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From the UPI archives: 2000-2001

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Analysis: Israeli pullout augurs more violence

WASHINGTON, May 22, May 22, 2000 -- UPI Analysis As Israeli soldiers begin to withdraw from southern Lebanon, fears are growing that the move will reignite the volatile region. The withdrawal, pledged last summer by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, will end a tumultuous 22-year occupation that brought dissension into the heart of Israel's social structure. Israel will unilaterally withdraw from its nine-mile wide buffer zone without waiting for a comprehensive peace treaty with Syria. Syria and Lebanon remain the only countries bordering Israel who are technically still at war with it. Similar withdrawals in the past have been followed by bloodshed.

Sharon still a figure of controversy

WASHINGTON, May 24, May 24, 2000 -- Israeli opposition leader Ariel Sharon continues to stir up controversy in Israel and throughout the Middle East. Sharon has fierce supporters in his own country and many Palestinians have said they prefer to deal with him rather than his predecessor as nationalist Likud party leader, former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. But Sharon's critics include left wing Israelis and Arab foes alike. From his disastrous invasion of Lebanon in 1982 when he was defense minister, through his energetic efforts as Netanyahu's Minister of National Infrastructure to further boost Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank, Sharon has remained a lightning rod for political controversy.

Syria's Assad dies, leaving uncertain future in his wake

WASHINGTON, June 12, June 12, 2000 -- UPI Analysis The death of Hafez Assad, Syria's president for the last 30 years, leaves an uncertain political void. Assad ruled Syria with an iron fist since his ascension to power after a bloodless coup in 1970 and was said to have died of a heart attack. His rule, though, was far from bloodless. Tens of thousands of people who dared oppose Assad have died in Syria and Lebanon. Thousands of others were arrested, often tortured and jailed for decades without as much as ever being formally accused or ever having a lawyer defend them. Political opponents to Assad's regime have been know to rot away in decrepit conditions.

The Revolution That Hafez Assad Could Not Keep Out

Washington, June 13, June 13, 2000 -- In his thirty year reign as supreme ruler of Syria, Hafez Assad tried his hardest to control all flow of information streaming both in and out of the country. Assad succeeded for the most part.

Middle East antagonists: war easier to handle than peace

WASHINGTON, June 15, June 15, 2000 -- UPI Analysis Just as the Cold War imposed stability on post-World War II Europe, the same held true in the Middle East over the Israel-Arab conflict in the past 52 years. For nearly half a century the Soviet Union imposed its domination over all its Central European satellites, forcing them to shelve their deep-rooted hatreds for one another. Fear of an all-out war with NATO countries kept old animosities at bay and compelled fractured republics like Yugoslavia to live in relative calm. But then the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet empire brought about confusion, dismemberment of countries and full-scale civil war in the former Yugoslavia and other obscure regions of Russia and the former Soviet Union, such as Chechnya, Tajikistan, between Armenia and Azerbaijan and in the Ossetia region of Georgia.

Illegal immigration: A lucrative business and a global concern

WASHINGTON, June 22, June 22, 2000 -- UPI Analysis Fifty-eight men who died of asphyxiation earlier this week after being trapped inside a Dutch container truck in the English port of Dover highlight the dark side of the growing and lucrative business of illegal immigration. The young men who were in search of a better economic life in the United Kingdom are believed to be Chinese. They were packed inside a refrigerator truck along with a load of tomatoes. The truck's cooling system was turned off, while the outside temperature hit the high 80s. Reports said the victims came from the province of Fujian in southern China. Smugglers and racketeers called "snakeheads" are reported to charge up to $60,000 to contrive these perilous journeys to the West. These deaths are not the first and tragically will most certainly not be the last.

Illegal immigration: A lucrative business and a global concern

WASHINGTON, June 22, June 22, 2000 -- UPI Analysis Fifty-eight people who died of asphyxiation earlier this week after being trapped inside a Dutch container truck in the English port of Dover highlight the dark side of the growing and lucrative business of illegal immigration. The 54 young men and four women who were in search of a better economic life in the United Kingdom are believed to be Chinese. They were packed inside a refrigerator truck along with a load of tomatoes. The truck's cooling system was turned off, while the outside temperature hit the high 80s. Reports said the victims came from the province of Fujian in southern China. Smugglers and racketeers called "snakeheads" are reported to charge up to $60,000 to contrive these perilous journeys to the West. These deaths are not the first and tragically will most certainly not be the last.

