The US policy in the Middle East (The Iraqi Campaign and The Greater Middle East Initiative)
Oh East is East and West is West
And never the two shall meet
The 2003 invasion of Iraq began on March 19 2003, when forces of the United States and the United Kingdom, under American command invaded Iraq. After approximately three weeks of fighting, Saddam Hussein’s regime was toppled and the occupation of Iraq began. After the invasion US President George W. Bush said: "We have no ambition in Iraq, except to remove a threat and restore control of that country to its own people."
In fact to justify its aggression against Iraq, the United States gave three arguments:
- the “war on terror” declared after 11 September 2001; against all the evidence, Saddam Hussein was presented in the United States as an accomplice, if not a sponsor, of Osama bin Laden
- the threat of weapons of mass destruction believed to be in Iraq’s possession.
- end the rule of Saddam Hussein’s regime and make Iraq so attractive democratic model that it would set an example to the entire Middle East.
In this article we shall discuss the first two arguments briefly and elaborate on the third one as it defines US policy in the region after the US-led campaign in Iraq, knowing that there is little or no evidence that proves that Iraq had links with Al Qaeda network or possessed Weapons of Mass Destruction. We shall also discuss the Arab reaction – not to say rejection - to the initiative as well as the European position in the light of its alliance with the US; an alliance which is illustrated in various forms such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
The war on "Terror" and weapons of Mass Destruction
There is little evidence – if any – that has been presented linking Iraq and Osama Ben Laden’s Al Qaeda network. There are many al Qaeda operatives who have bolstered the current US administrations claims of collaboration between al Qaeda and the deposed Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein as well as of cooperation made by the Clinton administration. Al Qaeda member Mohammad Mansour Shahab said in an interview in the New Yorker magazine that he had been directed by the Iraqi intelligence community to organize plan and carry out up to nine terrorist attacks against American targets in the Middle East, including an attack similar to the one carried out on the USS Cole. The only member of the original plot to destroy the World Trade Center to escape US law enforcement officials, Abdul Rahman Yassine, fled to Baghdad shortly after the attacks in 1993. After major fighting ceased, U.S. forces discovered a cache of documents in Tikrit, that show that the Iraqi government gave Yasin a house and a monthly salary. Abbas al-Janabi, who served for 15 years as personal assistant to Saddam Hussein’s son, Uday, before defecting to Britain has spoken frequently about his knowledge of collaboration between the former Iraqi regime and al Qaeda. Al-Janabi said that he had learnt that Iraqi officials had visited Afghanistan and Sudan to strengthen ties with Al-Qaeda and he also claimed he knew of a facility near Baghdad where foreign fighters were trained and instructed by members of the Republican Guard.
Aside from the contentious allegations of Iraq’s relationship with al Qaeda, the former regime is known to have had strong relationships with many other Islamic organizations throughout the Middle East including Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
As for the threat of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), no such weapons were found by the Iraq Survey Group headed by inspector David Kay. However, whether the team did find evidence of low-level WMD programs is still debatable.
The Bush Administration included in the postwar justification Libya’s agreement to abandon it’s WMD programs. But former Clinton Administration official Martin Indyck argues that the agreement was a result of good faith negotiations. Libya had agreed to surrender its programs in 1999.
Concerning Iraqi WMD Kay said that “we were almost all wrong – and I certainly include myself here”. Kay told the Senate Armed Service Committee: "Based on the intelligence that existed, I think it was reasonable to reach the conclusion that Iraq posed an imminent threat. Now that you know reality on the ground as opposed to what you estimated before, you may reach a different conclusion — although I must say I actually think what we learned during the inspection made Iraq a more dangerous place, potentially, than, in fact, we thought it was even before the war.”
Kay's team has established that the Iraqi regime had the production capacity and know-how to produce a great deal of chemical and biological weaponry when international economic sanctions were lifted
One must agree with Hussein Kamel and Imad Khadduri that Iraq had almost destroyed its programs, but sought to retain as much knowledge and information that, should the sanctions ever end, the programs would not have to start from scratch.
