Overview of Self-Determination Issues in the Middle East
5 June 2001

As in much of the third world, many of the national boundaries of the Middle East and North Africa are artificial creations of the colonial era. Because most of the region’s inhabitants are Muslim Arabs and thanks to relatively high tolerance levels for minorities in traditional Islamic societies, the denial of self-determination has not been as widespread as in many parts of the world. Still, disputes in the Middle East involving people struggling for the right of self-determination remain some of the most dangerous and intractable conflicts in the world today.


UN Betrayal of Western Sahara
1 June 2001

When a country violates fundamental principles of international law and when the UN Security Council demands that it cease its illegal behavior, one might expect that the world body would impose sanctions or other measures to foster compliance. This has been the case with Iraq, Libya, and other international outlaws in recent years.


Palestine
1 June 2001

The land long considered by many Jews of the diaspora as their homeland had also been inhabited for centuries by Palestinian Arabs. Zionism emerged in Europe during the late 19th century as a movement for the ingathering of Jews to their ancestral land, with immigration increasing during theBritish mandate period following the demise of the Ottoman Empire at the end of World War I. A 1947 UN plan that would have partitioned Palestine in half, granting both Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs their own states, resulted in a war that led to Israeli control of 78% of the country.


The Failure of U.S. Policy Toward Iraq and Proposed Alternatives
1 June 2001

Current U.S.-UN policy regarding Iraq has failed and has largely lost credibility. It is widely viewed internationally as reflecting U.S. (and, to a lesser degree, British) insistence on maintaining a punitive sanctions-based approach regardless of the humanitarian impact and it is increasingly regarded as having failed to bring about either democratic changes in Iraq or security for the Persian Gulf region. Numerous countries are challenging, if not directly violating, the sanctions regime, and international support has largely eroded.


Western Sahara (Conflict Profile)
1 June 2001

The United States, along with France, has been the principal military backer of Morocco in its 25-year occupation of Western Sahara. U.S. counterinsurgency advisers and equipment played a key role in reversing the war in Morocco’s favor in the 1980s. Morocco has long been considered a strategic ally of the West, initially during the cold war as an anticommunist force and more recently as an asset against Islamic militancy. So far, the U.S. has rejected the increasingly moderate and pro-Western tone of the Polisario, though a coalition of liberal and conservative members of Congress has begun to pressure the administration to support Sahrawi self-determination. Successive U.S. administrations have feared that should Morocco lose a fair referendum–a likely scenario–it could mean the downfall of Morocco’s pro-Western monarchy, which has staked its political future on incorporating what it refers to as “the southern provinces.” As a result, although Washington gives lip service to Baker’s mission and related UN efforts and provides a few dozen military and civilian personnel to MINURSO, the U.S. is unlikely to encourage a peaceful resolution to the conflict, Africa’s longest-running and final anticolonial struggle.


UN Betrayal of Western Sahara Appears Imminent
1 June 2001

When a country violates fundamental principles of international law and when the UN Security Council demands that it cease its illegal behavior, one might expect that the world body would impose sanctions or other measures to foster compliance. This has been the case with Iraq, Libya, and other international outlaws in recent years. One would not expect for the United Nations to respond to such violations by passing a series of new and weaker resolutions that essentially allow for the transgressions to stand. However, this is exactly what appears to be taking place in the case of Morocco and its 25-year occupation of Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR), better known as Western Sahara. Soon after the International Court of Justice ruled against Morocco’s claims to the territory and the right of the Sahrawis for self-determination, Morocco invaded Western Sahara in November 1975. At that time the UN passed UN Security Council Resolution 380 calling for Morocco to withdraw immediately from the territory. The U.S. and France not only blocked the UN from imposing sanctions and otherwise enforcing its resolution, but they also sent military advisers and hundreds of millions of dollars worth of arms in subsequent years to support Morocco’s conquest. As a result, the majority of the country’s population was forced into exile in neighboring Algeria.


Mitchell Report on Israeli-Palestinian Violence Flawed
1 May 2001

The report on the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict by the commission led by former U.S. Senator George Mitchell is a failed effort–not for what it includes but for what it does not include.


U.S. Arrogance on Display in UN Human Rights Commission Flap
1 May 2001

The decision by the U.S. Congress to withhold $244 million in dues owed to the United Nations only builds upon the growing global perception of U.S. arrogance. In recent days, both Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill have placed themselves to the right of even the Bush administration in their sharp anti-UN rhetoric….


Challenging Aid to Israel
1 May 2001

‘Challenging Aid to Israel’, Middle East Insight (April 2001): 57,59-60,78

http://stephenzunes.org/article/MEInsightAprMay01ChallengingAidtoIsrael.pdf


Lockerbie Verdict Unlikely to Bring Change
1 February 2001

The guilty verdict against Libyan intelligence operative Abdel Baset Ali Mohamed Al-Megrahi may have finally established guilt in the terrorist bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Scotland in 1988, yet it will not usher in a new era for U.S.-Libyan relations. Perhaps, however, it will lead the new Bush administration to re-evaluate the failed […]