Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Articles from Vol. 22, No. 7, September

ADC Conference
This year's national American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) conference was held June 12 to 15 at the Crystal City Gateway Marriott, just across the Potomac River from Washington, DC. The group's 20th annual conference was a mixture of educational...
After Nearly a Quarter-Century, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Bows Out
Unless he has a last-minute change of heart, Malaysian Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir Mohamad will bow out by fall and hand over his post to his deputy, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.During his 22 years in office, Mahathir has often goaded Western states, particularly...
After the War Was over, Everybody Sat Down and Lied
On June 30, with a sigh of relief, Hans Blix retired as head of UNMOVIC, the U.N. team charged with verifying the disarmament of Iraq. Possibly, Washington will now rediscover its earlier enthusiasm for the U.N. inspectors moving into Iraq-which will...
Ames Interfaith Council Screens Voices from the Holy Land, Co-Sponsors Palestine Unabridged
Some 40 lowans crowded into the Ames Public Library's Community Room on July 1 to view "Voices from the Holy Land," a video presentation produced by the Episcopal Church USA's Office of Peace and Justice Ministries, and hosted by the Ames Interfaith...
Angelenos Meet TomPaine.com
Arianna Huffington, Norman Lear, Rabbi Leonard Beerman and more than 200 West Siders gathered June 3 in the home of Stanley and Betty Sheinbaum to meet John Moyers and Ellen Miller, publisher of TomPaine.com.TV producer Lear opened the discussion by...
Arabian Peninsula
Iraqi Refugees Demand ReturnA report in the June 6 Arab News detailed the plight of Iraqi refugees living in Saudi Arabia's Rafha camp since the 1991 Gulf war who want to go home. The 467 refugees demanding repatriation are among some 5,233 Iraqis still...
As Zionist Opponents of Mideast Peace Turn Up the Heat, Bush Leaves the Kitchen
When President George W. Bush announced the release of the "road map" to Middle East peace, many political analysts expressed doubts that Bush would be willing to put pressure on Israel to take the necessary steps to move the peace process forward. To...
Bretton Woods Committee
Secretary of State Colin Powell delivered opening remarks on multilateral cooperation to members of the Bretton Woods Committee at the U.S. Department of State June 12. Before rejoining the government, Powell was a member of the committee, a nonpartisan...
Bush Pink Slip, Political Vaudeville Make for a Boisterous Presidential Welcome to L.A
The local media didn't acknowledge it, but up to 8,000 anti-Bush demonstrators gathered June 27 in front of the Century Plaza Hotel to give a special "welcome" to President George W. Bush, who was in town for a Republican Party fund-raiser.A platform...
California Couple Launch Effort to Resurrect Iraq's Dessicated Marshlands
For 7,000 years, the moist, fertile inland delta where the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers converge in what is now called southern Iraq has supported a unique ecosystem and culture. The abundance of fish, wildlife, birds and soil conducive to growing...
Capitol Hill Gets "A Real Look at Saudi Arabia"
Experts provided in-depth analysis on U.S.-Saudi Arabian relations at a June 17 breakfast briefing at Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill sponsored by the National U.S.-Arab Chamber of Commerce (NUSACC) and the MidAmr Group. Panelists at the...
Central Asia
Landmines Remain in Karabakh After Cease-fireDespite a 1994 cease-fire agreement between Armenia and Azerbaijan, landmines and other explosive devices remain in and around Nagorno Karabagh, which has been an area of conflict between Armenia, Azerbaijan...
Currying Caesar's Favor-While Undermining Him Behind His Back
George W. Caesar, emperor of the new Rome, likes Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen). He has invited him to the White House and showers him with compliments.As in ancient Rome, the likes and dislikes of the emperor shape the policy of the empire. All the ministers,...
Cypriot Foreign Minister George Iacovou Visits the U.S
Two months after the historic April 16 signing at the Acropolis of the EU Accession Treaty, which expanded the European Union by 10 members, including the Republic of Cyprus, Cypriot Foreign Minister George Iacovou paid an official visit to Washington,...
Deaths
Meir Vilner, 84, secretary-general of Israel's Communist Party from 1965 to 1988 and a lifelong proponent of Arab-Jewish coexistence, died June 5 in Jerusalem of unreported causes. One of the last living signatories to Israel's Declaration of Independence,...
Did Blair Knowingly Mislead Parliament over Iraqi WMDs? Asks the Economist
The European press questioned in June whether the dossiers publicized before the war on Iraq by British Prime Minister Tony Blair which were said to contain evidence of Saddam Hussain's weapons of mass destruction (WMD) program would lead to his-Blair's,...
EAO Honors Amr Mohsen
The Castaway Restaurant was filled with scientists and Silicon Valley moguls June 14, when the Egyptian American Organization honored Amr Mohsen at its annual meeting. Born in Egypt in 1947, the inventor, entrepreneur and venture investor came to the...
