazy adventure, but has also cemented emotions of how absolutely insane the soldiers...
A Plain and Simple Story
The story is simple, really. Two millennia ago, a Jewish preacher living in the far eastern reaches of the Roman Empire spoke of God, his Father, and why he had sent His son to live among His chosen people and redeem them. Some Jewish listeners welcomed...
Arabian Peninsula
Gulf Nations May Teach Human Rights in SchoolsThe six-member Arab Gulf Cooperation Council and Yemen are looking into the possibility of incorporating classes on human rights in schools, the Khaleej Times reported Feb. 17. The idea had been discussed...
Barghouti Introduces Initiative
Should the Palestininan National Initiative (moubadara) catch on with the majority of Palestinians, it could be as threatening to Ariel Sharon as Gandhi's nonviolent protests were to the British occupying India. At least it seems so when Dr. Mustafa...
Bush and Sharon Pursue a Common Goal: Dominance over the Middle East
The program for Arab democracy will be more successful, and find wider acceptance, if it is matched by efforts to grant sovereignty to the Iraqis and Palestinians. Otherwise, democracy will seem to many in the Arab world as window dressing for continued...
Canada's Islamic Dispute Resolution Initiative Faces Strong Opposition
At no other time have Ontario's courts been as backlogged as they are today, wrote the province's auditor in his October 2003 report. That sentiment was echoed by Ontario's chief justices at the 2004 opening session of the provincial court.One would...
Clarke Memoirs Represent an Unknown in 2004 Election Campaign
A book of barely more than 300 pages written by Richard A. Clarke, the former chief terrorism adviser to the Bush administration, may be key to the outcome of the 2004 presidential election. From the time he was sworn in on March 24, the second day of...
Combat Booth Hill
The lawn of the Westwood Federal Building looked like a cemetery March 18 as 550 military combat boots were lined tombstone fashion to symbolize the U.S. soldiers who died in Iraq in the first year of the war there. In the center of the Combat Boot Hill...
Conferences, Campaigns, Awards, Fundraisers, Internships and Deaths
Caterpillar CampaignA large mobilization, organized by SUSTAIN, will take place April 23 in Peoria, Illinois at Caterpillar Corporation headquarters. Cindy and Craig Corrie, parents of Rachel Corrie, who was crushed to death by an IDF-driven Caterpiller...
DC-Based ATFP Dedicated to Creation of Viable Palestinian State
The American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP) was founded in Washington, DC on July 15, 2003 to advocate the establishment of a viable and independent Palestinian state alongside Israel.The idea for an organization focused solely on Palestine started as...
Dr. Mustapha Barghouti Speaks at St. Alban's Church
Waging PeaceDr. Mustapha Barghouti, a physician and co-founder of Al Mubadara (the Initiative), spoke to a large, diverse audience at St. Alban's Church in Washington, DC on March 4. Many of the points he made-a rise in the demolition of Palestinian...
"Europe Is Scared," Says le Parisien after Madrid Attacks
The now-ousted Spanish government immediately blamed the March 11 Madrid explosions, which killed at least 200 people and injured many more, on the Basque separatist group ETA. But the European press, as well as many ordinary people, questioned whether...
Fear and Loathing in Israel
Despite the way it is being framed in this country, the choice was not whether to kill Sheikh Ahmed Yassin or sit with our hands folded. Even though few people around here noticed, Israel was not sitting with its hands folded in Gaza before the missiles...
Fertile Crescent
More Syrians Call for DemocracyThe Knight Ridder News Service reported March 19 that an increasing number of professionals and activists in Syria are calling for President Bashar Al-Assad and his ruling Ba'ath Party to "make fundamental changes to Syria's...
Frustrated Neocons, Former U.N. Weapons Head Blix Assess Year of War on Iraq
It is just over a year since the British and American delegations at the U.N. abandoned their attempt to bulldoze through a resolution authorizing their intended attack on Iraq. As we know, their failure to obtain U.N. approval did not deter them from...
Hussein Ibish Workshop Teaches Students Effective Arguments
The Union of Arab Student Associations (UASA) held its 6th Annual Arab American Student Conference from Feb. 13 to 15 at the George Washington University in Washington, DC.The conference featured a variety of sessions, including workshops, lectures,...
Increasingly, Thoughtful American Jews Are Re-Thinking Zionism
The idea that the majority of Americans of the Jewish faith support the policies of the government of Israel-an idea repeatedly set forth by generally unrepresentative organizations such as the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC)-is one...
In Its New "Family Film," Disney Clobbers Arabs-Again!
