Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Articles from Vol. 30, No. 6, August

"1001 Inventions" Exhibit Showcases Islamic Genuises from Cordoba, Cairo and Beyond
The "1001 Inventions from the Golden Age of Muslim Civilization" exhibit on view at the California Science Center through Dec. 31 is an educator's dream of hands-on, interactive learning. As we strolled among displays at the May 27 West Coast premiere...
Activists, American Victim of IDF Attack Discuss Palestinian Protests
The Institute for Middle East Understanding (IMEU) hosted a June 3 online conference entitled "The June 5th Protests: The Arab Spring Continues in Palestine." The discussion focused on the upcoming border rallies planned in Lebanon, Syria, and the Palestinian...
ADC Conference Panelists Discuss Present, Future of Arab World
Waves of protests throughout the Middle East have captured the world's attention, prompting questions about the current situation, what the future holds for the region, and what the international community can do to support the efforts of those involved...
ADC Gala Awards Dinner
The Saturday evening Gala Awards Dinner opened with a recording of the widely celebrated musical piece by composer Malek Jandali entitled "Watani Ana." ADC members thanked Sara Najjar-Wilson for her voluntary service as ADC president in 2010 and 2011,...
After Six-Year Wait, Israel Affirms Rights of Pregnant Migrant Workers
The Israeli Supreme Court struck a rare blow for the rights of migrant workers when it ruled against the government's procedure for dealing with pregnant migrant workers. Women migrant workers who were lawfully present and gave birth had to choose between...
AIC Conference: The U.S. and the Future of the Middle East
The afternoon portion of American Iranian Council's (AIC) June 7 conference was geared toward a discussion of the U.S. role in the future of the Middle East and North Africa region.John Esposito, director of the Alwaleed Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding...
Ambassaor Afif Safieh Discusses the Future of Israel and Palestine
Palestinian Ambassador Afif Safieh delivered a June 9 talk on "Israel and Palestine: Which Way Forward" to a diverse audience at the World Affairs Council in Washington, DC. The distinguished diplomat, who has served as Palestinian general delegate to...
Are We Nearing the End of the Tunnel in Afghanistan?
Col. Muammar Qaddafi is a brutal dictator whose own people have turned against him, but he nevertheless asked a valid question in early June as NATO's day and night bombing raids were obliterating his headquarters in Tripoli. "Why this constant bombing?"...
At Brookings Institution, Alain Juppé Discusses the Arab Spring
French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé delivered a talk entitled "The Arab Spring: Hopes and Challenges" to a capacity-filled room at the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC on June 6.Juppé, who has served in various capacities in the French government...
CNI Questions Military Aid to Israel
The Council for the National Interest (CNI) Foundation held a May 23 press briefing at the National Press Club in Washington, DC on the topic "Questioning Military Aid to Israel." CNI board member Peter Viering introduced the speakers, who discussed...
Comings and Goings around the U.N
In most countries, left-wing and liberal legislators are reliable friends of the United Nations and supporters of the U.N. Charter. Not, however, in the U.S., where the issue of Israel distorts the political spectrum like a huge blue hole pulling politicians...
Commemorating the Catastrophe by Celebrating Ethnic Heritage
Thousands of Palestinians in the Chicago area commemorated 63 years of al Nakba (catastrophe) in Bridgeview on May 22 by celebrating their heritage with an outdoor festival hosted by the Chicago chapter of American Muslims for Palestine (AMP). The daylong...
Congress Seems Divided over How to React to Events in Libya
In May and June many members of Congress seemed more concerned about protecting their prerogatives than with what was happening in Libya. Much of the debate involved the applicability of the War Powers Act (WPA) to U.S. involvement there. As reported...
CSIS Panel Discusses Countering Islamic Radicalization in the U.S
At the Center for Strategic and International Studies Global Security Forum on June 9, several terrorism and intelligence experts discussed "Deradicalization: Oasis or Mirage?" Panelists focused on the potential for Islamic radicalization in the U.S....
Despite Increased Attempts to Stifle Dissent, Jewish Criticism of Israel's Policies Grows
To the dismay of the organized American Jewish community, and despite its increasingly strident efforts to silence dissent, Jewish criticism of Israel's policies continues to grow.Even the slightest hint of concern about the treatment of Palestinians...
Egypt from Tahrir to Transition
Mohamed Younis, a senior analyst for the newly established Abu Dhabi Gallup Center, presented an analysis and set of recommendations on the current state of post-revolution Egypt. The June 7 presentation was held at Washington, DC's Gallup Center, where...
