Welcome to the Middle East Today

The Middle East has traditionally been important for the world economy. The Middle East situation today has an impact on all aspects of life in America and much of the world.

Only by understanding the motivations of the various factions in the Middle East can we hope to understand how to promote peace and national security for Middle Eastern nations, Europe, and the United States.

Oct 30, 2011

A Revolution or a Military Coup?

The Arab Spring Revolution that first started in Tunisia in December 2010 and which spread to Egypt on January 25th, 2011, sent shock waves worldwide. The Egyptian Revolution in particular was referred to by foreign politicians, journalists and academicians as the most inspiring and peaceful uprising in the last 400 years. Some even stated that it was a model that should be taught reflecting on the commitment of the younger generation who aspired to achieve their goal peacefully. What happened in Egypt less than a year ago has inspired young people almost globally to rise and lead their own protests against their own governments demanding an end to corruption and demanding reforms.

Such protest movements began in Russia, China, Israel, Spain, Portugal and the U.S. In some of these countries, slogans that were used in Tahrir Square in Cairo were adopted. The American press has referred to the fact that young Americans who were protesting in front of Wall Street were inspired by the Egyptian Revolution.

The critical question that I would like to ask about the Egyptian Revolution is whether the younger generation, who were the vanguard of the protest movement, has won or not. Did the Egyptian Higher Military Council accept and implement their demands? It is not that easy to answer such questions with accuracy. Some demands were met and others are pending or were ignored completely.

During the past few months, some journalists, political analysts and even some of the leaders of various political groups began to raise some doubts about the sincerity of the Egyptian Higher Military Council, especially General Tantawi. The leadership of the Military Council has been moving slowly by design and has already rejected some of the major demands of the protestors. For example, the majority of these political groups, with the exception of the Muslim Brotherhood, have demanded the drafting of a new constitution before the election. One of the circulating rumors that the Military Council has made is that the Military Council has made an agreement with the Muslim Brotherhood leadership to delay the drafting of the constitution. Those who are familiar with the political situation have reached the conclusion that the upcoming election in November will lead to a victory for the Muslim Brotherhood political group, who will be in a better position to influence the drafting of the new constitution.

There are other demands that the young protestors have made over and over and the response has been slow so far. These issues include the cleansing of the judicial system, various governmental institutions, academic institutions and the Ministry of Interior. Many important figures that were appointed by the previous government are still there and are performing their political roles as usual as if nothing has happened. Another demand that the protestors made is the prevention of any members from the previous ruling party from running in the November election. The Military Council rejected that demand. The press has already predicted that around 35% of the seats of the parliament will be taken by ex-members of the previous ruling party in the November election. If this happens, then the revolution is back to square one.

Furthermore, almost nine months have passed and security in the society at large still has not been achieved. The baltageya (hoodlums) are still posing a risk to the public and are being used by people with money and influence from the previous regime. The rationale behind it is to create a counter-revolution.

There are many wealthy individuals who have acquired their wealth during the Mubarak period. No attempt has been made to investigate some of these people. To put it clearly, the Higher Military Council is not doing what was expected of them.

It seems to many of the protestors, especially the leadership of the younger generation, that the real meaning of the revolution has not been understood or made clear. The official definition of a revolution, according to the Webster dictionary, is “Constituting or bringing about a major change. To change fundamentally or completely.”

So far, the pace of change has been a slow one, and I am of the opinion that the Military council does not intend to bring changes that might lead them to surrender their authority to a civilian elected government. After all, the Military Council was part of the previous regime and has been in total command of the Egyptian government since 1952.

General Tantawi and his military group have supported the revolution as the best option that was available to them at the time for two reasons. Before Mr. Mubarak surrendered his authority, he issued an order to replace Mr. Tantawi as the defense minister when he refused to turn the army against the protestors. Second, General Tantawi is a wise and rational man. The number of protestors in Tahrir Square reached three million people and another 15-17 million were protesting in different Egyptian cities at the same time.

It would have been an impossible task for any military general to turn the army against the millions of protestors. Obviously, General Tantawi made the right decision and won the public’s trust.

Second, the army will support some democratic reforms, such as free elections that will lead to the formation of government by the winning political party or the group who ends up with the majority of seats in parliament.

The military has been saying that they will transfer their authority to the newly elected government. However, I have my own doubts that they will continue to have the power and influence governmental policy from behind the scenes.

