Middle East Pop Quiz
By Charley Reese
It’s time for another pop quiz on America's favorite region of the world the Middle East. Let's get started with the subject of nuclear weapons.
* Which country in the Middle East actually possesses nuclear weapons?
* Which country in the Middle East refuses to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty?
* Which country in the Middle East refuses to allow international inspections of its nuclear facilities?
* Which countries in the Middle East have called for the region to be a nuclear-free zone?
The Arab countries and Iran.
* Which country in the Middle East occupies land belonging to other people?
Israel, which occupies a piece of Lebanon, a larger piece of Syria, East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza.
* Which country in the Middle East has for 60 years refused to allow refugees to return to their homes and refused to consider compensation to them for their lost property?
* Which country has roads on which citizens who are Arab may not drive and housing developments where Arabs may not live?
* Which country in the region has violated more United Nations resolutions than any other?
Israel. The United States has on more than one occasion gone to war ostensibly to enforce U.N. Security Council resolutions, but when it comes to resolutions directed against Israel, the U.S. is like the amoral monkey that sees, hears and says nothing. That raises the question of who's the dog and who's the tail?
* Which country in the region has in the past been led by men who at one time were terrorists with a price on their heads?
Israel. Former Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir once led the Stern Gang and ordered, among other things, the assassination of Count Folke Bernadotte, a Swedish diplomat working for the United Nations. Former Prime Minister Menachem Begin led the Irgun, a terrorist gang that among other things blew up one wing of the King David Hotel, killing nearly 100 people.
* Which country in the Middle East openly employs assassination against its political enemies?
Israel. There have been assassinations carried out by some of the Arab governments, but they usually don't own up to them. Israel has created a euphemism that the suck-up American press has readily adopted: "targeted killings." A British journalist told me once, "The Palestinians have a talent for picking bad leaders, and the Israelis have a talent for murdering their good ones."
* What are the top five countries from which we import oil?
Here they are in order of volume: Canada, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Nigeria and Venezuela. The next time you hear some blowhard politician ranting about how the Arabs control our oil imports, remind him or her of the facts. By far, a majority of oil imports come from non-Arab countries.
* Which country in the region receives an annual gift of $3 billion or more from Congress?
* Which foreign-aid recipient is the only one allowed to receive its aid in a lump sum and which routinely invests part of it in U.S. Treasuries so that taxpayers pay them interest on the taxpayers' gift?
* Which country in the Middle East has the most powerful lobby in the U.S.?
* Which country in the Middle East are most American politicians, journalists and academics afraid to criticize?
* On behalf of which country has the U.S. vetoed the largest number of U.N. Security Council resolutions?
* What country do the people in the region consider the world's biggest hypocrite?
The United States.
* Which countries in the Middle East have attacked U.S. ships in international waters?
Iraq and Israel. A lone Iraqi plane fired one missile at a U.S. ship by mistake. The Iraqi government quickly compensated the U.S. In 1967, Israeli airplanes and torpedo boats attacked the USS Liberty, killing 34 Americans. The U.S. government declared it an accident even before the ship limped into port, and to this day Congress has never held a public hearing and allowed the survivors to tell their story. Their story, by the way, is that the attack was deliberate. Israel compensated the families of those who were killed, but resisted for years paying compensation for the ship.
This item, published on June 7, 2008, first apeared in theOrlando Sentinel (Florida), in slightly different form, on Feb. 8, 1998.
About the Author
Charley Reese (1937-2013) was for more than 40 years a journalist and columnist. He served two years active duty in the U.S. Army as a tank gunner. He worked as a campaign staffer for gubernatorial, senatorial and congressional races in several states, 1969-1971. He was an editor, assistant to the publisher, and columnist for the Orlando Sentinel from 1971 to 2001. He then wrote a syndicated column three times a week for King Features.