Emerging New Realities
At a June 11 ADC panel on "Emerging New Realities in the Arab World," Samer Shehata, assistant professor of Arab politics at Georgetown University, expressed his opinion that the 2011 revolts undoubtedly mark a distinct moment in history that will be...
Evaluating International Human Rights Law a Decade after 9/11
On June 3 the newly minted headquarters of the United States Institute of Peace on Constitution Avenue in Washington, DC still rang with the sounds of last-minute construction. Despite this, along with some dust, the striking new building was the perfect...
Farzaneh Milani's Latest Book, Words, Not Swords
Iranian author and scholar Farzaneh Milani spoke at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, DC on June 1 in conjunction with the publication of her new book, Words, Not Swords. Dr. Milani discussed the issue of women's rights, focusing on Iranian women...
First Move over AIPAC Conference
A coalition of more than 100 organizations endorsed and sent speakers as well as attendees to the "Move Over AIPAC: Building a New U.S. Middle East Policy" conference in Washington, DC from May 21-24. Timed to coincide with the annual policy meeting...
Inside Pakistan's ISI: Who Knew about Bin Laden?
American skepticism and increased scrutiny of the intentions of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) have been hot topics of discussion since the killing of Osama bin Laden in early May. So many people expressed interest in attending a June 13...
Iowa Groups Sponsor Palestine/Israel Conference
Representatives of a growing coalition of mostly faith-based Iowa peace and social justice groups met in Ankeny at Our Lady's Immaculate Heart Church on June 4 to advance their plans for an Oct. 14-15 conference on "Changing U.S. Policy in Palestine-Israel:...
Iranian Journalist Maziar Bahari's Book Then They Came for Me
Maziar Bahari, co-author with Aimee Molly of Then They Came for Me: A Family's Story of Love, Captivity, and Survival, discussed his book at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (CEIP) in Washington, DC on June 13.One reason Bahari, an Iranian-Canadian...
Israel's "Iron Wall" Extends to Sudan
Reports vary: the attack may have been executed with a missile fired from the Red Sea, or by aircraft-a plane and/or helicopters-flying in from the Red Sea. Israel's Foreign Ministry has refused comment, but it is clear that Israel extra-judicially murdered...
Janan Collection Raises Funds for Iraqi Women Artists
Three years ago Major Ty Nguyen-Reed, one of a handful of Vietnamese-American female officers serving in the Army, and her sister Teresa Nguyen launched Janan Collection, a non-profit organization to promote and preserve Iraqi artistic tradition and...
Letters to the Editor
Who Does Congress Represent?Thank you for your June 8 e-mail alert regarding the USS Liberty commemorations.I would like to add that a disgraceful U.S. Congress passed a resolution back in 2010 calling for "the immediate and unconditional release of...
Libya and the Responsibility to Protect (R2P)
The crisis in Libya has focused attention on the complex issue of "Responsibility to Protect (R2P)," which was addressed by panelists at a June 16 event at the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC, co-hosted by the United States Institute of Peace...
Mark Braverman Delivers Iowa MFSA Keynote Speech
Mark Braverman, executive director of the Holy Land Peace Project, delivered the keynote speech at the Methodist Federation for Social Action (MFSA) Iowa Chapter's annual banquet and awards night on June 5 at the Scottish Rite Consistory in Des Moines.Born...
Misunderstandings about Jerusalem's Temple Mount
While it has not been widely published, it assuredly has been known for more than 40 years that the 45-acre, well-fortified place that has been mistakenly called the "Temple Mount" was really the Roman fortress-the Antonia-that Herod built. The Dome...
NAAJA Conference an Inspiration-And Major Networking Opportunity
The National American Arab Journalists Association (NAAJA), founded in 1999, held its sixth annual national conference in Dearborn, MI, April 29 to May 1, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel. Dearborn Mayor Jack O'Reilly spoke forcefully about the racism of Rev....
Obituaries
Ezzatollah Sahabi, 81, head of Iran's reformist Council of Nationalist-Religious Coalition, died May 1 after suffering a stroke the previous day. A former member of the Iranian parliament, he spent many years in and out of prison, both before and after...
Omar Al Mashadani Discusses "Iraq and the Arab Spring"
Omar Al Mashadani, a former spokesman for the Iraqi parliament, political activist, and a Woodrow Wilson Public Policy scholar, spoke June 8 at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, DC. Among the topics he discussed was Iraq's current political structure,...
Other People's Mail
Most Dangerous BorderTo The Economist, June 2, 2011Your bold analysis of "The world's most dangerous border" between India and Pakistan (May 21) missed one important factor: population. Pakistan is one-fifth larger in area than Texas, but by 2050 it...