Fertile Crescent
Lebanese TV Building BombedAccording to the June 16 Daily Star, a previously unknown group named Ansar Allah (Supporters of God) bombed Beirut's Future television building-owned by Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri-the previous day. Security guards said that...
Festival Celebrates Freedom, Peace
"Los Angeles Peace and Social Justice Convergence" was the theme of a two-week festival combining cultural and political events in MacArthur Park, a Los Angeles landmark immortalized in song. Even though the "convergence" emphasized Latin American theater...
Honors and Appointments
CHRISTIAN LEADERS IN THE HOLY LAND continue to be recognized for their contributions to society.UNESCO Director-General Koichiro Matsuura has awarded the organization's 2003 Prize for Peace Education to Father Emil Shufani, the Arab-Israeli principal...
ICNA Revisits Issues of Race, Justice, Religion
The Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) hosted its 28th annual convention in Philadelphia from Friday, July 4 to Sunday, July 6. While many conference sessions focused on social and religious themes, several panels addressed important political issues...
In Baghdad, Families Live in Fear of Midnight Call by U.S. Patrols
Never again did families in Baghdad imagine that they need fear the midnight knock at the door.But in recent weeks there have been increasing reports of Iraqi men, women and even children being dragged from their homes at night by American patrols, or...
Injured ISM Activist Brian Avery Returns Home
Israeli troops in occupied Jenin shot International Solidarity Movement (ISM) nonviolent activist Brian Avery on April 5. Avery, 24, of Albuquerque, New Mexico, suffered serious wounds to his face after Israeli troops shot him with heavy machine gun...
Iranians Want Democracy, Experts Say
On June 19, the day following more than a week of student demonstrations on the streets of Tehran, three Iranian experts addressed San Francisco's World Affairs Council of Northern California. Their consensus was that the days of the Islamic Republic...
Iran/Iraq
Ahwazis Face Danger in Iraq, IranAn open letter sent May 25 by the Ahwazi Human Rights Committee (AHRC) to various heads of state, including U.S. President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair, drew attention to the plight of tens of...
Iraq Teach-In Looks toward United Peace Movement
On May 31, the United for Peace and Justice coalition (UFPJ) hosted a National Teach-in at the National City Christian Church in Washington, DC. As some conference-goers browsed through books and signed up for action in the church basement, a capacity...
Israel/Palestine
High School Refuseniks TestifyAccording to the June 24 Ha'aretz, the first of five Israeli high school "refuseniks" testified at a military court, having been held in military prisons for several months for refusing compulsory military service on grounds...
Israel, U.S. Still Battle for Lebanon's Litani River Water
In 1955 President Dwight D. Eisenhower sent Eric Johnston, president of the Motion Picture Producers' Association, to the Middle East to "divvy up," in the phrase of the day, the water of the Litani River. The Arabs could not make the political decision...
Khalil Examines Prospects for Peace in the Sudan
Washington, DC's Middle East Institute hosted a June 25 lecture by scholar-in-residence Dr. Mohamed I. Khalil, former Sudanese minister of foreign affairs and minister of justice. An attendance of about 40 people listened as Dr. Khalil provided a brief...
Kurds Question Iraqi Federalism
The Minaret of Freedom Institute held its fifth annual dinner in Bethesda, MD on June 28. Speakers Dr. Jamal Albarzinji, co-founder of the International Institute for Islamic Thought, and Dr. Othman Ali of Woodbridge College in Ontario, Canada gave talks...
Letters to the Editor
Rachel Corrie's PowerI am a long-time subscriber to your excellent publication, even though I don't agree with many of your positions.I wish to comment on the paean on Rachel Corrie in your July/August 2003 issue.Rachel was a member of the International...
Live and Learn-In This Case, "Be Careful What You Wish For"
Some readers may recall my being a bit upset over the fact that the "Campus Watch" crowd had not selected me for a dossier on their reprehensible Web page (see January/February 2003 Washington Report, p. 60). After all, I reasoned, it would have put...
Making Peace in the Middle East
My understanding of the political dynamics of "peacemaking" in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict was enhanced recently when I participated in an international peace gathering organized by the Global Peace Initiative of Women, Religious and Spiritual Leaders.Under...
Middle East Surprises for Americans-And Not Only in Iraq
For those formulating American foreign m policy and dreaming of remaking the Middle East in their own image, the region appears to be full of surprises. The determined resistance of some Iraqis to the Western occupation of their country seems to have...
Mortimer Zuckerman: Two Voices, but Both Talking about Himself
According to Alison Beard of Britain's Financial Times, "multi-millionaire Mortimer Zuckerman always seems to have at least two conversations running in his head at all times. He answers a reporter's questions in one breath, then asks an assistant about...