In the author's hypothetical interview with Paul Pessimist, his right-wing Republican neighbor, the imaginary dialogue illustrates how Touchstone Pictures, and its corporate owner Disney Studios, under the leadership of CEO (and erstwhile board chairman)...
Iran/iraq
Iran-Japan Seal Oil DealOn Feb. 18 Japan reached a deal with Iran to develop the latter's massive Azadegan oilfield in order to guarantee stable oil supplies. The controversial project had been postponed due to U.S. concerns that Tehran is developing...
Iraq's Past Holds Lessons for Future
An audience of students and academics packed the lecture hall at the American University of Beirut March 10 to hear British Prof. Charles Tripp discuss "What can Iraq's History tell us about its Future?" The author of A History of Iraq (2002), Tripp...
Israel-Firsters Attack International Court of Justice Hearing on Apartheid Wall
The hearings by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Israel's apartheid wall predictably drew the ire of Israel's congressional supporters, resulting in a flurry of activity, including letters to President George W. Bush, secretary of State Colin...
Israel-Firsters Target Jim Moran (D-VA) for Defeat
Don't spend too much time trying to find Rep. Jim Moran's name in the following list of recipients of pro-Israel PAC contributions for the coming 2004 elections-it isn't there. In fact, the last time the Democratic congressman received such contributions...
Israel/palestine
Brazil to Open Ramallah OfficeBrazil's Foreign Ministry announced March 18 its plans to open a diplomatic office in the West Bank city of Ramallah, the Gulf News reported the following day. Officials said the move is in preparation for the creation of...
Israel's Failed Assassination Attempt on U.S. Ambassador Documented
Had Mossad, Israel's secret intelligence organization, succeeded, it would have been the perfect crime-the crime of the century. The plan was breathtaking in concept: to assassinate the American ambassador to Lebanon, in Lebanon, with American weapons,...
Jerry and Sis Levin at UK'S Cambridge University
Internationally renowned advocates of non-violence Jerry and Sis Levin, spoke at Cambridge University's Churchill College March 11 on "Peacemaking in Palestine and Iraq." Their talk, organized by the college's Phoenix Society, drew a large audience of...
Journeys through Jerusalem, Jordan
Diplomatic DoingsA reception room at the Jordanian Embassy in Washington, DC was transformed into a hushed and darkened theater March 8, as a packed house journeyed through time and space to solve the mysteries of early photographs of the Holy Land....
Letters to the Editor
Prescription for Mideast PeaceOn this one-year anniversary of the beginning of the Iraq war, President Bush is proclaiming this to be a big achievement in bringing peace to the Iraqi people and a victory in the ongoing war on terrorism.President Bush...
"Lists Scandal" Points to Decreasing Influence of Turkish Military
a'he banner headline was brief and to the point. "The military," it read, "is spying on Turkey's citizens."After three military coups in which tanks took to the streets-and one in which merely the threat of the army marching caused the collapse of the...
Looking and Looking Away: Anas Shallal Visits the West Bank
"The day after I arrived in Jerusalem, there was a suicide bombing," Anas Shallal told a Peace Cafe gathering in Washington, DC Feb. 22. The Peace Cafe founder visited the West Bank and Jerusalem at the conclusion of a recent Seeds of Peace conference...
Malaysia's Lightning Election Belies Months of Preparation for Crucial Vote
A mere eight days of official campaigning was allowed for Malaysia's latest elections, held on March 21-the shortest time so far in the country's history. At stake were all the seats in the state assemblies and in the national parliament.In reality,...
Michael Tarazi on Requirements for a Palestinian State
Michael Tarazi, a Palestinian-American lawyer who is a legal adviser to the Negotiations Affairs Department of the Palestine Liberation Organization, spoke about peace negotiations from a Palestinian perspective in a talk sponsored by Alwan for the Arts...
Michael Tarazi Speaks in Iowa
Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) legal and communications adviser Michael Tarazi discussed "What Happened on the Road to Peace?" before a rapt audience at Iowa State University (ISU) in Ames on March 10.Some 120 members of the ISU community gathered...
Monitoring Civic Equality between Arabs and Jews
Shalom Dichter, co-director of Sikkuy, an Israeli association for the advancement of civic equality, introduced the "Sikkuy Report 2003" at the Middle East Institute in Washington, DC on Feb. 25. According to Dichter, who served in the Israel Defense...
More on the New Government Overseers-We're Not out of the Woods Yet
Arabic classes at Purdue University in Indiana have increased over 355 percent during the past three years. Similar growth is reported all over the country. Such statistics were supposed to be good news for our nation, which is so short of Arabic interpreters...
