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Crux of the Crisis in Mideast

December 17, 1990



The opinion-page column ``The Real Roots of Mideastern Turmoil,'' Nov. 21, is a real eye-opener. Never before have I been made to understand so clearly that the problems in Arab countries result from lack of education, lack of freedom, and lack of democracy foisted on the Arab populations by their oppressive, dictatorial leaders to insure their own tyrannical reign - aided and abetted by arms suppliers to the Mideast. But, alas, the author does not see an end in sight to the ``whims and megalomanias of Assads, Saddams, and Qaddafis.'' If, after the Gulf crisis is over, the Bush administration and its United Nations allies would turn their energies, man-power, and financial resources to liberating the Arab peoples (as the author envisions) as they would liberate Kuwait, real oil - of peace and stability - would flow over the troubled region. Ignorance and oppression would be abolished as an increasing measure of self-government and democracy was instituted.

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If the US and its allies were as quick and as united to wage peace as they are to wage war, the change would come about. Charles F. Rasoli, Long Island City, N.Y.

The Arab masses do not deny the problems of dictators and lack of democracy, but they see both these problems as symptoms of two diseases: long colonialism and the creation of Israel at the expense of another people and territory. Arab dictators are less evil than the peril of Israeli aggression. No one knows what the clear borders of Israel are. Are they the de facto current borders, or are they the borders that stretch between the Nile and Euphrates rivers? Dictators are helped by Israeli expansionism. To combat expansionism, dictators support and spend hefty chunks of their budgets on defense, not on educational and social programs.

Israel's army, which is called a defense force, has engaged in a number of aggressions. I was an eye-witness to the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982 when cities were leveled to the ground and thousands of people died. Is there a more significant threat than this? Israel is able to destroy countries and reach to any territory inside the Arab world, and yet conveys itself as a victim.

The world can help the Middle East by cutting arms supplies to all countries - including Israel. The Palestinian problem is the crux of the crisis. Arabs overwhelmingly accept Israel's right to exist, but Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir refuses to budge and meet them halfway. He has even refused to honor his own peace plan. He let an historical peace opportunity slip away.

Unless the Palestinian question is resolved, the Middle East will remain a volatile area. Khalil Rammal, Dearborn, Mich.