Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Articles from Vol. 10, No. 3, August/September

A Bush-Baker Ace in the Hole: Lift the US Cap on Soviet Immigration
If Presidents Bush and Gorbachev invite parties to the Arab-Israeli dispute to a peace conference, few believe the intransigent Israeli government of Yitzhak Shamir will show up. In addition to the foreign aid card to get Shamir's attention, however,...
After Disclaiming Death Squads, Israeli Government Puts Them on TV
As allied forces demonstrated in Iraq last January, it is possible to destroy a nation without leaving it in ruins. Relief officials who visited Iraq in March reported that US precision bombing had caused surprisingly little visible damage but had demolished...
American Jewish Fantasies of Israel: Coping with Cognitive Dissonance
A few years ago a young film director I knew produced a documentary dealing with the status of women in the Israeli military. Although financed in part by the government, the film portrayed a balanced picture of Israeli female soldiers. Contrary to their...
Arab-American Activism
American Task Force for Lebanon ConferenceThe American Task Force for Lebanon held a conference on the theme "Unity, Independence and Peace for Lebanon" June 27-30 at the Sheraton Washington Hotel in Washington, DC. In announcing plans for this major...
Arab Democratization Picks Up Speed
One often hears it said that the wave of democratization which swept Eastern Europe in 1989 and is now showing new strength in sub-Saharan Africa has somehow missed the Arab world. This is far from true: In fact, from the Atlantic to the Gulf, new political...
Army Shuts Down Palestinian Strongpoints in Southern Lebanon
After 20 years of virtual autonomy in Lebanon, the PLO lost a four-day war to the Lebanese army and a four-hour "peace conference" to the Lebanese government. The battles, which began July 1 and ended July 4, were fought near the port city of Sidon,...
As Region Faces Economic Reforms, India Also at Political Crossroads
It was almost surrealistic to participate in Delhi in the intellectual post-mortem of the Rajiv Gandhi assassination. Speculation about the perpetrators ranged from a vendetta by a single person or family to a superpower conspiracy carried out through...
As Soviet Jews Seek Other Destinations, Israel Blocks the Exits
The new Soviet law granting passports to all citizens has resulted in an immediate, sharp drop in the huge numbers of Soviet Jewish immigrants arriving in Israel. The previous deluge of immigrants has changed into a mere trickle, perhaps permanently.The...
Bonior Victory a Defeat for AIPAC
One of the great strengths of the House of Representatives over time has been the stability of its leadership. In recent years, however, that stability has been rocked by rapid turnover. The leadership structure of the House consists of three positions...
Boycott Benefits Interfaith Peace Symposium
A boycott launched by President Gideon Goldenholtz of the Wisconsin Council of Rabbis against last November's Milwaukee Symposium on "The Role of Religious Leaders in the Middle East Peace Process" has had the unintended result of enhancing media interest...
Bush Visit Moves US and Turkey into New Era of "Strategic Cooperation"
Relations between the US and Turkey, which have had their ups and downs in the past two decades, are now entering a new era of what diplomats on both sides call "strategic cooperation." This turning point was marked by the recent visit of President George...
Dr. Hanan Mikhail-Ashrawi: An Embodiment of Her Embattled People
During the Gulf war, with the occupied territories under an almost unremitting Israeli curfew, Dr. Hanan Mikhail-Ashrawi was one of the few Palestinians visible to the outside world. Millions saw her on CNN and American network television as she told...
Egyptian Scholar Finds "Islam but No Muslims" Abroad, "Muslims but No Islam" at Home
Dr. Tawfik El-Shawi is a university professor, an educator, an attorney, a jurist and a legal adviser, in addition to being a noted Islamic thinker. Though he hails from Egypt, he also has practiced law and taught in universities from Morocco to Saudi...
Facts for Your Files: A Chronology of US-Mideast Relations
June 1: Secretary of State James Baker, meeting with Syrian Foreign Minister Farouk Charaa in Portugal, delivered a letter from President Bush urging Syria to compromise on its demands for UN participation in and reconvening of a Middle East peace conference....
Faith & Power: The Politics of Islam
By Edward Mortimer. New York: Random House, 1982. 432 pages. List: $7.95; AET: $5.95 for one, $7.95 for two.Until the Ayatollah Khomeini's 1979 ascension to power in Iran the Muslim world had been, to all but a few scholars and political analysts, largely...
"Fundamentalist" Military Junta Pushing Sudan to Catastrophe
In its short history since independence in 1956, Sudan has known three democratically elected governments and three military dictatorships. The first two military regimes were characterized by the one-man rule typical of many post-independence Arab and...
Illegally in Kuwait and Unwanted Anywhere Else
"My sister, uncle and grandmother living in Kuwait can't get US visas because, if they leave, they won't be readmitted, and when their visas to the United States expired, they would have nowhere else to go. Can you help me?"That was the plea in a telephone...
Internal Criticism of Racism Would Be Called "Anti-Semitic" outside Israel
For more than 200 years Jews have been demanding equality in every country in which they happened to live, with the notable exception of Israel, the Jewish state. Israel has always based its institutions on the denial of equality to non-Jews. This principle...
Islam
By Frederick M. Denny. Harper Collins, 1987. 137pp. List: $8.95; AET: $6 for one, $8.95 for two.Introductory works on religion are seldom, if ever, complete. Any great religious tradition defies thorough examination and explanation at anything but considerable...
Israel's Campaign for $10 Billion More: Far-Out Fantasy or Attainable Dream?
Israel's campaign to win $10 billion in housing guarantees from the US Treasury has a never-never-land character to it. On its face, it would seem to be an unattainable objective, so far out that no sensible US politician would support it.Consider these...
