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May 24, 1978 - Image 7

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Michigan Daily, 1978-05-24

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The Michigan Daily-Wednesday, May 24, 1978-Page 7

Arabs turn out own weapons

CAIRO, Egypt (AP)-The Arabs
have gone into the arms business in the
Middle East, and the fledgling industry
already is selling its Western-designed
military hardware ins half-dozen coun-
The Cairo-based consortium is
welding Egyptian manpower and fac-
tories, Western technology and Arab oil
dollars in an effor to lessen Arab
dependence on foreign arms makers.
PRODUCTION and diversification of
the four-nation Arab arms consortium
still lags far behind that of Israel, which

produces and sells jet fighters, tanks,
missiles and a wide range of their
The Arabs see the gap narrowing
significantlyin the 1980s, and they view
the project as making them less
vulnerable to foreign embargo.
Egypt, the key producer of the con-
sortium, is well-versed in the effects of
an embargo. The Kremlin cut back ar-
ms shipments to Egypt in 1972 after
President Anwar Sadat ousted Soviet
military advisers and shut the tap in
1975 because of mounting Egyptian ar-

Arab mayor claims
land-grab by Israel

TEL AVIV (AP)-A tug-of-war over
West Bank lands erupted yesterday as
an Arab mayor claimed that the Israeli
government is schemingto confiscate
Arab-owned absentee property in the
occupied area to enlarge Jewish set-
In Jerusalem, Arab students at
Israel's largest university began a
three-day hunger strike to protest the
school's ban on organized Arab cultural
or political activity.
ELIAS FREIJ, mayor of Bethlehem,
said he was officially informed April 12
that about 80,000 acres of land around
his town, owned by Arabs residing in
North and South America, would be
handed over to an Israeli "custodian of
absentee property"-in effect making
Israel the owner.
In a parliament Foreign Affairs and
security Committee session Tuesday,
Defense Minister Ezer Weizman denied
there had been any change in Israeli
land policies, Israel radio reported.
But Yosef Tamir, like Weizman a
member of the Likud bloc, attacked the
government's handling of the land
issue, saying it had failed to make it
policies clear on the Jordan River
fringe lands, seized in the 1967 war.
SPEAKING TO reporters, Freji
demanded that Weizman, "whom I per-
sonally respect," call an official inquiry
into the matter.
"If this land is taken, what will be
left?" asked Freij. "We will have no
space to have a Palestinian state,
homeland or anything else."
Egyptian President Anwar Sadat has
said any peace settlement between his
nation and Israel must include a with-
drawal by Israeli from occupied lands
in the West Bank and in the Sinai.

SOME ISRAELIS claim that oil-rich
Arab states are quietly buying West
Bank real estate to prevent Israeli
seizure, but that has not been substan-
The lands authority, which controls
absentee property, said its only plans
for West Bank holdings is to tighten
control to block fraudulent real estate
Israel has several times confiscated
West Bank land to make way for Jewish
settlements, especially since the
nationalist government of Prime
Minister Menachem Begin came to
powera year ago.
'Defense Minister Mordechai Zippori
was examining means of seizing Arab
land to expand existing Jewish set-
tlements. It was denied by the Defense
In a scathing editorial Haaretz
charged that "there are people in this
government whose day is not complete
until they have managed to do serious
damage to Israel's image and charac-
It warned that such measures as
taking over absentee land contradicted
the government's proposal for West
Bank self-rule.
Arabl landowners from the West
Bank village of Nebi Sak'h, 18 miles
northwest of Jerusalem, have ai-ealed
to the Israeli supreme court to block the
confiscation of 50 acres of their land
which has been fenced off and attached
to a nearby Jewish settlement.
The dragons in many European
myths are thought to be based on the
Nile crocodile.

ms debts.
vehicles and automatic weapons are
rolling off the assembly lines of fac-
tories run by the Arab Organization for
Industrialization (AO I).
AOI, an independent, profit-making
company, says it plans to produce un-
der license American Motors Corp.,
Jeeps, British helicopters and anti-tank
weapons and, by early 1983, a French-
designed jet fighter.
The Arab group started in August
1975 after Egypt and the oil-rich Per-
sian Gulf nations of Saudi Arabia,
Qatar and the United Arab Emirates
kicked in equal shares totaling $1.04
billion. The oil-exporting states put up
their share in petrodollars. Egypt paid
its $260 million share in existing fac-
AOI BOARD chairman Ashraf Mar-
w'an says, "we are trying to establish
an industrial base and train our people
to be less dependent. If we do this, we
will have the momentum to do
Marwan, a tall, cigar-smoking
chemical engineer with a doctorate in
explosives, was interviewed recently at
his office atop the 13-story,
ultramodern AOI headquarters in
suburban Cairo.
Marwan, son-in-law of the late Egyp-
tian President Gamal Abdel Nasser,
developed wide-ranging political con-
nections in the Arab world through his
last job as a trouble-shooter for
President Sadat.
HE HAS USED those political ties to
mold AOI-and its 15,000 factory
workers-into what Western experts
say is an efficient operation, free of the
bureaucracy that plagues many large
Arab endeavors.
"The first thing we did was fire 1,600
workers, and as a result we tripled
production," Marwan said. He cites the
move as an example of the free hand his
management has after the four coun-
tries approved changes in their laws so
the company could act independently.
He said profits at the end of 1977, the
first full year of production, were $41
million on sales to countries including
Iraq, Iran, Pakistan and Somalia.
PRICES AND production figures are
not available so it is difficult to tell if
AOI is competitive with major foreign
arms producers.
Northrop Corp., one of Ameica's
major arms producers, reported ear-
nings of $66 million last year on sales of
$1.6 billion.
Information on Israeli arms produc-
tion is tightly guarded by the gover-

A GOLD-EMBOSSED, hardbound
catalogue in three languages lists the
hundreds of items being sold by AOI.
One of the largest items already in
production is the Walid armored car.
Made from a West German design, it
can carry 10 fully equipped soldiers
about 400 miles at a top speed of 50
miles an hour. The troop carrier
already has been deployed with the
Egyptian army.
Marwan says AOI's objective is to
market most products regionally since
technology-sharing agfeements with
western companies limit sales of ad-
vanced weapons to the Mideast.
HE SAYS AOI now plans to push
production of advanced weapons. By
early next year, he hopes to build the
Swingfire anti-tank missile in conjun-
ction with the British Aircraft Corp.,
and a helicopter developed by Britain's
Westland Co. and Rolls-Royce.
AOI has a contract to build French
Alpha jet trainers, which many arms
analysts consider a good fighter in its
own right. Marwan says the company
will start making Mirage F-2000 inter-
ceptors in early 1983.
Most of the advanced weapons will go
to the armies of the four nations that
underwrote the combine, with Egypt
the chief beneficiary.
EGYPT IS still trying to re-equip its
primarily Soviet-supplied military
machine in the wake of the 1973 Mideast
war and the Kremlin embargo that
blocked shipments of critical spare par-
Military analysts say it will be years
yet before Egypt's armed forces are re-
equipped with Western-designed arms,
and they foresee little chance of a new
Arab-Israeli war before then.
Lessons at
3141/2 S. State
$20- weeks
June 2-30
Register first
night of class.

a a
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Ann Arbor Civic Theatre 0
o c+
a a
The Jean Kerr Comedy
Finishing Touches
0 a
May 24-27 Curtain 8 pm
Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre
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Monday & Tuesday: 10-6 Friday: 12-8
Wednesday & Thursday: 10-8 Saturday: 3-8
0 For information: 763-1083 No Phone Orders a
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