Worst-Case Scenario

The potential disaster: how the crisis could push the region's armies into a conflict beyond their control

Few still hope that Yasser Arafat could ever be Israel's partner in peace, but many now feel that his predicament could become the catalyst of a much larger conflict. If it began to unfold, it could unleash pent-up forces and take on a disastrous momentum of its own. When the possibility arose that Arafat might be killed in the ruins of his headquarters, there was undisguised panic among Arab governments. What they dreaded also greatly alarmed their European counterparts, as well as the U.S. and even the Israelis themselves: uncontrollable mass demonstrations in Arab capitals that might compel reluctant rulers to...

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