Newsletter : 8fax0223.txt
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>JN Feb. 23, 1998, Vol. 6, No. 34
Iraqi Crisis Update
By IINS News Service
"If the Americans bomb Iraq, Arab nationalists will strike back,"
said Akeel Moustafa Darweesh, 42, a former captain in the Palestine
"When we empty the Arab world of stooges and puppets it will no
longer be possible for American troops to come through the Suez
Canal or use Arab land as bases and attack our people. The US has
been given a safe haven in the Arab world. That will not last,"
said Darweesh from his base in a Baghdad suburb.
Extremist groups inside the PLO Authority have reportedly issued
warnings of a violent backlash. Darweesh said the first targets of
any reprisal attacks would be against Arab countries perceived as
being "soft on Zionists and the American plot to keep the region
Jordan Crown Prince Hassan recently said that such terrorist acts
could plunge the region into a conflagration. The prince said, "The
greatest danger presented by the American threat to bomb Iraq is
the Balkanization of the country. It could be torn into several
pieces, and obscure groups could get hold of the very weapons that
the Americans and UN say Saddam is manufacturing. That, in turn,
could drag Iraq's neighbors into conflicts all over the place."
Will Anthrax Antibiotics be Distributed?
By Mark Lavie (VOA-Tel Aviv)
Israel's Cabinet is considering distributing antibiotics to the
people against the possibility of a biological weapons attack from
Iraq. Israelis are showing concern bordering on panic.
Israel's leaders debated the pros and cons of distributing
antibiotics to the people, at least those in potential target areas
for Iraqi missile attacks, like the population centers of Tel Aviv
and Haifa. The antibiotics would cure anthrax. Bacteria that
causes anthrax is thought to be Iraq's main biological weapon.
Among those in favor is Israeli President Ezer Weizman. The Israeli
president said -- if it's possible, why not distribute antibiotics?
The government has to decide, and it cannot make a big mistake. It
is like an insurance policy, so there is nothing wrong with it.
Those who oppose passing out the anthrax medicine say it would be
an unnecessary step that would only contribute to panic among the
Most Israelis got their first gas masks before the 1991 Gulf war.
When they spent many hours in rooms sealed off with plastic
sheeting and tape. Saddam Hussein fired 39 Scud missiles at Israel
then, all with conventional warheads. Israelis have been called to
gas mask distribution points several times since then to exchange
their masks and other parts of their survival kit. But most
ignored the orders until the Iraq situation heated up again.
The scenes of panicked Israelis pounding on the doors of
overwhelmed gas mask stations, and snapping up huge quantities of
plastic sheeting to seal rooms against chemical or biological
attacks leads to opposite conclusions among Israeli planners when
it comes to distributing antibiotics. Israeli Health Minister
Yehoshua Matza prefers to wait until after an attack.
He said -- the people should relax, because the government has
all that is necessary to deal with any craziness that might break
out in this area.
Others say the scenes of near-riots at gas mask stations are
nothing compared to the panic that would result if there were a
biological attack on Israel -- and if only then the government
distributed antibiotics. But doctors warn the anthrax medicine
could have serious side effects and even if they are told to wait
until it is necessary, some Israelis would endanger themselves by
swallowing the medicine as soon as they get it.
A member of parliament who was a senior commander in the Israeli
army worries about the message Israel is sending to the world.
He said scenes of panic over gas masks, plastic sheeting and
medicine show humiliation and fear -- a public admission of defeat
before Saddam Hussein does anything.
Israelis Get Blasted at Anthrax Party
By IINS News Service
With the country gripped with angst over the possibility of an
Iraqi biological missile attack, young Israelis have found a novel
way to relieve the tension - they got blasted at an Anthrax Party
thrown by one of Tel-Aviv's trendiest nightclubs.
Hundreds of revelers partied at the KU club, dancing with carefree
abandon under a macabre 15-foot mock Scud missile, embellished with
psychedelic designs and suspended by steel cables above the dance
Hundreds of partygoers thronged until four in the morning to get
into the club, where sexy dancers wore gas masks and cavorted in
erotic death throes to the strains of air raid sirens, before
performing mock fellatio on a Saddam Hussein lookalike.
"I'm going head to head with Saddam," explained club owner Meir
Lavi. "We have to show that we are not afraid. And anyway, the
situation is so absurd all you can do is laugh about."
"We might be under threat of imminent annihilation but that just
makes it even more important to have fun while we can," said
partygoer Shirley Massano.
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