Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Articles from Vol. 24, No. 3, April

109th Congress Gets Organized, but Looks Much like the 108th
The 109th Congress convened officially on Jan. 6, but spent most of the month on organizational and housekeeping matters, although hundreds of bills and resolutions were introduced. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) and the House International...
ABC-TV's Hit Series, "Lost," Features Sayid, a Sensitive, Appealing Iraqi
Everyone loves a mystery and ABC's new hit drama "Lost"-which ends with a cliff-hanger each week-has everyone guessing. Perhaps the biggest mystery is why Hollywood writers, who traditionally cast Arabs as villains, have created a sensitive Arab, Sayid,...
Activist and Performance Artist Joe Carr on Tour
Playing a battered blue Dean acoustic guitar and wearing a red ball cap emblazoned with a Christian Peacemaker Team (CPT) logo, activist and performance artist Joe Carr treated an Ames, Iowa audience to his unique and compelling blend of music, poetry...
AET's 2005 Choir of Angels
Following are individuals, organizations, companies and foundations whose help between Jan. 1 and March 1, 2005 is making possible activities of the tax-exempt AET Library Endowment (federal ID #52-1460362) and the American Educational Trust, publisher...
Afghanistan "Moving Forward" after Presidential Election, Says Ambassador Jawad
On Jan. 24, Afghan Ambassador Said Tayeb Jawad discussed his country's democracy-building efforts and the challenges it faces following the recent presidential election. The San Francisco World Affairs Council program was co-sponsored by the Afghan Women's...
Ambassador Nabil Fahmy Discusses Egyptian-U.S. Trade
Trade between the United States and Egypt was the topic of a Feb. 9 luncheon meeting hosted by the United States Egypt Friendship Society (USEF) in Washington, DC. Addressing an eager audience at the sold-out event, Egyptian Ambassador Nabil Fahmy said...
Anti-Corruption Drives Uncovering Some Things Rotten in the State of Turkey
When a former prime minister, an exchief of the Turkish navy, a general of the gendarmerie and a former head of the country's powerful national security council all turn up in court on corruption charges, something is clearly not what it once was in...
Awards
At a Feb. 5 ceremony in Berlin, the German Association of Democratic Lawyers (VDJ) awarded attorneys Lea Tsemel, a founder of and legal adviser to the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel, and Mohammed Na'ameh, from Arabeh in the Galilee, its 2004...
Brit Tzedek V' Shalom Holds Third National Conference
The third national conference of Brit Tzedek V'Shalom (Jewish Alliance For Peace & Justice) was held this year in an atmosphere of stunned hope. The hundreds who attended "From Gaza to Negotiations: The Role of American Jews" at Temple Israel Synagogue...
Cambridge University Holds Palestine Awareness Day
Cambridge University's Palestine Society and the Cambridge University Islamic Society's Human Rights Committee held a "Palestine Awareness Day" at their university on Feb. 19. The mixture of talks, documentaries and workshops drew more than 100 people...
Columbia University Panel Debates "One State or Two"
Qanun, Columbia University law school's Middle East association, sponsored a Jan. 31 panel discussion on "One State or Two." To provide historical perspective, Princeton professor Dr. Mark Cohen delineated two competing interpretations of Jewish life...
Deaths
British journalist and CAABU co-founder Michael Adams died Feb. 6 in Exeter, England, at the age of 84. Born in Addis Ababa, he attended Sedbergh school in Yorkshire and Oxford University, until he left to join the RAF as a bomber pilot in World War...
Denis Halliday Calls for U.N. Reforms
Speaking at the Palestine Center in Washington, DC on Feb. 18, former U.N. Assistant secretary-General Denis Halliday faulted the U.N. for not acting according to its principles. Having resigned from his position in 1998 to speak out against the crippling...
Egyptian Example Shows Need for Homegrown Democratization in the Middle East
"Democratizing" the Middle East-one of the Bush administration's primary foreign policy objectives-has been presented as an integral part of the overall war against terrorism. Regardless of where one stands concerning the link between the two issues,...
