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Arafat's duplicity, terrorism at the heart of Israeli-Palestinian crises

By BARRY RUBIN in Jerusalem

Special to USAfrica The Newspaper, Houston
The Black Business Journal and

In other words, for Arafat the gun is permanent, while the olive branch is a secondary tool which he will use simultaneously only if others pay him off. This philosophy has not changed. By rejecting a compromise agreement two years ago, he reaffirmed that he does not seek peace, but victory. Only when victory seems out of reach - as it did in 1993 when he was in a disastrous situation - would he even begin to think, albeit perhaps temporarily and incompletely, about taking another route. Israel must show him that he cannot win victory, that he faces a choice between compromise and catastrophe. Even then, and not for the first time, he might choose catastrophe (which he can then claim as a heroic victory). We are getting closer to that moment.

Here's the situation: Yasser Arafat is unwilling and incapable of making peace with Israel. He will continue backing terrorism and refusing to order that it stop, either:

until he decides he is losing and gets desperate enough to stop;
and as long as he is still capable of doing so as Palestinian leader.

Nobody knows which is true. Israel's strategy is to try the first option as fully as possible until it either works or proves insufficient. At that point, Israel will have to decide whether to adopt the second option, which could mean chasing Arafat out of the West Bank entirely and destroying the Palestinian Authority infrastructure.

During the last week, we have entered deeper and deeper into giving option "A" a try. We are getting closer and closer to moving toward option "B." Many observers, whatever their political sympathies, don't understand either the consistency of this strategy or its necessity. One common Western reaction is that increasing the pressure on Arafat is bad because it creates a "crisis" and upsets the Palestinians or Arab states.

Yet the alternative is a "normal" and "acceptable" situation in which Arafat, the Palestinian Authority, and the Palestinians in general can wage a terrorist war on Israel at no cost. Arafat should be afraid, very afraid, and in his windowless bunker he certainly sounds shaken.

Is this sufficient to end the fighting? I don't know, but it is the option which must be tried at this point. Those who seek to rescue him or offer him more gains simply don't get it. Making him feel more confident constitutes direct encouragement for him to go on with this war. It is not doing the Palestinians any favor.

Indeed, in the desperate pleas of Palestinian notables for international intervention, even when couched in anti-Israeli terms, there is a strong implication of: Save us from our own leaders!

Will the man who has ordered the murder of hundreds of unarmed civilians throughout his life, and who has taught that this is right, reconsider his strategy when his own life seems to be in jeopardy? It may not work, but it seems more likely to make him reconsider than if he were directing a campaign of terror while being feted by international leaders at gala state dinners.

Even now the Arab world does not lift a finger to help him, a point that never quite sinks in with Western observers, who are convinced that Arab solidarity and anger will lead to some regional or world catastrophe if Arafat isn't given his way.

In general, the Bush administration has learned these lessons, though Secretary of State Colin Powell has only been getting it right because the White House has ordered him to do so.

Consider for a moment one of Arafat's most famous statements, made at the end of his UN speech on November 13, 1974: "I come bearing an olive branch and a freedom-fighter's gun. Do not let the olive branch fall from my hand." Note that Arafat declared something quite different from what a "normal" leader would say: "I come bearing an olive branch and a freedom-fighter's gun. Help me so I can let the gun fall from my hand."

For Arafat, talking about cease-fires goes hand-in-hand with sending more suicide bombers. His audience has taught him to have contempt for them, expecting with good reason that any lie, no matter how transparent, will persuade them that he is a man of peace who has nothing to do with terrorism.

He can give an English-language press release to the Western media calling for a cease-fire while making speeches in Arabic calling for jihad and virtually no one outside of Israel will notice.

He can have members of his personal bodyguard engage in terrorism and still have people persuaded that the perpetrators are marginal extremists who have become frustrated at Israeli intransigence.

He can announce the arrest of terrorists who murdered Israelis, while these same people walk around in the streets and plan new attacks at the same moment that he gets credit for trying to curb the violence.

Why should he behave any better?

The basic problem is that Arafat, his colleagues, and lots of Palestinians believe that the more violence, the more likely Israel is to surrender and the West is to hand him a Palestinian state on his own terms. The West expects Arafat to see events like the Arab summit resolution as opportunities to make peace, while he sees them as signals to press Israel harder with terrorism. And this is the man who - after all he has done, after all that has happened due to him - is supposed to merit coddling and protection?

Let him sit in the dark for a while to contemplate his life, crimes, and mistakes. He is a survivor who sends others to be killed, not a would-be martyr himself. Maybe this will make him rethink what he is doing. If not - and even this will probably be insufficient - the consequences will be on his head and, though this will not stop him trying to do so, he will have no one to blame but himself.
Rubin is an analyst for the Jerusalem Post. (April 2, 2002)

Middle East boils, Bush fumbles and Sharon gets more dangerous. By Jonathan Elendu: Suicide bombings that kill Israeli civilians will not hasten the realization of a Palestinian State. Occupying Palestinian cities, humiliating, killing their men, holding and making Yasser Arafat a prisoner in his home will neither lead to peace, nor bring security to the Israeli people. There are extremists on both sides of this conflict who would stop at nothing to scuttle any peaceful resolution. The only way to get a military resolution of this conflict would be for one side to completely annihilate the other side. This will not happen. Both parties should get back to the negotiating table.... Details appear exclusively in at Middle East boils....