Lebanon's wines: among world's best

WASHINGTON, June 26, June 26, 2000 -- Years of wars, civil unrest, foreign invasions and Israeli tanks have proven unable to stop the flow of Lebanon's finest wines. Lebanon's vineyards have produced quality wines ever since the ancient seafaring Phoenicians navigated the Mediterranean Sea, trading their goods and wares to faraway lands and colonies. The Phoenicians were determined traders who carried numerous commodities of the time, such as ceramics, glass, metals, oils, crops, dyes and wines to countries all around the Mediterranean basin. Among the goods transported by the forefathers of modern day Lebanese were amphoras filled with the fine produce of Lebanon's vines. The Romans called it "nectar of the gods."

Machiavellian Levantine politics

, June 30, 2000 -- UPI Analysis WASHINGTON, June 30 -Political transitions have never been a simple process in Syria. While the late President Hafez Assad oversaw three decades of relative political stability though his autocratic rule and iron fist policies, his son and political heir, Bashar, is certain to find the task much more difficult. The stability brought about by Hafez Assad was a novelty is Syria, a country that witnessed numerous upheavals since it gained its independence in 1946. Coups and counter-coups plagued the country for years until Assad came to power in a bloodless revolt in 1970. Assad surrounded himself with a tight-knit group of loyal supporters, mostly fellow Alawites who helped him remain at the helm until his death from cardiac arrest June 10.

Harry Potter casts a spell on publishing industry

WASHINGTON, July 3, July 03, 2000 -- Harry Potter, the fictional boy wizard and hero of J.K. Rowling's mystery novels, has cast a magical spell on millions of fans, young and old alike, around the world. It's a phenomenon," said Stephanie Thompson, a 34-year-old public relations specialist from California. "They are well-written and fun books to read." The fourth book in the series, "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," which goes on sale Saturday both in the United States and Britain, has created unusual furor within the world of books. "I've been working here for three years and this is absolutely the heaviest demand for any book I've seen," said Lynette Bourne, manager of Borders Books in Arlington, Va. "When other authors, like (John) Grisham, come out, we get a lot of anticipated requests, but not like this." Scholastic Books, the U.S. publisher, is printing an unprecedented 3.8 million copies, in hardcover. That's 40 times the average run for a best-seller and, some industry analysts say, the largest initial print run in publishing history. British editions of the Harry Potter books have sold about 7.5 million copies so far. What is indeed phenomenal is that there has been no Madison Avenue advertising campaign or major marketing strategy deployed to publicize "Goblet of Fire." Contrary to publishing industry norms, no advance copies were made available to literary critics and no galley copies distributed to the media. Instead, the publishers relied on word of mouth and the interest the first three books generated, mostly among children, for whom the books were originally written.

Some Palestinian refugees to remain in political limbo

WASHINGTON, July 7, July 07, 2000 -- "The challenge for Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat will be to draw the contours of peace." Those were President Clinton's words at a brief news conference last Wednesday, when he announced the resumption of the Mideast peace talks that will convene at Camp David next Tuesday. It was at Camp David that President Jimmy Carter brokered the historic peace agreement between Israel and Egypt in 1978. When Israeli and Palestinian leaders confer in the quiet Maryland retreat, just a short helicopter ride from Washington, DC, they will tackle some of the hardcore roadblocks barring the avenues to a lasting peace in the region. As Clinton said, "they will plan out the future of their people and peace."

