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   Charley Reese Corner

  American Intelligence in the Middle East

A Contradiction in Terms!

Mr. Charley Reese is a nationally and internationally known syndicated columnist.

A Senior Editorial Staff & Columnist at the Orlando Sentinel, Orlando, Florida.

This is a message for the bomb-a- foreigner crowd. Those are the blockheads who think that patriotism consists of cheering on a corrupt government whenever it decides to kill innocent foreigners for a public-relations stunt.

A true patriot is a lover, not a hater and a killer. A true patriot loves his own land and his own people and respects patriots in other countries who feel the same way about their land and their people.

Because he loves his land and his people, the patriot does not want to go to war except when there is no choice. He does not wish to place his people into harm's way for some stupid and irresponsible reason, such a trying to distract their attention from an odious scandal. 

"The United States supports Israel no matter how much it abuses Palestinians or how often it violets law."

American intelligence in the Middle East is a contradiction in terms. I could write a whole column about all the things American intelligence did not know about the Middle East. It did not know that Anwar Sadat was going to Jerusalem; it did not know that he was going to be assassinated; it did not know that our embassy in Beirut was going to be bombed; it did not know that our Marines were going to be attacked; it did not know that Iranians would seize our embassy.

More recently, it certainly did not know where Osama bin Laden was in Afghanistan. It did not know that the pharmaceutical factory in Khartoum was, in fact, a pharmaceutical factory with no ties to either bin Laden of Iraq.

And, of course, it did not know that our embassies in Africa would be bombed, despite someone telling it that they would be. An Israeli newspaper has reported that, when Americans asked Israeli intelligence about the informant, the Israelis said they had not found him to be reliable. Hence, his warning was disregarded. Furthermore, a former police officer in Kenya told embassy security people he had observed a man with two bodyguards videotaping all four sides of the embassy. This information was dismissed, "just a tourist," he was told. So much for alert American intelligence.

I suppose a lot of Americans believe the Central Intelligence Agency when it says, "Oh, we have all kinds of successes, but we can't tell you about them."

Osama bin Laden, according to people in the Middle East, was considered by the majority of Muslims as an extremist nut. Now, the Clinton administration has made him an international hero to hotheads throughout the Middle east. Most people in the Middle East considered Saddam Hussein a thug, but now, by killing Iraqi women and children with cruel sanctions, the United States has created sympathy for Iraq.

Here's what upsets people in the Muslim world.

The United States props up and supports oppressive governments if the dictators act as step-and- fetch-its for the United States.

The United States supports Israel no matter how much it abuses Palestinians or how often it violates international law. When the Israelis killed 100 women and children who fled to the United Nations compound in South Lebanon, the United States could not bring itself to utter even mild rebuke. Instead, it turned on UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali, when he refused to suppress a UN report blaming the Israelis.

The United States slaughters Iraqis in the name of enforcing UN resolutions; it prevents the United Nations from taking any action against Israel.

I just hope that the armchair commandos are as brave when Clinton's unjust, photo-op war comes home to American streets. I'm as ready as anybody to fight a just and necessary war, but I will not support foolish ad unjust attacks ordered by a sicko draft-dodger.

September 13 1998.


II-End Result of Bombings Will Be To Intensify Hatred of the U.S.

Well, President Clinton has answered the question: What has his sex life got to do with his job as president?

If you think that the bombing of four targets in Afghanistan and a factory in Khartoum, Sudan, have nothing to do with Clinton's sex life, then you probably still believe that h did not have sexual relations with that women.

And what will the bombings accomplish, aside from distracting the public and the press from the Clinton scandal?

They will get more Americans killed. Rather than deter terrorist acts, they will increase those attacks. They have shown the world once again that the U.S. government has no respect for international law. They will intensify the hatred of the United States. 

It is stupid for the Clinton people to talk about terrorists being cowards. What is more cowardly than a superpower launching surprise aerial attacks on two Third World countries with which we are not at war?

And, assuming that the four targets in Afghanistan really were terrorist training camps, what was accomplished there? Well, we blew up some latrines, some tents and some rifle targets. Whoopee. Spending multimillion-dollar missiles to blow up some scrap wood, oil barrels and worn-out canvas. That's really a brilliant military stroke.

The only evidence we have that they were terrorist training camps is the word of an administration famous for lying. As for the chemical plant, which the Clinton folks hinted out did not say was producing chemical weapons, just remember that most modern pesticides are derived from nerve-gas research done by the Third Reich. In other words, practically every insecticide plant in the US and Europe has chemicals "which are precursors" to chemical weapons.

I would say it is an even bet that the plant was what the Sudanese said it was- a pharmaceutical plant that has nothing to do with terrorism. And very likely we will have killed some innocent civilians.

Finally, the bombing raids are a reprisal, which in international law is a war crime. When somebody kills some of your people and you go and kill other people, that's a reprisal. It's the same as taking hostages and lining them up against the wall and shooting them with rifles.

Staging reprisal raids has been the standard tactic of Israel for 50 years, and for 50 years it has failed to deter terrorists an, in fact, manufactured them. It's one of those stupid acts that appeal to machismo and ego but, in fact, is counter-productive.

Pick any human disaster in history and if you look at how it happened, it was constructed by foolish decisions made by men who failed to foresee the long-range consequences of what they were deciding to do.

