Archive for January 2004

Pop-Quiz: Middle East

Think you know everything there is to know about the Middle East? Bet you don’t. The following questions were selected by The Razor as essential to understanding current affairs of the Middle East. We’d have written a script to automatically tally your answers, but our web hosting service doesn’t support PHP or CGI scripts so grab a pencil and paper and tally your answers yourself.

Have fun!

Geography: Know your sand

On this map, the following countries are represented by which numbers?

1. Israel:

2. Iraq:

3. Iran:

4. Syria:

5. Saudi Arabia:

6. Egypt:

7. This country is considered as Iraq’s 19th Province by the Iraqi Regime. It was liberated by Coalition forces in 1991.

8. In _ the state of Israel was formally declared.

a. 1923

b. 1971

c. 1945

d. 1948

9. In an event that would become known as “Black September”, this country massacred several thousand Palestinian civilians.

a. Israel

b. Jordan

c. Iraq

d. Turkey

10. Egyptian President Anwar Sadat was assassinated by members of

a. Egyptian (Islamic) Jihad

b. Israeli (mossad) Intelligence

c. al-Qaeda

d. the CIA

11. The following person has killed more Arabs and Muslims than any other (estimates from 1.0 to 1.5 million during his term in office).

a. George Bush sr.

b. Ariel Sharon

c. Hosni Mubarak

d. Saddam Hussein

12. The meetings between Israelis and Palestinians that resulted in the 1978 Camp David Accords were arranged and facilitated by the following country:

a. USA

b. Romania

c. Jordan

d. France

13. The 1993 Somalia intervention by the United States was precipated by which of the following events:

a. American embassy stormed by Islamic militants

b. massacre of unarmed Pakistani peacekeepers by Islamic militants

c. murders of unarmed American Christian missionaries

d. none of the above

Blame the Jews (be trendy)

True or False:

14. Jews comprised over 66% of the population of Israel at the time of its creation.

15. Arabs have more freedom in Israel than they do in any neighboring country.

16. Israel was responsible for the massacre of thousands of innocent Palestinian refugees at Sabra and Shatila.

17. “If the Palestinian problem was solved, the Middle East would be at peace.”

18. America has always been the primary supporter of Israel.

19. No Jews were killed in the September 11 attacks.

Blood for Oil

20. Which country is America’s top supplier of petroleum products?

a. Saudi Arabia

b. Canada

c. Iraq

d. Iran

21. America gets most of its petroleum from which area of the world?

a. The Americas

b. Persian Gulf

c. North Africa

d. North Europe

22. Which country has signed $65 billion worth of oil contracts with the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein?

a. Great Britain

b. USA

c. France

d. Japan

23. Which country has sought the end of UN sanctions against Iraq and blocked UN attempts to force Saddam Hussein to give up his nuclear, biological and chemical weapons program?

a. Great Britain

b. USA

c. France

d. Japan

24. This ethnic group has lived in their region of the Middle East for over 4,000 years yet do not have their own state. In 2000 BC, known as the Mittani, they were viewed by the Egyptians as that nation’s most dangerous rival. They have been massacred in the states where they live and have had their ethnic identity and language banned all over the region. They are viewed as the gravest threat facing several states and their leaders are currently jailed. This ethnic group is known as the…

a. Jews

b. Palestinians

c. Hittites

d. Kurds


Geography: Know your sand

1. Israel: 12

2. Iraq: 7

3. Iran: 1

4. Syria: 9

5. Saudi Arabia: 2

6. Egypt: 11

7. Kuwait, brought to you by the number 6

8. d – 1948

9. b. Jordan – The PLO attempted to overthrow the Jordanian monarchy, and the Jordanian security forces came down hard on the Palestinian majority within Jordan. A settlement was later reached between the two sides only through the diplomacy of Egyptian President Nasser. Source: History of the Arab Peoples, A. Hourani (Warner, 1991). pgs 416-17

10. a. Egyptian (Islamic) Jihad. Sadat was assassinated as punishment for recognizing the state of Israel and concluding a peace treaty with it. Islamic Jihad remains committed to the destruction of Israel and has been behind numerous suicide attacks both within Israel and the “occupied territories”.

11. d. Saddam Hussein – Saddam Hussein is not known as the “Butcher of Baghdad” for killing Jews or Americans. He has killed upwards of 1.5 million (source) with nearly all of his victims being Iranian Shi’a Muslims and Iraqi Shi’a and Kurdish Muslims. The only Christians he is responsible for killing are those killed by terrorist groups as well as the Filipina guest workers raped and slaughtered during the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990. For more info, see this link.

