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October 28, 1988 - Image 40

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-10-28

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

COMMENT

Mideast Sees New
Elements Of Instability

MORRIS J. AMITAY

Special to The Jewish News

E

vents in the Middle
East the past few
months have added
some ominous new twists to
some already bad situations.
As if the preponderance of
arms in the hands of Israel's
Arab foes — in terms of
numbers of tanks, planes and
troops — was not sufficiently
threatening, Israel is now fac-
ing brand new dangers. These
include the very recent in-

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Sen. Dan Quayle: Shifting record.

stallation of 50-60 Chinese-
made missiles with a 1,900
mile range in Saudi Arabia.
In addition, Syria has
already been supplied with
Soviet-made missiles which
can reach selected targets in
Israel.
Of a more unconventional
nature, but posing a greater
threat to civilian populations,
is the production of chemical
weapons in a number of Arab
states. Along with this new-
found capability is the will-
ingness of Arab states to
employ poison gas as
demonstrated during the
Iran-Iraq war by both sides.
More recently this was
gruesomely highlighted by
the mass use of gas against
Kurdish civilians.
The end of the Gulf conflict
finds Iraq emerging as a
significant military power in
the region. Already, this new
position of strength is being
exploited to settle scores with
neighboring Syria, which had
backed Iran. Reports of Iraqi
support for Christian
elements in Lebanon is
evidence of Iraq's Saddam
Hussein seeking revenge
against his Syrian Arab
brothers. However, there is lit-
tle doubt that in a future
Arab-Israel conflict, in-
ternecine strife would become
secondary to her prime goal of
eradicating Israel.

King Hussein's political
and economic retreat from
the so-called West Bank in
the wake of the Palestinian
uprising is yet another new
element of instability injected
into an already volatile reign.
Hussein was at least known
to the Israelis. Arafat is
known too well.
If you add to all these new
elements the upcoming elec-
tions in both the United
States and Israel, the ailing
Egyptian economy, continu-
ing Libyan support of ter-
rorism, and the possible
establishment of a Palesti-
nian government-in-exile, you
have the makings of a very in-
teresting period ahead.
Insiders in Washington who
interact with the U.S. Con-
gress on a daily basis had
more reason than most to be
surprised over the choice of
Sen. Dan Quayle to fill the
vice-presidential slot on the
Republican ticket. While
most political commentators
made comparisons between
Quayle's experience and that
of some other well known con-
tenders for the second spot
such as Sen. Bob Dole and
Rep. Jack Kemp, a more ob-
vious comparison closer to
home was overlooked. The

Syria, Iran, Iraq in
equation.

other senator from Indiana is
Richard Lugar, the bearer of
some very impressive
credentials.
The 56-year-old Lugar was
elected to the Senate in 1976
after serving as the well-
regarded mayor of Indian-
apolis for six years. In the
Senate he held the prestigous
position of chairman of the
Foreign Relations Committee,
and when the Democrats
regained control of the Senate
in 1986 Lugar became rank-
ing member on the
Agriculture Committee.
However, in an Israel-
related context, during the
past two years Quayle has
shown a greater positive in-
terest than the senior senator.
Despite his poor voting record
on foreign aid and arms sales
issues, Quayle played a lead
role in obtaining U.S. funding
for Israel's Arrow anti-
tactical ballistic missile
system.
Hopefully, this demontra-
tion of support is a harbinger
of good things to come since
the 41-year-old Quayle should
be around for years to come,
either in the Senate or a
heartbeat away from the
presidency.

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