A search for positive legacies at Camp David could prove dangerous

WASHINGTON, July 12,, July 12, 2000 -- President Clinton strong-armed Yasser Arafat and Ehud Barak into a summit at the presidential retreat at Camp David to extract a binding peace deal between the Palestinians and Israelis. In doing so, he hopes to put an end to more than 52 years of conflict between Arabs and Jews. Following in President Carter's footsteps, Clinton was optimistic that he, too, would leave a memorable mark on his presidency. Carter championed the Camp David accords between Egypt and Israel in September 1978 that allowed the return of captured land to Egypt and peace to be declared between the two countries.

Tourists driving in Europe face courtesies, curses and polizia

WASHINGTON, July 17, July 17, 2000 -- UPI ANALYSIS Americans planning to vacation in Europe this summer, as some 12 million are expected to, should keep in mind a few vital statistics that may very well save their sanity, not to mention their lives. During the first six months of this year, the U.S. dollar gained nearly 6 percent against the euro, the standard international exchange currency to which 11 of the 15 European Union nations have pegged their own currencies. Even the sturdy British pound sterling has become ten cents cheaper against the mighty dollar, exchanging for $1.50. A strong dollar means that more Americans will be crossing the Atlantic, heading for the Old World to have their snapshots taken in front of Buckingham Palace, a quaint Parisian Left Bank cafor the sunny ruins of the Acropolis or the Coliseum.

Wherefore soccer hooligans

WASHINGTON, 19 July, July 21, 2000 -- The British House of Commons rushed a bill through July 18 giving the government wide powers to restrict and punish football hooliganism, a source of much international embarrassment for Britain. But what exactly are hooligans? Or rather who are they? Should you look up the definition of the word "hooligan" in the dictionary, you will find a rather short explanation: "hooligan - a young ruffian, a hoodlum." That's all. One short line made up of three words.

Same site, very different meetings

WASHINGTON, July, 20, July 21, 2000 -- Fatigued by nine grueling days of peacemaking, President Clinton announced early Thursday that he was leaving the Palestinians and Israelis to continue their political sparring at Camp David. "There are no illusions to the difficulty of the task ahead," said the president before rushing away to attend the Group ff Eight industrialized nations summit in Okinawa, Japan. Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat and his wary partner in peace, Prime Minister Ehud Barak of Israel, managed to overcome a very difficult round of political bickering. Both leaders came dangerously close to giving up and leaving.

Analysis: Why the peace talks failed

WASHINGTON, July 25, July 25, 2000 -- Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak emerged Tuesday from 14 grueling days of failed peacemaking efforts at Camp David. Looking grim and depressed by the prospects of his faltering initiative and what it means for the Middle East, President Clinton announced shortly afterward that the two sides "will not be able to reach an agreement." For the moment at least, the chasm separating Palestinians from Israelis seems unbridgeable. "It was the most difficult problem," said Clinton. "I must tell you that we tried a lot of different approaches and have not found a solution."

Analysis: Did Arafat 'win' by holding his ground?

WASHINGTON, July 25, July 25, 2000 -- Yasser Arafat and Ehud Barak both went to Camp David under intense domestic pressure not to give away too many concessions in the name of peace, but the politically canny Arafat looks far more likely to go back to renewed popular support across the board. Arafat, the Palestinian Authority President, has proved adept at maximizing his diplomatic and political leverage in the face of successive Israeli governments determined to keep his embryo Palestinian Authority semi-state bottled up and under Israeli security oversight. So far he has failed significantly to bring prosperity or establish credible democratic structures in the PA-controlled areas. As a result, opinion polls in the PA-controlled areas that a year ago gave him 54 percent support now regularly show him enjoying 40 percent support.

Analysis: The peace process--what next?

WASHINGTON, July 26, July 26, 2000 -- Now that the political dust from Camp David has begun to settle, the buzz among Middle East pundits is what's next? What happens to the groundwork already laid out at Camp David II during the last 15 grueling days and where do the leaders -- Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak go from here? Well, Arafat returns to Gaza via Egypt to a hero's welcome. In the eyes of the Arabs, he did not capitulate in the face of immense pressure from the United States and Israel. He held his ground and remained firm. The Arab press from Tripoli to Damascus is for once unanimous -- praising Arafat.

