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Publisher\Editor Don Canaan

                       May 8, 1996 V4, #84
All the News the Big Guys Missed

Iran Plans Terrorist Attacks

Security Service Chief Ami Ayalon says terrorism against Israel is directly planned by Iran. Ayalon noted the existence of hundreds of warnings of suicide attacks in
Israel as well as many threats against Israeli and Jewish locations abroad. Warnings have been received that terrorist organizations will try to attack Israeli targets shortly before, and even on the day of elections.

Israeli-Turkish Alliance Worries Syria

By Ed Warner (VOA-Washington)

A new military agreement has strengthened the ties between Israel and Turkey but has caused some fear and anger in the Arab world. The agreement provides for joint aircraft training, exchange of personnel and other forms of military cooperation.

And it does more than that, says Alan Makovsky, a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy: "The significance is that it brings together the two most militarily powerful, most economically dynamic and most assertively pro-US states in the Middle East. This is not a military alliance in the classical sense. Israel and Turkey have not agreed to come to one another's aid in case the other is attacked. What it does -- and this is very significant -- it changes the psychological environment in the area. It changes strategic calculations, particularly in Damascus and in Tehran."

Makovsky says no joint Israel-Turkey attack on Syria or Iran is contemplated, but the possibility cannot be completely dismissed. The pact is obviously intended to put pressure on Syrian President Hafez al-Assad.

In general, the Arab countries have reacted with alarm to the pact, says Henry Siegman, a top analyst on the Middle East at the Council on Foreign Relations. They say it is inconsistent with the peace initiatives in the Middle East; indeed a rebuke to them. And it comes on top of the Israeli attack on Lebanon: "There is very, very negative public opinion about that in the Arab world. It is so widespread and so intense that it is creating problems for political leaders who have been in the forefront of the peace process. And this added concern on the part of some Arab countries that this agreement with Turkey is more than a training agreement, that it involves intelligence and perhaps even agreements for cooperation in the event of hostilities, makes it all the more difficult."
But the Arab reaction should not be exaggerated, says Talcott Seeyle, a former US ambassador in the Middle East: "I think the kind of ripples it will cause are mild compared to what would have been the case a few years ago before the Arab governments had reconciled themselves to the existence of Israel. The most relevant political grievance is that it looks to Syria as if it is kind of an anti-Arab bloc -- Israel and Turkey against the Arab world -- and until Syria has a peace agreement with Israel that gives them back the Golan Heights, they feel that maybe this diverts Israel from that issue."

There is talk of creating an Arab counter-alliance against the pact, and the Greek government has been hinting at closer ties to Syria. These moves would help polarize the region, but Seelye says he thinks they are more talk than action. He believes all the nations have enough problems without adding to them.

Nuclear Weapons Against Libya are Ruled Out

By David Gollust (VOA-Pentagon)

The Pentagon says it has ruled out the use of nuclear weapons to block Libya from finishing the underground chemical weapons plant it is building near Tripoli. Defense Secretary William Perry has said the United States will not allow the plant to go into operation.

The Pentagon says the United States is focussing on diplomacy and economic pressure to prevent the Libyans from turning out chemical weapons at the plant, being built into a mountainside at Tarhunah, southeast of Tripoli. And it says if pre-emptive military action is required to stop the project, the United States can do the job with conventional arms.

The statement here was, in part, a response to a recent comment by a senior defense official that the United States was two years away from having an earth-penetrating weapon -- short of a nuclear bomb -- that could destroy the Tarhunah plant. Defense spokesman Ken Bacon says flatly that a nuclear option is not being considered:

"We are not suggesting that nuclear weapons would be used in that case. We think we have plenty of conventional options for dealing with that. But our first line of defense, our first line of preventive defense is diplomacy. Diplomacy has worked in this connection before. We believe it will work again. We're not trying to sabre-rattle in this. We want to be very clear: we are not talking about using nuclear weapons against the Tarhunah plant."

Perry said in Egypt last month the United States would not rule out the use of force against the Libyan plant, described as the largest facility of its kind in the world.

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