Fair Weather Allies

Dear Honest Reporting Member,

The good news is that serious analysts are nailing the coffin on the canard that Israel somehow was responsible for Bin Laden’s terrorism.

Last week we presented the excellent column, “Don’t Feed Israel to the Beast,” by the San Francisco Chronicle’s Debra Saunders.

This week, HonestReporting recommends similar pieces by former U.S. negotiator Dennis Ross and veteran Washington analyst Robert Satloff. Read:

Dennis Ross – “Bin Laden’s Terrorism Isn’t About the Palestinians” The New York Times (Oct. 12)

Robert Satloff – “Israel’s Not the Issue; Pass It On” Los Angeles Times (Oct. 13) http://articles.latimes.com/2001/oct/10/local/me-55318

======== VERY GOOD NEWS ========

Key editorial boards in the United States are scrutinizing U.S. relations with Arab states in an unprecedented critical fashion.

Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Syria have been singled out in recent days for their reluctance to support the American campaign against international terrorism, for their abysmal human rights records, and for their two-faced commitment to combating terror.

(1) The New York Times (Oct. 14) carried a hard-hitting — and historical — editorial, “Reconsidering Saudi Arabia.” Excerpts:

“One of the disturbing realities clarified by last month’s terror attacks is Saudi Arabia’s tolerance for terrorism… [T]he kingdom did little to discourage Islamic extremists, as long as they operated outside its borders, and that Washington muted its objections to keep oil flowing to the West. It is now clear that the Saudi behavior was more malignant. With Riyadh’s acquiescence, money and manpower from Saudi Arabia helped create and sustain Osama bin Laden’s terrorist organization.

“…Riyadh has so far refused to cooperate fully with Washington’s investigations of hijacking suspects. It has also barred Washington from using Saudi air bases to launch attacks against Afghanistan… Until now, the stream of Saudi oil and money has all but silenced serious American criticism of the royal family’s pervasive corruption, its contempt for democracy and the appalling human rights abuses carried out in its name…”

Read The New York Times editorial at:

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(2) The Washington Post (Oct. 11) criticized Egypt in the editorial, “The Arab Paradox.” Excerpts:

“The largest single ’cause’ of Islamic extremism and terrorism is not Israel, nor U.S. policy in Iraq, but the very governments that now purport to support the United States while counseling it to lean on Ariel Sharon and lay off Saddam Hussein. Egypt is the leading example. Its autocratic regime, established a half-century ago under the banner of Arab nationalism and socialism, is politically exhausted and morally bankrupt.

“Mr. Mubarak, who checked Islamic extremists in Egypt only by torture and massacre, has no modern political program or vision of progress to offer his people as an alternative to Osama bin Laden’s Muslim victimology… Mr. Mubarak props himself up with $2 billion a year in U.S. aid, while allowing and even encouraging state-controlled clerics and media to promote the anti-Western, anti-modern and anti-Jewish propaganda of the Islamic extremists.

Read The Washington Post editorial at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A40473-2001Oct10.html

* * *

(3) The Washington Times (Oct. 9) questioned the election of Syria to the UN Security Council in its editorial, “Syria as Peacemaker.” The paper hearkened back to the breakdown of the Shepherdstown talks between Ehud Barak and Syrian Foreign Minister Sharaa:

“Mr. Sharaa delivered a speech in Syria at the Arab Writers Association meeting. He was asked whether the recent land-for-peace negotiations indicated that Syria would be granting ‘the Zionists a right in Palestine.’ Mr. Sharaa confirmed what Israel had always feared was Syria’s long-term strategy. ‘[R]estoring Palestine in its entirety is a long-term strategic goal that cannot be achieved in one stage,’ Mr. Sharaa declared. ‘The first stage is the stage of restoring the occupied lands of 1967.’ He left no doubt what stage two would be.

“Indeed, the Syrians have rarely disguised their long-term objective of obliterating Israel. Terrorism and war are merely the means. For years Syria has provided a safe haven for some of the most extreme members of the Palestine Liberation Organization. It strongly supports Islamic Jihad, Hamas and Hezbollah in Lebanon. In short, Syria deserves to be in the crosshairs of the anti-terrorism campaign, not on the U.N. Security Council.”


These editorials may represent the harbinger of an overdue and necessary reassessment of America’s fair-weather friends, and a newfound appreciation of true allies and interests in the Middle East. If you agree with the views expressed in the above editorials, send your comments to the editors at:


At the same time, HonestReporting requests your assistance in monitoring local papers to see if they echo the sentiments of these influential papers. Bring the opinions expressed by the three papers to your local editors’ attention.

Thank you for your ongoing involvement in the battle against media bias.