The Greater Middle East Initiative
On 13 March 2004 Arabic daily al-Hayat published a working paper, “G8- Greater Middle East Partnership” which Washington circulated to G8 leaders’ aides preparatory to a summit scheduled for June in Sea Island, Georgia.
The US initiative defines the Greater Middle East which includes the 22 Arab countries, Afghanistan, Iran Pakistan, Turkey and Israel.
The paper details levels of poverty, illiteracy and unemployment in Arab countries, highlights the increase of extremism, terrorism, international crime and illegal migration. It presents the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership, the Barcelona process and the US State Department’s Middle East Partnership as complementary and evokes the “multilateral reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq” as if they were part of the same policy.
This initiative was born out of the US post-Sept. 11 rethink on the Middle East, an offshoot of its anti-terrorism strategy. Introducing it a State Department official told the Washington Post: “There is a belief that (Helsinki) contributed in bringing Europe together and played a significant role in tearing down the Soviet Union. In the same way, this idea would tear down the attractiveness of (Islamic) extremism.”
It is the third US initiative since Sept. 11. The US had announced its first initiative on Dec. 12, 2002 at the Heritage Foundation when Secretary of State Collin Powell had spoken of a US-Middle East Partnership Initiative. He said, “I am announcing today an initiative that places the US firmly on the side of change, on the side of reform and on the side of a modern future for the Middle East, on the side of hope. It is a bridge between the US and the Middle East, between our government and our people, an initiative that spans the hope gap with energy ideas and funding.”
The Arab world welcomed it as a partnership effort for facilitating reform. Indeed since Sept. 11 in countries like Oman, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Jordan a political opening-up had begun. The first-ever Arab Human Development Report (AHDR) produced by the UNDP mid-2002 and authored by Arab intellectuals argued that the root cause for Arab underdevelopment was threefold: A deficit of freedom, a deficit of women empowerment and a deficit of knowledge.
In February 2003 the US also announced the initiation of a process aimed at ultimately leading to a US-Middle East Free Trade Area. Introducing this initiative Bush said the “leaders in the region speak of a new Arab charter that champions internal reform, greater participation, economic openness and free trade.”
There have been swift reactions from numerous heads of state, the UN, NATO, the EU, the Arab League and opinion-makers worldwide to the Feb. 9 Washington Post story that blew the lid off the proposed initiative. Few signaled unqualified support. Most believe that drawing up any regional initiative without consulting with the concerned countries and seeking their partnership was unacceptable.
Under the headings of Democracy and Knowledge Society, the third initiative (the Greater Middle East one published by Al Hayat) paper proposes some initiatives such as pre-election assistance (with registering voters and training staff) to Arab countries that hold elections by 2006. Other initiatives include helping with setting up centers to train women managers and journalists, legal advice centers and NGO, and training 100 000 women primary teachers by 2008.
Under the heading of Economic Opportunities, the initiative calls for “an economic transformation similar in magnitude to that undertaken by the formerly communist countries of central Europe.” The key to this is the strengthening of the private sector, passport to prosperity and democracy according to US beliefs. The initiative believes that a $100 million a year for five years will lift 1.2 million entrepreneurs, including 750000 women, out of poverty, through a $400 loan to each.
Other suggestions include the creation of a Greater Middle East Development Bank on the model of the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development, free zones.
The initiative raised a wave of criticism in the Arab world. Many politicians, journalists and thinkers rejected the plan citing a number of reasons: their Islamic identity, opposition to foreign intervention, Arab ways, their unique environment, and the Palestinian dispute. Egyptian former Minister of Defense summarized the reasons of the Arab rejection by stressing that “ it is refused in our region because our people refuse exported reforms especially that our historical rights are denied in Palestine and Jerusalem”. By the same token, Abdullah Iskandar believes that the initiative “ignores, at the political level, the importance of finding a settlement for the conflict with Israel”. In addition “it is a foreign country that defines the reform in the region”.