Musharraf's U.S. Visit, European Tour More Form Than Substance
President Pervez Musharraf's visit to the U.S. during the last week of June was billed as a "new landmark" in Pakistani-American relations. That he was being received by George W. Bush at Camp David and not at the White House was described as a special...
Najeeb E. Halaby (1915-2003)
Najeeb Halaby, former president of Pan American World Airways and father of Queen Noor of Jordan, died at his home in McLean, Virginia, on July 2. He was 87.Born in Dallas Nov. 19, 1915, he was an only child. His father was Najeeb Elias Halaby, a native...
National Security Agency Documents on Attack on USS Liberty Prove What?
Liberty survivors were pleased when we learned in June that apologists for our attackers had asked the federal courts to order the release of key intercept transcripts compiled during the attack. These, we knew, would prove our case and disprove that...
New Jersey Solidarity Conference Faces Harassment
NEW JERSEY SOLIDARITY (NJS), a grassroots political organization that, according to its mission statement, is "dedicated to resistance and action in support of the Palestinian struggle for justice, national liberation, human rights and self-determination,"...
Other People's Mail
Some letters by or to other people are as informative for our readers as anything we might write ourselves.Closing Peacekeeping InstituteTo The Washington Post, June 27, 2003.The June 20 front-page article "U.S. Troops Frustrated With Role in Iraq" revealed...
Ottoman Art in Nashville
The Frist Center for the Visual Arts in Nashville, TN is hosting "Empire of the Sultans: Ottoman Art from the Khalili Collection." The exhibition, which is sponsored by SunTrust and runs through Aug. 10, features over 200 works of art-including calligraphy,...
Pakistani American Congress' 11th Annual Summit
The Pakistani American Congress held its 11th Annual Summit June 26 on Capitol Hill. With a sampling of viewpoints from across the political spectrum and a melange of topics ranging from U.S.-Pakistan relations and mobilizing women to Gen. Pervez Musharraf's...
Palestinian Children: Caught in the Crossfire
Three years ago, courageous 13-year-old Fares Odeh faced down an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) tank on the outskirts of Gaza City. As he defiantly hurled his rock at the menacing tank, Associated Press photographer Laurent Rebours took a photo that has...
Palestinian Christians "Keeping the Faith"
Father Amjad Sabbara, pastor of Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity, revealed during a June 6 briefing at the Palestine Center in Washington, DC that, since the outbreak of the intifada in 2000, the Christian population of Bethlehem has dropped by 1,500...
Palestinian Dance Troupe Ibdaa Wows Audiences on Second U.S. Tour
With their trademark high-kicking choreography, brightly colored traditional silk costumes, and poignant portrayal of life in Palestine, 18 members of Ibdaa dance troupe from Dheisheh refugee camp wowed audiences on their second U.S. tour."They're great...
Panel Assesses Road Map Prospects and "Where to Find Peace"
The United Nations NGO Working Group on Israel/Palestine sponsored a June 23 panel discussion in New York on "Where to find Peace?: Tracing the Route of the Middle East Road Map." Alain Epp Weaver, the Mennonite Central Committee's country representative...
Patch Adams: Clown, Doctor, Visitor to Gaza
The Palestine Children's Relief Fund (PCRF) held a fund-raising picnic June 21 at the Railway Museum at Fairfax Station, VA. Along with food furnished by the Lebanese Taverna, free clown noses for all, and raffles for prizes ranging from Palestinian...
Planting the Roots of Peace
Hisham Jabi and Bryan Berkett-co-founders of the organization Jozoor (Roots)-presented their strategy for a more peaceful future at a May 30 Palestine Center briefing in Washington, DC. Jabi, a Palestinian, and Berkett, an American Jew, established Jozoor...
Poll Shows Right of Return a Win-Win Situation for Palestinians and Israelis Alike
Refugees wishing to return to their homes and live in peace with their neighbors should be permitted to do so at the earliest practical date.-U.N. Resolution 194, December 1948Since its establishment, Israel has refused to assume responsibility in any...
Publishers' Page
American Educational TrustA Soldier Mourns His Fallen Comrade...In this issues cover photo. We share Dennis Duell's pain and regret the loss of his friend, Private First Class Shawn David Pahnke, as well as the loss of other Americans, Britons and Iraqis-civilians,...
Requiem for the People's Mujaheddin?
The Mujaheddin-e Khalq, known as the People's Mujaheddin, and its political command, known as the National Council of Resistance of Iran, is in a very tight spot. The organization, which was funded in recent years largely by Saddam Hussain, now has literally...
Reversing Reality: Newspaper Coverage of Israel and Palestine
Recently, the Bay Area-based organization If Americans Knew conducted statistical studies of two local newspapers, the San Francisco Chronicle and the San Jose Mercury News. The results showed a consistently inaccurate and highly distorted picture of...