Five Views: The Hariri Assassination
Rafiq Hariri, From Rags To Riches to a Symbol of Lebanon's RebirthBy Linda DahdahRafiq Hariri, Lebanon's former prime minister killed in Monday's massive car bombing, had a vision when he took power in 1992 of building a prosperous country from the ruins...
Hip Hop for Palestine in the Crescent City
The Crescent City-also known as New Orleans-had its first Palestinian hip-hop concert on Jan. 28, 2005 before an enthusiastic audience. This historic event-the first time Palestinian hip-hop groups have gotten together in New Orleans to perform a concert...
How Israel Lost: The Four Questions
How Israel Lost: The Four Questions By Richard Ben Cramer, Simon & Schuster, 2004, 307 pp. List: $24; AET: $18.50In the interest of avoiding charges of bias, let it be noted at the outset that among the many resources cited in Richard Ben Cramer's...
Iraqi and Palestinian Voters May Have Little Say about Their New Governments
As if the world was not aware of the hundreds of prisoners condemned to limbo at Guantanamo, or of the Justice Department memos justifying torture, George Bush in his Jan. 20 inaugural address pledged to spread democracy and the rule of law around the...
Is Indonesia Now a Net Importer of Gas, and No Longer an "Eligible" OPEC Member?
According to February reports in Jakarta newspapers, Indonesia may have become a net importer of oil in the past year and is considering withdrawing from OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries). Surging demand from the country's economy...
Jordanian Embassy Showcases Photographs of Petra's Bedouin Tribes
".. -you will never know what Petra is like, unless you come out here. Only be assured that 'til you have seen it, you have not had the glimmering of an idea how beautiful a place can be." So said T.E. Lawrence describing Petra in 1914.The Georgetown...
Juan Cole Calls Iraqi Elections a "Turning Point"
This year's Kareema Khoury Annual Distinguished Lecture in Arab Studies, sponsored by Georgetown University's Center for Contemporary Arab Studies, was delivered on Jan. 27 by Prof. Juan Cole, who examined "Iraqi Nationalisms and the American Occupation."...
Kosovo: What Next?
At the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP) in Washington, DC on Jan. 31, USIP's Daniel Sewer welcomed Alex Anderson, director of the Kosovo Project for the International Crisis Group, Kosovo Assembly member Ylber Hysa, and Steven Meyer, a political science...
Letters to the Editor
Accolades and ActionI have just finished reading Anne Gwynne's "Life, Sustenance and Love" essay in the March issue. What a moving tribute to the humanity of Palestinian endurance and to the courage and compassion of the volunteer ambulance drivers she...
Municipal Election Results Surprise Saudi Arabian Voters
Saudi Arabian men cast ballots for the first time since 1963 on Feb. 10, 2005. In the first of three stages of municipal elections held throughout the Kingdom, voters in the Riyadh region selected candidates to fill half the seats in its 38 precincts....
Neocon Douglas Feith to Resign from Pentagon, as AIPAC Investigations Continue
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld announced on Jan. 26 that Douglas Feith, the neo-conservative under secretary of defense for policy, would "step down" before the summer. According to the following day's Financial Times of London, the White House...
Other People's Mail
Some letters by or to other people are as informative for our readers as anything we might write ourselves.A Nonviolent "Terrorist"To The Washington Post, Feb. 21, 2005Regarding the Feb. 18 editorial "Over the Line": There is a difference between "crossing...
Palestinian Election: "Moment of Truth" Has Arrived, Says Spain's la Razon
European newspapers were cautiously optimistic following the victory of Mahmoud Abbas in the Jan. 9 Palestinian presidential election. There was a "palpable feeling that something had changed" following the ballot, the London Times opined the following...
Playing the Holocaust Card: Are Charges of Anti-Semitism Used to Silence Debate?
As the world commemorated the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, many commentators pointed out how little the world has learned since the Holocaust. Sadly, bigotry and religious violence have not been eradicated, and we have witnessed genocidal...
Publishers' Page
Report Proves Israel Funds OutpostsA report released March 9 by Israel's former chief state prosecutor, Talia Sasson, found that the Israeli government is directly involved in and even finances the construction of settlement "outposts"-thereby violating...
