|Israel Resource Review
||12th September, 2003
"Slaughtering the Dove of
Former Norwegian Nobel Committee Member
Yassir Arafat's plot to get rid of his
so-called "Palestinian Prime Minister", Mahmoud Abbas, has
caused further deterioration in the Middle East crises that
previously threatened the realization of the "Road Map".
The dove of peace is already on the butcher's block.
The unbelievable and cruel paradox is that the butcher who brandishes the
axe is the very man who some years ago was awarded the most prestigious
peace prize in the world: The Nobel Peace Prize.
I am sorry to ascertain that, unfortunately, all the warnings that led to
my resignation from the Norwegian Nobel Committee in l994 have come true.
Arafat is not a peace loving pacifist but a war-monger and a butcher, an
ill fortune, both for his own people and for his neighbors.
I have since that time received many requests to take action in order to
make the Norwegian Nobel Committee reverse its award and deprive that
unworthy terrorist, Arafat, of the Nobel Peace Prize.
Unfortunately, however, Dr. Alfred Bernhard Nobel explicitly prohibited
this line of action in the Statutes of the Nobel Foundation.
However, the present betrayal of the Nobel Peace Prize and its purposes is
this time so extreme and so cynical that the Norwegian Nobel Committee is
forced, out of consideration for political decency and for its own
reputation, to find a way to distance itself from its award of 1994.
The only way to obtain this is by publicly deploring the 1994 award of the
Nobel Peace Prize to Arafat.
I hereby urgently ask the Norwegian Nobel Committee and its Chairman to do so.
Former Norwegian Nobel Committee Member;
Past President, Norwegian Parliament;
Former Norwegian Minister of Oil and Energy;
Founding Chairman, Jerusalem Embassy Initiative,
Root & Branch Association, Ltd.
Bjornemyr Terasse 18
Cell Phone: 47-900-71175
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Will the US Congress Approve
Powell's Rescue of Arafat?
On the evening of September 11th, Israeli
intelligence provided evidence to a special session of the
Israeli security cabinet which proved that Arafat has been
directly responsible for months of terror activity, in
coordination with the Hamas and the Al Aksa brigades of the
Fateh. Such confirmed Israeli intelligence reports caused the
Israeli government security cabinet to order direct military
action against Arafat - to kill him or to deport him back to Tunis.
However, Israel Government's IBA TV and IBA Radio reported within minutes
of the Israeli cabinet decision that US Secretary of State Colin Powell
intervened to veto any IDF action against Arafat.
Sources in the Israeli government quoted U.S. State Department sources as
describing Arafat as "an American interest which is essential to the peace
process and to stability in the region."
Yet ever since President George W. Bush decided more than a year ago to
deepen his involvement in the Middle East quagmire, it had been the policy
of the Bush administration to implement a Middle East policy without
Bush went so far as to revoke the frequent flier tickets that Arafat had to
the White House under Clinton.
Yes, it had been the adamant Bush policy to do everything possible to
ignore Arafat, to weaken Arafat, and to coordinate a policy with Israeli
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon of making Arafat into an "irrelevant" figure in
the negotiation process.
And yet every step of the way in which Abu Mazen (remember him?) had been
brought into the picture as Prime Minister, Abu Mazen made it quite clear
that so long as Arafat is around, he will most certainly be running the PLO
Indeed, when Abu Mazen appeared before the U.S. House International
Relations Committee on July 24, 2003, the first question of Middle East
Subcommittee Chairperson Ileana Ros-Leighten was very simple:
"What is your relationship to Arafat?" to which Abu Mazen answered in
clear, simple terms: "Arafat sent me. I am the representative of Yasser
It was as if Abu Mazen had expressed a Arabic version of Lincoln's famous
adage that "you can fool some of the people some of the time."
The masquerade of the U.S. foreign policy supposedly ignoring Arafat came
to an end after the August 19th Arab terror massacre in Jerusalem, in which
20 Jewish men, women and children were murdered.
Following that massacre, on August 21st, Colin Powell stood next to UN
Secretary General Kofi Annan and told the UN, "I call on Chairman Arafat to
work with Prime Minister Abbas and to make available to Prime Minister
Abbas those security elements that are under his control."
Powell made it a point to use the term "make available" -- not "transfer"
-- and dropped the key precondition of America's launching of the Road Map,
with Arafat seemingly out of the picture and not in control of any armed
In other words, Arafat isn't out of the picture -- and he was never out of
Yet the pretext for the U.S. resuming the military training of Palestinian
security forces were that there were some PA security forces that were not
beholden to Arafat.
Well, that illusion is out of the way. Yet the U.S. continues to train
Arafat's militias in Jericho.
And to further pour salt on the wound, Powell also declared to the UN on
August 21st that he compared those who opposed a PLO state with those who
conducted acts of heinous murder, concluding his remarks by saying:
"The alternative is what? Just more death and destruction? Let
the terrorists win? Let those who have no interest in a Palestinian state
win? Let those who have no interest but killing innocent people win? No.
That is not an acceptable outcome."
And now that Powell has revived Arafat as the real and present PLO leader
who carries all power, this will dash President George W. Bush's notion of
a "new leadership, not compromised by terror" announced in his seminal June
24th policy speech of last year.
You cannot fool all of the people all of the time. Arafat has never left
his leadership role and will never voluntarily do so -- especially with his
renewed U.S. State Department support.
The question remains: Has the U.S. Congress, which advises and consents the
Bush Administration in matters of foreign policy, given its consent to keep
Arafat in power?
