The Arabs are starting to organise
Stabroek News
April 11, 2002

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Dear Editor,

Much of Mr. Lutchman Gossai's letter regarding activities in the Arab world makes sense. However, there are new developments which show some level of unity among the Muslim states.

For instance, Middle Eastern countries in no uncertain terms told US Vice President Dick Cheney that they expect the US to start treating the Arab-Israeli conflict with fairness and that they

expect America to play a more meaningful role in stopping the violence.

Since Cheney took this message home, President Bush reluctantly moved off the sidelines and has since issued some very strong statements towards Israel. US Secretary of State Colin Powell, started his Middle East tour by saying that he'd meet with Palestinian President Yasser Arafat only "if circumstances

permit."

In Morocco, King Mohammed asked Powell icily as they sat together why he had not headed straight to Jerusalem and Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah said Washington's credibility was crumbling. Faced with

steely Arab resolve, the Americans relented. Powell now drops any conditions and says he intends to meet with Arafat.

Saddam Hussein has made good on his promise to press for an Israeli withdrawal from Palestinian territories by instituting an embargo on oil exports, an action endorsed by Libya and one that Iran has indicated that they might also adapt. These moves have clearly unsettled President Bush, who reiterated, "We're an energy-dependent nation." He is now talking about drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Meanwhile, millions of ordinary Muslims in the Middle East continue to protest what UN Secretary General Kofi Annan describes as Israel's "illegal occupation" of Palestinian lands.

Some letter writers have lost hope in humans resolving this conflict. I wish that Colin Powell's efforts at this stage at least result in a cease-fire and an Israeli withdrawal.

Yours faithfully,

Justin DeFreitas