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April 04, 1980 - Image 25

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1980-04-04

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

Friday, April 4, 1980

The Fanaticism of Syria Worries the Entire Mideast

By SOLLY PRESS

JOHANNESBURG
(JTA) — Due perhaps to the
ascendance of the unor-
thodox Alawid minority
over the Syrian branch of
the Baath pan-Arab move-
ment, the Syrian regime
has come to oppose — more
stridently than its pre-
decessors — the Christians,
Jews and Sunni Moslems in
Syria and the Fertile Cres-
cent.
Consequently, Syria's
Christian founder of the
•aath, Michel Aflaq, has
ed to Baghdad. Sunni Mos-
lem fanatics have turned to
assassinating supporters of
the Hafez Assad regime.
Last month, the Damas-
cene Lawyers' Association
publicly demanded the lift-
ing of the state of emer-
gency in force since 1963.
There have been intermit-

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tent charges from the Pales-
tine Liberation Organiza-
tion that the Assad regime
has turned "Black Septem-
brist," and from Moscow,
that Syria has not moved
towards Marxism.
Now, a confluence of
interests has brought this
disparate trinity closer
together. Assad desper-
ately needs a foreign ad-
venture to divert his
countrymen's attentions
elsewhere. PLO chief
Yasir Arafat is fearful
that Israel, together with
"normalized" Egypt, will
achieve a separate deal
with the West Bankers
and Gazans, and Soviet
President Leonid
Brezhnev urgently re-
quires an olympian red
herring to draw the
world's eyes away from
the Afghan crisis and the
Islamic Conference's
condemnation.
Hence the renewed prop-
aganda line that Israel is
planning a way against
Syria and that the West
supports Islam in Kabul but
opposes it in Nablus. The
truth is that the Soviet
Union backs the PLO
against all non-Marxists in
the Middle East while sup-
pressing 20 million Afghan
Moslems and millions more
inside the USSR.
The current arming by
Russia of Assad and Arafat
is, of course, directed not
only at Egypt, Israel, Tur-
key and Lebanon, but also
at the oil-rich Arabian
Peninsula. •
Is it too late to divert
Assad from the path of
treachery? Premier
Menahem Begin in Israel,
Maj. Saad Haddad in south
Lebanon, and President
Anwar Sadat in Egypt are
remaining watchful. It is to
be hoped that the rest of the
Middle East and the West
will- have been alerted by
Afghanistan's fall.
There was a time when
Aflaq's influence in the
Baath pan-Arab renais-
sance movement was still
felt, that Israeli Socialists
and Baathists had come
together for talks in Brit-
ain, under the encourag-
ing eye of the Socialist In-
ternational. Both sides
had a stake — and still
have — in the revival of
their region, in the im-
provement in the quality
of life, in education, in
combatting religious

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fanaticism, in develop-
ment, and much else.
Unlike the earlier
Hashemite-led pan-Arabs,
the Baathists at first ap-
peared capable of reaching
out beyond the aristocracy.
Also, the Baath constitution
of 1951 was the first Semitic
document to call for the in-
volvement of Ethiopia in
regional affairs, and for
Middle Eastern status for
Mediterranean Europe.
There had even been a
glimmer of hope for democ-
racy when the Baathists, in
common with other Syrian
parties, joined forces in
1961 to oust Nasserist
tyranny from what was
then the "Northern Prov-
ince" of the United Arab
Republic.
Perhaps the Baath was
born too soon. Perhaps the
Balkanization of the Middle
Eastern subregion in which
it found itself was too great
an obstacle for its planners.
More likely, the fact
that the Baath's leader-
ship appeared to be in too
great a hurry and devoid
of understanding the in-
cremental techniques of
true region-building on

Israeli Soldiers
Forced to Evict
W.B. 'Settlers

TEL AVIV (JTA) — More
than 200 Israeli soldiers
were required last week to
evict some 30 Gush
Emunim squatters from a
hill in northern Sinai where
they attempted to establish
a "settlement" in defiance of
the government. It was the
second time that the Gush
militants occupied the site
30 miles east of El Arish,
the capital of northern Sinai
now under Egyptian ad-
ministration.
The Gush squatters were
aided by local settlers from
the Yamit region who still
refuse to accept Israel's
agreement under its peace
treaty with Egypt to with-
draw from all of Sinai by the
end of next year. The squat-
ters resorted to passive re-
sistance and had to be drag-
ged from the site.
This led to accusations by
the group that male soldiers
were forcibly removing
women squatters. Actually,
a unit of women soldiers
was assigned that task.

Shekhita Halted
in. Cincinnati

CINCINNATI — The
practice of shekhita (kosher
slaughtering) has been dis-
continued here. The city
was once an important dis-
tribution center of kosher
meat in the Midwest.
According to Milton
Schloss, the president of
Elias Kahn and Sons, the ci-
ty's largest meat-packing
house, shekhita can no
longer be practiced because
of escalating costs.
Shekhita for poultry ended
some 15 years ago.

Among all forms of mis-
take, prophecy is the most
gratuitous.

the pattern of the Euro-
pean Economic Commu-
nity, made Baathism
shoot its bolt.
There- is no way that
Ummayad-style neo-
imperialism — which is
what the Baath came to re-
present after the Alawid as-
cendance — can be dis-
guised as regionalism.
Hence it would be surpris-
ing if the rantings of the Sy-
rian foreign minister, Abdel
Khalim Khaddam, before
the Assembly of the Council
of Europe, will be seen as
constructive by the EEC
organizations, at least.
If the Baath has failed to
understand regionalism —
and that seems to be the
case also with the Iraqi fac-
tion — someone or some-
thing else should take place.
It will be recalled that, in
the beginning, the modern
pan-Jewish (Zionist), pan-
Arab, and the Ethiopian re-
constructionist movements
also began as parallel de-
velopments. Under the im-
pact of contemporary
events, however, they di-
verged.
Today, two generations
after their rise, they still
have enough talent to face
the new challenges of

NO LABOR OR PARTS
CHARGES!

regionalism, beyond the
tried and failed federation,
league and empire. The
regionalist approach is not
an unattractive alternative
to waiting for the Messiah.
If anything, it may hasten
his coming.

Holocaust File
Now Available

MIAMI BEACH — The
American Anti-Nazi Asso-
ciation has published a
"Holocaust FactFile" as
part of its program to mark
the observance of Holocaust
Day on Sunday, April 13.
The pamphlet traces the
Nazi era of terror from 1933
to 1945.
Free copies of the
Holocaust FactFile can be
obtained by writing to
"Holocaust FactFile" Box
6292 Surfside, Fla • ,
33154. All requests must be
accompanied by a stamped,
self-addressed envelope.

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In Observance of

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