4.1017 Israeli Diaries: Werman (2/448)

Elaine Brennan & Allen Renear (EDITORS@BROWNVM.BITNET)
Tue, 12 Feb 91 16:34:16 EST

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 4, No. 1017. Tuesday, 12 Feb 1991.

(1) Date: Thu, 7 Feb 91 17:42 +0200 (216 lines)
Subject: A New Order

(2) Date: Fri, 8 Feb 91 15:49 +0200 (232 lines)
Subject: Ready for the Ground Battle

(1) --------------------------------------------------------------------
Date: Thu, 7 Feb 91 17:42 +0200
Subject: A New Order

Thursday, 7 February

A New Order

It is raining hard again, thundering as well.
There were no missiles again last night but the
sensitized Tel Avivians were startled and even frightened
at midnight by the thunder, thinking it was another
attack. Here in Jerusalem, we can afford the luxury of
first checking the source of the noise, for we don't
really believe - but we are not sure - that the sudden
boom signals an attack. There is no attack. This was
the fourth night in a row without any attack.

For several days now, Jordan's Crown Prince, Hassan,
the brother of King Hussein, has been giving TV interviews
condemning the US and coalition indifference to Jordan's
plight. The signs were clear, the signal given to the
West to bail out Jordan, but there was no response.

Jordan was already in desperate financial straits
before the onset of the Persian Gulf crisis; the two waves
of refugees that have swarmed across the border from Iraq
- the first with the capture and ravaging of Kuwait in the
late summer, the second now with the bombing of Iraq -
has placed a tremendous additional economic burden on
Jordan. In addition, two-thirds of Jordan's oil supply
came from Iraq and oil shortages present in Iraq following
the coalition bombings are also apparent in Jordan.

Moreover, Jordan has been dealing with Iraq despite
the sanctions and boycott of that country for the past
five months, providing produce. [And even Israeli farm
products, as West Bank farmers - whose trucks change their
licence plates as soon as they cross the Adam Bridge from
Israel to Jordan - drove their produce to Iraq, as they
formerly did to Kuwait.] Indeed, the Jordanian port of
Aqaba has served during the period of the sanctions as
Iraq's only outlet to the sea; trucks carrying containers
from steamers arriving in Aqaba - none ever searched by
US and coalition vessels patrolling the Red Sea - left
Aqaba before the war at the rate of one every five

More than half of Jordan's residents are
Palestinians, many still living in refugee camps set up
in 1948 [Fleeing from embattled Israel at the urging of
their own leaders]. These, as do their fellow
Palestinians elsewhere, see Saddam Hussein as a possible
savior, as a Salladin who will lead the Arabs to a
victory over the West, and particularly to the
dismantling of Israel. It is no surprise that they
support Saddam Hussein overwhelmingly; they see the
present war exactly as Saddam Hussein has tried to sell
it to the Arab/Muslim world, as a battle between the
good Arabs and the evil Israeli's [Their placards add
"Israelis = Jews," so there will be no doubt.], with the
US and its allies doing the fighting for Israel.

Scud missiles fly over Jordan on their way from
Iraq to Jordan. It has been rumored that some of these
may actually have been fired from mobile launchers driven
to Jordan. Now, a new rumor has it that the last missile
fired at Israel actually fell in Jordanian territory.
Jordan knows that any Israeli retaliation on Iraq will
involve Israel aircraft flying through Jordanian airspace;
the Jordanians are pretty much helpless to prevent this,
their airforce and anti-aircraft defenses are just not up
to stopping the Israeli planes.

Thus, it was not a great surprise to me that King
Hussein, in a dramatic speech yesterday, allied himself
with the Iraqi in a war of the Arab nations to keep the
Imperialistic forces of the West out of the Arab
subcontinent, where their purpose is - says King Hussein
- to subjugate and humiliate the Arabs and thereby control
Arab resources and propagate Western influence.

Jordan was caught in a pincer with little room to
maneuver; its dependence on Iraq, its largely pro-Saddam
population and the lack of desperately needed economic
aid from the west, together, tipped the scales in favor of
a pro-Iraqi stance.

