Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Articles from Vol. 23, No. 1, January/February

After a Slow Start, Israel's U.N. "Charm Offensive" Sputters to a Halt
Ariel Sharon went to Moscow in November and seemed to have convinced himself, and even some of the Israeli reporters who accompanied him, that he had persuaded President Vladimir Putin to drop Russia's proposed security Council resolution endorsing the...
After Initial Openness, Indonesia Moves to Hide Horror in Aceh
Pictures from war zones make a big difference: as far as most of the world is concerned, if it doesn't see images of a conflict in the media, it might as well not be happening. Governments and their armies know this, which is why, when they go about...
After Year of Uncertainty, American Muslim Charitable Donations Rebound
It has now been two years since the administration of President George W. Bush shut down several major American Muslim charities on the nebulous grounds of "financing terrorism." In December 2001, during the height of the Ramadan charitable giving season-and...
Ali Shaar on Deteriorating Health Conditions in the Occupied Territories
At an Oct. 23 Palestine Center briefing, health specialist AIi Shaar reported that an alarming number of Palestinian households were consuming contaminated water. This was but one of many disturbing results of a study of 50 Palestinian communities. The...
Ambassador Jazairy Gives Algerian View on Terrorism
Algerian Ambassador Idriss Jazairy spoke on the subject of terrorism to San Francisco's World Affairs Council Oct. 20. The program was co-sponsored by the Algerian-American Association of Northern California.Jazairy began by reviewing terrorism in Algeria...
Ambassadors Examine Widening Gap in Diplomacy between U.S. and Arab World
A distinguished panel of Arab ambassadors to the U.S. discussed the widening gaps in politics, economics and public diplomacy between the U.S. and the Arab and Muslim world at the National Press Club in Washington, DC on Nov. 24. The event, sponsored...
American Educational Trust: Publishers' Page
That Ain't No Fence. . .On the front cover of this first issue of 2004. The shocking reality of the Separation Wall Israel is constructing in the occupied Palestinian territories is that it does, indeed, block the sunsets from some of the Palestinian...
Arabian Peninsula
Arab, Western Journalists Debate At Media Summit in DubaiIn its coverage of the Iraq war, the Arab media was more objective than the Western media, Jihad Al-Khazen, a writer with AlHayat newspaper, told a group of fellow reporters during the second day...
Are Istanbul Bombings of Jewish, UK Targets Also "Al-Qaeda's Answer to Turkey"?
"Many people made the mistake of I V I thinking, 'now they've hit us, they won't do it again,'" says Rusen Cakir, a leading expert on Turkey's Islamist groups. "Perhaps we'll know now not to make that error again."With four massive bomb blasts echoing...
Avi Shlaim on Israel's Various Histories
Human RightsProfessor Avi Shlaim presented a lecture on "The War of the Israeli Historians" Dec. 1 at an event sponsored by Georgetown University's Center for Contemporary Arab Studies (CCAS) at the campus Intercultural Center Auditorium. Shlaim, a professor...
Burg, Falk on Peace and International Law in Israel and Palestine
As part of its Advocacy Week, the World Council of Churches (WCC) held a public seminar on "Peace and International Law in Israel and Palestine" in New York Nov. 11. Avraham Burg, current member and former speaker of the Israeli Knesset, began by informing...
Bush's "Forward Strategy" for Freedom in the Middle East
President George W. Bush and his administration have embarked on a concerted effort to staunch the slipping support at home and abroad for the U.S. occupation of Iraq. Previously, the president had mentioned the spread of Middle Eastern democracy as...
Bush's Latest Two Trips Included a Major Surprise
President George W. Bush made the first U.S. presidential visit to Iraq in history on Nov. 27, Thanksgiving Day. Traveling in utmost secrecy, Bush's Air Force One plane landed using no lights of any kind. L. Paul Bremer told 600 members of the First...
Bush Whacked in Iraq
In one of his statements about Iraq, George W. Bush said, "We have a moral obligation to leave Iraq better than we found it." he is correct. Restoring the infrastructure we destroyed, getting the schools and hospitals operational after 12 years of sanctions,...
Clifford J. Quinlan (1922-2003)
Retired U.S. foreign service officer Clifford (Patrick) Quinlan of Edina, Minnesota, died on Oct. 27. He was 81 years of age.Pat Quinlan served as Middle East adviser to the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, as political officer at the American Embassy...
Congress Posses Slightly Modified Syria Accountability Act
Following the House passage of H.R. 1828, the Syria Accountability Act (see the previous issue of this magazine), the Senate quickly took up and passed the bill on Nov. 11, Veterans Day. Rather than taking up its own version of the bill, S. 982, the...
