In debate aired locally over three radio stations, a four-person panel of experts advocated peaceful solutions to the Persian Gulf crisis at a forum held Friday afternoon at the Annenberg School Theater. Over 100 students and area residents attended the two-hour panel discussion, which featured prepared statements by two of the panel members -- former Undersecretary of State George Ball and a leading Middle East expert. Ball, who was first to speak, called for patience in dealing with Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein and urged that economic sanctions be given time to pinch the Middle East nation. Ball added he was concerned about the massive military deployment in the Gulf, saying the United States may have committed too many troops too soon. "We have painted ourselves in a corner," he said. In the second address, strategic analyst Edward Luttwak told the audience that other industrialized countries, like Germany and Japan, should help the U.S. to preserve the world oil supply. He added to prevent future Middle East conflicts, industrialized nations should no longer sell arms to Middle East countries. "We need to stop the sale of arms at the source and make this the center of our policy." he said. The other two panelists, Executive Director of the Arab American Institute James Zagby and Professor Mohammad Al-Awatta -- who has taught in both Kuwait and the United States -- discussed the suffering of Arabs in Kuwait. "The human dilemma of the people in the Middle East has been obscured and too much of the debate has ignored the human factor," Zagby said. Zagby also said that Iraq must leave Kuwait peacefully because "all goals would be lost if a war was waged." Most students said that they found the panel discussion informative. College junior Don Johnson said he did not like some of what Luttwak said because he felt his descriptions of Arabs were "inflammatory." The two hour debate was part of a six hour program entitled "Line in the Sand: War or Peace in the Middle East?" which was sponsored by University radio station WXPN-FM and two other area stations.Comments powered by Disqus
Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.