Nader Speaks to Arab Students
Arab-American ActivismPresidential candidate Ralph Nader spoke at the 6th National Annual Arab American Student Conference banquet sponsored by the Union of Arab Student Associations (UASA), and held Feb. 14 at the Saints Peter and Paul Antiochian Orthodox...
Neocons Battle against U.S. Rapprochement with Iran
Bush administration "realists" and "neoconservatives" are engaged in a fierce internal debate over Iran's overtures to improve relations with the United States, according to the March 17 Financial Times. Nearly two years ago, former Iranian President...
North Africa
Egypt, Singapore to Sign Free-Trade PactEgypt and Singapore have agreed to work toward a free-trade agreement (FTA), Knight Ridder-Tribune reported Feb. 15. On a visit to Egypt, Singapore Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong discussed the issue in a meeting...
Nuclear Proliferation Via Pakistan-Not the World's Only, or Oldest, Route
Pakistan would have been much better off had it worried more about its friends than about its enemies. Islamabad may manage to distance itself from the latest spate of accusations (and individual admissions) regarding nuclear proliferation, and the issue...
Other People's Mail
Some letters by or to other people are as informative for our readers as anything we might write ourselves.Constitutional WarTo the San Francisco Chronicle, March 1, 2004.Because we're proposing constitutional amendments, I'd like to suggest one preventing...
Palestinian Economist in L.A
"Walls always fall," stated Palestinian political economist Leila Farsakh. "In five years there will be a state in Gaza, but Israel will be debating for the next 15 years on what to do with the West Bank."The post-doctoral research fellow at the Center...
PAWA Focuses on Prisoners
"Stories of Courage" was the theme of the Palestinian American Women's Association's International Women's Day celebration March 13 in the Garden Grove Hyatt Regency.Highlighting the program was a dramatic performance by 11 young women portraying actual...
People around the World Pay Tribute to Rachel Corrie
When, on March 16, 2003, Rachel Corrie put on a fluorescent orange vest, took a megaphone in hand and begged an Israeli military bulldozer operator not to demolish the Palestinian home up the hill behind her, she never expected to die. She also never...
Protests around the World Mark First Anniversary of War on Iraq
On March 20, the first anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, demonstrators in more than 60 countries on six continents, including over 250 U.S. cities, turned out to protest the country's occupation. Notable demonstrations included a million...
Provisional Constitution, Attacks on Iraqi Shi'i Seen in Context of U.S. Occupation
The Arab press sees events in Iraq not only as newsworthy, but also as exemplifying the new phase of the geostrategies of both militant groups and the United States alike. Both White House officials and those who oppose their foreign ventures-such as...
Ralph Nader Enters Presidential Race
Ralph Nader outlined his 2004 presidential election platform at the National Press Club in Washington, DC on Feb. 23. As expected from his 2000 campaign, his statements focused primarily on the corporate control of both the Democratic and Republican...
Redgraves Demand Justice for Guantanamo Bay Detainees
Human RightsVanessa Redgrave, one of the world's most admired and controversial actresses and activists, called attention to the plight of detainees held at the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay at a March 8 news conference at the National Press...
Results of First Presidential Election Arab-American Tracking Poll
In a poll of Arab Americans conducted by the Arab American Institute Foundation (AAI), potential voters in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida expressed overwhelming dissatisfaction with President George W. Bush, fragile support for Sen. John Kerry...
Retired CIA Agent Raymond Close Discusses "Uses and Misuses of Intelligence"
Raymond H. Close spoke on "The Uses and Misuses of Intelligence" in a Feb. 15 talk sponsored by the Princeton Middle East Society. A former CIA operative who spent his career in the Middle East, Close said most CIA activities are secret interventions...
Revitalizing Palestinian Education and Increasing Opportunity
Volunteers from the American Community School (ACS) in Beirut engage six or seven kindergarten students in fun exercises like cutting out different objects from paper and coloring in designs. The students, all Palestinians from the Mar Elias refugee...
"Salt of the Earth" Multimedia Presentation Tours U.S. Churches
Rev. Marthame and Elizabeth Sanders introduced their popular multimedia presentation, "Salt of the Earth," to a Christian audience of about 45 people on March 12, at Northminister Presbyterian Church in Ames, Iowa.The Sanders are touring the United States...
Serving Two Flags: Neocons, Israel and the Bush Administration
Since 9/11, a small group of "neoconservatives" in the administration have effectively gutted-they would say reformed-traditional American foreign and security policy. Features of the new Bush doctrine include the pre-emptive use of unilateral force,...