Convenings, Call for Papers, Student Chat, Training Tool, Deaths
MAS/ICNA ConventionThe Muslim American Society and Islamic Circle of North America will hold their annual joint convention Dec. 24-28 at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Chicago. This year's theme is "Muslims, Citizens of the West: Rights, Duties and Prospects."...
Corrie Family Members Lead Caterpillar Protest in Ames, Iowa
"No more bulldozers to Israel!""Bulldoze the wall, not more homes!"Chant after chant echoed across the sprawling campus of Iowa State University (ISU) in Ames Nov. 7 at a protest against Caterpillar, Inc. organized by members of Rachel Corrie's family....
Daher's Vineyard: A Bethlehem Christian Family Struggles to Keep the Family Farm
"Every time I visit Israel and the occupied territories I set aside a day or so for farm work. Though I enjoy the historic sites and am fascinated by the archaeology, I also feel compelled to blister my hands by working the Palestinian soil. No it's...
Deja Vu All over Again? U.S., Israel Escalate Threats against Syria
At the end of November, former head of Israeli military intelligence Major-General Shlomo Gazit accused Ariel Sharon of trying to provoke a fight with Syria to provide an excuse for an Israeli attack. Sharon was running an "orchestrated campaign to incite...
Dr. Mustafa Barghouti Delivers Edward Said Lecture at Princeton
Dr. Mustafa Barghouti gave the first Edward Said Memorial Lecture at Princeton University on Nov. 6. A year and a half ago, Barghouti and the late Professor Said, along with Dr. Haider Abdel Shafi and Ibrahim Dakak, founded Al Mubadara, the Palestinian...
Even in the Never-Never Land of Israeli Intelligence, the Truth Occasionally Will Out
It's no secret that much of the news reported in Israel's Hebrew-language media never reaches the mainstream American press, for the simple reason that items unfavorable to Israel generally are not translated. And, because very few Israelis break this...
Failed Strategies, Continued Resistance May Force Bush and Sharon to Change Course
We are in trouble in Iraq and I think there is no other way to say it.-Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE), Nov. 14.Many Israelis thought we could defeat the Palestinians by military means...but this hasn't worked. We have to change direction.-Ami Ayalon, chief...
From Oslo to the Geneva Accords: A Rough Terrain
The recent Geneva initiative agreed upon by Israeli opposition figures and Palestinian negotiators has been "grasping the attention" of the world, according to political analyst and commentator Ibrahim Dakkak, who spoke at a Nov. 4 briefing at the Palestine...
From the West Bank to the West Coast: "Tear Down the Wall!"
A Sampling of the Nov. 9 Day of SolidarityZububa, West Bank:We made clear that no walls would stand between the people.Some 200 Palestinians, 35 Israelis and a similar number of internationals gathered Nov. 9 in the village of Zububa to mark the international...
Georgetown Honors Edward Said
Arab-American A clivi.smThe mood was somber as the crowd gradually filled Georgetown University's Gaston Hall Nov. 13 to remember the late Palestinian scholar Edward W. Said. Said had last addressed the Georgetown community in September 2001 and, ironically,...
Helping Bangladeshi Girls, Women
Mashuda Khatun Shefali, executive director of Nari Uddug Kendra (NUK), a human rights group for Muslim women, was the keynote speaker at the Oct. 30 meeting of the Sufi Women's Organization held at the Garden Court Restaurant in Novato, California.Tabra...
Hussein Ibish on Neocons and the Quagmire in Iraq
Hussein Ibish, communications director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), gave an Oct. 19 talk entitled "From Cakewalk to Quagmire: the Bush Doctrine and its Discontents," sponsored by the Princeton Middle East Society.Ibish began...
Ian Williams Wonders If Syria Is Next
Looking at the world from a "TIN. perspective," journalist Ian Williams, appearing at the Palestine Center Nov. 7, detailed Syria's recent performance as a rotating member of the security Council (see story on p. 11 of this issue). The U.N. correspondent...
Iran/iraq
New Baghdad a "City of Graffiti"Post-war Baghdad has yet to have an elected government, constitution or parliament. To fill the power vacuum, political parties have begun spreading their messages on the walls of the ravaged Iraqi capital, the Saudi Gazette...
Islam and the Mideast in the Far East; after Initial Openness, Indonesia Moves to Hide Horror in Aceh
John Gee is a free-lance journalist based in Singapore and the author of Unequal Conflict: Israel and the Palestinians, available from the AET Book Club.Pictures from war zones make a big difference: as far as most of the world is concerned, if it doesn't...
