Middle East: Heading off a Disaster

Arafat and his enemies agree to a withdrawal

Yasser Arafat, the Houdini of Middle East politics, appeared ready to perform yet another remarkable feat. Last year the chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization managed to escape from Beirut with more than 6,000 of his commandos after the Israelis had captured a third of Lebanon and surrounded all of his positions. This year Arafat and his loyalists had held on for three weeks in the vicinity of the northern Lebanese port city of Tripoli as a vastly larger force of P.L.O. rebels, strongly backed...

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