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January 18, 1985 - Image 22

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1985-01-18

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

22

Friday, January 18, 1985

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

ANALYSIS

.1.11■01.

BAUME & MERCIER

GENEVE

On the back burner

BY VICTOR BIENSTOCK
Special to The Jewish News

BAUME &
MERCEER.
FOR THOSE
WHO VALUE
"THE RIGHT
TIME"

Quite simply, this kind of
elegance is a function of the
superior value Baume & •
Mercier builds into each,
handcrafted timepiece. From
the exquisite 14K gold
bracelets, to the ultra thin,
unerringly precise quartz
movement, the total effect is
obviously, Baume & Mercier.

I

40. 0040/

LAWRENCE M. ALLAN

PRESIDENT

NORMAN ALLAN

Founder/tonsultant

Established 1919
AWARDED CERTIFICATE BY GIA

FINE JEWELERS
30400 Telegraph Rd.
Birmingham, MI 48010
Suite 134

IN GRADING & EVALUATION

GEMOI LOGIST/DIAMONTOLOCAT

L

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art

phone: 642-5575

.

Daily di 5:30 .
Mors. til 8:30, Sat. dl 5

Design and Interiors

Printing

Office Supplies
Furniture

Data Processing
Supplies

Office Machines
Equipment

Computer Products

Rubber Stamps

Janitorial Supplies

10600 GALAXIE
FERNDALE, MI 48220

399-9830

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Threatening winds of gale-force
intensity are sweeping across the
Arab world bringing to the old re-
gimes ominous warnings of
changes they cannot control and
can only hope to survive. The
Arab-Israel question, therefore,
currently has a much lower prior-
ity in the Arab scheme of things
than at any time in the past de-
cade as the Arab leaders focus on
means to survive the dual threats
to their existence.
These threats are posed by the
near-catastrophic decline in oil
revenues and an outburst of reli-
gious fanaticism, sparked by the
Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran and
carried throughout the Arab
world by his fanatical Shiite fol-
lowers.
In recognition of their common
danger, most of the Arab states,
with the exception of Syria and
Libya, have joined together to
support President Saddam Hus-
sein of Iraq in the war of conquest
he launched four years ago and
from which he cannot extricate
himself. His misadventure, in
addition to the enormous cost in
lives and money to his country,
has also drained some $35 billion
out of the Arab economy — sub-
sidies to Baghdad to enable Hus-
sein to continue fighting Iran.
There isn't much the Arabs can
do about the loss of oil revenues
and the continuing fall in the
price of oil on the world market
except to pray that Sheik Yamani,
the Saudi oil minister, knows
what he is talking about when he
assures everyone that demand for
oil will rise again and so will the
price. With newly pioneered
sources in other parts of the world
and increased output from other
areas, it is highly unlikely, how-
ever, that the world will ever
again be so dependent on Arab oil
as to permit the Arabs to dictate to
the West.
The drastic economic disloca-
tion caused by the collapse of the
oil market has been a severe de-
stabilizing factor throughout the
Arab world, making it that much
more • receptive to Khomeini's
agitators preaching against
Western customs and for a return
to the old morality and obser-
vance of a strict interpretation of
the Koran.
The new status has also reduced
significantly the clout of the Arab
states in the world bourses and
markets. It has lessened Arab
influence abroad and Arab power
and prestige to -command events
will diminish further as the world
reduces its dependence on Middle
East oil.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is
a case in point. The richest of all
the Arab lands, it is currently
functioning at a deficit and is eat-
ing into its investments at a rate
estimated between $1 billion and
$1.2 billion a month. It had to sell
some $15 billion of its foreign as-
sets in 1984 to fund its budget de-
ficit.
The Kingdom's oil production
has fallen from a high of more
than 11 million barrels a day to
something around four million
barrels a day.
There is a ripple effect in this
since the mother countries will no
longer receive the remittances

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,
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1985 INFORMATION SYSTEMS SUPPLIES

from their nationals employed in
Saudi Arabia — an important
source of revenue. Now they won't
have this revenue and they will
have large numbers of unem-
ployed workers on their hands for
whom their native lands offer few
employment prospects: The re-
turning workers constitute a
potential source of major discon-
tent and unrest and a receptive
audience for Khomeini's
agitators.
Saudi Arabia may be the
nearest thing we have to an abso-
lute monarchy today. The king's
word is, literally, the law. But
King Fand and his close advisers
are aware of unrest in the land;
reportedly hundreds of suspected
dissidents are being held in Saudi
prisons and subjected to torture.
The king's security forces are con-
cerned over the restiveness being

There is hardly any
area around the
sensitive Persian
Gulf in which the
presence of the
fundamentalists has
not been felt.

shown as a result of the changing
economic situation and fun-
damentalist criticism of the royal
family. The Shiite population of
Saudi Arabia is relatively small
and concentrated in one area not
far from the oilfelds. It is kept
under close surveillance.
In what must be considered a
move to placate his domestic cri-
tics, King Fand has announced
that he will soon establish a "con-
sultative assembly" which will be
"a 'parliament like that in any
other country." Jiowever, as he
described it to the London Sunday
Times, the king will appoint all
the members of the assembly. At
some later date, a system of indi-
rect elections will be set up for
half the members of the body, the
existence of which, he said, will
"insure the participation of the
people in government" and will
"express opinion and supervise
the execution of government pol-
icy."
The religious fundamentalism
which is so seriously endangering
many of the Arab regimes is not
only the Shiite reform movement
originating in Iran but also local
fundamentalist movements such
as the - Moslem Brotherhood,
which has been a reactionary
force in Egypt for decades and
which inspired the assassination
of President Anwar al-Sadat, and
numerous smaller movements,
most of them centering around
the teachings of individual imams
who have developed wide follow-
ings. One such movement largely
composed of students, recently
disrupted Cairo's famed Al-Azhar
University.
.The Shiites constitute about 30
percent of the Kuwaiti population
and they elect five of the 50 mem-
bers of the Kuwait parliament.
They exercise considerable power

.

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