Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Articles from Vol. 30, No. 8, November

9/11 Commission Reflects on Progress
In an effort to assess the effectiveness of the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission, the Bipartisan Policy Center hosted a Sept. 8 panel discussion at the Newseum in Washington, DC. The panel featured former New Jersey Gov. Tom Kean, chairman of the...
A Conservative Estimate of Total U.S. Aid to Israel: More Than $123 Billion
The current estimate by the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs of cumulative total U.S. direct aid to Israel is $123.202 billion, updating the figure in our November 2008 issue. Because parts of U.S. aid to Israel are buried in the budgets of various...
Ambassador Cretz Reports on Humanitarian Situation in Libya
"[The U.S.] is not going to be engaged in the kind of nation-building [in Libya] that we were in Iraq or Afghanistan," said U.S. Ambassador to Libya Gene Cretz in a Sept. 7 speech at the National Press Club in Washington, DC co-hosted by the Middle East...
Ambassador Peter Tomson Discusses the Wars of Afghanistan
The Woodrow Wilson International Center in Washington, DC held a July 13 book signing by Ambassador Peter Tomsen, former American special envoy to the Afghan resistance, who discussed his new book: The Wars of Afghanistan: Messianic Terrorism, Tribal...
American University Hosts 9/11 Dialogue
In an effort to reflect on how relations between the United States and the Muslim world have progressed since September 2001, American University's School of International Service hosted a Sept. 1 dialogue at its Washington, DC campus titled "Reflections...
California Commuters Urged to End U.S. Military Aid to Israel
Bay Area public transit systems, including San Francisco's fabled cable cars, sported eye-catching ads in August calling for an end to U.S. military aid to Israel. Part of a year-old national campaign, the ads depict Israeli and Palestinian grandfathers,...
China's Challenges in the Middle East
The changes that took place in the Middle East in the first half of this year may have posed even greater problems of adaptation for China than they did for Western countries.With a declared policy of non-interference in other countries' internal affairs,...
Compassion and Mercy in the Wake of Islamophobia
On the eve of the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, United for Change and Zaytuna College hosted "United We Stand: One Nation, One Destiny" at the Washington, DC Convention Center. The conference brought together Muslim leaders, interfaith leaders...
Diversity Poses Challenges in South Sudan
United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) photographer Tim McKulka presented his book We'll Make Our Homes Here at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, DC on Sept. 8. His is the first book to include photos from all of Sudan's 25 states-and, following...
Examining the Anti-Shariah Movement in America
In light of the ongoing controversy regarding Islam and shariah in America, the Center for American Progress hosted a July 26 discussion at its Washington, DC headquarters to clarify the issue. The Center's director of the Faith and Progressive Policy...
Gaza Freedom Flotilla Veterans Vow to "Sail On"
Passengers from The Audacity of Hope, one of 10 ships in Freedom Flotilla 2, met at Manhattan's All Souls Unitarian Church on Aug. 2 to report on their attempt to bring hope-and thousands of love letters-to Palestinians in Gaza. Missy Lane narrated a...
Home, Bittersweet Home
This summer my wife's brother, Amin, took us off-roading on a brief tour around Tiberius to see a handful of the 675 Palestinian villages and towns systematically depopulated and destroyed in 1948, on the foundations of which are built what is today...
Iftar Celebrates America's Islamic Heritage Museum
Imam Talib Shareef, a retired U.S. Air Force chief master sergeant and imam for the historic Masjid Muhammad in Washington, DC, welcomed guests to an iftar dinner at America's Islamic Heritage Museum and Cultural Center on Aug. 26-one of four fast-breaking...
In the New Middle East, the Bill Comes Due for Israel's Intransigence
The one conclusion that can be drawn with certainty about the momentous events that began this past spring with the peaceful overthrow of Zine El Abedine Ben Ali of Tunisia and Hosni Mubarak of Egypt is that Middle East society and governance are undergoing...
Iowans Continue Weekly Vigil in Des Moines
Iowa peace and social justice advocates continued their weekly vigil in Nollen Plaza on Sept. 1. "There are ways of resolving conflict in the world without war, and it's important to remind people of that," said Gil Landolt, president of Veterans for...
Israeli Drone Attacks on Gaza Leave Bodies Charred and Ripped Apart
At Gaza City's Shifa hospital, Dr. Ayman Al Sahabani studied the medical file of 2-year-old Islam Qreqa with growing alarm. The toddler, along with his 29-year-old father and 32-year-old uncle, a physician, had been traveling on a motorcycle Aug. 20...
Israel's Summer of Discontent Is Opening the Eyes of American Jews to Its Genuine Reality
The summer of 2011 has seen gigantic popular protests in the streets of Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa and other Israeli cities. Perhaps for the first time, many Americans-and American Jews in particular-are beginning to view Israel in realistic rather than...
Kabul Attack Continues Taliban Control of War Narrative
Gen. David Petraeus wrote in his 2006 counterinsurgency manual that the U.S. command headquarters should establish a "narrative" for the counterinsurgency war-a simple storyline that provides a framework for understanding events, both for the population...