The Egyptian Nader Fergany published an article in al Hayat in which he indicated “the arrogant mentality of the current US administration with respect to the rest of the world, which causes it to behave as if it can decide the fate of states and peoples”. Fergany, who is the editor of the Arab Human Development Report, outlines many reasons to reject the initiative: imposed from the outside without prior consultation with the interested parties, lack of credibility of an Administration that encourages corruption in the Arab world, imposing the US economic model in the Middle East, integrating Israel into the regional fabric without mention of the Palestinian rights, dealing solely with the reconstruction of Iraq not its sovereignty…
Al Hayat columnist Selim Nassar gave his version of how the concept of “Greater Middle East” was born. According to him “It was conceptualized in a study by the dangerous couple in the George Bush administration Richard Pearl and Douglas Faith who sought to find a new strategy to guarantee Israel's security.” The study asks to link according to Nassar’s article “American interests in the Middle East with Israeli strategies.” Nassar adds that the September 11 attacks were an opportunity for Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon “to assert these linked interests by claiming that the terrorism that struck in America is the same sickness that Israel suffers from and also that the Arabs' hatred of Israel and the West is due to historic and religious grudges”.
One must not forget that the only common denominator between the countries forming the Greater Middle East is that “they lie in the zone where hostility to the US is strongest in which Islamic fundamentalism in its anti-Western form most rife”. Apart from this consideration, “there are no geographic, cultural or economic reasons to justify such a grouping, which extends either too far or not far enough, according to objective criteria. Such a logic could not be accepted by the governments of the countries, or their peoples, except for Israel, which strongly shares Washington’s strategic priorities because the other countries are its main causes for concern.”
Asserting this evidence Mustafa al Faqi wrote in al Hayat that “the history of civil society differs from one Arab country to the other as does the history of women's rights in addition to the political history like the constitution, the parliament and political parties, though it should be admitted that democracy is not complete in any of the Arab countries”. He adds : “The issue of the regional role of each Arab state should also be considered as does the difference between the Arab Maghreb (west) and the Mashreq (east), for the former is closer to the European mood than the latter. In fact, Arab regional organizations, like the Gulf Cooperation Council and the Maghreb Union, reflect the varying paces in the Arab scene, though they are all embodied in the political and lawful presence of the Arab League.” He concludes by saying that “all the initiatives of reform and democracy have put the Arab world, and perhaps the Islamic as well, in one single basket. They all supposed that the Greater Middle East is a homogeneous entity.”
Many Arabs believe rightly that without finding a solution to the Palestinian question no peace will prevail in the Middle East. Al Hayat political analyst Hazem Saghieh believes sardonically that “we do not need exceptional brainpower to realize that anyone who fails to establish a little Palestine cannot possibly succeed in building a Great Middle East”.
However some Arab writers think differently. Nabil Yassin wrote an article published in Al Hayat in which he wonders “how can we reform ourselves and what are the internal factors that lead to reform? The region drowns in old regimes that have no institutions to work, no constitutions to follow and no laws to judge people by equally”. He adds : “There are more than seven trillion dollars of Arab fixed deposits in world banks while its people are dying of hunger, poverty, and despotism. The more the need and rationality behind the concept of human rights, the more they are ignored in the Arab world. Despite all this, we reject any project by saying that we are more entitled to reform by ourselves!” Yassin Concludes that “our situation literally needs a radical change and not because the United States wants that” but because internally “we do nothing but use religion and nationalism as an amulet to protect official and public backwardness where ideological and religious Arab movements share the rejection of reform on the grounds that it comes from the outside”.
Defining the US-Arab relations Richard W. Murphy concludes : “Despite common interests and a half century of interaction between Arab and American officials, our people remain largely ignorant of each other. Arabs dwell on the alleged total Israeli control of American Middle East policy while American understanding of the region is equally twisted: the Middle East is a hostile area dominated by Islamic extremists. This mutual misunderstanding complicated our relationships when we were a distant Great Power. It is more unsettling and dangerous to both sides now that we have occupied Iraq and talk openly of our commitment to preemptive war.”
It is probably the Arab reaction to the “Greater Middle East” initiative and the European (especially the French and German) reserve of the plan that forced the US Administration to reassess its project. For its part Turkey warned that the American project will completely collapse should the Administration continue to turn a blind eye to Israeli accesses. Prime Minister Rajab Ardogan said that in order for democracy and reform strategy for the middle east to be true, "we must adopt policies that would put an end to violence in the Arab-Palestinian conflict and bring Iraq back to normality."
