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Israeli police recommend
TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) — In a
move that could bring down the Israeli
government and change the direction
of the peace process, police have rec
ommended indicting Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu for breach of
trust in an influence-trading scandal.
State attorney Edna Artel was ex
pected to announce by early next week
whether to indict Netanyahu.
Police recommendations are not
binding or always followed. Yet this
one has the potential to break apart
Netanyahu’s coalition— more brittle
than ever since the allegations surfaced
An indictment would ruin chances
of bringing the opposition Labor Party
into the government, a plan Netanyahu
has been contemplating as a way of
rescuing the disintegrating Middle East
- Labor Party leader Shimon Peres,
who lost elections to Netanyahu last
May, urged the prime minister to sus
pend himself from office and call new
Netanyahu did not react to the rev
elations, meeting instead with advis
ers and political allies including Rabbi
Ovadia Yosef, the spiritual leader of
the Shas party, which also is involved
in the scandal.
The trouble started with
Netanyahu’s appointment of a politi
cal crony as attorney general. Jerusa
Iran lawyer Roni Bar-On resigned af
ter only a day in office, under criticism
that he was a legal lightweight chosen
for his political connections.
Radio reports said Netanyahu had
no plans to step down.
An indictment would not force
Netanyahu’s resignation, but several
allies already have hinted they may bolt
the ruling coalition and deprive
Netanyahu of his majority in parlia
ment. The coalition now has 66 of 120
Netanyahu could try to govern with
a minority, but it would be nearly im
possible. New elections would prob
ably have to be called. The next sched
uled vote is in 2000.
A kingdom^ late lies In oil
Power struggles played out against feuds, poverty in Saudi Arabia
EDITOR’S NOTE — Saudi
Arabia, key U.S. ally in the Arab
'world, is one of the last old-style au
tocracies. How long can “The King
dom" remain that way? This is the
last in a three-part series on the U.S.
By Charles J. Hanley
. RIYADH, Saudi Arabia—The 456
iplush seats in 4he Majlis al-Shura
spread out over a half-acre of, deep
carpet, under a glittering ceiling of ara
besque blue, beneath a dome larger
than St. Peter’s in Rome.
It is a majestic setting for a parlia
ment enacting the laws of the land. No
one meets here.
The Majlis that does meet is a 61
member body that assembles, little
noticed, in a smaller room near the
empty grand chamber. It passes no leg
islation. It has no power.
When inaugurated in 1993, this
Majlis al-Shura, or Consultative Coun
cil, was portrayed as a step toward
Saudi political modernization. “Evo
lution is the way of the world,” Majlis
leader Sheik Mohammed bin Jubair
tells a visitor to his architectural show
piece. “Stagnation leads to death.”
As a body whose members are all
appointed by King Fahd, whose agenda
is set by the king and whose advisory
reports can be ignored by him, the
Majlis does little to quiet Saudi voices
“We want people’s representation,
full accountability, freedom of expres
sion and assembly,” dissident-in-exile
Saad Al-Faqih said from London. Oth
erwise “there will be a bad scenario,
violence followed by violence.”
Lines in the sand
Ripples of dissent began with the
1990-91 Gulf War, when die U.S. mili
tary threw down a “Desert Shield” be
tween the oil kingdom and an aggres
Many Saudis were angry that the
billions in armaments the monarchy
had bought could not defend them, and
resented the army of “unbelieving”
Americans dropped into their midst.
Fundamentalist clergymen later ap
pealed to King Fahd to never rely again
on “atheist” troops.
Thpes of clerics’ anti-government
sermons soon circulated. When physi
cist Mohammed Al-Masari founded a
dissident group in Riyadh in 1993, he
was quickly arrested. A year later, two
leading anti-government clerics were
also locked up. Then the bloodshed
Terrorist bombs in 1995 and last
June killed 24 Americans at two U.S.
We want people’s representation, full ac
countability, freedom of expression and
assembly. (Otherwise) there will be a bad
scenario, violence followed by violence.”