Middle East Films Expose Human Rights Abuses
Human Rights Watch and the Film Society of Lincoln Center presented 19 films at the 22nd annual festival in New York, June 16-30. Four were set in the Middle East, and one theme dominated: the power of the media to impact human rights. By incorporating...
Muslim Leaders Advocate Islam's Democratic Ideals
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community held its 63rd annual convention July 1 to 3 in Harrisburg, PA. Prior to the gathering, leaders from Ahmadiyya, the oldest American Muslim organization in the United States, briefed reporters on the American and Islamic...
National Building Museum Cancels Public Award Ceremony for Caterpillar
Craig and Cindy Corrie and representatives from numerous organizations that advocate for a just peace in the Middle East delivered a petition signed by more than 7,000 individuals and over 140 regional, national and international groups to the National...
New Report Identifies Organizational Nexus of Islamophobia
A small group of inter-connected foundations, think tanks, pundits and bloggers is behind the 10-year-old campaign to promote fear of Islam and Muslims in the U.S., according to a major investigative report released in Washington Aug. 26 by the Center...
New York Law School Holds Conference on Shariah in America
New York Law School hosted an important symposium Aug. 26 on shariah in America. The topic is timely, even urgent, given that half our states have anti-shariah laws in their legislative pipelines. Yet few Americans have even a vague idea of what shariah...
Nuclear Arms Experts Discuss the New World of Proliferation
The Washington, DC-based New America Foundation (NAF) hosted a June 29 panel discussion on the possession, proliferation, disarmament and future of nuclear weapons in the international community. Moderated by Peter Bergen, director of NAF's national...
Obituaries
Clair E. George, 81, a former CIA official famous for his involvement in the Iran-contra scandal, died Aug. 11 of cardiac arrest in Chevy Chase, MD. George, who held a number of high-level positions at the CIA, including directing global espionage activities...
Omani Weaving and Embroidery at Washington, DC's Textile Museum
The crafts of Oman were celebrated at the Textile Museum in Washington, DC with a special lecture and demonstration of Omani weaving and embroidery. Neil Richardson, co-author of The Craft Heritage of Oman, described his anthropological studies, while...
Once Again, in Full View of the World, U.S. Acting for Israel, against Its Own Interests
The U.N. vote on Palestine is an oddity. No one can be sure what benefit the Palestinians get from it, and there is good reason to believe that its main current motivation is an earnest desire on the part of President Mahmoud Abbas' administration to...
Other People's Mail
U.S. Policy Breeds TurmoilTo The Boston Globe, Aug. 25, 2011How can the Israeli consul general to New England, Shai Bazak, write that it is the Palestinian people who have been refusing to embrace "the two-state vision'' while Israel has been urging...
Pam Olson Launches Fast Times in Palestine
This wasn't where I expected to end up at age 23-jobless, planless, and lying through my teeth to Israeli border security. I'd graduated a year earlier, in 2002, with a physics degree from Stanford only to realize I had no interest in spending any more...
Pervez Musharraf on Bin Laden Controversy, U.S.-Pakistan Relations
Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf delivered an address on "The State of the U.S.- Pakistan Relationship" at a July 22 event hosted by the Woodrow Wilson Center, in Washington, DC. In her introduction, former congresswoman (D-CA) and now Wilson...
Publishers' Page
Israel and U.S. Alone Together Again.It was Israel and the U.S. alone against the world, as represented by the United Nations. President Barack Obama may have won Israeli hearts and minds with his speech to the General Assembly on Sept. 21, 2011 (the...
Rallies Support Palestine Becoming U.N. Member State
Students for Statehood (SFS) held a series of rallies and actions across the United States on Sunday, Sept. 4, to support Palestine becoming the 194th member state of the United Nations. The Washington, DC protest in front of the White House occurred...
Remaking the Arab State
The Arabs face a formidable task-nothing less than rebuilding the entire state structure and system of government in countries as diverse as Tunisia and Egypt, Libya and Yemen. In Syria, too, the Ba'athist state is almost certainly doomed, whether President...
Revolution in 140 Characters or Less
Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University (ASU), the New America Foundation (NAF) and Slate, hosted a July 13 conference at NAF's Washington, DC offices on "How to Ignite, or Quash, a Revolution in 140 Characters or Less." The half-day...
Robin Wright's Latest Book Rocks the Casbah
Longtime journalist Robin Wright discussed her latest book, Rock the Casbah: Rage and Rebellion Across the Islamic World, at a July 13 event at the Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars in Washington, DC. Wright has reported for The Washington Post, Los...
Sailing 8,000 Miles to Hold a Memorial Service for USS Liberty Fallen, Survivors
I am writing this on my sailboat, the Liberty, in Larnaca, Cyprus. Just nine days ago, my crewmate Rusty Glenn and I were in the exact location, just off the Sinai Penninsula, where Israeli air and naval forces killed 34 Americans and wounded 174 others...