The European impact on the US policy
At the G8 summit the “Greater Middle East” initiative became a “declaration of partnership for a common future”. The new declaration adopted at the G8 emphasized the need to find a solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict as part of reforming the region.
More remarkable is the change of the US policy towards Iraq. It is true UN Security Council resolution 1546 adopted in June 8 2004, reconciled endorsing full sovereignty for an Interim Government with legitimizing the presence of foreign troops. But as a French official puts it, the resolution does not represent a “victory for the United States” adding that it the first time that the Americans make so many concessions.
As Al Hayat reporter Raghida Dargham put it: “To some extent, many members of the Security Council acted on the basis of possible optimism in Iraq's future and continued pessimism about its reality today. The general thinking went as follows: should Iraq remain in trouble, let it be exclusively an American-British mess with no commitment to bail out the two countries that rushed to war without an international authority. Should Iraq be on its way to recovery, let Resolution 1546 take credit for endorsing the political process and for declaring Iraq officially free from occupation. Such thoughts cross the minds of many Security Council members when debating the Future of Iraq Resolution.”
According to the resolution the US forces- which will now work as a "Multi National Force" (MNF) under American command- will stay in Iraq until the political transition to a democratic government is accomplished. The mandate of the MNF shall "expire upon the completion of the political process" according to the Resolution, but will be terminated earlier if requested by the Government of Iraq. The mandate can also be extended upon a request from the Iraqi Government. Furthermore the Resolution gave the current Interim Iraqi Government full sovereign authorities including the right to request he departure of foreign forces.
The failure of the US troops to maintain security in Iraq and the need to train Iraqi forces propulsed the NATO role in the region. That would be a role that goes far beyond its original mission of collective Defense.
In fact after the collapse of the Soviet Union, it seemed like there was no reason for NATO to exist any longer. Concerns about renewed German aggression after reunification and about instability in Russia prevented NATO from being disbanded. Also, NATO found new missions for itself in the post-Cold War world: peacekeeping, crisis management, reducing tensions, and generally working for peace. In the 1990s, NATO took on a role that went far beyond its original mission of collective defense. NATO has become the peacekeeper in the Balkans in an attempt to contain that historic powder keg. SFOR, the Stabilization Force in Bosnia and Herzegovina, has been keeping the peace in Bosnia since it took over from IFOR (Implementation Force) in 1996. KFOR, the Kosovo Force, has been preventing the eruption of war between Albanians and Serbians in Kosovo since the end of the NATO air strikes (Operation Allied Force) in 1999. Finally, NATO has launched various operations to maintain stability in Macedonia. The extent of the change in the world since the end of the Cold War, and of NATO’s attempt to adapt, became clear after the September 11th terrorist attacks on the United States. NATO invoked Article 5, declaring that the attack on the United States was an attack on all NATO members. Article 5 is the core of NATO’s collective defense concept, but it was now being invoked not due to invasion by the Soviet Union but due to attacks by terrorists. A new worry for those trying to preserve NATO emerged during the American-led campaign in Afghanistan: the increasing gap between the military capabilities of Europe and the United States, caused by a huge gap in defense expenditures, was making NATO a two-tier alliance. The United States would use its incredibly advanced weapons to fight the war, and the Europeans would then provide the bulk of a lower-tech peacekeeping force.
One could admit that this policy was adopted also in the US-led campaign in Iraq. However, for the time being, the role of NATO in Iraq, perhaps because of France’s objections, is one of assistance: training the Iraqi security forces.
Whether the Greater Middle East Project and US policy in the Middle is an honest one or based solely on US (and maybe Israel’s) interests does not exclude the fact that the Arab world needs to be reformed and, as Patrick Seale wrote, “the West cannot leave the Arabs behind”. Arguing that the “future of the Middle East is of immense importance for Europe, and indeed for the Western world as a whole” Seale concludes that “the Western world is not going to leave the Arabs and Muslims alone” because it “cannot afford to do so” as “there is too much at stake for the West's own way of life”. Seale also says that the lesson of all the major events and initiatives unfolding in the region (war on terror, the occupation of Iraq, Middle East initiative,….) is that the Arab world “must reform itself or have reform imposed from the outside”.