Rhymes and Chords of the Global Intifada
SUSTAIN (Stop U.S Tax-funded Aid to Israel Now) and Al-Awda hosted a fund-raising concert June 6 at the Flemming Center in Washington, DC. With a lineup that included Palestinian-American rapper The Iron Sheik, spoken word artist Excentrik and folk singer...
Robert Maxwell, Israel's Superspy: The Life and Murder of a Media Mogul
Robert Maxwell, Israel's Superspy: The Life and Murder of a Media MogulBy Gordon Thomas and Martin Dillon, Carrol and Graf Publishers, 2002, 368 pp. List: $27; AET: $20.Robert Maxwell rose rocket-like into the stratosphere of international prominence,...
Scholars Discuss Hopes and Fears for Indonesia's Future
"Will Indonesia Reform or Regress? Is Recent History a Guide for the Future?" was the topic of a June 17 lecture at San Francisco's World Affairs Council of Northern California. Speakers were Theodore Friend, former president of Swarthmore College and...
Scholars Discuss Muslims in the United States
The Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, DC hosted a June 18 conference entitled "Muslims in the United States: Demography, Beliefs, Institutions." Addressing the intricacies of topics such as "Demographics and Identity," "Political Participation," "Institutions,"...
Shafir Discusses Being Israeli
The University of California's Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation hosted Prof. Gershon Shafir June 5. Shafir discussed his new work, co-authored with University of Tel Aviv Prof. Yoav Peled, Being Israeli: The Dynamics of Multiple Citizenship...
Some "Academic" Costs of the War on Iraq
Who among us can calculate, in any meaningful way, the true costs of the war on Iraq? Obviously, there are lives lost and property destroyed. There are legacies being formed right now which will haunt us for years to come, and if we know anything about...
The Fall of Iraq: A Journalists Eyewitness Account
At a June 9 presentation at the Palestine Center in Washington, DC, Sultan Sleiman, senior international correspondent for the Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation (LBC), presented a glimpse of Baghdad during the American invasion of Iraq from a non-embedded...
The Road Map to Middle East Peace-Speed Bumps and All
If President George W. Bush doesn't take the road map seriously, his national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, couldn't be more serious. After meeting with Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), Rice met the following day with Ariel Sharon, and brought up the...
Tunisia Emerging in Business World
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, DC held its first luncheon meeting between a Tunisian business delegation and State Department officials June 26, seeking to promote future joint ventures between the two nations. Tunisian representatives handed...
Turkey's "Red Lines", U.S. Raid in Northern Iraq Cause Further Strain in Relations
It was described as "the biggest crisis of trust between Turkish and U.S. forces" by no less a person than the chief of the Turkish General Staff himself. It had most of Turkey's mainstream press baying for revenge against a "major stain on the nation's...
Unlike Dimona, Iran's Bushehr Reactor Not Useful for Weapons-Grade Plutonium
Is Iran actually on the path toward nuclear weapons? Is there hard evidence of any substantive activities? Or is this claim simply yet another canard, echoed and reinforced in the Israeli and Jewish media? Recent precedents for such warmongering disinformation...
UNRWA Update: Picking Up the Pieces in Gaza
There is a daily grind in Gaza. A grinding of bulldozer gears. The churning of heavy machinery and the crash of concrete on concrete accompany it. Together this is a soundtrack of misery and despair. It is the sound of another family home being demolished.It...
U.S. Sinks into a Quagmire as Israel Tries to Inch out of One
Dejectedly, a man sits on the ground.The man has been detained. His hands are bound.His crime is truly simple to explain:Possessing pictures of Saddam Hussain.Our soldiers snared him in a swift attack.They're there to bring our freedoms to Iraq.-Calvin...
Visa Problems
Churches have experienced difficulties in obtaining visas for priests and religious workers to serve and to study in the Holy Land (see March 2003 Washington Report, p. 65). On March 22 an ad hoc committee of the Catholic Church submitted a report to...
Walls, "States" and Resistance
The apartheid wall currently under construction by Israel represents the final stage of the colonization of the West Bank which, since the occupation of 1967, has moved steadily toward a permanent bantustan structure. The first stage of this process...
Will Election Year Domestic Politics Derail "Road Map" to Mideast Peace?
There is growing danger that election year politics will derail President George W. Bush's "road map" to Middle East peace. This possibility exists because one key element in the president's own constituency, Christian Zionists, vigorously opposes the...
World Refugee Day at National Geographic Museum
The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) held a June 20 event to mark World Refugee Day, an annual commemoration of the suffering and courage of the world's 40 million refugees. This year's focus was on refugee youths, who endure some...
Ziad Abu Zayyad Assesses Peace Prospects
More than two years after the start of the al-Aqsa intifada, Palestinians and Israelis are more ready than ever to accept a peaceful settlement. Although many blame the most recent conflict for hardening attitudes on both sides, exhaustion with constant...
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