Opening Bids in the Middle East

The Arabs deal and Washington counts its cards

The moves last week were ambiguous, their importance in the long run far from certain. But after a year of unusual quiescence on Washington's part, the U.S. once again emerged as a player in the bridge game of Middle East diplomacy. While American officials were careful to damp down expectations, the opening bids were tantalizing. Items:

-- Saudi Arabia's King Fahd paid a five-day state visit to Washington, the first by a monarch from the Desert Kingdom in 14 years. His principal message: the U.S. has a responsibility to use its influence in an effort aimed at achieving peace between Israel...

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