Excerpts from US President George W Bush’s 2004 State of the Union address
Mr Speaker, Vice President Cheney, Members of Congress, distinguished guests, and fellow citizens:
America this evening is a nation called to great responsibilities. And we are rising to meet them.
As we gather tonight, hundreds of thousands of American servicemen and women are deployed across the world in the war on terror. By bringing hope to the oppressed, and delivering justice to the violent, they are making America more secure.
Each day, law enforcement personnel and intelligence officers are tracking terrorist threats; analysts are examining airline passenger lists; the men and women of our new homeland security department are patrolling our coasts and borders. And their vigilance is protecting America.
Americans are proving once again to be the hardest working people in the world. The American economy is growing stronger. The tax relief you passed is working.
Tonight, members of Congress can take pride in great works of compassion and reform that sceptics had thought impossible. You are raising the standards of our public schools; and you are giving our senior citizens prescription drug coverage under Medicare.
We have faced serious challenges together and now we face a choice. We can go forward with confidence and resolve - or we can turn back to the dangerous illusion that terrorists are not plotting and outlaw regimes are no threat to us. We can press on with economic growth, and reforms in education and Medicare - or we can turn back to the old policies and old divisions.
We have not come all this way - through tragedy, and trial, and war - only to falter and leave our work unfinished. Americans are rising to the tasks of history, and they expect the same of us. In their efforts, their enterprise, and their character, the American people are showing that the state of our union is confident and strong.
Our greatest responsibility is the active defence of the American people.
Twenty-eight months have passed since September 11, 2001 - over two years without an attack on American soil - and it is tempting to believe that the danger is behind us.
That hope is understandable, comforting - and false. The killing has continued in Bali, Jakarta, Casablanca, Riyadh, Mombasa, Jerusalem, Istanbul, and Baghdad. The terrorists continue to plot against America and the civilised world. And by our will and courage, this danger will be defeated.
Inside the United States, where the war began, we must continue to give homeland security and law enforcement personnel every tool they need to defend us. And one of those essential tools is the Patriot Act, which allows federal law enforcement to better share information, to track terrorists, to disrupt their cells, and to seize their assets.
For years, we have used similar provisions to catch embezzlers and drug traffickers. If these methods are good for hunting criminals, they are even more important for hunting terrorists. Key provisions of the Patriot Act are set to expire next year. The terrorist threat will not expire on that schedule. Our law enforcement needs this vital legislation to protect our citizens - you need to renew the Patriot Act.
America is on the offensive against the terrorists who started this war. Last March, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, a mastermind of September 11th, awoke to find himself in the custody of US and Pakistani authorities. Last August 11th brought the capture of the terrorist Hambali, who was a key player in the attack in Indonesia that killed over 200 people.
We are tracking al-Qaeda around the world, and nearly two-thirds of their known leaders have now been captured or killed. Thousands of very skilled and determined military personnel are on a manhunt, going after the remaining killers who hide in cities and caves and, one by one, we will bring the terrorists to justice.
As part of the offensive against terror, we are also confronting the regimes that harbour and support terrorists, and could supply them with nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons. The United States and our allies are determined: We refuse to live in the shadow of this ultimate danger.
The first to see our determination were the Taleban, who made Afghanistan the primary training base of al-Qaeda killers. As of this month, that country has a new constitution, guaranteeing free elections and full participation by women. Businesses are opening, health care centres are being established, and the boys and girls of Afghanistan are back in school.
With help from the new Afghan army, our coalition is leading aggressive raids against surviving members of the Taleban and al-Qaeda. The men and women of Afghanistan are building a nation that is free, and proud, and fighting terror, and America is honoured to be their friend.
Since we last met in this chamber, combat forces of the United States, Great Britain, Australia, Poland, and other countries enforced the demands of the United Nations, ended the rule of Saddam Hussein, and the people of Iraq are free. Having broken the Baathist regime, we face a remnant of violent Saddam supporters. Men who ran away from our troops in battle are now dispersed and attack from the shadows.
