Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Articles from Vol. 24, No. 4, May/June

"About Baghdad" Film a Big Hit
A March 18 screening of the new independent film "About Baghdad," by InCounter Productions, filled the Palestine Center in Washington, DC. "About Baghdad" follows exiled Iraqi writer and poet Sinan Antoon as he returns to Baghdad to see what has become...
AET's 2005 Choir of Angels
Following are individuals, organizations, companies and foundations whose help between Jan. 1 and April 5, 2005 is making possible activities of the tax-exempt AET Library Endowment (federal ID # 52-1460362) and the American Educational Trust, publisher...
Ambassadors Forum on Capitol Hill Examines Peace Prospects
Diplomatic DoingsAmbassadors from Egypt, Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority shared a March 14 Capitol Hill panel hosted by Americans for Peace Now (APN) to address issues of disengagement and the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.At the time,...
American Archaeologist Authenticates Afghanistan's Recovered National Treasures
Television viewers around the world witnessed the looting of priceless antiquities from Iraq's national museum as U.S. troops passively observed the blatant theft of a nation's heritage.It was presumed the same thing happened to Afghanistan's historical...
Amid Other Attacks on Academic Freedom, Columbia Crisis Continues
The long-awaited Columbia University Grievance Committee report investigating student charges of anti-Semitism and pro-Palestinian bias on campus finally was released in late March-and everybody is still angry.The committee consisting of five faculty...
An Open Letter to the President
Waging PeaceA nationwide Internet campaign to garner public support for sustained U.S. leadership in achieving a two-state resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was launched April 14 at the National Press Club. The Campaign for American Leadership...
Arabic Music in the Heartland
Arab-American ActivismThe Heartland Seminar on Arabic Music, the first event of its kind in the Midwest, was a rewarding experience for both faculty and participants. The five-day seminar, held March 19-24 at the DeKoven Center in Racine, WI, was sponsored...
Arab Studies Programs under Threat
Campus ActivismOn the occasion of its 30th anniversary, Georgetown University's Center for Contemporary Arab Studies (CCAS) hosted a two-day symposium March 31 and April 1 in Washington, DC on the state of Arab studies programs. Panelists discussed a...
Aspen Institute Holds Middle East Strategy Event
The Washington, DC-based Aspen Institute's new Middle East Strategy Group supports civil society and policy initiatives designed to create economic stakeholders for peace. Aspen President Walter Isaacson describes it as "an innovative approach to ancient...
Because of Jurors' Bias, Dr. Sami Al-Arian's Upcoming Trial May Not Be a Fair One
In the predawn hours of Feb. 20, 2003, Dr. Sami al-Arian, a tenured Palestinian-American engineering professor at the University of South Florida, was arrested at his home on charges of providing support for terrorism. Exploiting an environment filled...
Challenged on Its Mideast Coverage, Oregonian News Editors Cite AP Inaccuracies
A six-month statistical study of The Oregonian newspaper's coverage of Palestinian and Israeli deaths, released March 13, reveals a pattern of significant inaccuracies and omissions, and minimal reporting of critical information. The study was conducted...
Clovis Maksoud Describes "Lebanon at the Crossroads"
Upon his return to Washington, DC from Beirut, Ambassador Clovis Maksoud spoke to a full house at the Palestine Center on March 17. He described the healthy but still unstable situation in Lebanon following the Feb. 14, 2005 assassination of Lebanon's...
Disengagement: Reality or Illusion?
Disengagement-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's much-touted plan to evacuate Gaza-is a word one hears constantly. Some dismiss it as another Israeli ploy; others talk as if it's a fond hope. Still, until the third week of April, many thought it likely that...
FBI Investigation of AIPAC: Are Indictments in the Works?
Haaretz, the Israeli Hebrew-language daily, reported on March 18 that two officials had taken a paid leave of absence from AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, which is under investigation by the FBI. The officials are Steve Rosen, AIPAC's...
Geoffrey Aronson on Gaza Disengagement
On March 17 the Middle East Institute in Washington, DC hosted Geoffrey Aronson, director of research and publications for the Foundation for Middle East Peace, for a discussion on Israel's proposed redeployment from the Gaza Strip. Aronson, who had...
Giving Voice to the Arab League: Who Failed?
The Arab League ended its two-day summit in Algiers on March 23 with a reaffirmation of its 2002 resolution offering a comprehensive end to the Arab-Israeli conflict. It goes without saying that this 2005 reiteration is a significant act on the part...