SCAF Member Defends Transition Rule in Egypt
The United States Institute of Peace hosted a July 25 discussion with Maj. Gen. Said Elassar of Egypt's Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), the military body that has governed Egypt since President Hosni Mubarak's ouster in February. This timely...
Shared Communities Program Visits Washington, DC
Israeli Arab and Jewish mayors visited the Busboys & Poets bookstore in Washington, DC on June 19 as part of the Shared Communities program of Givat Haviva, a non-profit educational institute founded in 1949 in the Wadi Ara region of central Israel....
Students Learn Ways of Government at CAIR Muslim Youth Leadership Program
For the seventh consecutive year, outstanding high school students from throughout California gathered in Sacramento July 28 for the annual Muslim Youth Leadership Program (MYLP) held by the California chapters of the Council on American-Islamic Relations...
Summer Voices of Palestine Film Series Challenges DC Audiences
The Jerusalem Fund for Education and Community Development and Georgetown University's Center for Contemporary Arab Studies in Washington, DC presented their popular "Voices of Palestine" summer film series every Wednesday from June 29 to July 27.The...
Ten Years after 9/11, Is the U.S. on the Right Track at Home and Abroad?
Foreign Occupation Leads to More TerrorBy Rep. Ron PaulTen years ago shocking and horrific acts of terrorism were carried out on U.S. soil, taking over 3,000 innocent American lives. Without a doubt, this action demanded retaliation and retribution....
The Hope Fund, an Organization That Lives Up to Its Name
As tensions between Israel, Egypt and Palestine erupted into violence in Gaza and along the Egyptian border on Aug. 18, thousands of miles away in Washington, DC 35 Palestinian college students were waiting to end the day's Ramadan fasting with an iftar...
Traditional Palestinian Costume: Origins and Evolution/Threads of Identity: Preserving Palestinian Costume and Heritage
Traditional Palestinian Costume: Origins and EvolutionBy Hanan Karaman Munayyer, Olive Branch Press, 2011, hardcover, 576 pp. List: $200; AET: $160.Threads of Identity: Preserving Palestinian Costume and HeritageBy Widad Kamel Kawar, Rimal Publications,...
Transferring Control to Afghanistan
The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) held a July 8 policy briefing titled "Afghanistan, Pakistan: A Race for Success" at its Washington, DC headquarters. Speakers Dr. Anthony Cordesman, the Arleigh A. Burke Chair in Strategy for...
Turkey's Relations with Arab States and Israel
The Middle East Institute's Center for Turkish Studies hosted its Second Annual Conference on Turkey, June 25 at the University Club in Washington, DC. Entitled "Change Within and Beyond Borders: Turkey's Domestic and Foreign Policy Agenda," the day-long...
UNconditional: An Artist's Rendering of the U.N. "Games"
The Jerusalem Fund Gallery at the Palestine Center in Washington, DC held an opening reception for artist Nadira Araj, whose exhibition "UNconditional" was on view from July 8 to 26. "UNconditional" is an artistic rendering of the "games" the United...
U.N. Countdown: Final Thoughts before the Palestinian Bid for Recognition
Rejection of Palestinian Statehood Denies FreedomBy Ahmad TibiThe international community, the Obama administration and the U.S. Congress are all likely to be looking at a train wreck later this month-as the United States and Israel stand in the way...
U.N. Recognition of Palestinian Statehood Merely Symbolic?
A month before the convening of the 66th session of the U.N. General Assembly, the Los Angeles Episcopalian Diocese hosted an Aug. 21 panel discussion emceed by Jim Prendergast on "The Pending United Nations Resolution on Palestinian Statehood." Occidental...
UNRWA Official and American Activist Address Israel's Blockade of Gaza
The Palestine Center in Washington, DC hosted a July 19 event addressing the Gaza blockade and the recent opening of the Rafah crossing. Matthew Reynolds, head representative with the United Nations Relief Works Agency's (UNRWA) Washington, DC office...
Upcoming Events
The Palestine Center will host the exhibition "Of Refuge, Of Home," featuring artwork by former AET Book Club director Adam Chamy, from Sept. 30 to Oct. 28. Chamy's works explore identity, myth and home through a series of family portraits and installations...
What Lies Ahead for America in Arabia and the Gulf?
In the midst of great ferment and upheaval in the Middle East, the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations (NCUSAR) hosted a Sept. 15 panel discussion on the relationship and future dynamics between the U.S. and the Persian Gulf states. Moderator Dr....
Who Will Benefit?
What's really going on in the Middle East? First Egypt, then Libya, now disruptions in Syria. All enemies of Israel. Am I paranoid about the situation?Who is really going to benefit from all this civil war?It's a fact that the government of Israel is...
Wilson Center Panel Addresses Future of Terrorism, U.S.-Arab Relations
Seeking to provide a balanced and forward-looking approach toward analyzing the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars hosted a Sept. 12 panel discussion titled "The National Conversation-9/11: The Next Ten Years,"...
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