These killers, joined by foreign terrorists, are a serious, continuing danger. Yet we are making progress against them. The once all-powerful ruler of Iraq was found in a hole, and now sits in a prison cell. Of the top 55 officials of the former regime, we have captured or killed 45. Our forces are on the offensive, leading over 1,600 patrols a day, and conducting an average of 180 raids every week. We are dealing with these thugs in Iraq, just as surely as we dealt with Saddam Hussein's evil regime.
The work of building a new Iraq is hard, and it is right. And America has always been willing to do what it takes for what is right. Last January, Iraq's only law was the whim of one brutal man. Today our coalition is working with the Iraqi Governing Council to draft a basic law, with a bill of rights. We are working with Iraqis and the United Nations to prepare for a transition to full Iraqi sovereignty by the end of June.
As democracy takes hold in Iraq, the enemies of freedom will do all in their power to spread violence and fear. They are trying to shake the will of our country and our friends, but the United States of America will never be intimidated by thugs and assassins. The killers will fail, and the Iraqi people will live in freedom.
Month by month, Iraqis are assuming more responsibility for their own security and their own future. And tonight we are honored to welcome one of Iraq's most respected leaders: the current President of the Iraqi Governing Council, Adnan Pachachi. Sir, America stands with you and the Iraqi people as you build a free and peaceful nation.
Because of American leadership and resolve, the world is changing for the better. Last month, the leader of Libya voluntarily pledged to disclose and dismantle all of his regime's weapons of mass destruction programmes, including a uranium enrichment project for nuclear weapons. Colonel Gaddaffi correctly judged that his country would be better off, and far more secure, without weapons of mass murder.
Nine months of intense negotiations involving the United States and Great Britain succeeded with Libya, while 12 years of diplomacy with Iraq did not. And one reason is clear: For diplomacy to be effective, words must be credible, and no one can now doubt the word of America.
Different threats require different strategies. Along with nations in the region, we are insisting that North Korea eliminate its nuclear programme. America and the international community are demanding that Iran meet its commitments and not develop nuclear weapons. America is committed to keeping the world's most dangerous weapons out of the hands of the world's most dangerous regimes.
'Coalition of nations'
When I came to this rostrum on September 20th, 2001, I brought the police shield of a fallen officer, my reminder of lives that ended, and a task that does not end. I gave to you and to all Americans my complete commitment to securing our country and defeating our enemies.
And this pledge, given by one, has been kept by many. You in the Congress have provided the resources for our defence, and cast the difficult votes of war and peace. Our closest allies have been unwavering. America's intelligence personnel and diplomats have been skilled and tireless.
And the men and women of the American military, they have taken the hardest duty. We have seen their skill and courage in armoured charges and midnight raids and lonely hours on faithful watch. We have seen the joy when they return, and felt the sorrow when one is lost.
I have had the honour of meeting our servicemen and women at many posts, from the deck of a carrier in the Pacific, to a mess hall in Baghdad. Many of our troops are listening tonight. And I want you and your families to know: America is proud of you. And my administration, and this Congress, will give you the resources you need to fight and win the war on terror.
I know that some people question if America is really in a war at all. They view terrorism more as a crime, a problem to be solved mainly with law enforcement and indictments.
After the World Trade Center was first attacked in 1993, some of the guilty were indicted, tried, convicted, and sent to prison. But the matter was not settled. The terrorists were still training and plotting in other nations, and drawing up more ambitious plans.
After the chaos and carnage of September 11th, it is not enough to serve our enemies with legal papers. The terrorists and their supporters declared war on the United States, and war is what they got.
Some in this chamber, and in our country, did not support the liberation of Iraq. Objections to war often come from principled motives. But let us be candid about the consequences of leaving Saddam Hussein in power. We are seeking all the facts - already the Kay Report identified dozens of weapons of mass destruction-related programme activities and significant amounts of equipment that Iraq concealed from the United Nations. Had we failed to act, the dictator's weapons of mass destruction programmes would continue to this day.
Had we failed to act, Security Council resolutions on Iraq would have been revealed as empty threats, weakening the United Nations and encouraging defiance by dictators around the world. Iraq's torture chambers would still be filled with victims, terrified and innocent. The killing fields of Iraq, where hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children vanished into the sands, would still be known only to the killers.
