Middle East & North Africa

Bombing Will Not Make U.S. More Secure

The use of military force for self-defense is legitimate under international law. Military force for retaliation is not. The magnitude of these initial air strikes raises not only serious legal and moral questions but political concerns as well, as it will likely set back the fight against terrorism.

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Two Faces of the West: Can Western Muslims Advance a Balanced View of the West?

Muslim intellectuals and thinkers have had to contend with the power of the West and the power of Western ideas while interpreting and understanding the condition of the Muslim community. Many, like Sir Syed Ahmed Khan (India), Muhammad Abduh (Egypt), and Muhamamd Khatami (Iran), openly admired the West for its achievements and have even remarked that the West was “Islam without Muslims.” For them the West was indeed worthy of emulation in many areas, such as democracy, human rights, respect for the rule of law, and dedication to science.

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Israel: A Failing Experiment

One of Israel’s founding Ministers of Education and Culture, Professor Ben-Zion Dinur (1954), said it most sharply; “In our country there is room only for the Jews. We shall say to the Arabs: Get out! If they don’t agree, if they resist, we shall drive them out by force.” (History of the Haganah) With this theme as the explicit backdrop of a newly established State, it is no wonder that Israel has had little chance of being a normal member of the community of nations.

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Bush Discovers a New Middle East

America’s main strategic goal in the Middle East is to secure the supply of oil. In this light, what is the place of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? The Clinton administration thought that solving it was the chief precondition for stability in the Gulf. President George W. Bush, in contrast, at first gave top priority to bringing down Saddam Hussein. This would convince the Arab world, he thought, that it had no options left but to stick with America.

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U.S. Policy on the UN Conference Wrong

The United States, the self-described leader of human rights, effectively decided to boycott the UN conference against racism in Durban, South Africa. The U.S. could have made a strong, positive impression by sending its African-American Secretary of State, a descendent of slaves, and making a forceful stand against racism. Instead, it chose to send a low-level delegation.

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Palestine in Durban: Sideshow or Main Event?

The black and white-checked scarves, known as kafeeyyehs, symbolizing the Palestinian resistance, were everywhere among the 6,000 delegates to the UN Non-Governmental Forum that preceded the governmental portion of the World Conference Against Racism (WCAR). Soon they were joined by white t-shirts exhorting participants to “fight racism, not Jews.” As predicted, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict has loomed over both the NGO Forum and now the main event, given mega-prominence by the refusal of U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell to attend while statements equating Zionism with racism are anywhere on the table.

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The Plan to Remove Arafat

When Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon came to Washington in June to meet President Bush, it was his second visit to the White House in less than six months. Palestinian Authority president Yasser Arafat has yet to meet with Bush; nor is he likely to do so. For all intents and purposes, Arafat has been effectively isolated as a credible party to the peace talks.

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Justice for Some: The Geopolitical Reality of Impunity

The extradition of former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic to The Hague could be seen as a triumph for the worldwide movement for human rights. Never before has a sitting head of state been indicted for war crimes–nor been subsequently put to trial before an international tribunal.

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