Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Articles from Vol. 26, No. 7, September/October

A First-Hand Look at the Impact on Neighboring Countries of Iraqi Refugees
ALTHOUGH POLLS show an overwhelming majority of Americans opposed to any further U.S. military presence in Iraq, that apparently is not enough to move the Democrats in Congress to put their power of appropriations to good use and to cut off funds for...
Again, Congressional Politics Prevents Any Meaningful Action on Iraq
Once again, the leaderships of both parties in the Senate seemed more interested in scoring political points and satisfying their extreme left or right wings than in finding some compromise way to change President George W. Bush's hard-line strategy...
Al Jazeera English: The Brave New Channel They Don't Want You to See
THE NEW Al Jazeera English-language news channel, launched in November 2006, can be seen in 85 million households around the world, in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia. In Israel alone, half a million viewers tune in to watch the station....
Ambassador Philip Wilcox Examines Next Step in Peace Process
THE SECOND EVENT in the Palestine Center's Intern Summer Lecture Series was entitled "The Next Step in the Peace Process." The speaker for the July 15 lecture was Ambassador Philip Wilcox, president of the Foundation for Middle East Peace and former...
Appeals Court to Decide Whether to Reinstate Corries' Lawsuit against Caterpillar
CINDY AND CRAIG Corrie, the parents of Rachel Corrie, along with four Palestinian families, continue to seek some level of accountability in the form of a federal lawsuit they initiated in March 2005 against Illinois-based Caterpillar, Inc. The Corries...
"Arab Talk" Brings Up-to-Date News on the Middle East to Bay Area Radio Listeners
TWO YEARS after the debut broadcast of "Arab Talk with Jess and Jamal," the program has garnered an increasing number of loyal San Francisco listeners. Airing Thursdays at 2 p.m. on 89.5 FM KPOO public radio station, the one-hour program features up-to-date...
As Musharraf's Troubles Continue, India Elects a Woman President
MEETING ON JULY 20, Pakistan's Supreme Court justices declared that President Pervez Musharraf's March 9 suspension of chief judge Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhri was "illegal" and in violation of the country's constitution. The ruling represents the first...
Catastrophe at Rafah Crossing: More Than 35 Dead-And Counting
PERCHED ATOP A suitcase and trunk, her leg knocking listlessly with staccato thuds on vinyl, newly engaged 23-year-old Islam Al Assar waits on the Gaza side of the Rafah border crossing to Egypt.And waits. And waits."I'm waiting for my happiness," she...
Convicted Bomber of Pan Am Flight 103 May Have Been Wrongly Sentenced
THE SCOTTISH CRIMINAL Cases Review Commission ruled on June 28 that there may have been a miscarriage of justice in the conviction of Libyan intelligence officer Abdel Basit Ali Megrahi for the Dec. 21, 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie,...
Criminalizing Compassion in the "War on Terror"
DENIS HALLIDAY, former U.N. assistant secretary-general and head of the U.N. Humanitarian Program in Iraq 1997 and 1998, spoke at an evening panel discussion at Syracuse University Maxwell School of Citizenship. The June 28 event was titled, "The Iraq...
Des Moines Jury Finds Protesters Not Guilty
IN A DRAMATIC ending to a three-day trial, a jury unanimously found five Iowa peace activists "not guilty" of charges of trespassing at the Des Moines office of Iowa Republican Sen. Charles Grassley in February. Acquitted in the July 11 verdict were...
Displaced Palestinians at Lebanon's Badawi Camp Dream of Refugee Camp "Home"
BADAWI CAMP in the north of Lebanon is not much different from any other Palestinian refugee camp in the country. Lacking any effective infrastructure or services, the crowded streets are narrow and filthy, with tiny shops crammed along both sides, as...
Fallen Press Baron Conrad Black: A Canadian Neocon
FOR THE THREE years I served in Rhodes, Greece with the U.S. Information Agency, perhaps my only complaint was the dearth of English-language daily newspapers. The New York Times arrived about six days late and The International Herald Tribune wasn't...
Filmmaker Mohammad Bakri Screens His Latest Film in New York
MOHAMMAD BAKRI'S latest film, the 2005 documentary "Since You Left," chronicles his life as a Palestinian in Israel since the uproar which greeted the 2002 screening in Israel of his "Jenin, Jenin." Bakri is an esteemed actor and director whose film...