It is already borderline impossible for an Arab leader to be an ally of the United States, and this will aggravate that situation. That will no doubt make the Israeli lobby happy, but it is certainly not in the national interest of the United States to alienate the entire Muslims in the world. The majority of the Muslims in the world do not support terrorism any more than we do, but nobody likes having his or her country bombed whenever whim strikes a superpower.

We have, in fact, committed an act of war against the nations of Sudan and Afghanistan. Neither of course, has the power to declare war on us, but they will gain a lot of sympathy.

We have a great country, and the collapse of the Soviet Union presented a great opportunity to build a peaceful world. Unfortunately, thanks to our corrupt political system, we are destroying our own country and throwing the opportunity for peace into the trash heap of history.

August 30, 1998


III- Prevent Terrorism By Eliminating The Injustices That Cause It!

Post-modern imperialists are having a hard time dreaming up enough bogeymen to justify their transnational fleecing an otherwise meddling in the internal affairs of other countries.

They seem to be trying out germ warfare now. Severalarticles have appeared recently in uppity publications about the horrors of biological weapons. And, of course, the assertion - without evidence - that Saddam Hussein is making biological warfare weapons is the current excuse for maintaining the embargo-better known as keeping Iraqi oil off the market in any great quantities.

We all grow germs. In fact, we cannot avoid them. I was just reminded of that when a late-night hunger pang prompted me to eat a cup of yogurt that I belatedly discovered had been hiding in the refrigerator a year past its expiration date. Powerful stuff, 2-year old- yogurt.

Nevertheless, you should take a realistic view of risks. Terrorists of all political persuasions on the average kill 200 or 300 folks, sometimes fewer, globally most years. On average, about 90.000 Americans do themselves in each year in accidents.

Perfectly all-natural, organically grown viruses, bacteria and microscopic parasites likewise kill several million people each year globally without any political agenda at all. They kill them by just doing what comes natural- finding a warm place to live and reproducing. It's impossible that terrorism will ever come within seeing distance of Mother Nature's record of natural mayhem.

Your chances of dying while having fun are much, much greater than being sent west by a terrorist. In fact, your chances of winning a lottery are greater than your chances of being the target of a terrorist. It is, as risks go, negligible.

How many U.S. congressmen, for example, have been killed by terrorists in this century? None. How many by trees? At least one (Sonny Bono). If you are fond of worrying, worry about bathtub, automobile and stepladder-those things are real weapons of mass destruction.

If you insist on worrying only about foreign threat, may I recommend the vast stores of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons in China and Russia? The future course of Russia-especially given the proclivity for blundering by the Clinton's administration-is unknowable. The Chinese government, we know, doesn't like us and considers us it most likely No. 1 enemy.

Nearly all of the writing in the Chinese military publications is about how to defeat the United States in a future war. And just 90 miles away is that criminal psychopath, Fidel Castro, who harbors an intense and irrational hatred of the United States.

Worrying, of course, is a useless thing to do. Better than worrying would be to pressure our own government to eliminate the injustices that cause terrorism. That's the only way to prevent it.



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"The security conditions are not practical and it also might lead to internal Palestinian troubles. I think that whoever asks for the uprooting of Hamas from Palestinian society or the finishing of Hamas doesn't really understand what Hamas or Palestinian society is.

Arafat and most of us understand that without serious progress in the peace process it is difficult to weaken Hamas because Hamas draws its strength from the weakness of the peace process.

Security measures cannot weaken Hamas, they can only strengthen Hamas because when the Palestinians public sees the Authority cracking down on Hamas as a result of pressure from Israel they will sympathize more with Hamas. What counts at the end is public sympathy. This is something you cannot take care of by arresting and cracking down. He (Arafat) will go some way but not as far as Israel wants because there are red lines for him. As long as it does not create internal fights and civil war and to the extent that he doesn't get negative reactions from a majority of his people. And that is short of what Israel expects him to do.

Hamas is not simply an external movement that came to the Palestinian Authority by parachute. It is an indigenous part of society. Military measures can take care of certain aspects of Hamas's military structure. But this is not the essence of Hamas's strength. This is something that can come and go. You can hit today the military leadership of Hamas but as long as they have popularity and public support they can come up with a new infrastructure. Hamas is over 60 years old through the Moslem Brotherhood and it has so many kinds of activity that allow it to be in touch with Palestinian society his is not the essence of Hamas's strength. This is something that can come and go. You can hit today the military leadership of Hamas but as long as they have popularity and public support they can come up with a new infrastructure. Hamas is over 60 years old through the Moslem Brotherhood and it has so many kinds of activity that allow it to be in touch with Palestinian society.

First, many Hamas personalities are religious leaders and in charge of mosques which any religious Palestinian regardless of his politics will visit regularly-once a week at least and listen to what is called the Friday sermon. In this the religious leader can say whatever he feels needs to be said and this can include politics, and economics and whatever he wants to say.

Hamas has lots of experience in non-political activities. They have for example charities, kindergartens, they have employment organizations, women's charities. These attract people, especially needy people, into joint activities which gives them a chance to influence them religiously and later in an indirect way politically.

Their main concern is to have as big as possible a network. They try to use these networks to attract sympathy of society and when they want to commit violence, they pick people from these structures and put them in a parallel military structure called Azzeddine Brigades."


Ghassan Al-Khatib

A Palestinian & former negotiator