MIDDLE EAST: Flags, Flare-Ups, Fiscal Troubles

While an ailing Begin lies in a bed of troubles

To the sound of national anthems and smartly clicking heels, an Egyptian soldier solemnly kissed his country's red-white-and-black tricolor and hoisted it in the place of the blue-on-white Israeli star of David. With that exchange of flags last week, under a blazing sun in the desert outpost of Bir Nasib, another slab of the Sinai Peninsula duly changed hands in accordance with the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty.

It was the second of the six phased withdrawals prescribed by the pact. Israel ceded to Egypt a 2,500-sq.-mi. stretch of desert coastline and rugged inland...

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