April/May 1994, Page 102
Facts For Your Files: A Chronology of U.S.-Middle East Relations
Compiled By Greg Noakes
Jan. 1: Israeli troops shot and wounded five Palestinians during demonstrations in the Gaza Strip, then beat eight journalists sitting at a nearby cafe before confiscating their identity cards.
Jan. 2: Croatian Defense Minister Gojko Susak warned that regular Croatian Army troops were prepared to intervene in Bosnia if Muslim forces occupy Croatian areas in southwest Bosnia.
Jan. 3: Two days of talks between India and Pakistan on the disputed territory of Kashmir ended in stalemate, with neither side prepared to make concessions in the first contact between the two governments in 16 months.
More than 70 people were killed and some 700 others wounded in three days of clashes in the Afghan capital of Kabul. The fighting, which broke out before dawn on New Year's Day, pitted government forces loyal to President Burhanuddin Rabbani against rebel fighters led by General Abdul Rashid Dostam.
Jan. 4: The Bosnian government released casualty figures showing 141,065 dead and some 160,000 wounded during the 21-month Balkan war. In Sarajevo alone some 9,700 people have been killed and another 56,000 wounded, the government said.
Lt. General Francis Briquemont of Belgium asked to be relieved of his duties as head of United Nations peacekeeping forces in Bosnia. His request came a week after he accused the U.N. of passing too many resolutions on Bosnia and sending too few troops.
Israeli opposition leader Benyamin Netanyahu said that if his Likud Party were to come to power he would not feel obliged to honor the Labor government's peace accord with the Palestine Liberation Organization.
Jan. 5: Pakistani police clashed with supporters of Nusrat Bhutto, mother of Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, outside the family mansion in Larkana as a bitter political feud turned violent. The crowd had gathered to mark the 66th birthday of the late Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, Nusrat's husband and Benazir's father. The two women are contesting leadership of the Pakistan People's Party, with Nusrat Bhutto supporting Murtaza Bhutto, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto's eldest son and Benazir's younger brother. El The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Madeleine Albright, warned Croatia that its growing military involvement in Bosnia is a "major concern" to the Clinton administration.
Two crude bombs were left outside New York buildings housing the leftist New Israel Fund and Americans for Peace Now. Notes left with the explosives and signed by the "Shield of David Maccabee Squad" accused the Israeli government of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin of "selling out the Jewish people."
Jan. 6: Warren Zimmermann, U.S. ambassador to Yugoslavia from 1989 to 1992, submitted his resignation as director of U.S. refugee affairs, reportedly distressed by U.S. policy on Bosnia. Zimmermann was the fifth State Department official to resign in protest over U.S. inaction in the face of genocide in Bosnia.
Jan. 8: Foreign diplomats took advantage of a 24-hour truce between rival factions in Kabul to evacuate the Afghan capital.
U.S. officials concluded a deal with Abu Dhabi that allows prosecutors to extradite key managers of the failed Bank of Credit and Commerce International from the United Arab Emirates.
Jan. 9: The Israeli human rights group B'Tselem released a report criticizing Palestinian factions for failing to halt the killing of hundreds of suspected collaborators in the occupied territories.
Jan. 10: Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization resumed bilateral talks in Taba, Egypt. Issues on the agenda included withdrawal of Israeli troops from Gaza and Jericho, control of border crossings and the size of Palestinian self-rule enclaves.
American freelance journalist Robert I. Friedman was assaulted by members of the militant Kahane Chai organization while visiting the West Bank settlement of Tapuach. Kahane Chai accused Friedman of leading a "witch hunt" against the late Rabbi Meir Kahane, and called the beating "payback" for Friedman's writings.
Jan. 11: Leaders at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization summit in Brussels pledged to bomb Bosnian Serb militia positions around Sarajevo to "prevent the strangulation" of the besieged city if Serb artillery is not withdrawn.
Jan. 12: Pope John Paul H urged adoption of "all forms of action aimed at disarming the aggressor" in Bosnia, but stopped short of specifically approving air strikes against Serbian positions.
