Newsletter : 1fax0524.txt
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>JN May 24, 2001, Vol. 9, No. 90
Middle East: Is a Full Scale War Imminent?
By Ed Warner (VOA-Washington)
As the violence between Israelis and Palestinians increases, some
observers are expressing fears it could erupt into a wider war
involving other Middle Eastern countries. Wars do not always happen
for rational reasons, says former United Press International head
Arnaud deBorchgrave, and there is a lot of irrationality in the
Middle East today.
He writes in the Washington Times that the conflict between
Israelis and Palestinians has aroused fierce emotions. Moderates
are radicalized and talk about a coming war, that even Egyptian
President Hosni Mubarak seems reconciled to it, and Israeli Prime
Minister Ariel Sharon threatens a fight beyond imagining.
How can Arab countries challenge an incontestably more powerful
Israel? That was the question deborchgrave says he asked Egyptian
President Anwar Sadat in 1973. Sadat replied that you can win by
losing, and then launched the attack that began the Yom Kippur war
and the crippling oil embargo against the west.
A former chief of counter-terrorism operations at the CIA, Vincent
Cannistraro, says a similar scenario is possible today. There is no
questioning Israel's military power and Sharon's willingness to use
it. "I do not think he sees value in anything other than the use of
maximum force. Clearly, the radicals are hoping that he does widen
"They believe that the peace process has been sabotaged
permanently, and it is probably not possible to be resurrected.
Both the radicals and the Israeli side and on the Palestinian side
share this same joint hope and vision."
Russia and North Korea have provided Iran with ballistic missile
technology and components. In turn, Iran has passed these along to
the Hizbullah. Cannistraro says Iranians might offer other kinds of
support in a clash with Israel. "Now they cannot respond in terms
of a physical presence because they do not have a continuous border
[with Israel], but they can respond through their surrogates in
Lebanon, using possibly weapons of mass destruction."
Cannistraro added: "In any event, I think you will see the
introduction of short and medium range missiles that can strike
inside Israel in urban centers, and that is certainly alarming and
a major escalation."
Taleban Edict Recalls Nazi Badges for Jews
By Ayaz Gul (VOA-Islamabad, Pakistan)
Afghanistan's ruling Taleban Islamic movement has decided that
Afghan non-Muslims must wear a yellow badge to distinguish them
from the overwhelmingly Muslim majority of the country. The
controversial move has triggered international outrage and evoked
memories of Jews forced to wear yellow stars in Germany in the
1930s and 1940s.
Defending the order, a Taleban spokesman, Abdul Hannan Himat, said
that it is meant to protect Hindus and other minorities from
questioning by the Taleban religious police. Under the order, the
Hindus must wear a yellow badge on their chests, which can easily
The Taleban has introduced a strict version of Islamic laws in more
than 90 percent of Afghanistan. Its religious police has the task
of ensuring that Muslims in Afghanistan conform to the Islamic
code, which requires men to have beards and pray five times a day.
It also requires women to wear veils covering them from head to
toe. The spokesman said a formal order to enforce the decree has
not yet been issued.
The Taleban religious ministry said the new edict will soon be
implemented and will also require Jewish, Christian and Hindu women
in the country to veil themselves like other Afghan women.
German Industry to Pay $4.5 Billion to Nazi-Era Slaves
By Jonathan Braude (VOA-Berlin)
After months of delay and legal wrangling, German industry has
indicated it is now ready to pay out its share of a $4.5 billion
compensation fund for the victims of Nazi era forced labor
For months, German businesses have insisted they will be ready to
pay compensation to up to about 1.5 million elderly victims of
Hitler's forced and slave labor programs only after they are
satisfied U.S. courts will dismiss all legal actions against them.
So when U.S. Judge Shirley Kram dismissed a suit against Germany's
Deutsche Bank and other German companies Monday, it took German
industry just one day to give the green light.
There are still a few cases outstanding, including one now in the
California courts. But German industry spokesman Wolfgang Gibowski
said payments could now go ahead, as soon as the German parliament
passes a compensation bill into law.
That process is now expected to begin on May 30. Once the bill is
passed, German government and business will contribute about $2.25
million each and the first payments can start.
For the victims, all of them now elderly and many living in poverty
in Eastern Europe and Ukraine, it will be the end of a long and
But there are difficulties ahead. For many victims, it has been
impossible so far to provide documentary proof they were among
the millions of Eastern Europeans shipped to Germany to work in
industry or agriculture, or even for churches, while Germans fought
at the war front. And a large number of German records are either
incomplete or lost. After all those years of waiting, many still
could be turned away empty handed.
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