For all who love freedom and peace, the world without Saddam Hussein's regime is a better and safer place.
Some critics have said our duties in Iraq must be internationalised. This particular criticism is hard to explain to our partners in Britain, Australia, Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Thailand, Italy, Spain, Poland, Denmark, Hungary, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Romania, the Netherlands, Norway, El Salvador, and the 17 other countries that have committed troops to Iraq. As we debate at home, we must never ignore the vital contributions of our international partners, or dismiss their sacrifices. From the beginning, America has sought international support for operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, and we have gained much support.
There is a difference, however, between leading a coalition of many nations, and submitting to the objections of a few. America will never seek a permission slip to defend the security of our country.
Middle East democracy
We also hear doubts that democracy is a realistic goal for the greater Middle East, where freedom is rare. Yet it is mistaken, and condescending, to assume that whole cultures and great religions are incompatible with liberty and self-government. I believe that God has planted in every human heart the desire to live in freedom. And even when that desire is crushed by tyranny for decades, it will rise again.
As long as the Middle East remains a place of tyranny, despair, and anger, it will continue to produce men and movements that threaten the safety of America and our friends. So America is pursuing a forward strategy of freedom in the greater Middle East. We will challenge the enemies of reform, confront the allies of terror, and expect a higher standard from our friends.
To cut through the barriers of hateful propaganda, the Voice of America and other broadcast services are expanding their programming in Arabic and Persian and soon, a new television service will begin providing reliable news and information across the region. I will send you a proposal to double the budget of the National Endowment for Democracy, and to focus its new work on the development of free elections, free markets, free press, and free labour unions in the Middle East. And above all, we will finish the historic work of democracy in Afghanistan and Iraq, so those nations can light the way for others, and help transform a troubled part of the world.
America is a nation with a mission, and that mission comes from our most basic beliefs. We have no desire to dominate, no ambitions of empire. Our aim is a democratic peace, a peace founded upon the dignity and rights of every man and woman. America acts in this cause with friends and allies at our side, yet we understand our special calling: This great Republic will lead the cause of freedom. (…)
For all Americans, the last three years have brought tests we did not ask for, and achievements shared by all. By our actions, we have shown what kind of nation we are. In grief, we found the grace to go on. In challenge, we rediscovered the courage and daring of a free people. In victory, we have shown the noble aims and good heart of America. And having come this far, we sense that we live in a time set apart.
I have been a witness to the character of the American people, who have shown calm in times of danger, compassion for one another, and toughness for the long haul. All of us have been partners in a great enterprise. And even some of the youngest understand that we are living in historic times.
Last month a girl in Lincoln, Rhode Island, sent me a letter. It began: "Dear George W Bush. If there is anything you know I, Ashley Pearson age 10, can do to help anyone, please send me a letter and tell me what I can do to save our country." She added this PS: "If you can send a letter to the troops, please put 'Ashley Pearson believes in you.' "
Tonight, Ashley, your message to our troops has just been conveyed. And yes, you have some duties yourself. Study hard in school, listen to your mom or dad, help someone in need, and when you and your friends see a man or woman in uniform, say: "Thank you." And while you do your part, all of us here in this great chamber will do our best to keep you and the rest of America safe and free.
My fellow citizens, we now move forward, with confidence and faith. Our nation is strong and steadfast. The cause we serve is right, because it is the cause of all mankind. The momentum of freedom in our world is unmistakable and it is not carried forward by our power alone. We can trust in that greater power who guides the unfolding of the years. And in all that is to come, we can know that his purposes are just and true.
May God bless the United States of America. Thank you.
 www.whitehouse.gov/news /releases/2003/03/20030310-html
 We have taken most of our information in this passage from Internet encyclopedia wikepedia : Http://en.wikepedia.org.
 U.S. guided missile destroyer that was ubject of a sucicide bombing in the port of Aden on October 12, 2000
 Nassim ZEHRA, The Greater Middle East Initiative, www.mediamonitors.net.