Saudi dissident ,
military sites. Saudi officials suggest
an Iranian link, but the local connec
tion is clear: Four young men executed
for the first attack were from the Saudi
“Saudis view the American pres
ence at best ambiguously, and at worst
as a provocation,” said a former high
ranking U.S. diplomat who worked in
“There is a division between the
government,” the diplomat said, “that
is, the royal family—and the man on
Those ordinary Saudis are the tar
get of a flood of faxes the dissidents
send from abroad. “Come to the holy
war, to a confrontation with the United
States!” Al-Masari, now in exile in
London, declared in one.
The groups vary in militancy and
seem poorly coordinated. No charis
matic leader has emerged. Despite
claims they are the “tip of an iceberg,”
no widespread anti-government activ
ity has surfaced inside the tightly con
Slowly weakening monarchy
While the dissidents build, the rul
ing House of Saud may need to rebuild.
Public opinion is hard to gauge in
a country where phone lines are as
sumed tapped, restaurant conversations
must be guarded, and the press sticks
to the government line. But local jour
nalists, speaking privately, say ordinary
Saudis sound increasingly fed up with
the corruption and ostentatious living
Those habits are not new, but the
proliferation of Saud princes adds to
the burden on a society whose royals
siphon off billions in oil revenue be
fore it reaches the treasury.
Their internal rivalries could also
weaken the Sauds.
' After King Fahd, in his mid-70s,
suffered a reported stroke in late 1995,
he temporarily handed power to half
brother Crown Prince Abdullah. He
soon took it back—at the behest, dip
lomats say, of his full brothers, led by
Defense hjipister Prince Sultan, who
resented Abdullah’s interference in
their government business.
Even if these aging sons of found
ing father King Abdel Aziz paper over
their differences, the nation feces a re
volving door of elderly princes, tied to
the old ways, as successors to Fahd.
Some Sauds apparently favor new
ways, and lode to an old friend for help.
“Senior Saudis asked us to put pres
sure on their family to clean up their
act,” a knowledgeable American
source said. “We haven’t done any
Saudi political scientist Abdel-Aziz
Al-Fayez, a member of the new Majlis,
said pressing for Western-style democ
racy would be pointless.
“I don’t see the demand,” he said.
“In this part of the world people want
stability: And this country is stable.”
“Stability” may not include the
sight of elected representatives in the
grand, unused Majlis chamber, built
during a spell of liberalization talk in
the 1980s. But stability does include
the benefits of an oil-fed welfare state:
free health services, transportation sub
sidies, interest-free housing loans, no
A slumping oil market had threat
ened those benefits, but a recent re
bound in prices saved them from deep
cuts. Now new trouble looms.
The one-industry economy is pro
ducing too few new jobs far a popula
tion—17 million—growing 3.5 per
cent a year. Without work, dispirited
university graduates are believed turn
ing to the anti-government message of
ultraconservative Islamic preachers.
Their American advisers are press*
ing the Saudis to diversify the
economy. The index to stability, mean
while, will lie not in the bitterness of
faxes from London, but in the spot
price of sweet crude pumped from be
neath Saudi sands.
Girl romanced by man
from Ofiutt found safe
Couple met on the Internet, ran away together
* OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE (AP)
— A 14-year-old New York girl who
allegedly ran off five months ago with
a 22-year-old airman she met on the
Internet was found Wednesday in Illi
Hie girl was with Senior Airman
Brooker Maltais at the time and she
was apparently unharmed, said Sgt.
Paul Davis of the Monroe County
Sheriff’s Department in Rochester, 111.
Kevin O’Connell, the girl’s uncle,
said the family had been asked by po
lice not to reveal where in Illinois the
pair had been found until the girl’s par
ents could see their daughter.
The girl’s sister, TCacey O’Connell
Jay, told Omaha television station
KPTM that Maltais had been arrested
and is with local police in Illinois. She
was unsure if he had been chanwd
“I did speak with her (the girl)
briefly,” said O’Connell-Jay. “She
sounded in shock. She didn’t sound real
The couple was found after
Maltais’ picture was broadcast on the
Maury Povich television show
show, and employees then alerted lo
The girl’s parents are flying out to
Illinois and hope to bring back their
The girl was reported missing Dec.