Hanan Ashrawi Discusses the Changing Palestinian Political Landscape
If Israel continues to undermine the prospects for peace by dictating a solution to the Palestinians-through settlement expansion, the strangulation of the Palestinian economy, and unilateral actions-there will be an "Islamization" of Palestinian politics,...
House Tries to Restrict Aid for Palestinians
As part of the $81 billion supplemental spending bill, H.R. 1268, to help pay for the administration's adventures in Iraq and Afghanistan, the House on March 15 approved $200 million in additional aid for FY 2005 "for programs, activities, and efforts...
Intended Insult or Not, a U.N. Ambassador Bolton Sure to Further Isolate Washington
When United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan faced the press after the Volcker Report had effectively cleared him of using any influence on behalf of his son Kojo in the oil-for-Food Program, there was an uncanny pincer attack from the assembled...
Iraq Invasion Opened Pandora's Box
"The Middle East Cauldron" was the hot topic for a lively lecture by Ambassador Edward Gnehm at George Washington University on March 24. After completing his assignment as U.S. ambassador to Jordan, (and prior to that serving as ambassador to Australia...
Israeli Extremists Lose, as a New Generation of Palestinians Wins
They breathe the same air, drink the same water, are covered by the same blue sky, yet the extremists among the Israeli settlers in occupied Palestine live in a different universe from that of their Palestinian neighbors.Ariel Sharon, who originally...
"It's Time to End This War," Says Rep. Lynn Woolsey
Spending money in their local community instead of funding the war on Iraq was the focus of a March 4 rally and march in San Rafael, CA organized by Next Generation teen activists, the Marin Peace and Justice Coalition, and Presente.The afternoon event...
Jenin at Last: A Journey across the Roof of Palestine
AT LAST, AT LAST-More than two weeks after Muntasser qualified as an ambulance driver, and was short-listed for the job with the Union of Palestinian Medical Relief Committees (UPMRC) in Jenin, it looks as though we may be able to go for the interview...
Jerusalem Women Speak
Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) hosted a March 29 Capitol Hill briefing at the Rayburn House Office Building, the first stop on a Spring tour by Jerusalem Women Speak, sponsored by Partners for Peace. Johnson set the stage by saying, "I know...
Journalist John Cooley Discusses Iraq, Israel and the U.S
If there was one theme journalist John K. Cooley stressed at his March 24 appearance at the Palestine Center in Washington, DC, it was the danger of considering oneself a "Middle East expert." Equally dangerous, however, noted the widely respected author...
Journalist Yvonne Ridley's Eyewitness Account of Afghanistan
Award-winning British journalist Yvonne Ridley has written for the Sunday Times, the Observer, the Independent, and the Sunday Express. When she was captured by the Taliban in September 2001, however, she herself became headline news. Ridley told her...
Lebanon "Confronts Nightmare," Warns the Independent's Robert Fisk
As demonstrators took to Beirut's streets to call for an end to Syrian dominance, many newspapers heralded what they called Lebanon's "cedar revolution," referring to the tree which is the country's national emblem."Events since [former Lebanese Prime...
Letters to the Editor
April's Back CoverI was dumbstruck by the pathos represented by the picture on the back cover of your April 2005 issue. The face of the young girl-there are no words to describe the amount of pain and horror that she is experiencing at that moment.Multiply...
Other People's Mail
Some letters by or to other people are as informative for our readers as anything we might write ourselves.Double Standard!To Fort Worth Star-Telegram, March 8, 2005How is it that we can have in the StarTelegram a steady stream of Op-Ed pieces and editorials...
Palestinian "Women in Struggle"
At a March 16 event at the Palestine Center in Washington, DC, filmmaker Buthina Canaan Khoury, shared some of the fruits of a four-year-long project when she screened her new documentary movie, "Women in Struggle" (see review p. 74). Even though she...
Paved with Bad Intentions
Sharon's Gaza "Disengagement" PlanLast week, Israel's mainstream peace organizations held a demonstration in support of Ariel Sharon's disengagement plan. I agonized for days about whether to take part or not. The question continues to bother me, and...
Peace in Palestine Conference Proclaims New Initiative for Global "South"
"A global movement akin to the global campaign against apartheid in South Africa which led to the freeing of Nelson Mandela from incarceration and, eventually, to the crumbling of that racist system." That was the hope expressed for the Palestinians...
Prof. Deeb Blames Hariri Assassination on Syria
Marius Deeb, a professor of Middle East and Islamic studies at the John Hopkins University School for Advanced International Studies (SAIS) discussed his recent book, Syria's Terrorist War on Lebanon and the Peace Process, at an April 7 appearance at...