 For a detailed analysis of the plan read Gilbert ACHKAR, “Greater Middle East: the US plan”, Le Monde Diplomatique, April 2004
 Amin HOUWEIDI. “The Greater Middle East Plan.” Al Hayat, 5 March 2004
 Abdullah ISKANDAR. “Between Helsinki and Barcelona.” Al Hayat, 3 March 2004
 Nader FERGANY, “Critique of the Greater Middle East Project: The Arabs sorely need to refuse a reform form abroad” (in Arabic), AL Hayat, 19 February 2004 in Gilbert ACHKAR, op.cit
 Selim NASSAR, “The GME Project was born in “Wadi Araba”, Al Hayat, 5 April 2004
 Gilbert ACHKAR, Op. Cit
 Mustafa al Faqi, “The Arab Countries…Different Speeds”, Al Hayat, 18 May 2004
 Hazem SAGHIEH. “The Greater Middle East: Moving beyond mutual refutation”, Al Hayat, 04 May 2004.
 Nabil YASSIN, “The Same Fear…The Same Rejection”, Al Hayat, 3 March 2003
 Richard W. Murphy. “The Greater Middle East”. Al Hayat, 18 April 2004
 Raghida DARGHAM. “Reforming Americann Policy Towards Iraq is an Opening For Moderation to Suffice”, Al Hayat, 11 April 2004
 Claire TREANS, «Côté français la portée du vote est relativisée», Le Monde, 10 June 2004 ,p. 2
 Raghida DARGHAM, Op. Cit.
 Steven ERLANGER, “Europe’s Military Gap,” New York Times, 16 March 2002. In the United States and Nato in the post cold war, http//fto.int8.com
 Patrick SEALE, Can the Arabs Join the Modern World, al Hayat, 12 March 2003
تسهيلاً لاستفادة المهتمين من الأبحاث المنشورة: تعمل، الدفاع الوطني اللبناني، على نشر خلاصات باللغة العربية للأبحاث المحررة بالفرنسية وبالإنكليزية وخلاصات بهاتين اللغتين للأبحاث المنشورة بالعربية.
تعرض الباحثة الأسباب التي أعلنتها الولايات المتحدة الأميركية لتبرير حربها على راس التحالف الدولي. على العراق. وهي ثلاثة أسباب أساسية. أولها الحرب على الإرهاب. والتي أعلنت على اثر أحداث 11 أيلول المأساوية في أميركا. ثم ضرورة التخلص من الخطر الذي شكله امتلاك العراق لأسلحة دمار شامل. وأخيراً ضرورة القضاء على نظام صدام حسين لجعل العراق حراً وديمقراطياً يصلح نموذجاً للدولة العصرية التي تقتدي بها دول الشرق الأوسط الأخرى. وطالما أن تسلسل الأحداث لم يكشف وجود أسلحة دمار شامل في العراق. كما انه لم تظهر أي دلائل مؤكدة على قيام علاقات وثيقة بين نظام صدام حسين وتنظيم "القاعدة بزعامة أسامة بن لادن. تعرض الباحثة لهاتين النقطتين بسرعة لتركز الأضواء على مشروع الشرق الأوسط الكبير وموقف العربي منه. أنظمة وشعوباً. وترى أن الرفض كان ردة الفعل الجامعة ضد المشروع من قبل الرأي العام العربي. وقد تركز هذا الرفض تحت عنوانين بارزين هما:
- اعتبار المشروع مستورداً في حين انه لا يصح – ولا يجوز- استيراد الديمقراطية من الخارج. بل ينبغي أن تنبع من الداخل.
- إغفال النص الأولي للمشروع أي ذكر للنزاع العربي – الإسرائيلي. وعدم مناداته بالتالي بأي حل عادل للقضية الفلسطينية.
وتستنتج الباحثة في النهاية بأن على العرب أن يصلحوا أنظمتهم. وتتبنى قول الصحافي البريطاني الخبير في الشؤون العربية "باتريك سيل" ذ يرى أن على العرب أن يباشروا الإصلاح السياسي بأنفسهم. وإلا فعليهم أن يقبلوا أو أن يتوقعوا. نشاط الآخرين لإصلاحهم