Alignments in the Horn

Famine Reshuffles the Deck

by Dan Connell
published in MER145

A decade ago, the Horn of Africa was the scene of one of the most spectacular geopolitical realignments in Cold War history. A devastating famine helped trigger the ouster of Ethiopia’s strongly pro-US emperor Haile Selassie in 1974. A military junta seized power in Addis Ababa and pledged to place the strife-torn empire on the road to “socialism.” Three years later, the US and the Soviet Union switched positions in Ethiopia and Somalia and the entire region rippled with the aftershocks.

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Public Law 480: "Better than a bomber"

published in MER145

The US food aid program originated in 1954 as a means of disposing of costly domestic agricultural surpluses. In that year, Congress passed the Agricultural Trade Development and Assistance Act, known as Public Law 480. PL 480 enables food-deficit “friendly countries” to purchase US agricultural commodities with local currency, thus saving foreign exchange reserves and relieving US grain surpluses.

The Language of Food

PL 480 in Egypt

by Jean-Jacques Dethier , Kathy Funk
published in MER145

“I went down to Cairo with a little wheat in my pocket and they had the red carpet out for me there…. I was speaking the language of food and they understand.” -- US Secretary of Agriculture Earl Butz, 1974

 

For more than a decade now, the political embrace of Washington and Cairo has directly affected what Egypt’s 45 million people eat and how much they pay for it. Once a leading granary for the entire Mediterranean, Egypt today is one of the largest food importers in the world, and one of the largest markets for US agricultural exports. Each year more than $4 billion worth of imported food comes through its ports. About one quarter of this comes from the United States.

From the Editors

by The Editors
published in MER145

For working people in the United States, April is the month for rendering unto Caesar. This is the time when we pay for things like the 82nd Airborne at Fort Bragg, the aircraft carriers cruising the Mediterranean and Indian Ocean, and weapons to Israel, Egypt, Turkey, Pakistan and a host of other worthies.

How to Help Syria Now

by Chris Toensing | published May 29, 2013

The appalling civil war in Syria is well into its third year. With upwards of 70,000 dead, countless numbers maimed and injured, and millions of refugees, there are recurrent calls for the United States to “do something” to end the mayhem. That “something” is usually defined as military intervention -- imposing a no-fly zone, arming the rebels, even sending the Marines.

The Obama administration should have the wisdom to resist these calls. There are other “somethings” that have a better chance of doing good.

From the Editors

by The Editors
published in MER147

At the beginning of June, a new, heavily armored Mercedes arrived in Cairo. It had been ordered for the new US ambassador to Egypt, Frank Wisner. Just a week earlier, in the heart of the crowded capital, a group calling itself Egypt’s Revolution had ambushed a car carrying three US Embassy staff, including the chief of embassy security. The attackers raked the car with automatic gunfire. Some good defensive driving allowed the Americans to escape with only superficial wounds. Security experts dispatched from the US described the attack as “very professional” and “well-planned.”

Klare, American Arms Supermarket

by
published in MER140

Michael Klare, American Arms Supermarket (Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 1984).

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Findley, They Dare to Speak Out

by Beshara Doumani
published in MER140

Paul Findley, They Dare to Speak Out: People and Institutions Confront Israel’s Lobby (Westport, CT: Lawrence Hill and Company, 1985).

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Iran and the Reagan Doctrine

by Fred Halliday
published in MER140

Gary Sick, All Fall Down: America’s Tragic Encounter with Iran (New York: Random House, 1985).

Warren Christopher et al, American Hostages in Iran: The Conduct of a Crisis (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1985).

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"The First Prime-Time Bombing in History"

An Interview with Noam Chomsky

by Joan Mandell , Zachary Lockman
published in MER140

Noam Chomsky has been active in the movement against US military intervention for many years. His most recent book on the Middle East is The Fateful Triangle: The United States, Israel and the Palestinians (South End, 1986). His latest book, Turning the Tide (South End, 1986), is on US policy toward Central America. Joan Mandell and Zachary Lockman spoke with him in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in late April.

Why Libya and why right now?

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