WASHINGTON (Oct. 13)
The Oil and Gas Journal, the leading publication serving all segments of the American petroleum industry, has denounced the late President Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt for misleading the Arab world and dissipating its resource in a quest for the “mirage” of Arab unity. Frank J. Gardner, international editor of the weekly, said in a column published here last week that Nasser was “a strong and capable leader, but a leader who misleads can be worse than no leader at all.” Mr. Gardner questioned whether the widespread pessimism over Middle East peace prospects that emerged after Nasser’s death on Sept. 28 was justified. “With Nasser gone, the Arab lands may have the opportunity to get on with their individual internal development problems,” he wrote. “The time, energy and money that has been funneled into the pursuit of Arab unity may now be diverted to more productive channels in the absence of the messiah of pan-Arabism.” Mr. Gardner claimed that Nasser was personally responsible for the June, 1967 war. “It was he who ordered withdrawal of United Nations peace-keepers from the Gaza Strip. It was he who closed the Strait of Tiran and it was he who called for the destruction of Israel,” Gardner said. Perhaps it is well, he went on, that there is no longer any “Galahad” to prod the Arabs into “more misadventures. The individual Arab countries may turn to the tasks at home and tensions may ease,” Mr. Gardner said. The unflattering opinion of Nasser and the Arab world generally was surprising, emanating from the organ of an industry long regarded as the bastion of pro-Arabism in the United States.