Builders For Peace: A New American Initiate

Posted on December 06, 1993 in Washington Watch

The tragedy and brutality of the occupation continues to torment the Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza. The promise of September 13 has not yet borne fruit. Instead the cycle of violence has accelerated with dozens killed and hundreds shot and wounded. The prisons are still filled and the economy of the territories is strangling.

It is not the same old story. Enemies of the Israel/PLO Declaration of Principles exist on both sides and Palestinians have been victims not only of the Israeli occupation authorities, but also of their own internal opposition. Simultaneously, Israeli right wing opponents of the...

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Crime and Violence in the U.S. Today

Posted on November 29, 1993 in Washington Watch

Since 1990, Ahmed, (not his real name) 47 years old, has run a small grocery store in a poor, high-crime neighborhood of Cleveland, Ohio. Like other small businessmen in the area, Ahmed has been tormented by young gang members who live in the vicinity of his store. His business has regularly been victimized by armed robbery, petty shoplifting, and vandalism. Even his one room apartment in the back of the store has been broken into and robbed on a number of occasions. Faced, one too many times, by armed gunmen, Ahmed, like many other storeowners has broken the law and...

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The NAFTA Agreement

Posted on November 22, 1993 in Washington Watch

Political analysts and leaders in both parties have showered President Clinton with praise for his winning performance in the Congressional vote over the North American Free Trade Act (NAFTA) last week. There is no doubt that this was a Clinton victory. During the last few weeks before the NAFTA vote, the President met with 150 members of Congress, held 18 mass meetings with business and political leaders and worked the phones non-stop, winning over new supporters for the bill.

The week before the vote, NAFTA was given little chance of passing. Even two days before the final ballot, the count...

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The Challenge of NAFTA

Posted on November 15, 1993 in Washington Watch

The White House is engaged in a major campaign to pass the North American Free Trade Act (NAFTA) through Congress. With the vote set for November 17, both pro- and anti-NAFTA forces have been waging a relentless crusade to collar enough votes to win.

NAFTA is an inheritance of the Clinton Administration. Initially negotiated by the Bush Administration with Mexico and Canada, the issue became a topic of intense debate during the 1992 presidential campaign.

The basic principle behind NAFTA is that the absence of tariffs and other trade barriers between nations benefits the businesses and consumers of those nations....

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The Lessons of the November Elections

Posted on November 08, 1993 in Washington Watch

Republicans swept the three most hotly contested and high stakes elections of November, 1993, stirring a national debate over the impact of the Democratic defeats will have on the year-old Clinton Administration.

In Governor’s races in Virginia and New Jersey, and in the mayoral race in New York, Republicans ended long-time Democratic party rule. When added to the Republican victories earlier this year in the mayoral races on Los Angeles and Jersey City and the special Senate election in Texas, 1993 looks like a very bad year for Democratic incumbents.

Virginia Twelve years of Democratic party control of the Governor’s...

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The Political Responsibility of Intellectuals

Posted on November 01, 1993 in Washington Watch

Last weekend, an Arab American organization held its convention in Washington. Bringing together a number of Arab American and Arab academics and intellectuals, the conference was little more than a harsh three-day long attack on the Israel-PLO accords.

Most of the 100 or so attendees were sharply critical of the agreement, and used terms like “abject surrender,” “tragedy,” and “catastrophe” to describe it. Some of those who defended the accord were denounced as “collaborators,” apologists” or “opportunists.”

As distressing as it was to hear the harsh rhetoric, what is more troubling is that these attacks are a function of a...

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A Muslim American Doctor, Washington D.C. and the U.S. Health Care Debate

Posted on October 25, 1993 in Washington Watch

The American political scene has come to be dominated by the issue of health care like not other issue in the past generation. It has played an important role in U.S. politics for the past three years, and will for some time to come, but it is incredibly complex.

Dr. Mohammad Akhtar, a Pakistani American, is one of the leading medical professionals in the U.S. As Commissioner of Public Health in Washington, DC, he has become an outspoken advocate in the American debate on health care.

Dr. Akhtar came to his post in 1991 from a distinguished career in medicine....

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Somalia and Haiti

Posted on October 18, 1993 in Washington Watch

During the past two weeks, the Clinton Administration has been hit hard by crises in Somalia and Haiti—namely increased U.S. casualties in Somalia and accelerated violence and a breakdown of the agreement to restore democracy to Haiti. Though these were crises in and of themselves, these events also were of concern to the Administration because of their timing.

The White House had already laid out an agenda for October. Elected to focus on the domestic issues Bush had ignored, Clinton had planned this fall to begin a major campaign to pass legislation on health care, the North American Free Trade...

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Arab American Involved in the '93 Elections

Posted on October 11, 1993 in Washington Watch

The work of becoming a respected political force in a democracy is a continuing process. And so Arab Americans, though fully engaged in the dramatic developments taking place in the Middle East are keeping one eye focused on important November 1993 elections and our domestic political work.

There is a saying in American politics—” All politics are local.” For an ethnic community, this saying means that, in order to become a political force, they must be organized and be able to deliver votes and money to support candidates on the local level.

In the past, too many Arab Americans focused...

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Questions Remain About Clinton's Foreign Policy

Posted on October 04, 1993 in Washington Watch

Last week the President and his three top foreign policy advisors delivered major addresses designed to clarify the principles and purposes behind the Administration’s foreign policy. The speeches of Clinton, Secretary of State Warren Christopher, National Security Advisor Anthony Lake and United Nations Ambassador Madeleine Albright were thoughtful, well-crafted and complementary—but left critics unsatisfied.

President Clinton’s address before the UN General Assembly was cleverly wrought to respond to American isolationists.

He spoke, as President Bush had, of the drama of the post-Cold war world. “It is clear,” he noted, “that we live at a turning point in human history. Immense...

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