Painter Helen Zughaib: A Foot in Two Countries and Two Cultures
During Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's visit to the White House last year, President Barack Obama presented the leader with a gift: a painting by Arab-American artist Helen Zughaib.The piece, "Midnight Prayers," notable for its symbolism and rich...
Palestinian Children Targeted as Israel Crushes Unrest
SILWAN, Palestine-"Father please help me! Don't let them take me away," screamed 12-year-old Ahmed Siyam as approximately 50 heavily armed Israeli soldiers and police dragged the handcuffed and blindfolded boy away.Last month Ahmed was pulled out of...
Palestinian Statehood Resolution Sets off Alarm Bells in Israel and Washington
When the history of the Arab Spring comes to be written, the Palestinians' current uprising against the Israeli occupation will surely take its place alongside the heroic efforts by Egyptians and Tunisians to oust their own oppressive rulers. Forty years...
Publishers' Page
Why Is Israel Such a Scaredy-Cat?It's not because of Hamas, Hezbollah, secret plans to build Iranian nukes, or any of the usual "terrorism threats" that Tel Aviv trots out to inspire American Israel-firsters to open their wallets or pass embarrassing...
Revolution and Women's Rights: The Case of Egypt
Five women discussed the role of women in present-day Egypt at a June 15 event at Washington, DC's Woodrow Wilson Center. The speakers focused on current feminist endeavors, such as forming women's organizations to fight against the inequality they face...
SALAM Masjid and Center for Higher Islamic Learning Opens in Sacramento
After 23 years of planning, fund-raising and building, the SALAM Masjid and Center for Higher Islamic Learning in Sacramento celebrated completion of its final phase of construction with a facility tour and reception on April 29.The 22,000-square-foot...
Saudis Throw Down the Gauntlet
Saudi Arabia has apparently dropped the gauntlet in its loud tiff with the Obama administration's "misguided policies" toward the Middle East and particularly its stance on the Palestinian debacle, now in its 64th year, where Barack Obama recently reiterated...
Social Media Not Just for Socializing
The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) hosted a panel on "Social Networking in a Changing Media." Moderated by new media consultant William Youmans, the discussion featured Jillian C. York, director of International Freedom of Expression...
Speaking Out: A Congressman's Lifelong Fight against Bigotry, Famine, and War
Speaking Out: A Congressman's Lifelong Fight Against Bigotry, Famine, and War By Paul Findley, Lawrence Hill Books, 2011, hardcover, 330 pp. List: $29.95; AET: $19.Reviewed by Andrew I. KillgoreTwenty-five years ago Congressman Paul Findley wrote the...
Sufi Muslim Conference in Washington, DC
"Piety, Poetry, and Politics: Sufi Muslims in South Asia," a three-day conference from April 28-30, was sponsored by the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) and the Smithsonian Institution's Freer and Sackler Galleries....
The New Security Dynamic in the Mediterranean
The Global Security Forum of the Center Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, DC held a panel discussion on June 8 that focused on the strategic role of the Mediterranean. Though often studied in the context of history and culture,...
The United States Is Losing Pakistan
The U.S. and Pakistani governments seem to be heading for a divorce full of recriminations. So great are the divergent objectives and lack of trust between them that Pakistan seems to be contemplating moving out of America's orbit altogether and into...
Third Annual Omani Cultural Day
The Middle East Institute's (MEI) third annual Omani Cultural Day took place June 11 at the Washington, DC-based institute's Sultan Qaboos Cultural Center (SQCC). The event featured a variety of experiences, from food to music to traditional Omani arts...
Turkey: The Mideast's Real Revolution
The revolutions and uprising that have been sweeping across the Mideast are widely believed to have begun in Tunisia. In fact, the first seeds of revolution were planted in 2002 in Turkey, as its Justice and Development Party began the long, arduous...
Two NYC Panels Discuss the Goldstone Report and Goldstone's Op-Ed Retreat
The response of Israel and the U.S. to the September 2009 release of the Report of the United Nations Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, aka the Goldstone Report, was a concerted effort to make it disappear. They had almost succeeded when the...
Waiting in Line at the ATM Machine for Overdue Paychecks to Arrive
Fidgeting, leaning into shade as the sun crests toward noon, several hundred men and women wait...and wait. On a warm June day, these weary Palestinians stand in line at the Bank of Palestine's ATM machine on Gaza City's Omar Al-Mukhtar Street-a sight...
William J. Fallon Discusses the Future of U.S.- Iran Relations
Admiral William J. Fallon, former commander of U.S. Central Command, delivered a keynote address titled "The Changing Middle East and Implications for U.S.-Iran Relations" at the American Iranian Council's (AIC) June 7 conference at the Omni Shoreham...