Third, the Egyptian Higher Military Council has been running and managing a sector of the Egyptian industrial economy, but not too many Egyptians are fully aware of it. Where does the financial benefit from this sector go and who is in full control of it? The response to such questions is always that the issue should be kept secret and it is part of the Egyptian military national defense strategy. I am wondering if the 25th of January Revolution will turn out at the end to be a military coup.

Oct 29, 2011

Tunisia has Joined the Democracy Club

The Arab Spring Revolution has begun to bear fruits in Tunisia. The Tunisian people began to cast their votes last Sunday (10/23/11) in a democratic way for the first time in their modern history. International organizations have reflected positively on the Tunisian election and have recognized its transparency and straightforward achievement of succeeding in removing the country from dictatorship and creating a democratic setting in a short period.

However, it was also reported that the popular political party headed by Mr. Hamdi, who is linked to the previous regime, has violated election rules. The seats they have won were canceled by the election commission due to financial irregularities used in Sidi Bouzed City.

Mouhammad bou-Azizi set himself on fire (12/2010) to protest the corrupt authoritarian regime of Zein Al Abideen, which led to the collapse of his regime. This has paid off for the Tunisian population. The Tunisian electoral commission said that the Islamic Ennahda political party emerged as the winner in the election and they will end up getting between 40%-45% of the votes for the assembly, which will consist of 90 seats out of the 217 seats.

The party’s leader Mr. Rashid Ghannouchi has said publicly that he will not form an Islamic state and he will invite other secular political parties to join his government. The reported news noted that Mr. Ghannouchi has already contacted two centers, left secularist groups, the Congress for the Republic and Ettakatol as possible partners in the proposed future government that will be formed when the voting counts end.

Tunisia, which led the Arab Spring Revolution, also initiated the first real and free secular democratic voting in an organized and peaceful manner in the modern history of the Arab world.

It was reported that more than 90% of the eligible Tunisian voters have participated in the election. The Tunisian people have set an example to the rest of the Arab world as a model to follow the path toward democracy.

The Tunisian people deserve the credit for the smooth transition that took place during the past nine months after the collapse of the previous regime. They have developed a sound political strategy by starting with the creation of a civilian commission who supervised the direction of the transitional period, which at the end led to the election of its parliament. Despite the fact that the Egyptian revolution took place one month later, the transitional period reflects many problems due to the fact that the Egyptian Higher Military Council has been the source of authority and not the civilian government. In Tunisia, the military stayed out of the way of the civilian transitional authority.

Furthermore, the Tunisian people traditionally have lived in a more socially and culturally liberal environment, even under the previous authoritarian regime of Zein al Abideen. For example, Tunisian women enjoyed more equality than their counterparts in Egypt. Also, the illiteracy rate in Tunisia is less than 15% while in Egypt it is about 34% for the society at large. The illiteracy rates among Egyptian women are much higher than among the men.

Since its independence, the Tunisian government has put more emphasis on education and healthcare, even before Zein al-Abideen assumed power 24 years ago. The Egyptian situation has been deteriorating rapidly during the more than three decades of Hosni Mubarak’s rule.

One additional remark to be made is that the Tunisian Islamic Ennahda political party is more liberal in its views of Islamic interpretation than any organized Islamic political group in the Arab world. The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood could learn a great deal from their Tunisian brothers.

Finally, we can say without hesitation, so far, that Tunisia is marching on the right path towards the creation of a democratic society and that it is setting an example for the rest of the Arab world to follow.

Oct 22, 2011

End of Gadhafi's Era

Moammar Gadhafi, the ousted head of Libya, was found hiding in an underground drainage pipe in Misrata, his birthplace. He was arrested but was killed in crossfire, according to reports. He ended up getting what he deserved. Also, his son Mutassim was arrested and killed as well. Saif il-Islam, the second son of Gadhafi, was reported killed but later reports revealed he is still alive and there are no updates on where he is.

Nevertheless, the Gadhafi era is over. He ruled Libya with an iron fist for 42 years and killed many young Libyans who rebelled against his rule. More than 70,000 civilians were killed.

