Israel-USSR - Dribble diplomacy at its best.

The Mustard Gas Kerfuffle – The President-Elect Goes Fishing – Dribble Diplomacy – January 13, 1989

Israel-USSR – Dribble diplomacy at its best.

– CBS World News Roundup – January 13, 1989 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –

January 13, 1989 – only a few days away from the inauguration of George Bush as 41st President of the United States – but the world kept spinning and potentially getting in trouble. Starting with word from the Pentagon that it suspected hardware and technology to run and maintain a Mustard Gas factory in Libya was coming from West Germany, amid furious denials and assurances Germany wasn’t in the business of dealing with terrorist nations. Despite that, evidence was uncovered that several Germany agencies and a large Chemical firm were actively involved in selling the Libyans what they needed. Intercepted phone calls between Libya and West Germany were elements in a mounting case against Muammar Gaddafi.

Libya is thought to be some way from being able to make an atomic bomb — details of its fairly rudimentary nuclear program were revealed as part of the 2003 deal with Washington, and its relatively small stock of enriched uranium acquired from Pakistan and North Korea were handed to the U.S.

But there’s no shortage of the raw material in this highly unstable region of North Africa. Niger, Libya’s desperately poor neighbor to the south, and reportedly the country of origin for many of Gaddafi’s mercenaries, is one of the top producers of uranium in the world.

And in Moscow the word was Dribble Diplomacy as Maccabi Tel-Aviv defeated the CSKA Red Army team 97-92 in a basketball game held in Moscow. The game was the first in which Israeli athletes competed in the Soviet Union since the USSR broke of relations with Israel following the June 1967 Six Day War. Between the 1967 cessation of diplomatic relations and the January 12th game, sporting events between teams from the two countries were held in neutral territory.

While almost 200 Israeli fans of Maccabi were granted visas at the last minute and allowed to attend the game, the crowd was made up of many Soviet Jews who chanted ”Am Yisrael chai” (The people of Israel lives); and ”Hevenu shalom aleichem” (We bring you peace). One fan, twenty-five year old Arkan Karabchiyevsky, who was awaiting permission to emigrate to Israel, told the New York Times how the game was symbolic of the changing attitudes of the Soviet Union towards its Jews. ”As a consequence, people of Jewish nationality are not as afraid. They can go openly to a game like this and express their feelings.”

And along with Dribble Diplomacy, that’s just a small slice of what happened, this January 13, 1989 as reported on The CBS World News Roundup.

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