Analysis: Camp David may not leave legacy Clinton had in mind

WASHINGTON, July 25, July 26, 2000 -- President Clinton was hopeful that a Middle East peace accord would forever chase away the ghosts of Whitewater, Travelgate and Monica Lewinsky and reward him with a more presidential place in the history books. As he prepares to vacate the White House after two terms in office -- eight tumultuous years -- Clinton hoped a legacy of peacemaking would forever erase his otherwise stained tenure at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. For months, the president has been saying that he wanted to leave a lasting foreign policy legacy in three areas, according to White House insiders. They were: a peace agreement in Northern Ireland between Protestants and Catholics; a peace agreement between Israel and its Arab neighbors including the Palestinians; and a restoration of close and stable U.S.-China relations. Of these three goals, none was more dear to the president's heart than the Middle East peace process.

Analysis: Arafat's window of opportunity is closing

WASHINGTON, July 27, July 27, 2000 -- Over the course of the next seven weeks, as the prophetic date of September 13th approaches, Palestinians, Israelis and their U.S. partners in peacemaking will be toiling harder than ever to find a compromise and set the derailed peace talks back on track. Yasser Arafat, leader of the self-ruled areas of the West Bank and Gaza known as the Palestinian Authority, has been threatening to unilaterally declare statehood for Palestine unless a deal is reached in the interim. Such a move would put into jeopardy two major issues: peace in the region and U.S. financial aid to the beleaguered Palestinian areas. At risk, besides the stability of the volatile region, is about $100 million in badly needed U.S. aid that the Palestine Authority currently receives from Congress.

Arafat must act now

WASHINGTON, 29 July, July 30, 2000 -- A couple of political cartoons in Friday's press, sum up most attitudes towards the results of the Camp David peace talks. The first cartoon depicts a smiling Yasser Arafat, president of the Palestinian Authority, raising his arms and his fingers formed into a "V" for the Churchillian victory sign. Arafat has a label with the word "hero" pinned on his tunic and he is saying, " I did nothing, really!" The second drawing shows two Arabs walking down a narrow street as one tells the other: "Arafat made no concessions. The peace talks failed. He is a great negotiator."

A new Bush administration would face a familiar enemy in Iraq

PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 2, Aug. 02, 2000 -- UPI ANALYSIS By CLAUDE SALHANI Ten years ago, Saddam Hussein ordered his army to march across the border into Kuwait and what he called Iraq's 19th province. In a matter of hours, Iraqi troops invaded and occupied the oil-rich sheikdom, ruthlessly shattering what little resistance was offered by Kuwaiti troops and civilians. Kuwait's limited force proved to be no match for Saddam's elite brigades that rolled into Kuwait City with tanks and heavy artillery. Although the Baghdad strongman had been saber-rattling for weeks before the invasion, no one really believed Iraqi troops would go as far as crossing the border and occupying the oil-rich emirate.

Analysis: Bush's record contrasts with GOP slogans

PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 3, Aug. 03, 2000 -- The Republican Party launched its national convention this week with the slogan "Leave no child behind - opportunity with a purpose." The Republicans are trying to portray George W. Bush and the party in a kinder, gentler light. The accent during the past four days of talks at the convention has stressed education and social issues, as Republicans try hard to place minorities such as blacks and Latinos at the forefront of Bush's concerns for the future of America. Yet judging by a list of "100 things you need to know about W." published in Thursday's edition of the Philadelphia Daily News, there appears to be some interesting contradictions in the party's slogan and Bush's record.

Analysis: The changing face of the Republican Party

PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 3, Aug. 04, 2000 -- The old Republican guard, the hard-line Clinton-bashing conservatives were clearly being kept from these last four days of the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia. It seems clear that the Grand Old Party has embarked upon a major public relations campaign to offer a new compassionate face to the American electorate, hoping to recruit a newer, younger generation of voters. "Bigotry disfigures the heart," said George W. Bush in his acceptance speech Thursday night, to a packed convention of cheering supporters.