Gadhafi ruled and viewed Libya as his own ranch and the people as his own sheep. His lawless political and personal manner and behavior reflected on his abnormal personality. Gadhafi came to power as a result of a military coup in 1969. During the past 42 years of his rule, he wasted large portions of Libya’s wealth on unproductive economic projects that were of no benefit economically to the country as a whole. Due to the absence of transparency and a lack of accountability, nobody dared to challenge his political strategy and actions for 42 years. He was a corrupt political leader. His hidden family wealth has been estimated to be between $131 and $150 billion.

Despite the fact that Libya is rich in oil resources, the income from its sales was not directed to meaningful economic development, which kept the country underdeveloped. Nearly 20% of the Libyan population of 6.5 million is classified as poor. Its GNI is $12,000 per capital. In addition, Libya is one of the largest Arab countries area-wise. Most of the land is classified as desert. Nevertheless, the country’s oil and natural resources remain partially underdeveloped.

However, the Gadhafi era ended and the young people’s revolution turned out to be among the most violent and bloody among the spring revolutions in the Arab world.

The New Libyan political leadership has a major political, economic and social responsibility. It should begin by establishing a free democratic society with equal rights to all of its citizens, irrespective of their tribal, ethnic or religious beliefs. The new political rulers should eliminate the barriers and the regional tribal conflicts that Gadhafi created during the past four decades. Unity among the Libyan people is a must and a prerequisite for progress and economic development.

The era of a man who inflicted so much suffering and agony and torture on his people has finally come to an end. A new future is now available to the Libyan people and I hope they will use it wisely.

What will the impact of Gadhafi’s death be on the leadership of hot spots in the Arab world, especially Syria and Yemen? Those corrupt political regimes have failed so far to get the message. However, at the end, the will of the people and their fight for freedom will prevail.

Oct 21, 2011

Withdrawal of US Troops from Iraq

During the past few months, several high-ranking U.S. officials, from Vice President Biden to Secretary of Defense Panetta and the Chief of Staff of the military forces, visited Iraq. The main objective of such visits was to prolong the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq. Previous President George W. Bush signed an agreement in 2008 with the Iraqi government to pull all American troops out by the end of 2011. Also, in a speech at a meeting of the American Veterans of Foreign Wars (8/2/2011) President Obama announced that American soldiers’ combat missions in Iraq would come to an end by August 31st, 2011 and that the troops would leave by the end of 2011.

The puzzling question that needs to be asked is why President Obama is trying to reverse his decision by pressuring the Iraqi government to agree to keep a residual force as large as 18,000 (nearly half of the 44,500 troops) in the country? The American rationale is that Iraq is not ready to assume the responsibility of defending its borders. Furthermore, the rationale maintains these troops will be needed to train the Iraqi military forces on the new weapons purchased from the U.S. The Iraqi government has been reluctant to accept that number, which has dropped to 5,000 troops. Also, the Iraqi government stipulated that the American soldiers who will be left in Iraq would also be subjected to Iraqi law. As of 10/18/2011, the U.S. government has rejected the Iraqi proposal since it will not provide immunity to U.S. soldiers from prosecution in Iraq.

The Iraqi government does not want to see another irresponsible group like the Blackwater security forces that opened fire on Iraqi civilians that led to the killing of 17 people in 2007. It was reported that the U.S. government is planning to send 16,000 civilian employees who will be connected to the Secretary of State Department under the supervision of the U.S. Embassy in Iraq. Nearly 80% of that number are American contractors and not officially employed by the State Department. The U.S. Embassy staff in Iraq has already been estimated at 1,750 employees. In addition to the military forces that will be kept if the Iraq government agrees, the U.S. is also planning to contract from the American private sector around 5,000 security guards to protect Americans who are connected with the U.S. Embassy.

The U.S. military forces have already closed 484 bases and there are still 20 active military bases. Leaving even a small military force in Iraq after December 20th 2011 would prolong the problem. It seems to be that American politicians have failed to see beyond their noses.

First, the majority of the American public has demanded that all U.S. troops should be pulled out not only from Iraq, but also from Afghanistan.

Second, as Professor J. Stiglitz, a Nobel Prize winner and economist at Columbia University, pointed out, the invasion of Iraq in 2003 was the first war in U.S. history paid for entirely on credit. The direct government spending on those wars so far amounts to roughly $2 trillion or $17,000 for every U.S. household, with bills yet to be received that will increase this amount by more than 50%.

Third, the members of the American Congress, in particular the Republicans, are ignoring the American public’s call to pull out American troops from both Iraq and Afghanistan.