Show of Support for Muslim Americans at AMV Dinner
A National Day of Solidarity with Muslims, Arabs, and South Asians was celebrated at a lively dinner hosted Feb. 22 by the American Muslim Voice (AMV) at the Mehran Restaurant in Newark, CA.Peace and justice activists from around the San Francisco Bay...
Syrian Ambassador Speaks at Georgetown University
Dr. Imad Moustapha, Syria's ambassador to the United States, spoke to a group of students, professors and journalists at Georgetown University in Washington, DC on March 3. He predicted a difficult period in U.S.-Syrian relations, as an election year...
Syria, Saudis Next in U.S.-Israeli Crosshairs
Syria and Saudi Arabia are in the crosshairs of the U.S. Congress, according to a public forum sponsored by the Council on the National Interest (CNI) and the Institute for Research for Middle East Policy (IRmep). The March 17 briefing was held at the...
The Assassination of Sheikh Yassin: Sharon Opens the "Gates of Hell"
Sheikh's Assassination Crosses All Red LinesSheikh Ahmed Yassin, spiritual head of the militant Palestinian group Hamas, has fallen victim to "justice" Israeli-style. Early yesterday morning as the white-haired, wheelchair-bound leader exited his local...
The Bombings in Spain: Implications for Islam and the West
Islam vs. al-QaedaIt now appears certain that the atrocious terrorist bombings in Madrid were the doing of an affiliate of al-Qaeda. The attack was supposedly carried out in response to Spain's support for the U.S./UK invasion of Iraq last year, but...
The Chilling Implications of This State Killing
It doesn't take an awful lot of courage to murder a paraplegic in a wheelchair. But it takes only a few moments to absorb the implications of the assassination of Sheikh Yassin. Yes, he endorsed suicide bombings-including the murder of Israeli children....
The Helicopter vs. the Wheelchair
Neither the fact nor the brutal manner of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin's cruel assassination was surprising-nor was Israel's indifference to the severe human cost other Palestinians paid because they happened to be around Sheikh Yassin when he was targeted.Sheikh...
The Subcontinent
Pakistan-Controlled Kashmir Gets First TV StationThe area of Kashmir under Pakistani administration launched its first independent television channel Feb. 5, according to the Feb. 7 Khaleej Times, which also will broadcast "across the line of control...
The Wall at the Court: The Case and the Hearings
"This is not a case of Palestine vs. Israel at the ICJ [International Court of Justice]," explained Diana Buttu, legal adviser to the Palestinian Liberation Organization's (PLO) Negotiations Department, during a Feb. 24 briefing at the DC-based Palestine...
Trauma in Palestine and Israel
Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) hosted Palestinian doctor Jumana Odeh and Israeli doctor Zeev Wiener at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) on March 11, to discuss the incidence and treatment of trauma for those suffering from the Israeli occupation...
Tunisian President Ben Ali Visits President Bush
The two-day visit by Tunisia's President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and his wife to the United States Feb. 16 to 18 topped a winter full of cultural and political events, filling the pages of previous issues of the Washington Report. The Washington Times...
Turkish Concern for Bosporus Complicates Oil Transport Scenarios
A decade of efforts by Washington to coax Caspian crude oil toward Turkey and away from Russia and OPEC member Iran is creating a chokepoint at the Bosporus, through which oil shipments must pass on their way to market. Unable to ship their rapidly increasing...
Turkish, Syrian Water Projects Well on the Way to Squeezing Iraq Dry
Just after dawn in areas south of Baghdad the land glistens with color, as if millions of diamonds refracted the morning sun. But this polychrome display does not imply wealth-it signals, quite to the contrary, that those areas are agriculturally dead...
Victims of Hebron Massacre Remembered
Al-Awda DC held a vigil Feb. 25 to mark the 10th anniversary of the Hebron massacre, in which 29 Palestinians were shot and killed while they were praying in city's Ibrahimi Mosque by the American-born terrorist settler Dr. Baruch Goldstein. A handful...
Who Are the Christians in the Middle East?
Who are the Christians in the Middle East? By Betty Jane Bailey and J. Martin Bailey, Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2003, 215 pp. List: $20; AET: $14.Most Westerners are woefully ignorant of the Christian communities in the Middle East, often viewing them as the...
Zawaya Presents "Arab Artists: Their Words and Works"
Always a national leader in the fields of art, music and literature, San Francisco is home to an abundance of talented ArabAmerican artists, writers and performers. A Feb. 15 reception at the Catharine Clark Gallery on Geary Street provided Bay Area...
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