From Sting to Frame-Up: The Case of Yassin Aref
FOR THE PAST three years, I have witnessed the federal government's attempt to destroy the life and family of Yassin Aref, a Muslim imam from Albany, New York. In 2004, the government brought bogus terrorism-related charges against him in an FBI sting...
Helena Cobban Analyzes Media Bias
AT THE JULY 17 program of the Jerusalem Fund's Summer Intern Lecture Series in Washington, DC, international affairs columnist Helena Cobban discussed "American Perceptions and Misconceptions: How Media Coverage Affects the Way We View the Palestinian-Israeli...
Illegal Settlements Damage Israel's Reputation
THE CENTER FOR American Progress presented a July 12 panel discussion on "Settlements vs. Security-Why Addressing Settlements is Critical to Next Steps in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict." Featured speakers at the Washington, DC event included Brigadier...
In Iowa, Rep. Ron Paul Upstages Six Republican Presidential Hopefuls
WHEN TWO IOWA organizations, Iowans for Tax Relief (ITR) and the Iowa Christian Alliance (ICA), planned a June 30 Des Moines forum of presidential nomination candidates, they chose to exclude maverick Texas Rep. Ron Paul. The Republican congressman responded...
JDECO Struggles to Provide (Electric) Power to the (Palestinian) People
WHILE IT IS well known that Israel controls occupied Arab East Jerusalem and the West Bank through its military power, it is less well known that in these areas it also actually controls the "power"-as in electricity.The story of the Jerusalem District...
Jewish-American Activist Champions Cause of Israel's Disenfranchised Bedouin
AT FIRST GLANCE, a stranger might assume Devorah Brous is a nursery school teacher, or perhaps an art student, but in Israel, the nice Jewish girl from New Jersey is recognized as the champion of the disenfranchised Bedouins of the Negev Desert.On May...
Khalil Jahshan Calls International Peacemaking Efforts "Kafka-Esque"
THE PALESTINE CENTER presented "Dynamics of the Middle East," a lecture by Khalil Jahshan on July 10. Jahshan, a lecturer in International Studies and Languages at Pepperdine University, is the former executive vice president of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination...
Letters to the Editor
A Reader's EducationI JUST WANT to thank you for publishing your excellent magazine. A couple of years ago, your publication mysteriously started showing up in the lobby of the small hospital where I work. I ignored it for months because anything written...
Music and Art Thrive in Palestine
DESPITE THE distressing events taking place in Gaza, music, art, and culture are alive and thriving in the occupied territories, and Palestinians recently enjoyed summer festivals and music camps. The Jerusalem Festival came at a critical time, as numerous...
New Christian Group Meets in U.S. Capital to Support Israel
CHRISTIANS UNITED for Israel (CUFI), a right-wing evangelical organization, held its second Washington Israel Summit from July 16 to 18, crowned by a "Night to Honor Israel" on July 17 at the Washington Convention Center. Fifteen protesters stood outside...
Obituaries
Nazik Sadiq al-Mala'ika, 83, died June 20 in a Cairo hospital. She had Parkinson's disease. The oldest of seven children, she was born in Baghdad to a father who was a teacher, poet and editor of a 20-volume encyclopedia. Her mother, Um Nizar al-Mala'ika,...
"Occupation 101" Screening
AS PART OF THEIR "JUST Security" summer film series, on July 17 the Institute for Policy Studies and its think tank, Foreign Policy In Focus, presented the film "Occupation 101" at Busboys and Poets in Washington, DC."Occupation 101" is a comprehensive...
Other People's Mail
Some letters by or to other people are as informative for our readers as anything we might write ourselves.Responsible Journalism NeededTo The New York Times, July 30, 2007It's about time The Times started questioning its, and most mainstream media's,...
Peace Café Busload Takes in West Virginia Production of "My Name Is Rachel Corrie"
PEACE ACTIVIST and businessman Andy Shallal arranged for 35 participants of the Peace Café in Washington, DC to travel by bus to Shepherdstown, WV on July 8 to see the Contemporary American Theater Festival's (CATF) production of "My Name is Rachel Corrie."The...
Qatar Airways Celebrates New Doha-to-DC Flights
QATAR AIRWAYS celebrated the launch of its new daily direct flights between Washington, DC and Doha, Qatar with a spectacular gala dinner on July 23 at the Mandarin Hotel in Washington, DC. A few weeks earlier, the luxurious carrier launched direct flights...