The Americans have already announced that they will
be responsible for rebuilding Iraq after the war is over.
Shades of "The Mouse that Roared." Just as Germany and
Japan were helped - with US aid - to regain their pre-
World War II status and to achieve even greater economic
power than they ever had. And now allowed to enjoy the
envious status of reluctant economic supporters - without
participating in the military actions or casualties - of
the coalition efforts. This is, of course, particularly
disturbing in the case of Germany which supplied
encouragement funds to German firms that aided in the
building of the Iraqi war machine, and supplied the
technical know-how that may now be responsible for the
lives of US and coalition soldiers as well as Israeli

With the possibility of being "rebuilt" by the US
after the war now a tangible option, perhaps there is
every reason in the world for the Jordanians to side
against the US and its allies.

King Hassan of Morocco, a member of the coalition,
has also joined in the general Arab/Muslim support of
Saddam Hussein, calling him a modern Salladin who will
restore vanished glories of the Arab Nation. The
300,000 participants in the pro-Saddam rally in Fez this
week probably helped convince him of the wisdom of this
action. This is indeed strange, with a US ally extolling
the allies' chief enemy and villian.

Continuing the line of topsy-turvey results that
might be expected after an Allied victory is the
announcement by Secretary of State Baker that after the
war is over the Middle East will have to undergo changes
to guarantee its stability and to undo injustice.

Is this announcement meant to bring hope to the
Kurds dispersed and persecuted in Iraq and Iran and
barely tolerated in southern Turkey? Not at all, it is
another reference to pushing a Palestinian State down
Israel's already gagging throat. For clearly - by Mouse-
that-Roared logic - the PLO which sides with Saddam
Hussein is to be rewarded, while Israel, which has been a
good little nation, showing "admirable" restraint at US
urging, is to be punished.

Is that clear, now?

In the discussion of a general Middle East
settlement after the war, the phrase, "A New Order" [in
the Middle East] has been articulated. Use of this
expression must reflect the height of insensitivity,
worthy of some special award. It is not enough that
Israel is again being threatened with poison gas attacks
with the Nazi use of Zyklon B to exterminate the Jews still
fresh in our memory, but now we are treated to a rebirth
of another Nazi relic, "The New Order." And directed at
us - again.

Mayor Dinkins of New York City has joined the new
pilgrimage, to the Patriot launchers. Carrying the
obligatory gas mask - I wish that Israelis were as
conscientious about carry their's as our visitors are -
he is interviewed at one of the launcher sites in the
Tel Aviv area. He praises us, our restraint, calmness,
fortitude. [Will he tell that to Farakan? To Jesse
Jackson?] He proves his political astuteness by asking
one of the American soldiers in the Patriot crew if it is
true that they deliberately withheld fire from Scuds that
appeared destined to land in areas populated by Arabs.
The GI breaks into a broad smile and says "Hell, no!"

They are all coming now, German, Italian, Czech
parliamentarians, American sexologists [Dr. Ruth], Afro-
American congressmen who tell us that the Black Caucus's
record is 100% behind bills supporting Israel. They all
visit the Patriots - our new tourist attraction. Israelis
are not allowed near the batteries; fathers take their sons
to seem them from afar, explain them, they are now "ours."

I wonder if the Afro-American visitors have seen our
Ethiopian immigrants, who - on the average - are much
darker [Too dark? Too Jewish?] than the visitors. At any
rate, they have nothing to say about them. I gather that
the limited support that they give us - and we welcome
even that in the face of widespread Afro-American anti-
Jewish feeling - cannot be compromised by excess, by
admitting that we are also black, and that being black
does not seem to be an issue here.


There is another group of Black Hebrews - that is
what they call themselves - here, mostly living in the
town, Dimona, better known for other things. They are
here as converts to a new religion/new-old people with
their own prophet. Originating in Chicago, they have
come on tourist visas and stayed on. They claim that
they are the true Hebrews and that we, the Jewish
Israelis, are usurpers who will be thrown out one day.
There were some attempts years back to deport them; they
are here illegally and are generally a financial burden
where they live. But the fear of negative responses
among Afro-Americans and other black nationalists stopped

This has not stopped the Farakans of America from
inciting blacks to anti-semitism; nor the Bishop Tutus
and Nelson Mendelas for siding with the PLO against us.

The Black Hebrews are, for the time being, only an
unobtrusive Fifth Column.


We still tell jokes. Here is a recent one:

They are selling building lots in H2 now.
They are only 7 minutes - by missile - from Tel Aviv.

__Bob Werman

copyright 1991 USA. All rights reserved.

