“The last time we choose sides between warring factions in the Middle East, it cost us 241 American Marines.”
Noel Koch, Head of the Pentagon Counter-terrorism Program
Tehran claims that Iranians soldiers have pushed back the rebel troops fighting with Iraqi, after they had penetrated 100 miles deep inside Iran. Speaking from Washington, a spokesperson of the rebel group, known as the PMOI, denied the claim and stated that the PMOI has voluntarily withdrawn from Iranian territory.
Saudi Arabia is said to be putting pressure on Baghdad to accept the cease-fire. All through the eight years war, the Saudis have backed up Iraq financially. Prince Bandar Bin sultan, the Saudi Ambassador in Washington has met with Tariq Aziz.
Velayati, the Iranian foreign minister reiterated the position of Tehran regarding direct talks with Iraqi officials. Velayati said he would not meet Aziz face-to-face until both sides agree on a firm date for a cease-fire, the withdrawal from occupied land, and the exchange of all prisoners.
Middle East News
The UN Security Council passed a Resolution that condemns the abduction of US Colonel William R. Higgins in Lebanon. The text asks all members to use their influence in any way possible to secure his safe release.
Jordanian King Hussein has renounced sovereignty over West Bank to PLO. King Hussein also dissolved his country’s lower house of Parliament, half of whose 60 members were from the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
US Sides with Arafat
For the last eight years, the Reagan administration has debated, mostly with itself, how to address the Palestinian endless crisis. In a late attempt described by an expert as an 11th hour improvisation, Secretary of State Shultz has taken the very dangerous step of letting the genie out of the bottle.
In exchange for renouncing to violence and for recognizing Israel right to exist, Arafat has been granted Statesman status by the US administration. Simply stated, the US has now chosen a side in the conflict. And this could mean trouble, both for the US and Arafat.
The Syrian based PFLP-GC of Jibril and the Libyan hosted ANO do not limit themselves to targeting US assets and personnel according to the desiderata of their sponsors. They also seek the elimination of Arafat. One can safely expect that these groups will commit an act of terror against a US asset intended, at least partially, to ruin Arafat current efforts.
A Defense Intelligence Summary issued on November 8 1988 by the DIA Terrorism Intelligence Branch explicitly predicted that hard-line Palestinian groups would soon set up major terror attacks to discredit Arafat. In late November 1988, Nidal himself confirmed this to investigative reporter David Yallop, who passed the information to MI6 and the CIA.