"Reel Bad Arabs" Screened in Hollywood
THE HOLLYWOOD premiere of Jack Shaheen's "Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Vilifies a People" took place June 20 at the Directors Guild of America.In his introduction to the screening, Pulitzer-Prize winning Los Angeles Times TV critic Howard Rosenberg...
Rock for Peace Rocks Des Moines
In yet another show of grass roots support for Iowa's growing peace community, three Des Moines, IA rock and roll bands cranked up a room full of music for an appreciative crowd July 18 at the House of Bricks."We're here to rock for peace," said event...
Singapore, "Gandhi" and the Mexicans
WHEN SINGAPORE separated from Malaysia in 1965, it needed to provide itself with an effective army. It asked Israel for help, and the man sent to Singapore to discuss the assistance program was Rehavam Ze'evi, later notorious as an advocate of the "transfer"...
Soul-Searching Grows about Israel's 1967 Victory and about Entire Zionist Enterprise
The 40th anniversary of Israel's victory in the 1967 Six-Day War produced much soul-searching both within Israel and throughout the world.Describing Israel's victory as appearing increasingly "Pyrrhic," The Economist declared: "Part of the trouble was...
Surprisingly Strong Security Council Resolution on Darfur Offers Some Hope
IT IS TRUE THAT lobbies that show no concern for the Palestinians have been kicking up a fuss about Darfur. Many of them are sincerely concerned about the hundreds of thousands killed and millions made homeless, but one can't help thinking that some...
The Peace Process Has No Clothes
THE CARNEGIE Endowment for International Peace hosted scholars Nathan Brown and Daniel Levy on June 25 for a discussion on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict entitled, "The Peace Process Has no Clothes." The event was moderated by Marina Ottaway, director...
"Threads of Pride" in Dearborn
ONE YEAR after the tremendous success of "Sovereign Threads" hosted by the Craft and Folk Art Museum in Los Angeles, CA, the exhibit "Threads of Pride: Palestinian Traditional Costumes" has opened in the Main Floor Gallery of the Arab American National...
Turks Divided on Implications of July Parliamentary Election Results
PLAYING TO A packed crowd outside his headquarters on the night of his party's recent historic re-election victory, Turkish Prime Minister Recip Tayyip Erdogan declared that the real winners were "democracy, security and stability." The crowd, as the...
UNRWA Representative Saahir Lone Describes Emergency in Gaza
THE JERUSALEM FUND in Washington, DC hosted a June 26 discussion with Saahir Lone, senior liaison officer at the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) Representative Office to the United Nations in New York. Lone discussed UNRWA's concerns regarding...
Upcoming Events
The 44th Annual ISNA Convention will be held Aug. 30 to Sept. 3 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, 5555 N. River Road, Rosemont, IL 60018. For more information, or to register, call (317) 839-8157 or visit <www.isna.net>.The 29th National...
U.S. and Israel Confront Middle East Realities
WHEN FORMER Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon joined a newly elected Likud government as minister of agriculture in 1977, his first priority was to make sure that Israel retained permanent control of the West Bank and its water sources. Sharon's idea...
U.S. Middle East Policy: Strategic Implications
THE MIDDLE EAST Policy Council (MEPC) hosted the 49th presentation of its Capitol Hill Conference Series on U.S. Middle East Policy entitled "The Future of the Middle East: Strategic Implications for the United States." Panelists at the June 26 event...
Waiting for Paradise
Waiting for ParadiseBy Dan Drost, JanMar Publications, 2007, 362 pp. List: $18.95; AET: $16.95.Reviewed by Dan McGowanAn entertaining and exciting novel, Waiting For Paradise deals with the massacre at Deir Yassin and the ethnic cleansing that it ushered...
Withdrawing Troops from Iraq "Will Not End Homemade Terror," Argues Libération
The failed car bomb attacks in London June 29 and at Glasgow International Airport the following day provide a reminder that the terror threat is ever-present, said London's July 1 Sunday Times. "At least this time, the security services can take comfort...
Your Presence Is Requested, Mr. Omer
EXHAUSTED YET excited, I arrived in Amsterdam on my 23rd birthday at the behest of The Standing Committee for Foreign Affairs. Thanks to a letter from Dutch Ambassador Jan Wijenberg, and the efforts of Mr. Hans Van Ballen, a member of the Dutch parliament...
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