Commentary: For some, politics is a laughing business

LOS ANGELES, Aug. 14, Aug. 14, 2000 -- For some, politics can be a laughing business, and a lucrative one at that. This point was proven at the 2000 Republican National Convention in Philadelphia and it will also be made here in Los Angeles over the next four days. No, I'm not talking about the strange political speeches presented by some of the Republican bigwigs. Deciding that it was time to offer a softer image of themselves to the electorate, they sounded like a bunch of Democrats. That alone was enough to confuse your average voter.

Commentary: For some, politics is a laughing business

LOS ANGELES, Aug. 14, Aug. 14, 2000 -- For some, politics can be a laughing business, and a lucrative one at that. This point was proven at the 2000 Republican National Convention in Philadelphia and it will also be made here in Los Angeles over the next four days. No, I'm not talking about the strange political speeches presented by some of the Republican bigwigs. Deciding that it was time to offer a softer image of themselves to the electorate, they sounded like a bunch of Democrats. That alone was enough to confuse your average voter.

FOR SOME, POLITICS IS A LAUGHING BUSINESS

LOS ANGELES, 13 AUG, Aug. 14, 2000 -- For some, politics can be a laughing business, and a lucrative one at that. This point was proven at the 2000 Republican National Convention in Philadelphia and it will also be made here in Los Angeles over the next four days. No, I'm not talking about the strange political speeches presented by some of the Republican bigwigs. Deciding that it was time to offer a softer image of themselves to the electorate, they sounded like a bunch of Democrats. That alone was enough to confuse your average voter.

Commentary: Tinsel town, where reality and movie-making blend

LOS ANGELES, Aug. 15, Aug. 15, 2000 -- Welcome to Tinsel Town, the city where dreams are fabricated and where reality blends in with moviemaking. Residents and visitors to the City of Angeles often have a hard time differentiating between what's real and what's imagined and captured on celluloid. Lights, camera, action! The Democratic National Convention kicked off Monday night to a fiery start with First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton introducing her husband. President Bill Clinton took the limelight on center stage to a dazzlingly warm reception from his fellow Democrats, some who were in tears.

Commentary: Conventions -- the Olympiad of Politics

LOS ANGELES, Aug. 16, Aug. 16, 2000 -- The Democratic and Republican national conventions are to politics what the Olympic Games and the Soccer World Cup are to the world of sports. The conventions are the Olympiad of politics. This is the big event, the finals, leading up to the November election to be followed by the January coronation. This is when the winner claims the trophy, the gold medal and gets to be leader of the free world for the next four years -- eight if he is lucky. Like the World Cup and Olympics, the Republican and Democratic conventions take place only once every four years.

Commentary: LAPD crystallized protesters

LOS ANGELES, AUG. 17, Aug. 17, 2000 -- While Democratic Party delegates convened to nominate Al Gore and Joe Lieberman as their presidential and vice-presidential candidates for the November 2000 elections, Los Angeles offered an unusual and bizarre view of itself to the thousands of visitors gathered here. Among the legions of delegates and media who descended on the city of Angels to attend the 43rd Democratic National Convention, some were witnesses to these strange scenes that at times seemed more appropriate in a banana republic that in America's second-largest metropolis. Late Wednesday night, several groups of youths were detained by Los Angeles police officers at a number of major intersections in downtown L.A. The youths, some of whom appeared to be in their early teens, were made to stand with their faces only inches from building walls and their hands cuffed behind their backs as baton-wielding officers vigilantly stood by. All day long, convoys of armed police officers patrolled the city as conventioneers met amid heavy security provided by more than 2,000 LAPD police officers -- as well as an undisclosed number of Secret Service officers and other security personnel.




Analysis: Israeli pullout augurs more violence

Sharon still a figure of controversy

Syria's Assad dies, leaving uncertain future in his wake

The Revolution That Hafez Assad Could Not Keep Out

Middle East antagonists: war easier to handle than peace

Illegal immigration: A lucrative business and a global concern

Lebanon's wines: among world's best

Harry Potter casts a spell on publishing industry

Some Palestinian refugees to remain in political limbo

A search for positive legacies at Camp David could prove dangerous

Tourists driving in Europe face courtesies, curses and political

Wherefore soccer hooligans

Same site, very different meetings

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