The chief Israeli army commander in the West Bank and three other officers were killed when their helicopter crashed in heavy fog trying to land north of Jerusalem. Maj. Gen. Nechemia Tamari, 47, was the highest-ranking Israeli officer to be killed in over a decade.
Jan. 14: Five Palestinians and one Israeli were killed in clashes during the bloodiest day in the occupied territories since the signing of the Israeli-PLO accord in September 1993.
Jan. 16: President Bill Clinton met for over five hours with Syrian President Hafez AlAssad in Geneva. Assad said peace with Israel was a "strategic choice" for Syria. Clinton claimed that Assad's statements were a significant advance.
Jan. 17: Israeli officials said they were not convinced Syrian President Hafez Al-Assad had significantly changed his position on the end of the Arab-Israeli conflict.
British Prime Minister John Major said that although he held key cabinet posts in the late 1980s, he played no role in mid-level government decisions that allowed the export of arms manufacturing equipment from Britain to Iraq in the years before the invasion of Kuwait.
Jan. 18: Admiral Bobby Ray Inman withdrew his nomination to be President Bill Clinton's defense secretary, citing negative press coverage and alleging a secret agreement between New York Times columnist William Safire and Sen. Bob Dole to "turn up the heat" on his nomination. In his press conference, Inman traced Safire's hostility to Inman's 1981 decision, when he was deputy CIA director, to limit Israel's access to U.S. satellite photographs to areas within 250 miles of Israel's borders. Independent Counsel Lawrence Walsh released his final report on the Iran-Contra affair after a seven-year investigation. Walsh alleged that members of Ronald Reagan's cabinet withheld information on the arms-for-hostages deal and the subsequent diversion of funds to the Nicaraguan contras and falsely portrayed the affair as a "rogue operation."
The French Defense Ministry recalled Gen. Jean Cot, commander of U.N. peacekeeping forces in the former Yugoslavia, at the request of Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali. Cot earlier had criticized his civilian superiors and said he should have the ability to call for NATO strikes without prior approval.
Jan. 19: Another round of Bosnian peace talks ended in deadlock in Geneva, despite an attempt by Belgrade and Zagreb to pressure the Bosnian government into making concessions. Serbia and Croatia signed an accord that makes provisions for the opening of diplomatic offices in each other's capitals by Feb. 15.
Jan. 20: During a visit to Cairo, U.S. Commerce Secretary Ron Brown said the Arab League boycott of Israel is "crumbling under its own weight," though PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat insisted after meeting with Brown that the boycott must remain in place until Israel concludes peace agreements with all Arab states and removes obstacles to the importation of Palestinian goods.
Jan. 21: Maj. Basil Al-Assad, eldest son and potential heir to Syrian President Hafez AlAssad, was killed in an automobile accident outside Damascus.
Jan. 22: Six children were killed by a Serb mortar shell as they sledded near Sarajevo's former Olympic Village.
Jan. 24: On a visit to Washington, Jordan's King Hussein met with a group of 30 American Jewish leaders. The king discussed the future of peaceful relations between Israel and Jordan. El U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher told French Prime Minister Edouard Balladur and Foreign Minister Alain Jupo that the United States is not willing to pressure the Muslim-led Bosnian government to accept a peace settlement they find unworkable. Meeting with French leaders in Paris, Christopher said an imposed settlement would require thousands of foreign troops to enforce.
Jan. 25: A spokesman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees confirmed Bosnian government claims that Bosnian Muslims receive less than one-third of the per capita food aid going to Bosnian Croats, and about two-thirds of the assistance received by Bosnian Serbs.
Jan. 27: A Cairo judge dismissed a case brought by Islamic fundamentalists trying to force an Egyptian Muslim couple to divorce because of the husband's alleged heresy. Nasr Hamid Abu Zeid, an assistant professor of Arabic at Cairo University, was accused of apostasy by Islamist leaders because of his writings on Islamic thought. The fundamentalists had argued that Abu Zeid's wife, Ebtehal Younes, could not remain married to an apostate.
Israel announced it will purchase 20 F-151 fighter aircraft, valued at $2 billion, from the McDonnell Douglas Corporation.
