- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 6, 2002

Jordanian students burn Israeli flag

AMMAN, Jordan Several hundred Islamic students set fire to an Israeli flag yesterday to show solidarity with the Palestinians in defiance of a ban on public protests, witnesses said.

Carrying banners reading "Every minute a martyr falls … and the shameful Arab silence grows," at least 400 students broke the campus gate and offered silent prayers just outside the main state university's grounds.

Scores of riot police stood by as the student demonstrators returned peacefully to campus, the witnesses said.

Lebanon arrests three opposing Saudi plan

CHTAURA, Lebanon Three Sunni Muslims have been arrested in Lebanon and their cases referred to an anti-terrorism unit for distributing leaflets hostile to the Middle East peace initiative from Saudi Arabia, security sources said yesterday.

They said supporters of the fundamentalist Sunni At-Tahrir group handed out the leaflets overnight in the eastern Beka'a Valley, which is effectively under Syrian control. The At-Tahrir group is hostile to the Saudi monarchy, which adheres to the Wahabi sect of Sunni Islam.

PUK chief is against U.S. attack on Iraq

ANKARA, Turkey The leader of a Kurdish faction that controls part of northern Iraq said yesterday he preferred a democratic change of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's regime over U.S. military action.

"We do not prefer foreign interference in Iraq. … We prefer democratic change in Iraq," Jalal Talabani, head of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, told reporters when asked if he would back a U.S. military response to Baghdad's refusal to allow U.N. weapons inspections. He was in Ankara for talks with Turkish government officials.

Iranian leader faults U.S. for 'arrogance'

BERLIN The United States should change its "arrogant" attitude toward Iran if relations between the two countries are to improve, Iran's vice president, Massoumeh Ebtekar, said yesterday.

Miss Ebtekar, who in 1997 became the first female vice president of Iran, told Reuters news agency during a visit to Berlin that recent escalating tensions paint a gloomy picture for U.S.-Iranian relations.

She lived in the United States as a child and participated at age 19 in the 1979 takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, in which American diplomats were held hostage for more than a year .

Meanwhile, an oil tanker chartered by Iran's petroleum ministry was intercepted and inspected for seven hours Sunday in the Persian Gulf by the U.S. Navy .

Weekly notes

Greek and Turkish community leaders discussed yesterday what powers a central government would have in an eventually reunited Cyprus, said sources in Nicosia close to the talks. Cypriot President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash hope to reach an outline of a solution by June to end 28 years of division. … President Bush appealed this week to donor nations to grant Yemen economic and development aid in a message to Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh delivered by U.S. Ambassador Edmund Hull. In his letter, Mr. Bush "states the U.S. willingness to grant any aid possible to Yemen in the area of security," the official SABA news agency said.

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