Why Colin Powell's mission failed. By Jonathan Elendu.
Where are the elements of the deal? Barry Rubin's article made reference to a comromise (offered by U.S President Bill Clinton two years ago) but did not outline the elements of the compromise. Such listing would have helped the reader judge the decidedly anti-Arafat nature of the article. I may have missed it, but through it all, I have not seen or heard that the Israeli government did accept and was ready to sign off on Mr. Clinton's proposals either. Both parties continue to be responsible for the great loss of innocent lives. Jonathan Elendu's article provides a more rational take on the current crisis in the Middle East. By Prof. Soronnadi Nnaji. April 19, 2002

What has Africa to do with September 11 terror? By Chido Nwangwu

Africans reported dead in terrorist attack at WTC
September 11 terror and the ghost of things to come....
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Africa suffers the scourge of the virus. This life and pain of Kgomotso Mahlangu, a five-month-old AIDS patient (above) in a hospital in the Kalafong township near Pretoria, South Africa, on October 26, 1999, brings a certain, frightening reality to the sweeping and devastating destruction of human beings who form the core of any definition of a country's future, its national security, actual and potential economic development and internal markets.

One of the world's most beloved actresses, Halle Berry, broke a barrier as the first woman of color to win the Oscar for Best Actress during the 74th annual Academy Awards in Hollywood March 24, 2002. Berry won the Academy Award for her outstanding role in the film "Monster's Ball."
She was overcome with emotion as tears ran down her face, all in the context of the the history-making award which she accepted while acknowledging those remarkable African-American women who were pioneers at Hollywood such as Lena Horne. Also, the first rate and debonnaire actor Denzel Washington won the Oscar for the highly-acclaimed Best Actor during the 74th annual Academy Awards in Hollywood March 24, 2002. Washington won the Academy Award for his role in the film 'Training Day.'


In a certain move and break from his country's tradition, 36-year old King Mohammed VI of the north African country of Morocco has married Salma Bennani, the daughter of a university professor. She is a 24-year-old computer engineer. Only family members witnessed the event while some televised public celebrations will hold in April in Marrakesh. The kingdom referred to her as "the chaste pearl, Lalla (Lady) Salma."
Apple introduces 10GB iPod which holds 2,000 songs. With its FireWire connection, iPod can transfer a full 10GB of music from your Mac in under 20 minutes , less than 10 seconds per CD.
Killer Apps. By Tim Bajarin

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Nelson Mandela, Tribute to the world's political superstar and Lion of Africa  
Winnie Madikizela-Mandela's burden mounts with murder charges, trials

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Out of Africa. The cock that crows in the morning belongs to one household but his voice is the property of the neighborhood. -- Chinua Achebe, Anthills of the Savannah. An editor carries on his crusade against public corruption and press censorship in his native Nigeria and other African countries. By John Suval.
ARINZE: Will he be the FIRST BLACK AFRICAN POPE? By Chido Nwangwu
How far, how deep will Nigeria's human rights commission go?

Apple announces Titanium, "killer apps" and other ground-breaking products for 2001. iTunes makes a record 500,000 downloads.
Steve Jobs extends
digital magic

The crises in Zimbabwe preceding and following its early March 2002 controversial presidential elections formed the theme of CNN International's livecast Q&A with Jim Clancy (hosted on March 19 by anchor Colleen McEdwards). Publisher Chido Nwangwu contributed to the analyses of the decision by the Commonwealth which suspended Zimababwe for one year.

On Q&A with Jim Clancy on March 14, 2002, Glenys Kinnock, senior member of the European parliament and Labour party spokesperson for development, Salih Booker, executive director of Washington DC-based Africa Action, Chido Nwangwu, founder and publisher of and Mori Diane. executive vice president of AMEX International offered insight to the issues. A rush transcript appears on CNN's web site
CNN International debate on Nigeria's democracy livecast on February 19, 2002. It involved Nigeria's Information Minister Prof. Jerry Gana, Prof. Salih Booker and Publisher Chido Nwangwu. Transcripts are available on the CNN International site.

A young father writes his One year old son: "If only my heart had a voice...."By Chido Nwangwu





Sex, Women and (Hu)Woman Rights

Why Chinua Achebe, the Eagle on the Iroko, is Africa's writer of the century. By Chido Nwangwu

22 million Africans HIV-infected, ill with AIDS while African leaders ignore disaster-in-waiting

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When a Liar Tells the Truth. By Tarty Teh, columnist in Washington D.C

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Bush's position on Africa is "ill-advised." The position stated by Republican presidential aspirant and Governor of Texas, George Bush where he said that "Africa will not be an area of priority" in his presidency has been questioned by Publisher Chido Nwangwu. He added that Bush's "pre-election position was neither validated by the economic exchanges nor geo-strategic interests of our two continents."

These views were stated during an interview CNN's anchor Bernard Shaw and senior analyst Jeff Greenfield had with Mr. Nwangwu on Saturday November 18, 2000 during a special edition of 'Inside Politics 2000.'
Nwangwu, adviser to the Mayor of Houston (the 4th largest city in the U.S., and immigrant home to thousands of Africans) argued further that "the issues of the heritage interests of 35 million African-Americans in Africa, the volume and value of oil business between between the U.S and Nigeria and the horrendous AIDS crisis in Africa do not lend any basis for Governor Bush's ill-advised position which removes Africa from fair consideration" were he to be elected president.
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Cheryl Mills' first class defense of Clinton and her detractors' game 
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USAfrica The Newspaper voted the "Best Community Newspaper" in the 4th largest city in the U.S., Houston. It is in the Best of Houston 2001 special as chosen by the editors and readers of the Houston Press, reflecting their poll and annual rankings.