Fourth, members of the Republican Party in Congress keep talking about the budget deficit and ignoring that the two wars that they have supported are a major contributing factor to the budget deficit.

Fifth, what has their aggressive military adventure has achieved so far? Close to 6,000 American soldiers have been killed in both wars and more than 35,000 have been injured. There is no end in sight, at least for the war in Afghanistan. I would say that at the end, the U.S. will withdraw from both wars and the only winners will be the American Military Industrial Complex and their lobbyists in Washington D.C.

Oct 11, 2011

Recent Protesters Clashes

While watching the news on Arab TV networks, I was disappointed and dismayed by the clashes that were taking place between the protestors and the Egyptian military at Maspero Square in front of the Egyptian TV building (10/9/2011). The protestors were young Egyptian Copts who were demanding political reforms as a result of the burning of an Egyptian Coptic church in Aswan governate a few days earlier.

The protestors accused the Higher Military council of being too soft on Islamic fanatics whose influence has been increasing against Egyptian Copts since the January 25th Revolution. Several churches have been attacked and burned during the past seven months and the government has failed to prevent such violent acts.

The protestors were demanding the removal of the Aswan governor, who has failed to interfere and stop the attacks on Coptic churches. An Egyptian law from the nineteenth century, which is no longer applied by the government, prevented the construction of churches in Egypt. According to that law, the president of Egypt is the only authority that can permit the construction of a Coptic church. The protestors demanded that this law be replaced. The protestors were demanding the passage of a new common law that will apply equally to the construction of churches and mosques.

The issue of religious discrimination is the most serious problem for Egypt, because it tampers with its natural unity and security. It is a very puzzling question to ask – why has the Egyptian Higher Military Council failed to remove the outdated law, which they have already discussed and which led to past Coptic demonstrations? The Military Council has the power to do so and it would be a politically constructive act that would prevent the enemy of the revolution (at both the national and international level) from interfering in Egypt’s national security and unity.

Furthermore, the recent protest movement has caused the deaths of 25 people and the injuries of another 329, according to the reported news. It should be repeated that Muslim and Christians stood together in support of the January 25th Revolution, which led to its success. Also, it is understandable that the Egyptian public, who has been living for many decades under authoritarian rule, especially during the Mubarak regime, wants an immediate and quick positive result. Reform is a slow process, especially in certain sensitive areas that require more time to accomplish it. However, the slow changes, especially in regards to sensitive areas such as religious discrimination, should not wait. Reforms should be implemented immediately to maintain unity among the Egyptian population. To illustrate the urgency of the political reforms, some people within the Egyptian Coptic community called for international protection, which means that their own government has failed to protect them. The Coptic Christians of Egypt are an important part of the Egyptian political and social structure and should be treated equally and should not be viewed differently from their Muslim brothers. The elimination of the law that focuses on the delay or prevention of the construction of churches is urgent. It should be replaced by a new law that gives equal treatment to the construction of churches and mosques in Egypt. Until this happens, the conflict will continue to threaten Egypt’s unity and national security.

The rector of al-Azhar, Dr. Al-Tayeb, and other high ranking religious leaders from both sides have issued an official request (10/11/2011) asking the government to expedite the passage of the new law to replace the old one in order to avoid any further conflicts. The January 25th Revolution has been tarnished by what occurred at Maspero Square.

Oct 10, 2011

Environmental Considerations



This is posted with the permission of the author Dr. Mahmoud Roushdy.
Comments are welcomed.
                                                  
