News Release

Changes in Mideast Policy?

In the aftermath of Secretary of State Colin Powell’s trip to the Mideast, the following analysts are available for interviews on the direction of U.S. policy in that region:

PHYLLIS BENNIS
Author of Calling the Shots: How Washington Dominates Today’s UN and co-editor of Beyond the Storm: A Gulf Crisis Reader, Bennis said today: “The administration wants to shift the focus away from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict towards Iraq, oil and the Gulf states. There is enormous international pressure on the U.S. to change its Iraq policy of bombing and sanctions. The talk about changing the nature of the sanctions is clearly a response to that. The changes would ostensibly focus on arms control and would to some degree ‘ease’ (but presumably not lift) economic controls on civilian goods, and almost certainly not end the diversion of Iraq’s oil revenues to the UN-run escrow account. The recent strikes were the first outside the ‘no-fly-zone’ in more than two years, and they were conducted by more planes than the regular two-to-three-times-a-week bombing raids of the last several years — but all the air strikes, in or out of the zones, are equally illegal.”
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JOEL BEININ
Co-author of Palestine, Israel and the Arab-Israeli Conflict: A Primer and professor of history at Stanford University, Beinin said today: “It’s interesting that Powell did criticize Israel for its economic hold on the Palestinians. It could signal a tilt away from the severe pro-Israel stance of the Clinton administration. But whether there’s any substance behind Powell’s statement remains unclear.”
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THOMAS NAGY
Professor of expert systems at George Washington University, Nagy has obtained a U.S. military report — issued the day after the Gulf War started — detailing the vulnerabilities of Iraq’s water systems (which the U.S. bombed during the Gulf War) including a listing of the specific items which would need to be barred by the UN sanctions committee in order to totally degrade the water and sanitation system of Iraq. Water-borne diseases are now pervasive in Iraq.
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STEVE GOOSE
Goose, Human Rights Watch arms division program director, noted that during the recent air strikes on Iraq, the U.S. used cluster bombs — which are designed to inflict damage on people rather than military targets.
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SAM HUSSEINI
Communications director of the Institute for Public Accuracy, Husseini has just returned from the Mideast. He said today: “There’s a deep contradiction in the U.S. government’s talking about democracy but using its muscle to get Arab governments to have policies their people don’t want. While many have claimed that the Iraqi regime could have had the sanctions lifted if it complied with the weapons inspectors, the Clinton administration attached other conditions. A very clear break from that policy is needed.”
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For further information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167