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                     Publisher\Editor Don Canaan
                       Dec. 7, 1995, V3, #222
All the News the Big Guys Missed

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Peres: Jerusalem Not Issue for Compromise:

Prime Minister Shimon Peres says no compromises will be made on Jerusalem. "We have never thought of Jerusalem as an issue of compromise, for division or for partnership between two opinions." The Prime Minister made the remarks at a ceremony bestowing the City of Jerusalem's title of honorable citizen on the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

Bosnia: Proxy Battlefield for Muslim Terrorists?

By Ed Warner (VOA-Washington)

As US troops are deployed in Bosnia-Herzegovina, one concern is the number of Muslim fighters, or Mujahedin, who have come from other countries. Many are considered hostile to Americans -- even though some have been trained by Americans, many in Afghanistan. Memories are fresh of the bomb that killed 241 US servicemen in their barracks in Lebanon in 1983.

Defense Secretary William Perry said we are concerned about the terrorist threat. He was referring to Islamic extremists from abroad who have joined the fight in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Estimates of their number range from several hundred to a few thousand. Nobody is really sure. But it does not take many to make trouble for US troops. Perry said the Dayton agreement requires outside military personnel to be withdrawn from Bosnia, and the Bosnian government insists it will comply, but some may not want to leave.

The New York Times reports 40 members of a charity organization in the city of Zenica have been charged with terrorist acts in Egypt. A Muslim from the Persian Gulf told the newspaper Americans will bring corruption to Bosnia -- drugs and prostitution. He said they will destroy all the work we have done to bring the Bosnians back to true Islam. The Americans are wrong if they think we will stand by and watch them do this.

Arnold Kanter, senior associate at the Forum for International Policy, says the outsiders are capable of carrying out such a threat. "They are, in the context of Bosnia, well trained and well armed. But perhaps more important, it is unclear under whose control they are; that is, whether they will live up to the agreement or indeed follow the orders of the parties to the agreement -- in this case the Bosnian Muslims. And there is every reason to believe that, in fact, they are anti-Western and indeed anti-American. So I think the concern on the part of the Pentagon is that this is essentially a hostile, rogue force." Kanter says they will be hard to detect because they have blended into the regular Bosnian forces. US troops could be in the position of fighting the people they are supposed to be aiding.

Khaled Saffuri, of the American Muslim Council, says that is not likely to happen. While traveling in Bosnia-Herzegovina, he came across a group of 25 Iranians south of Sarajevo, and some Mujahedin from Afghanistan west of the city. But he says the numbers of outsiders are greatly exaggerated, and they are used to taking orders.

But Saffuri says the outsiders may not readily return home since many of them were forced to leave their countries, not always for legitimate reasons. A combination of factors have brought Afghans, Algerians, Egyptians and Iranians to the war in Bosnia.

Professor of Politics at Brandeis University Stephen Burg, whose specialty is the Balkans, says radical Muslims will have limited influence in Bosnia. "It is very hard to judge what the role of the outside Islamic world would be in the Balkans, and the outside Islamic world is a diverse place all by itself. So that Turkish interests are not the same as Iranian or Pakistani interests or Saudi interests. So I think we can expect Islamic forces or interests to be working at very different purposes to one another in the future.

Analysts add Muslim behavior will depend in part on how American troops conduct themselves in a very complex and demanding situation.

Peres Starts Three-Nation and Palestine Diplomatic Jaunt

By Laurie Kassman (VOA-Cairo)

Israeli leader Shimon Peres met wednesday with King Hussein of Jordan on his first visit to Amman as prime minister. The two men reviewed the peace process and concluded a transport agreement.

Peres is making the rounds of his peace partners before heading to Washington later this week. First stop was Jordan to meet with Hussein. Today, he heads to Cairo for talks with Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak. And tomorrow, he meets PLO Chairman Yasir Arafat in Gaza.

After the talks in Amman, he said he and King Hussein compared notes about the peace process and their mutual efforts to normalize bilateral ties. Discussions about peace also focussed on the stalled Syrian negotiations and efforts to get them back on track.

US diplomat Dennis Ross has sounded more upbeat after this week's round of shuttle diplomacy between Israel and Syria. The two leaders also resolved differences over details of a transport accord that will allow Jordanian commercial airliners to fly over the Jewish state.

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