Relations between India and Pakistan Continue to Improve
Donning what is popularly known as the Jinnah cap, named after the founder of Pakistan, Indian Foreign Minister Natwar Singh signed memoranda of understanding (MOU) with his Pakistani counterpart, Mahmoud Qasuri, Feb. 18 in Islamabad. Per the agreements,...
State Department Confronted on Israeli Mistreatment of U.S. Citizens
A delegation of concerned citizen groups met with State Department officials on Feb. 17 to request an explanation of the U.S. government's official silence over the mistreatment of Americans in Israel.The delegation included the Council for the National...
Stealing Gaza Piece by Piece
"I'd really like to know what these trucks and vans are taking out of Gaza!"The speaker was a Palestinian taxi passenger, stopped on Salah ah Deen Street, the Gaza Strip's major north-south artery. Of course, it is not the least bit unusual for Palestinian...
Syrian, Israeli, U.S. Occupation: Finding the Achilles Heel
Despite the lack of any definitive links connecting Syria to the Feb. 14 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, the Bush administration boldly leapt to assert that Syria is somehow connected. Very quickly, Washington's anger over...
The Battle at Columbia University
Freedom of speech and conscience on American universities and colleges, particularly in relation to Middle East studies, has been taking some hard hits, of late.First, there was the post-9/11 lawsuit over the use of the book, Approaching the Qur'an:...
Three Views: Facts on the Ground Trump Talk of Peace
Egypt Hosts Sharon-Abbas SummitBy Mohammed OmerHow strange it is for people in the Gaza Strip to see Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon hailed by the international media as a man of peace! In the two weeks leading up to his landmark Feb. 8 meeting in...
Total Direct Aid to Israel Conservatively Estimated at Almost $105 Billion
The beginning of the 109th Congress seems a good time to update the estimate of total U.S. direct aid to Israel as last presented in the May 2003 Washington Report on Middle East Affairs (WRMEA). It is important to emphasize that this analysis will attempt...
Tunisia's President Ben Ali Seeks Solidarity in Fight to End Poverty
In an exclusive interview with the Washington Report on Jan. 4, 2005, Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali described his groundbreaking plan for the World Solidarity Fund for the Eradication of Poverty. He met with this reporter in his office in...
Turkish Cypriot Elections Confirm Status Quo, but Times May Be Changing
Like many an election or referendum on the divided island of Cyprus, February's balloting among Turkish Cypriots left two diametrically opposed impressions on either side of the U.N.-patrolled Green Line.In the north, the victory of Mehmet Ali Talat's...
U.S. Institute of Peace Panel Considers Post-Election Iraq
On Feb. 3 the Washington, DC-based United States Institute of Peace (USIP) hosted Ambassador Samir Sumaidaie, permanent representative of Iraq to the UN., Ghassan al-Atiyyah, executive director of Iraq Foundation for Development of Democracy, USIP's...
U.S. Opposition to International Criminal Court May Preclude a Hearing on Darfur
On March 2 Human Rights Watch released a videotape in which Musa Hilal, a top leader of the Janjaweed militia in Darfur, told the interviewers that the government of Sudan directed all military activities of the militia forces. "All of the people in...
Visionary Engineer Sadeq Faris Outlines How Arab States Can Defy Globalization
Dr. Sadeq Paris captured the imaginations of architects and engineers Feb. 17 as he gave a power point explanation of his revolutionary approach to technology's challenge to globalization. The occasion was an Arab American Executive Forum dinner in the...
Yonatan Shapira: Israel's Pilot Refusenik
"My English is very basic," Yonatan Shapira told the Manhattan crowd at a Brit Tzedek V' Shalom (Jewish Alliance For Justice & Peace) conference (see p. 65), "but I want to say that a year and a half ago I learned how to say 'no.'"In September of...
Yvonne Haddad on Issues concerning Arab-American Christians, Muslims
Dr. Yvonne Haddad, professor of history of Islam and Christian-Muslim relations at Georgetown University's Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, spoke Feb. 27 at Saints Peter and Paul Antiochian Orthodox Church in Potomac, MD. She discussed the...
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