Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

California Chronicle: Saudi Consul General Hosts Business Leaders

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

California Chronicle: Saudi Consul General Hosts Business Leaders

Article excerpt

California Chronicle: Saudi Consul General Hosts Business Leaders

On the occasion of the 60th national day of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Saudi consul general in Los Angeles, Hassan T. Nazer, announced an estimated 40,000 American jobs will be saved or created by the forthcoming sale of 72 McDonnell-Douglas F-15 fighter planes to Saudi Arabia. As he addressed more than 200 well-wishers during a Sept. 23 reception at the Century City Marriott Hotel, the Saudi envoy noted that more than $9 billion in revenues and another $3 billion in taxes will be generated from the F-15 transaction.

Nazer also said the Saudi consulate will be hosting bimonthly roundtable sessions between Californian and Saudi businessmen and manufacturers. Invitations were mailed at the end of October to California firms. The diplomat explained the Los Angeles consulate will serve as a facilitator in acquainting U.S. and Saudi firms with each other's services and needs. The major focus of the project is on small and medium-size companies dealing with high tech instruments and computers and in agriculture.

Just for the record, we wonder how many U.S. jobs Israel has generated, other than those funded by American taxpayers.

L.A. Chapter Marks NAAA's 20th Year

The Middle East peace process was analyzed by Khalil Jahshan, executive director of the National Association of Arab Americans, when the Greater Los Angeles Chapter celebrated the 20th anniversary of NAAA in the Mountaingate estate of Frank and Olfet Agrama. Jahshan, who traveled from Washington, DC for the Sept. 27 event, said the peace process is highly vulnerable and should not be put on a back burner. In referring to the presidential election, Jahshan said Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin is informally endorsing George Bush.

"There's no doubt that [Bill] Clinton wants peace in the Middle East, but on what terms?" Jahshan asked. "The remarks Clinton has made about Jerusalem and his complaint that Washington has put undue pressure on Israel are worrisome."

Despite the humiliating position the Palestinians have in the peace process, Jahshan said there still are seeds of promise in the tough bargaining process that lies ahead. And while the Palestinians may be the weakest, Jahshan says he admires the Syrians for being the best at resisting Israeli attempts to wear down the Arabs.

McGovern Discusses Islamism

Midway through the sixth round of Middle East peace talks in Washington, DC, former South Dakota Sen. George McGovern and Dr. Thomas Mattair addressed the Los Angeles World Affairs Council. McGovern, the 1968 Democratic presidential nominee, now president of the Middle East Policy Council MEPC) in Washington, DC, discussed the future role of the U.S. in the Middle East. "Arab-Israeli Negotiations and the Next U.S. Administration" was the topic of Dr. Mattair, a resident policy analyst for the MEPC.

Stressing that some parties are claiming Islamism is the new enemy of the U.S. since the dissolution of Soviet communism, McGovern said "the `red scare' has been replaced by the `green peril.'" A case in point, he said, is the statement of Zalman Shoval, Israel's ambassador to the U.S., that the former Soviet Central Asian Muslim republics could become fundamentalist and present a greater danger to the Middle East than did the Soviet Union.

"By these lights the U.S. should still need to bankroll Israel as a strategic ally," McGovern said, noting that none of the republics present the potential military threat the Soviet Union did. "All are far from the Gulf and the Mediterranean, most are Turkic and Sunni, which gives pro-Western Turkey and Saudi Arabia natural advantages over the Islamic Republic of Iran in influencing the evolution of Islam in the area."

McGovern pointed out that it is not Islamism so much as militant offshoot movements that pose a threat to U.S. interests, citing Saudi Arabia as a fundamentalist Islamic and also a pro-Western state. …

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