19 after her mother dropped her off at
a shopping mall near her home in
Rochester, N.Y. Maltais had been miss
ing from his post at Offutt Air Force
Base, south of Omaha, since Dec. 24.
Maltais and the girl were last seen
together Dec. 21 at Maltais’ apartment
near Offutt. One of Maltais’ credit
cards was used the following day at a
bank machine in Kansas City, Mo., but
the trail ends there.
Offutt officials said late Wednesday
they could neither confirm nor deny
that Maltais had been found.
The Air Force had offered a $5,000
reward for information leading to
Maltais’ capture and conviction on
charges of military desertion. He could
face up to three years in prison and dis
Maltais also could face other
Wednesday morning, O Connell-Jay ^.hargre sj^mmingfrnm higrpilatinnship
said. A viewer apparently called thewith the missing girl, police said.
Tbbacco companies may ax
Joe Camel, Marlboro Man
TOBACCO from page 1
“It’s extraordinarily unlikely that
any agreement could escape conten
tious congressional hearings,” the
Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of
Illinois, a longtime tobacco opponent,
said he is skeptical of the industry’s
proposals and will review them care
fully if they land on Capitol Hill.
“The great wall of tobacco is com
ing down,” Durbin said. “Tobacco
companies are in a hurry to get out of
court, off the front pages of newspa
pers and back to the business of mak
ing billions of dollars in profit.”
The companies and attorneys gen
eral from Minnesota, Florida, Con
necticut, Mississippi, Washington,
Massachusetts, Wisconsin and Arizona
have been meeting at undisclosed lo
cations over the last two or three weeks.
Talks for the week broke up Wednes
day outside Washington, D.C.
“The companies (had) vowed never
to come to the table, let alone settle any
lawsuit. The mere fact that they are
talking is historic and unprecedented,”
said Connecticut Attorney General
The negotiations include represen
tatives of two other major tobacco
companies, Lori Hard and Brown &
Williamson. Deputy White House
Counsel Bruce Lindsey is also moni
toring the talks.
White House spokesman Mike
McCurry said any resolution “has to
result in the public-health outcome that
we want here, which is the decline in
use of tobacco products by young
The talks come as legal pressure on
tobacco companies intensifies. Liggett
Group, the maker of L&Ms and Ches
terfields, reached a settlement recently
with 22 states in which it turned over
thousands of internal documents that
could show the industry sought to con
ceal the dangers of smoking for de
Tobacco companies also are ner
vously watching a trial in Jacksonville,
Fla., in which a family blames R.J.
Reynolds for the death of a woman who
smoked for decades.
Florida Gov. Lawton Chile credited
the state’s $2.4 billion lawsuit few push
ing cigarette makers to the bargaining
table. Florida has a legal weapon that
no other state possesses—a 1994 state
law that stripped away most of the
industry’s legal defenses.
Questions? Comments? Ask for the
appropriate section editor at 472
2588 or e-mail dnOunHnfb.unl.edu. , :
Editor DougKouma A&E Editor Jeff Randall
Managing Editor Paula Lavigne Photo Director: Scott Bruhn
Assoc. News Editors: Joshua Gillin Art Director Aaron Stecketberg
Chad Lorenz Web Editor: Michelle Collins
Night Editor: Anne Hjersman Night News
Opinion Editor Anthony Nguyen Editors: Bryce Glenn
APWire Editor: JohnFulwider LeanneSorensen
Cooy Desk Chief: Julie Sobczyk * Rebecca Stone
Sports Editor Trevor Parks Amy Taylor
General Manager: DanShattii Publications Travis Brandt
Advertising Manager Amy Struthers Board Chairman: 436-7915'
Asst Ad Manager Cheryl Renner Professional Don Walton
Classified Ad Manager Tiffiny Clifton Adviser 473:7301
FAX NUMBER: 472-1761
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