الأستاذ الدكتور محمود رشدى
المستشار بالإكاديمية
الحديثة بالمعادى

تأملات فى البيئة
تتعرض القاهرة الكبرى هذه الأيام لما اعتدنا أن نطلق عليه السحابة السوداء والتى تعودنا أن نستقبلها فى المساء وتستمر طوال الليل حتى مطلع الصباح فتزكم الأنوف وتسبب لنا ضيقاً شديداً فى التنفس.
ويشاهد المسافر بالقطار من القاهرة إلى الإسكندرية ألسنة النيران ترتفع فى حقول الأرز للتخلص من قش الأرز الذى حولته دولاً كثيرة فى العالم إلى منتجات ذات فائدة لمواطنيهم مثل الأسمدة واستخلاص السليلوز الذى يدخل فى صناعة الورق والأعلاف الحيوانية بل تصنيع قوالب للبناء ذات درجة صلابة عالية، ولكننا فى مصر نضيق ذرعاً بهذا القش ونناصبه العداء فنلجأ إلى إبادته حرقاً.
ليس هذا وحسب، لكن تلجأ جهات مسئولة بالدولة إلى عمليات حرق مكشوف للقمامة التى تنتج منها القاهرة الكبرى يومياً ما يزيد عن 12 ألف طن، وكم سمعنا عن عمليات تدوير القمامة وتحويلها إلى سماد عضوى كما هو متبع فى جميع بلاد العالم بل ولا يوجد فى العالم بلد واحد يعانى من مشاكل القمامة أو بلد فى العالم يضم بين جنباته قرية للزبالين ومع هذا حين ظهر وباء حمى الخنازير سارعنا بقرار عشوائى متسرع بإبادة مزارع الخنازير عن آخرها دون مراعاة إلى أنها كانت وسيلة للتخلص من نسبة كبير من القمامة كما أنها كانت مصدر الزرق الوحيد للعاملين بها ولمالكيها.
وعجباً تقوم الدولة بتحصيل رسم للنظافة قسراً وتعسفاً مع فاتورة الكهرباء ندفعه ونحن صاغرين لا نملك من الأمر شيئاً فهو فرمان ملوكى غير قابل للمناقشة فأين تذهب حصيلة هذا الرسم الغامض؟
وقبلها 2% نظافة منذ عشرات السنين.
لقد طالعتنا الصحف الأسبوع الماضى بخبر هام استبشرنا به خيراً مفادة القبض على بعض المجرمين الخارجين على القانون وهم فى حكم الإرهابيين وتحويلهم للنيابة وإخطار وزير البيئة بالواقعة المؤسفة التى تتمثل فى اصطياد هؤلاء المجرمين لصقر صغير من إحدى المحميات الصحراوية التى تعيش فيها هذه الصقور البرئية وهى من الأنواع النادرة التى نخشى عليها من الأنقراض وقامت وزارة البيئة باتخاذ الإجراءات الفورية اللامة لردع هؤلاء المجرمين – عجبى!!
وبالمناسبة يوجد لدينا شرطة للبيئة ومندوبين من جهاز شئون البيئة لهم سلطة الضبطية القضائية ولدينا قانون البيئة رقم 4 لسنه 94 لكنه مصاب بالشلل والعياذ بالله بل ربما قد أصيب بالسكتة القلبية.
إن هواء القاهرة الكبرى الآن على الخريطة الصحية العالمية به أعلى نسبة من الملوثات من أكاسيد كربون وأكاسيد كبريت ونتروجين ورصاص وشوائب عالقة تفوق المعدلات المسموح بها عالميا، وهناك ألاف المركبات تجرى فى شوارع القاهرة تنفث سمومها دون أن تعترضها شرطة المرور أو شرطة البيئة التى لا ندرى الواجب المنوط بها تنفيذه، وهذه المركبات جميعها قد أجازت صلاحية السير بالفحص فى إدارات المرور والحصول على صلاحية السير مقابل رسم مالى.
ويجب ألا ننسى شباب ثورة 25 يناير المباركة حين شمروا عن سواعدهم الفتية وقاموا بحملة تنظيف وتجميل للشوارع والميادين، وفى المقابل ورداً للجميل يقوم المواطنون بنشر تلال القمامة فى مختلف أنحاء المدينة لتكون مرتعاً للحشرات الناقلة للأمراض والكلاب الضالة.
ودون أن تتحرك الإجهزة المسئولة للتخلص من هذا العار؟ ألا نخشى على شباب الثورة من أن يصيبه الإحباط واليأس؟
أخيراً وليس أخراً يحسب لوزارة البيئة أنها تحتفل سنوياً باليوم العالمى للبيئة وتقام الندوات والليالى الملاح ويلقى الوزير خطابا بالإنجازات والمنجزات فهل لنا علاقة من قريب أو بعيد بأنظمة البيئة فى دول العالم بل وما نتائج مشروع تحسين هواء القاهرة الكبرى  الذى مولته هيئة المعونة الأمريكية سابقاً بما يقرب من 36 مليون دولار تضمن خمسة بنود رئيسية أحدها بند (الوعى البيئى) وذلك عن طريق برامج دعائية فى وسائل الإعلام المسموعة والمقروءة والمرئية ومع هذا لم نشاهد برنامجاً واحداً فى التليفزيون يدعو لتوعية المواطنين بأهمية الحفاظ على البيئة وهى أولاً وأخيراً مسئولية مشتركة بين المواطنين ووزارة البيئة بالمقام الأول ثم الإعلام والصحة والسياحة، وبالمناسبة ما أكثر برامج التوك شو والفيديو كليب التى يبثها التليفزيون.
ولابد من ضرورة تجريم إلقاء المواطنين للقمامة بالشوارع وتغليظ عقوبة ذلك والاستعانة (بشرطة البيئة) فى التنفيذ.
ولكن وبالتوازى ما هى الوسيلة العصرية والمقبولة لتداول القمامة بدءاً من باب المسكن حتى مكان التجميع وأن تكون داخل أكياس خاصة تصرف للمواطنين من حصيلة رسم النظافة على فاتورة الكهرباء وهو لازال بنداً غامضاً حتى الآن.