(2) --------------------------------------------------------------238---
Date: Fri, 8 Feb 91 15:49 +0200
Subject: Ready for the Ground Battle

Friday, 8 February

Ready for the Ground Battle

For the fifth night we had no attack; at 02:00 we heard
that a Scud was fired at Saudi Arabia and that two Patriots were
fired to intercept it. We do not know if any damage was done.
We are both worried and relieved. We act as if there is no
longer any threat; we are convinced that a chemical attack is in
the winds.

Movies are to open tonight for the first time - there
are already daytime showings. But only 50% occupancy of each
movie theater will be allowed. [We continue to worry about
crowds, about the danger of mass casualties, of stampedes
produced by panic.]

All schools will return to normal schedules. Government
scandals and investigations which occupied our interest before
the war are finding their way back into the newspapers. The
price of electricity is lower; it was raised with the booming
oil prices that first characterized the Persian Gulf crisis.
Everything is normal, except for the sight of people carrying gas
masks, in Tel Aviv more than in Jerusalem.

But we also hear of new weapons in Saddam Hussein's
armamentarium, weapons that he has been saving, weapons that
threaten us, that can kill us. We know that he would like
nothing better than to make a successful strike in the heart of
the "settlers". ["Settlers" is a term used by the PLO for Jews
who have moved beyond the Green Line, into territory captured by
Jordan and held by them until 1967, when their attempt to share
in the spoils of an Arab war against Israel was rewarded by a
loss of these territories. But it is clear that Radio Baghdad
means something else when they talk about "settlers", they are
talking about the "settlers" of Haifa and the "settlers of Tel
Aviv; they mean all Jews in Israel.]

Saddam Hussein has thrown down the gauntlet, it is all
Arabs and Muslim, with he himself at their head, against Jews;
he has invited all Arabs and Muslims [Saddam Hussein has made
strong overtures to his one-time irrevocable enemy, Iran, to
join in the "Holy" objective.] to join him; a groundswell of
Arab public opinion in his favor threatens the cohesiveness
of the coalition. Will the Arab nations in the coalition
- particularly Morocco, Egypt and Syria - be able to withstand
the pro-Saddam surge of support in the streets of these

Although the bombing of Iraqi military targets as well
as supply and communication lines in Iraq and Kuwait has been
very successful, it would appear that there is yet more to
bomb, more to soften up. This form of warfare has the
advantage - with coalition airplanes the only ones in the sky
- of involving relatively few coalition casualties. But the
threat of dissolution of the coalition appears to be
sufficiently worrying to advance the timing of the ground
battle. Secretary of Defense Cheney and Chief of Staff
General Powell are in the Gulf to obtain an up-to-date
evaluation of the situation before beginning the ground
phase of the war - earlier than might be best from a purely
military viewpoint.

If beginning the ground war has become an urgent matter
for the US, so too has galvanizing Arab/Muslim support for him
become to Saddam Hussein. With the name Israel a red flag in
front of the bull for Arabs/Muslims, what better way is there for
him to achieve this support than to show that he is capable of
hurting - or even more - Israel? We know this and wait; we have
already prepared as best we can. We have interceptor airplanes
in the skies at all times; Patriot anti-missile missiles are
in position. We have distributed anti-poison masks and related
equipment; we have prepared sealed rooms - we know how to use

We hear that Saddam Hussein has other weapons that
threaten us, weapons that he has not yet used. Russian SS-12
missiles were supposed to have been destroyed in 1988, following
a disarmament agreement with the US. But now we hear that some
were distributed before that among Russia's allies, including
Iraq, before the public destruction of these weapons; these
missiles were not destroyed. The SS-12 is a missile of much
higher accuracy and longer range than the relatively crude Scuds
which have been used to date. Their range of 950 kilometers
[about 570 miles] is more than enough to reach Israel.

Another weapon that we might have to worry about is the
giant cannon. This device was brought to the attention of the
world when Israeli pressure forced various European nations to
seize "pipes" of enormous size, that were actually components -
parts of the barrel - of the cannon. Now we hear that 3 such
cannon, with a range of 750 kilometers [450 miles], far enough
to reach Israel's cities, did reach Iraq.

Even the best air defense can not guarantee that not a
single plane will get through. We fear an air attack as even one
plane reaching Tel Aviv or Haifa with a chemical weapon would be
disastrous to us.

