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News for this week in 1979 had much to do with fits and starts of a Middle East Peace Settlement. In what started as a grand and hopeful gesture became one of caution and unease. Egyptian Premier Anwar Sadat, hailed earlier for his historic visit to Israel in 1977 was now dealing with backlash among Arab League countries for his seeming capitulation to Menachem Begin and the Israelis was now in fear of backpedaling on earlier promises.
And so it was another trip to the Middle-East by President Carter to try and get things moving again. It was, for all intents and purposes, a case of “so close, yet so far away”.
And while Anwar Sadat was getting grief with his Arab neighbors, Jimmy Carter was getting grief at home with some saying he was pushing too hard for a peace settlement, that it was now or never, and ultimately would fail.
Begin was overheard saying “never say never’.
And so it went.
Meanwhile, in another part of the Middle-East, Iranian women were up in arms over Ayatollah Khomeni‘s statement that Women needed to adopt the traditional Muslim Chador in order to be in public or work in government ministries. That little bon mots sent Women by the thousands into the streets chanting “death to dictatorship” and vowing to wear anything they damn-well please. While they were at it, they also demanded complete equality with Men – an equal participation in the social and political affairs of the country. That one wrinkled a few Ghutras and counter-demonstrations with reported beatings and shootings flared up around the country. In response, the Ayatollah ordered armed militia to protect the women from the Bisht-in-a-twist boys. And warned that anyone insulting the women would be punished. So went the Middle-East this week.
Further east. The war between Vietnam and China was grinding down, at least on paper. Radio Beijing claimed the Chinese Army was leaving Vietnam, satisfied they had “taught Vietnam a lesson”. And Radio Hanoi, in effect, said they kicked China’s ass and they were retreating across the border, but not before the People’s Army settled down to some good old-fashioned looting on their way out. In either case, China was leaving and the war was over.
And that’s the Cliff Notes version of what went on this week, ending March 11th in 1979, as reported by CBS Radio and The World This Week.