Is "Prince of Darkness" Richard Perle about to Go Down in Flames?
Richard Perle has played the American political system like an orchestra. In Tehran in 1973 he informed this writer that it was Sen. Henry (Scoop) Jackson of Washington state, for whom Perle was administrative assistant at the time, who got him interested...
Israel/palestine
Brownback Calls for Embassy MoveSenator Sam Brownback (R-KS) has presented a resolution calling for the relocation of the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and the naming of Jerusalem as Israel's undivided capital, the Nov. 20 Washington Jewish...
Israel's "Security" or "Apartheid" Wall
Catherine Cook gave a presentation on "The Israeli Wall: security or Apartheid?" Nov. 24 at the George Washington University in Washington, DC. American Muslims for Jerusalem-a Washington-based non-profit educational organization-sponsored the event...
It's Time to Stand Back from the Iraqi Cliff
The current situation in Iraq is the result of policies that were ill conceived a year ago. After the fall of the Saddam statue six months ago in Baghdad's Ferdous Park, the Iraqis were liberated from the tyrannical rule they had endured for 35 years....
"Jerusalem Women" Visit Wilmington, Delaware
Rawan Damen, a 24-year-old documentary filmmaker from Ramallah, joined the 16-day tour of "Jerusalem Women Speak: Three Women, Three Faiths, One Shared Vision" at the last minute as a replacement for Zleikha Muhtaseb, who was unable to leave via Jordan....
Joyce Davis on the Muslim World
Muslim-American Activism"The divide that is developing between the Islamic world and the West is serious and dangerous," former deputy foreign editor for Knight Ridder Newspapers Joyce Davis said Nov. 6 at Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced...
Letters to the Editor
Worst Predictions RealizedNow that Coalition deaths have reached the 493 mark, 417 of which are U.S. troops, and 7,000 of our troops are being treated for injuries including lost limbs and serious brain injuries, the casualty rate is now higher than...
Love and Marriage in Israel: Palestinian and Non-Orthodox Israelis Need Not Apply
In February of last year, GiIi and Sagi, a young Israeli couple, were "married" at sea-a marriage not legally recognized by the State of Israel. Although both are Jewish, the couple objected to the only marriage option open to them in Israel: an Orthodox...
Muslim- and Arab-Americans Seek a Presidential Peacemaker to Support in 2004
After 9/11, growing numbers of Muslim Americans turned to the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) to safeguard their civil rights and to keep abreast of political issues. These days CAIR, established to promote a positive image of Islam and...
National Endowment for the Humanities Announces Summer Seminars, Institutes
At the conclusion of last month's column, I speculated about the nature of future National Endowment for the Humanities (NBH) offerings. Indeed, the CampusWatch/Middle East Forum crowd for some time has been calling for greater "scrutiny" of various...
Neocons, Christian Zionists Assessed
The Palestine Center's annual conference, held Nov. 21 at its Washington, DC headquarters on the theme "The Middle Bast After the Iraq War," featured a panel on "The Contemporary American Political Landscape and the Middle East." As moderator Samih Farsoun...
New Findings Reveal Israel and the U.S. Covered Up Attack on USS Liberty
A report released Oct. 22 on Capitol Hill by former officials from the highest level of the military and government revealed that Israel "committed acts of murder against American servicemen and an act of war against the United States" when it deliberately...
North Africa
Algeria Promises Scholarships for Ugandan StudentsThe Algerian ambassador to Uganda, Belaid Hadjem, announced his country would continue giving scholarships to Ugandan students every year, allAfrica.com reported Dec. 1. Speaking at a reception to mark...
Other People's Mail
Some letters by or to other people are as informative for our readers as anything we might write ourselves.History LessonTo The Washington Post, Nov. 17, 2003.The Nov. 10 news story "Iraq Warns of Delay on Constitution, Vote" suggested that history is...
PA Foreign Minister Nabil Sha'ath Still "Hopeful" about Peace Agreement
The breakdown in Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations is "not the end of a dream," Palestinian Foreign Minister Nabil Sha'ath told an audience of 200 at San Francisco's Sir Francis Drake Hotel. The current situation for the Palestinians, however, is...
Pakistan Takes First Small Step toward Resumption of Peace with India
During most of Ramadan (i.e., a good part of November), the Middle East and South Asia witnessed increased violence. Pakistan, however-at least temporarily-reduced tensions with India by announcing a unilateral cease-fire across the U.N.-chartered Line...