Jan. 28: A moderate Algerian Islamist leader kidnapped from his home in Blida. on Nov. 26 was found dead with his throat slit. The body of Mohammed Bouslimani, a co-founder of the moderate Islamist Hamas party, was discovered in a mountainous area southwest of Algiers.
Over 50 Turkish aircraft launched attacks against Turkish Kurd guerrilla bases inside northern Iraq. Turkish Prime Minister Tansu Ciller called the raid the "most important operation of the last 10 years" against the separatist Kurdistan Workers Party.
A three-man Italian television team was killed by a Bosnian Croat mortar round while filming near Mostar. Earlier, U.N. officials said a British aid worker traveling on a relief mission in central Bosnia was killed during an ambush and robbery. Britain suspended its humanitarian convoys as a result of the attack.
Jan. 29: Naeb Untran Maaitah, first secretary at the Jordanian Embassy in Beirut, was shot to death by an unidentified gunman while driving to work. Jordanian officials said the attack, the first killing of a foreign diplomat in Beirut since 1986, appeared to be politically motivated, El Saudi Arabia agreed on a plan to restructure $9.2 billion in payments for weapons sales due over the next two years to McDonnell Douglas General Dynamics, FMC, Raytheon Hughes Aircraft.
By a vote of 93-0, the U.S. Senate passed an amendment to the State Department authorization bill that would cut off military sales to countries that observe the Arab boycott of Israel. The amendment contains a provision for exceptions which makes it unlikely such a ban would ever be carried out.
Jan. 30: Algeria's military regime appointed Defense Minister Liamine Zeroual to a three-year term as the country's president.
PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat and Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres concluded a weekend of talks in Davos, Switzerland by announcing progress on clearing the way for a limited Israeli withdrawal from Gaza and Jericho. No final agreement was reached, but the two men announced they would hold further talks in Cairo.
Jan. 31: American Marines in Mogadishu killed five Somalis and wounded 13 others in the worst violence involving American troops since October 1993.
United Nations mediator Thorvald Stoltenberg told the U.N. Security Council that a last minute demand by Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic scuttled an agreement on a mechanism to arbitrate the fate of 14 disputed towns in Bosnia. Diplomats said Bosnia may feel it is under no pressure to sign since its military forces are making territorial gains in the field.
Feb. 1: Iranian President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani escaped injury when a gunman fired at him during a ceremony at Ayatollah Khomeini's mausoleum marking the 15th annniversary of the Islamic Revolution.
Feb. 2: Turkish Prime Minister Tansu Ciller and her Pakistani counterpart Benazir Bhutto took a five-hour tour of Sarajevo in a show of solidarity with the residents of the besieged city. They met with Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic and Prime Minister Haris Silajdzic before touring the children's wing of the KosevoHospital.
Feb. 3: The International Court of Justice rejected Libya's claim to the 45,000-square-mile Aouzou Strip, saying the swath of land belongs to Chad.
Diplomats in Beirut reported that Iran and Syria may have been involved in the assassination on Jan. 29 of a Jordanian diplomat in the Lebanese capital. Two Jordanian movie theatres also were bombed recently by Islamist radicals. Jordan expelled 21 Iranian diplomats and embassy employees as a sign of disapproval of Tehran's links to radical Islamists.
Feb. 4: Ten people were killed by a Serb mortar round while waiting in line at a food distribution center in Sarajevo.
Feb. 5: A mortar shell exploded in Sarajevo's crowded central market, killing 68 and wounding more than 200 others, in the worst single massacre in the 22-month siege of the city.
Feb. 6: United Nations Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali asked NATO to decide whether to use air power in Bosnia in response to the shelling of Sarajevo.
Feb. 7: PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat and Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres began a round of private negotiations in Cairo.
Hezbollah guerrillas in south Lebanon killed four Israeli soldiers and wounded five others in a daylight ambush against an armored patrol.
Feb. 8: Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic said any aircraft attacking Serb forces would be shot down, though he added that the Serbs could withdraw some of their heavy artillery from around Sarajevo.