We go on as if life is returning to normal. But we know


A military pilot suggested - after examining the pictures of
damaged Baghdad shown on TV - that a large portion of the damage
shown is the result of Iraqi anti-aircraft [AA] activity and not
the aftermath of allied attacks at all. He pointed out that, in the
video footage shown of Baghdad at night, coalition aircraft are
all but unseen - mostly flying at high altitude - while streams
of Iraqi tracer bullets and rockets fill the sky, apparently
hitting nothing. On the principle of that which goes up
must come back down, much of the damage is probably caused by
Iraqi air-aircraft installations themselves, concentrated as
they are through the city of Baghdad, in the most densely
populated regions. Many of the major military targets are indeed
near the center of Baghdad. With the breakdown of communications
that has been the result of the heavy coalition bombing, the AA
batteries no longer have the benefit of coordinating radar - most
large radar units have already been knocked out - while the
radars of individual guided anti-aircraft missiles have to
contend with coalition jamming and incoming fire. These added
sources of inaccuracy will add to the number of returned
"friendly" missiles.

Even visible guidance of the AA fire is difficult; the
only visible parts of the attacking aircraft at night are the
aircraft engines, which are not easy to identify in a sky full of
tracer bullets and AA missile rocket engines.

Coalition planes are equipped with sophisticated evasion
mechanisms which are programmed to neutralize the radars or
heat-sensors of the AA missiles. [According to legend {?}, good
pilots can still escape missiles by sudden evasion tactics,
resulting in wasted missiles falling to earth.] When the planes
come in low, the AA guns fire up, hoping to produce some damage
by luck alone. On low runs, the AA missile radars frequently do
not have time to lock-on to the planes or to arm properly. This
was already proven in the American raid on Libya, where the
Libyan gunners fired many AA miles that either had no radar
lock-on or passed the attacking aircraft before the warheads had
armed themselves. These missiles fell back to earth in Tripoli,
producing considerable damage.

AA missile warheads generally detonate only when they are
quite close to a plane - or another sizable target such as an
Iraqi building.

A correspondent sees an unexpected - and encouraging if
true - phenomenon taking place in the US as everyone senses that
the ground war is approaching; he calls it "a great healing." He
perceives the Unites States now acting as a United nation, even
as an angry - righteously angry - nation, for the first time in
twenty years. As an example he cites a congressman's response to
Secretary of State Baker's comments about rebuilding Iraq after
the war; Baker was told that this would not occur "....in this

He attributes this unity and determination, at least
partly, to accumulated hate for the Arabs that has grown in the
US since the Iranians - who are perceived as Arabs - held the
Americans hostage in 1979. The humiliating failure of the rescue
attempt added to the wounded pride [the other major source of
unity, probably of more importance] of American withdrawal from
Vietnam [which is a source of very mixed feelings in America: all
negative on the left and in the media {witness the rash of
negative movies}; negative only in the area of wounded pride for
an ignominious involvement and withdrawal on the side of the
right and the silent majority] . According to this view, Saddam
Hussein just turned out to be a convenient focus for the
smouldering hate and frustration already present. Of course it
was important that he be evil, opposed to the US, and Arab. But
he was "just unlucky enough to be in the gunsights when we lost
our collective temper."

A number of congressmen have called for the use of hard
radiation nuclear missiles on Iraq prior to beginning the ground


King Hussein of Jordan has come down squarely on the side
of Saddam Hussein. In his speech declaring his commitment to the
Arab cause, the King denounced each Arab nation in the coalition,
one by one. Except for one. He failed to denounce Syria. Since
Iraqi oil - which provided two-thirds of the source for Jordan
before the war - is no longer available, Syria has become the only
supplier of oil to Jordan. Syria, a member of the coalition, but
no lover of Israel, finds nothing wrong in supplying Jordan, the
ally of Syria's declared enemy with oil. Business as usual.
And, what's more, Syria may yet change its mind, with President
Assad coming down on the side of Saddam Hussein.

The Middle East. An interesting place, yes?


Doctors tell us that we should forget about Saddam
Hussein; forgetting him will help us relax.

I think that forgetting about doctors will help us relax
more. At the beginning of the war medical advice, particularly
psychological tips for handling the problems of children helped.
Even hearing about some of the psycho-physical [psycho-Semitic?]
symptoms was interesting; its nice to know that you were not
the only one suffering with problems urinating, etc. But enough
is enough. People - doctors particularly - never seem to know
when enough is enough. We are tired of hearing about physical
symptoms that are the products of anxiety.

Let's talk about something more pleasant! Even Saddam


Today, a full page portrait of of General Schwartzkopf in
the newspapers; it is a cigarette add. "Be a man and smoke

__Bob Werman

copyright 1991 USA. All rights reserved.