Israel's Unmentionable Stockpile of Nuclear Bombs
How far can a respected news publication go in trying to protect an official Israeli "cover story"?Apparently, pretty far.This seems to be the case in an article by George J. Church, in the July 8 issue of Time magazine, in which he discusses the 1970...
It's the Only Way to Make Shamir Step Aside
The dilemma facing Washington's seekers of a Middle East peace is graphically illustrated in the following joke currently making the rounds in Israel:Secretary of State James Baker asks Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, "How do you do?"Shamir replies, "do...
Jews and Israel
Citizens Rights Movement Reaches Out to Soviet ImmigrantsIsrael's Civil Rights and Peace Movement (CRM) -- known in Hebrew as "Ratz" -- has embarked on a campaign to assist new Soviet immigrants in their difficult process of adjustment to Israel. CRM...
Josefa Pick: Israeli Peace Activist
At first glance, Josefa Pick seems to be the kind of visiting Israeli one might expect to encounter at a Hadassah local chapter meeting. In North America to attend a meeting of fellow librarians from around the world, she has accepted an additional invitation...
Mauritanians Move toward Democracy with a New Constitution
With an announced electoral participation of 85 percent, Mauritanians approved by a massive 97.94 percent the new constitution project submitted to the voters by the military regime of President Maaouya Ould Sid' Ahmed Taya.The constitution Mauritanians...
Middle East and Aid to Israel May Dominate Fall Debates
Capitol Hill is relatively quiet this month, as Congress is in the midst of its traditional month-long August recess. But all that will change once Congress returns to Washington following the Labor Day holiday in early September.Although the congressional...
Mideast Ecology Notes
Gulf Corals May Face Massive Die-OffIn the wake of the Gulf war between Iraq and the US-led allied coalition, environmentalists and policymakers alike decried the damage done to the region's fragile desert lands and Gulf waters. Efforts to clean up the...
Morality and Justice Indivisible for Israeli Lawyer Lynda Brayer
At nine o'clock on an October morning last year, we filed into the Israeli High Court in Jerusalem. To the court officials we must have been a strange sight. Dressed in our religious habits, with white rabatos and black robes, we padded like three lost...
Opposition Party Member Calls for Economic Pressure against Israel
An impassioned speech by the foreign affairs critic of Canada's New Democratic Party was one of the highlights of the eighth United Nations Conference for Non-Governmental Organizations on the Question of Palestine held in Montreal June 28-30.Addressing...
Publishers' Page
Make a Difference -- This Minute.Normally in this space we first instruct our well-wishers in how to save the Washington Report from bankruptcy for another month. Then, in whatever space is left, we tell readers how to save the world.We'll Get to Both.Right...
Reconstructing a Shattered Somalia
Somalia, once a Cold War ally of the US, is a country desperately in need of the values of "a kinder and gentler society." Reports of starving and dying women and children in Mogadishu, the Somali capital, reflect some of the consequences of emphasizing...
Stealth Attacks and Backgrounders for Book Burners: Made in the USA
Over the years I've been handed photocopies of "privately circulated" documents compiled by certain hard-line Jewish organizations. They go to local chapters for use without attribution.One example was a memorandum from the Anti-Defamation League of...
Stunned by Middle East Violence, Shocked to Discover Its Causes
My first contact with the Middle East, probably shared with most Americans my age, came with the Iranian hostage crisis in 1979. I can remember pictures of the US Embassy staff blindfolded by their captors on the nightly news, which always ended or began...
The Real Cost of Israeli Loan Guarantees: $3.1 to $117 Billion
Americans beware. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and its supporters have launched, in the words of AIPAC Executive Director Thomas Dine, "an all-out effort" to force Congress and the Bush administration to pass the first $2 billion...
Three Lebanese Ministers Explain Taif Accord
The Los Angeles World Affairs Council sponsored a July 1 discussion on Lebanon with three of the nation's cabinet ministers. Panelists at the dinner session, moderated by Egyptian-born Professor Afaf Marsot of the University of California at Los Angeles,...
Trade and Finance
Japan and Saudi Arabia Enter Joint Refining VenturesSaudi Aramco and a number of Japanese companies have formed a joint venture to build and operate oil refineries in the two countries. This marks the first entry into Japan's oil refining sector by a...
Unconditional US Aid Gives Israel "More Gas for the Next War"
"Israel is like a bus careening downhill without brakes. What we need are new brakes, and what the Americans are giving us is more gas!" The speaker was a prominent Israeli Jewish anti-occupation activist. He was responding to a question about US aid...
US Aid Is Key to Israeli Withdrawals
"A comprehensive peace must be grounded in United Nations Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 and the principle of territory for peace...Anything else would fail the twin tests of fairness and security." -US President George Bush in March 6, 1991...
What Young Iraqis Don't Dare Say to Each Other
Who are the young Iraqis in their 20s and 30s who will be the backbone of any new Iraq?They are Majid, an army recruit who escaped from Iraq in 1987 clinging to the undercarriage of a truck on its way to Turkey. They are Ali, a recently conscripted doctor...
When Iraq Invaded Kuwait in 1990, What Would Nasser Have Done?
Recently an interviewer from the BBC asked a distinguished retired State Department official what might have happened if Gamal Abdel Nasser, the symbol of Arab unity, had been president of Egypt on Aug. 2, 1990, when Iraqi President Saddam Hussain invaded...
Zionism Is Racism: Ridiculous Resolution or the Truth That Hurts?
This September, the 46th General Assembly will doubtless have a surfeit of the Middle East. From the Western Sahara to the Gulf the delegates will have a wide range of issues to discuss. If Vice President Quayle is to be believed, the most important...
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