Prof. Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer Addresses Catholic Peace Ministry Award Celebration
Author Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer, assistant professor of Justice and Peace Studies at the University of St. Thomas, delivered a scathing indictment of predominantly Christian America's militarism in his keynote speech at the Catholic Peace Ministry's Annual...
Publishers' Page
AMERICAN EDUCATIONAL TRUSTWinter Turned to Spring Overnight...In Washington, DC this year. Cherry blossoms, red buds and pear trees competed with tulips and daffodils to transform the city into a crazy quilt of color. At the same time a flood of articles...
Queen Noor on "The Power of People with Faith to Accomplish Change"
As the second speaker in the Mosaic Foundation's lecture series "Legends In Their Own Right," Queen Noor addressed a capacity crowd of more than 600 at the World Bank on April 4. Her conversation with Walter Isaacson, president of the Aspen Institute,...
Rachel Corrie: The Beautiful Face of America
MARCH 16, 2003 WAS LIKE any afternoon in Rafah's Block O near the razed border with Egypt. Huge American-made Caterpillar bulldozers were threatening civilian homes, while a group of peace activists from the International Solidarity Movement wearing...
Rep. Henry Hyde (R-IL) Fights for Holy Land's Overlooked Christians
The venerable Rep. Henry Hyde is a staunch supporter of Israel, but he is also a prominent Catholic layman known for telling the truth. He did so two weeks ago to Israeli Vice Premier Shimon Peres. He made clear how unhappy he was that Israel's government...
The Power Business in North Africa: Opportunities in Libya and Egypt
The U.S.-Egypt Friendship Society convened a panel in Washington, DC March 8 on energy in North Africa. With the petroleum sector and emerging markets popular subjects these days, over 60 people attended.Panelists presented a positive message, ranging...
Thomas Reynolds Stauffer, Ph.D. (1935-2005)
I wish to reflect upon the death of a great and true friend, and an eminent and energetic participant in the debates over Middle East policy: Tom Stauffer. Tom passed away March 11 with his family at his side after a heroic battle with cancer.I had the...
USC Media Panel Examines Spin, Corporate Takeovers and Challenge of Internet
"The Big Lie? News, Media and the Fiction of Nonfiction" was the theme of an April 2 seminar at the University of Southern California (USC). A morning session focused on "Reporting the News" while the afternoon session dealt with "Spinning the News."USC...
U.S. Effort to "Spread Democracy" Leaves A Trail of Conflict and Suffering
One-tenth of Arabs live directly under foreign occupation.-Statement by Rima Khalaf, assistant secretary-general of the United Nations Development Program, New York Times, April 6, 2005.Given George Bush's practice of saying one thing while doing another...
USS Liberty: 38 Years and Counting
Thirty-eight years have passed since Israeli aircraft and motor torpedo boats attacked and nearly sank the American intelligence ship USS Liberty near the Gaza Strip on June 8, 1967, the fourth day of the Six-Day War. Of a crew of 294, 34 died and 172...
Vote Postponed after Acrimonious Bolton Confirmation Hearing
As expected, Senate confirmation hearings on the nomination of John R. Bolton as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations were rancorous. As Republicans on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee pushed for a hasty vote, Democrats raised new allegations...
Wahhabi Islam
Wahhabi Islam By Natana DeLong-Bas, Oxford University Press, 2004, 370 pp. List: $35; AET: $27.50.As I was reading Wahhabi Islam on the bus, a fellow passenger asked me if I was a professor or just eccentric. The latter, I answered. A non-eccentric reader,...
Washington Opens Up Its Military Hardware Shop to Both India and Pakistan
Reactions differed to Washington's decision to allow India to buy F-18s, import nuclear technology for peaceful purposes, receive anti-ballistic missile systems, and enter into deals with U.S. arms manufacturers to set up similar plants in India-and,...
Women for Women Work Post Conflicts
Human RightsWomen For Women International co-founder Zainab Salbi talked about her work with women in post-conflict situations at a March 8, 2005 Palestine Center briefing in Washington, DC. Salbi asserted the importance of getting women to the negotiating...
Women in Struggle
Women in Struggle By Buthina Canaan Khoury, Majd Production Company, 2004. Video cassette or DVD, 56 mins. List: $25.Among the many excellent documentaries about the plight of the Palestinians, Buthina Canaan Khoury's film about women who have spent...
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