انتبهوا أيها السادة.
مصر الثورة تناديكم




Oct 4, 2011

Code Name Troy – The Killing of A. Al-Awlaki

The American news networks focused their attention nearly all day (9/30/2011) on the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen by a drone strike.

It was reported that both the Saudi and Yemeni intelligence helped in locating al-Awlaki and the information was passed to the Americans.

Al-Awlaki is an American born citizen and graduated from the College of Engineering at Colorado University.

Al-Awlaki abandoned his engineering profession and became an Islamic cleric preaching his new political-religious doctrine with emphasis on America’s aggressive foreign policy against Muslims in general and the Arab population in particular. He emphasized the one sided American support of Israel, which continues to kill Palestinians and confiscate Palestinian land to build Jewish settlements in the West Bank, demolishing thousands of homes to implement their ethnic cleansing policy. When the Palestinians resist, then they are labeled as terrorists. Furthermore, when the issue of aggression is taken to the Security Council, the outcome can be predicted in advance. The U.S. representative is there to cast their “veto” to protect Israel and give the Israelis the green light to continue their aggressive policy against the Palestinians.

The American support of Israel has been consistent since its creation in 1948. President Obama’s recent speech at the U.N. General Assembly (September 2011) turned many people off, especially those who are knowledgeable on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Even Prime Minister B. Netanyahu couldn’t have written a better speech in support of Israel.

Such types of one sided American foreign policy is nothing but an invitation to some young people to join organized terrorist groups with an intention of attacking the U.S.

In my judgment, Mr. A. al-Awlaki, who was born in the U.S., is a typical example of someone who joined al-Qaeda to retaliate against and fight the one sided American foreign policy in the Middle East.

The American born al-Qaeda cleric was also critical of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, which led to the killings of more than one million Iraqi civilians.

The American military strategy to fight terrorism has produced a counter reaction by contributing to an increase in terrorist activities worldwide since the 9/11 attack.

The remarks made by President Obama about the killing of the al-Qaeda cleric al-Awlaki, who threatened to use WMD against the U.S., include that the killing was justified and that it was a major “blow” to al-Qaeda.

Some writers and judicial organizations, such as the ACLU, have questioned the killing of an American born citizen without an investigation and the due judicial process.

For those who are well versed in the issue of terrorism, it is a fact that violence produces more violence. There are two terrorist ideologies, the al-Qaeda one and the American governmental one, which are being used by both to justify the war on “terrorism”.

The killing of some top leaders of terrorist organizations, such as bin Laden, A. al-Awlaki and others, will not stop their aggression. Leaders are always replaced by others from their ranks. The terrorism that has been taking place reflects a struggle between two ideologies: an American one and al-Qaeda’s.

The American political policy, which has been in use and is based on the domination of the Arab world through their support of corrupt political regimes, has been consistent since the end of World War II. The two main objectives behind the American political ideology are the control of oil production and the protection of Israel. Bin Laden made it clear and stated publicly during the 1980s that the U.S. should stop supporting Israeli aggression against the Palestinians. The U.S. should play an evenhanded role in this conflict. According to bin Laden, if the U.S. complied with his request, then there would be no conflict between al-Qaeda and the U.S.

It was unfortunate that there was no communication at that time between al-Qaeda and the U.S., which could have stopped the tragic attack of 9/11. It is unfortunate to say that the war on terrorism between the U.S. and al-Qaeda will continue until wise political leaders on both sides begin verbal communication, which might lead to an end to terrorism.