Has the U.S. Congress indeed decided that Arafat is "an American interest
which is essential to the peace process and to stability in the region"?
Time will tell on Capitol Hill.
This piece ran on
on September 12th, 2003
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Minding Its Business:
Arabia has Not Helped to Rebuild Iraq
Dr. Gal Luft
Executive Director, Institute for the Analysis of Global
Saudi Arabia, which has demonstrated its
willingness to use its vast oil reserves as a foreign policy
tool, has not acted to aid u.s. efforts to rebuild Iraq.
Contrary to frequent assertions that Saudi Arabia is a loyal U.S. ally, Riyadh has pursued policies and taken actions that have caused grievous harm to vital American interests.
Apart from being a hotbed of Islamic radicalism and a source of terrorist funding, Saudi Arabia is known as the home of a quarter of the world's oil reserves and supplier of about one-sixth of U.S. oil imports.
Saudi Arabia's ability to produce a spare capacity of oil is the linchpin of its foreign policy
What gives the oil kingdom political strength is its role as the world oil market's swing producer. It is the only oil producer with significant spare capacity-an extra 2.5 million barrels per day (mbd) that can be pumped into the market when other suppliers falter.
Spare capacity has become the linchpin of Saudi diplomacy. Foreign Affairs magazine defined it as "the energy equivalent of nuclear weapons, a powerful deterrent against those who try to challenge Saudi leadership." The Saudis have demonstrated time and again their readiness to use their spare capacity to create a glut and have prices collapse in order to destroy exports from countries challenging their dominance.
Saudi oil policy has been designed to preserve stability in the oil market at a relatively high price while enjoying the benefits of being a top supplier to the United States. To maintain its influence over Washington, Riyadh provides a hidden subsidy of roughly $1 per barrel of Saudi crude sold in the United States. In return, Washington provides for the defense of the kingdom.
The House of Saud has used its oil power to influence U.S. Middle East policy toward Israel. This was done thirty years ago during the Yom Kippur War when the Saudis, enraged by President Nixon's decision to ship arms to Israel, decided to cut oil supply to the United States, bringing about the worst economic slump since the Great Depression. Last year, The New York Times reported that senior members of the Saudi royal family discussed reusing the oil weapon in response to Israel's Operation Defensive Shield in the West Bank.
Furthermore, U.S. presence in the kingdom has become a lightning rod for Islamic fundamentalism and anti-Americanism, leading groups like al-Qaeda to attack U.S. interests worldwide. Consequently, since the September 11 attacks, there has been a growing American public demand to displace Saudi Arabia as the main source of U.S. oil in the Gulf. The victory over Saddam Hussein enables the United States to do so by developing Iraq's vast oil fields. With a stable political situation and a large investment, Iraq might be able to pump up its production from 3.2 mbd prior to the 1991 Gulf war to 6 mbd by 2010.
Saudi Arabia's dominance of the energy markets would be threatened by an oil-producing Iraq
The House of Saud is deeply concerned about internal political destabilization from a democracy-seeking Iraq and even more about increased Iraqi oil production. Undoubtedly, Saudi Arabia is likely to be the main casualty if Iraq joined the small club of giant producers-especially if Iraq is able to create spare production capacity to cut into Saudi Arabia's near-monopoly. Saudi production quota stands at about 8 mbd of OPEC's 25.4 mbd total. A gradual increase in Iraq's quota would have to come at the expense of Saudi Arabia. This is something Riyadh fears.
Heavily in debt, burdened by high unemployment, lavish stipends to more than 10,000 princes and hush-money to its religious establishment, while solely dependent on oil income for its economic well-being, the House of Saud cannot sustain a drop in revenues. Saudi per capita GDP has dropped from $18,000 in 1980 to about $7,500 today. Decline in oil sales due to Iraqi production could further decrease it to about $3,000 by 2010.
The kingdom has not acted against Islamic radicals, whose attacks have hampered the rebuilding of Iraq
One way Saudi Arabia can prevent the emergence of Iraq's oil industry is by creating an inhospitable investment climate in Iraq, deterring international oil companies from rebuilding the country's oil infrastructure. In the past few months, hundreds of Saudi radicals have crossed the border into Iraq in preparation for a jihad against the United States.
These Islamist militants are concentrated in the Sunni area near Falujjah and together with remnants of Saddam's regime they have launched attacks on oil pipelines and refineries, preventing Iraqi oil from coming back online and denying Iraq the much-needed funds for its reconstruction. The latest attack on August 16 on a pipeline from Kirkuk to the Turkish Mediterranean terminal of Ceyhan costs Iraq's tottering economy $7 million per day.
Without oil revenues, Iraqis will soon be disillusioned with the United States' ability to rebuild and reform their country and the American public might become frustrated by the huge cost inflicted on the U.S. economy.
Though the Saudi government often claims to be a close ally to the United States, its actions indicate this outcome is precisely what it is hoping for. It has not lifted a finger to seal the border to block the surge of jihadists to Iraq, and certainly has done nothing to help rebuild Iraq's vital oil industry. Indeed, the kingdom believes it is in its best interest to have the radicals fight the United States outside the country rather than destabilize the regime from within.
The Saudi complicity in the actions of its citizens in Iraq undermines the U.S. strategic objective of promoting peace and democracy in the Middle East. Behavior that increases the military burden coalition forces in Iraq are facing while undermining the United States' economic recovery is the last thing expected from a perceived ally.-Dr. Gal Luft
This piece ran in the September 8th issue of the
Near East Report
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