Strobe Talbott, President Clinton's nominee to be deputy secretary of state, faced questioning during his Senate confirmation hearing about criticisms of Israel he had written while a columnist for Time magazine.
Feb. 9: Israeli and PLO officials initialed agreements on several issues blocking implementation of the Gaza-Jericho plan, including settlements, supervision of border crossings and control of tourist sites.
Feb. 10: A United Nations-negotiated cease-fire went into effect between Bosnian Serb and Muslim factions in Sarajevo.
Feb. 11: Serb forces placed 13 heavy weapons under United Nations control in the first step toward compliance with a NATO ultimatum demanding the withdrawal of heavy weapons from the mountains around Sarajevo by Feb. 21.
Feb. 14: Simcha Dinitz, chairman of the quasi-governmental Jewish Agency and former Israeli ambassador to Washington, was indicted in an Israeli court on charges of fraud and breach of trust for his personal use of agency credit cards. Dinitz took a leave of absence to prepare his legal defense.
Feb. 16: Saudi Arabia agreed to purchase $6 billion worth of commercial jet aircraft from Boeing and McDonnell Douglas.
Feb. 17: Serb forces around Sarajevo began withdrawing their heavy weapons after Russia announced it would send 400 troops to bolster the U.N. peacekeeping force in Sarajevo.
Feb. 20: Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh and Vice President Ali Salem Beidh signed a reconciliation pact in Amman designed to end growing political instability in Yemen.
Feb. 21: Although Bosnian Serb forces fell short of meeting a NATO deadline for the withdrawal of heavy weapons from around Sarajevo, NATO officials said there was "no need" for threatened airstrikes on Serb positions.
Pakistani commandos killed three Afghan gunmen who had kidnapped a busload of children and teachers, driven it from Peshawar to Islamabad, and then held five schoolboys, none of whom were injured, hostage in the Afghan Embassy for nearly 40 hours. The gunmen demanded money for relief supplies and that Pakistan open its borders to Afghan refugees.
Feb. 23: Muslim and Croatian military factions agreed to a U.N.-brokered cease-fire in central and southwestern Bosnia-Herzegovina. El Jurors began deliberations in the trial of four men accused of criminal conspiracy and carrying out the Feb. 26, 1993 bomb attack on New York City's World Trade Center.
Feb. 24: President Bill Clinton summoned Bosnian Muslim and Croatian leaders to Washington to discuss the creation of a joint Muslim-Croatian Bosnian state covering half of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Feb. 25: Baruch Goldstein, an American-born Israeli physician from the West Bank settlement of Kiryat Arba, opened fire on Muslims at dawn prayers in Hebron's Cave of the Patriarchs, killing 30 and wounding some 150 others before being beaten to death by worshippers. Demonstrations by Palestinians spread across the occupied territories. President Bill Clinton condemned the act and invited Israeli and Palestinian peace negotiators to move their talks to Washington. PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat announced that Israeli authorities must disarm Jewish settlers in the occupied territories before the Palestinian delegation will return to the negotiating table.
A United Nations human rights investigator accused Iraqi President Saddam Hussain and Defense Minister Ali Hassan Majid of "crimes against humanity" and recommended that the U.N. station human rights observers inside Iraq.
Feb. 26: Palestinian protests continued across the occupied territories and spread to Nazareth and Jaffa inside Israel itself.
Feb. 27: The government of Yitzhak Rabin ordered the detention of six "specific individuals" among radical Jewish settler groups in the occupied territories, put the Kiryat Arba settlement of Baruch Goldstein under curfew, and created a commission to investigate the massacre in Hebron. PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat called the Israeli response "hollow." El Syria, Jordan and Lebanon announced they would break off participation in the current round of Middle East peace talks to protest the Hebron massacre.
A bomb blast in a Maronite Catholic church in Jounieh, Lebanon killed 9 and wounded 55 others. No group claimed responsibility.
Feb. 28: Two U.S. F-16 fighter-bombers attacked six Bosnian Serb aircraft violating the U.N.-imposed "no-fly" zone, downing four of the Serb planes in the first offensive military action in the 45-year history of NATO.