Palestine Center Remembers Edward Said
Mourners packed the Palestine Center in Washington, DC on Saturday, Nov. 1 to remember Edward Said on what would have been his 68th birthday. Fellow academics from various fields, institutions and locales came to pay tribute to Said's scholarly, political...
Panel Scrutinizes Political Reform in Saudi Arabia
The New Republic, a national 40-page weekly news magazine published by Martin Peretz, hosted a panel on "Political Reform in Saudi Arabia" at the Senate Office Building on Oct. 2, to examine the Kingdom's political future. Disappointingly, there were...
Ramadan Iftar at the U.S. House of Representatives
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) held an iftar, or Ramadan fast-breaking, at sunset on Nov. 12 at the House judiciary Committee Hearing Room on Capitol Hill. CAIR executive director Nihad Awad welcomed guests, including lawmakers, ambassadors...
Roger Cook's "Thinking from Inside the Box"
The work of internationally acclaimed graphic designer, photographer and artist Roger Cook was on exhibit throughout November at the Palestine Center in Washington, DC. Cook, whose Arabic name, Rajie, derives from the word for hope, lives in Washington...
Scholars at UCLA Said Memorial Call for Palestinians to Write Their Own Narrative
"Carrying the Torch of His Legacy: the Mission, the Mind, the Man" was the theme of a Nov. 15 memorial honoring Edward Said and hosted by the United Arab Society of UCLA. More than 400 guests filled Schoenberg Hall for the event featuring three speakers...
Secretary's Open Forum Examines Public Diplomacy
Waging PeaceThe secretary of State's Open Forum series hosted a Nov. 20 panel discussion at the State Department on "Distorted Images: The Role of Global Media in Public Diplomacy. Misperceptions Between America and the Muslim and Arab Worlds." Ambassador...
Suzanne Goldenberg at Princeton
Suzanne Goldenberg, Middle East correspondent for the British newspaper The Guardian, was in Baghdad during the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq. She returned to Iraq in September to assess the current situation, and spoke about her findings Oct. 22 in...
The Clandestine Diary of an Ordinary Iraqi
The Clandestine Diary of an Ordinary Iraqi By Salam Pax, Grove Press, 2003, 206 pp. List: $13; AET: $9.75.One of the criticisms of the media coverage of the Iraq war was that the voice of "ordinary" people was seldom heard. Under Saddam Hussain, it was...
The "Clean Break" Plan: Implications for U.S. Middle East Policy
The Institute for Research: Middle East Policy (IRmep) held a Capitol Hill Forum Nov. 26 at the Rayburn House Congressional Office Building to discuss the likelihood that former American advisers to Israel have turned their 1996 policy plan for the Jewish...
The Geneva Accord
The Real Road to PeaceThe Geneva Accord, signed Dec. 1 at an impressive ceremony in which President Jimmy Carter and other Nobel Peace Prize laureates participated, deserves the active and whole-hearted support of everyone who genuinely cares about Israelis,...
The Path toward Peace?
Four Shin Bet Counter-intelligence Leaders Revile SharonWith the Palestinian intifada entering its fourth year, four former leaders of Shin Bet, Israel's top domestic security and intelligence agency, have joined in criticizing Israeli Prime Minister...
The Subcontinent
Pakistan Peeved at UK Spy ScandalPakistan sharply criticized the British government on Nov. 10 for failing to provide adequate information about a reported spy operation at its high commission in London by the British MI-5 intelligence agency, the Gulf...
'Tis the Season for Charitable Giving: A Washington Report Compendium
Alternative Gifts International: P.O. Box 3810 * Wichita, KS 67201-3810 <www.altgifts.org>Send gifts to the world's poor and to renew the planet's environmental health through 33 sponsored national and international relief and development projects....
Turkey Attacks Show Middle East Violence "Has Now Moved to Europe"
The twin suicide-bomb attacks on the British consulate and UK-based HSBC bank in Istanbul on Nov. 20 which killed 27 people left European editorial writers stunned. The bombings followed attacks on two Istanbul synagogues Nov. 15 which killed 23 people....
Unofficial Agreements Show That, with Support, Peace Is Possible
For many years, Israeli government officials and some of their American supporters have argued that peace between Israel and the Palestinians is not possible because there are no "partners for peace" among the Palestinians.Recently, however, two Israeli...
Young Palestinian Leaders Face Two Battles: Liberation, Democratization
According to presenters at a Nov. 14 panel discussion at Washington, DC's Palestine Center, young Palestinian leaders are waging a battle on two fronts: national liberation from an Israeli occupation, and the establishment of a democratic Palestinian...