12. b. Romania – The United States was approached after the deal between the Israelis and Egyptians had all ready been arranged. Someone needed to finance it, and the US seemed the most willing. See this link for more info.

13. b. massacre of unarmed Pakistani peacekeepers by Islamic militants

Blame the Jews

14. True. Aharon Cohen, Israel and the Arab World, (Boston: Beacon Press, 1976), p. 238; Arieh Avneri, The Claim of Dispossession, (NJ: Transaction Books, 1984), p. 252.

15. True. “Arabs in Israel have equal voting rights; in fact, it is one of the few places in the Middle East where Arab women may vote. Arabs currently hold 10 seats in the 120-seat Knesset. Israeli Arabs have also held various government posts, including one who served as Israel’s ambassador to Finland. Ariel Sharon’s original cabinet included the first Arab minister, Salah Tarif, a Druze who served as a minister without portfolio. An Arab is also a Supreme Court justice.

Arabic, like Hebrew, is an official language in Israel. More than 300,000 Arab children attend Israeli schools. At the time of Israel’s founding, there was one Arab high school in the country. Today, there are hundreds of Arab schools.” Source.
16. False. Lebanese Christian Phalangist militiamen were responsible for the murders, done in apparant retaliation for the deaths of Lebanese President Bashir Gemayel and 25 of his followers, killed in a bomb attack earlier that week. Zeev Schiff and Ehud Yaari, Israel’s Lebanon War, (NY: Simon and Schuster, 1984), p. 257. Source

17. False. “The Palestinian problem is but one of many simmering ethnic, religious and nationalistic feuds plaguing the region. Here is but a partial list of other conflicts from the end of the 20th century: the 1991 Gulf War; the Iran-Iraq War; the Lebanese Civil War; Libya’s interference in Chad; the Sudanese Civil War; the Syria-Iraq conflict and the war between the Polisario Front and Morocco.

“Almost every border in that part of the world, from Libya to Pakistan, from Turkey to Yemen, is either ill-defined or in dispute,” scholar Daniel Pipes noted. “But Americans tend to know only about Israel’s border problems, and do not realize that these fit into a pattern that recurs across the Middle East.”

If the Palestinian problem was solved, it would have negligible impact on the many inter-Arab rivalries that have spawned numerous wars in the region. Nor would it eliminate Arab opposition to Israel. Syria, for example, has a territorial dispute with Israel unrelated to the Palestinians. Other countries, such as Iran and Iraq, maintain a state of war with Israel despite having no territorial disputes.” Source

18. False. Prior to the 1967 War, France had been the largest aid donor and foreign patron of Israel.

19. False. According to the site, there were 3 Israeli nationals killed. No statistics have been gathered on the religious affiliation of the victims, but Jewish last names such as Levi, Goldstein, Goldberg, Silverstein and Simon are sprinkled throughout the list. As noted elsewhere, while Israelis and Jews are represented, no nationals from Islamic states such as Pakistan, Egypt and Malaysia appear in the list.

Blood for oil?

20. b. Canada. According to the American Petroleum Institute, Canada is the largest supplier of petroleum to the United States, supplying 17.1% of total American imports or 10.4% of America’s petroleum supply. Venezuela is next at 13.2% of imports, 8.0 percent of supply – followed by Mexico at 12.9% / 7.9%. Source

21. a. The Americas – Canada, Mexico and Venzuela supply over 25% of America’s petroleum supply. The Persian Gulf countries supply less than 11%. Source

22. c. France. Source

23. c. France.

24. d. Kurds. Kurds make up majority ethnic groups in southeastern Turkey, northern Iraq, northwest Iran and western parts of Syria. Source


22+ correct: Congratulations. You could hold your own in an intelligent conversation with Bernard Lewis.

18-21 correct: Good job. You know more than the average Foreign Service lackey.

12-17 correct: You still know more than your average college student, but unless you learn more, you are in serious danger of being swayed by Saddam’s “Useful Idiots”.

5-11 correct: Congratulations! You’re a useful idiot? Not acceptable unless you have Susan Sarandon’s body.

<5 correct: Sean Penn stupid. You ARE Sam – but that’s not a Shanghai Surprise to your friends. Keep your mouth shut and try to look pretty, ‘kay?