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Office of Research Issue Focus Foreign Media Reaction

May 14, 2003

May 14, 2003





**  Euros, others back U.S.' "long-term commitment to reshape" the Middle East status quo.


**  "Political issues" such as a "just solution to the Palestinian cause" must be solved before enacting any FTA.


**  Arab dailies worry about the proposed FTA's inequality, noting the U.S.' "financial power and technological pre-eminence."




An FTA can bring the 'wealth of globalization' to an 'insulated and isolated' Arab world--  Euro, Asian and moderate Arab dailies agreed that "Washington's determined initiative" offers an "economic route out of the chronic underperformance that has provided such a fertile breeding ground for terrorism."  Germany's center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine stated that the FTA's "path of liberalization" might help Arab polities escape "their rigid and authoritarian ways," while France's right-of-center Le Figaro added that "turning the Middle East into a vast free-trade zone" is far better than any "new unilateral military operation."  Singaporean and Argentine dailies praised the FTA proposal as a sign of the U.S.' "larger involvement" and "commitment" to the "strategic region."  While highlighting "the extent of political misery in the Arab world," Lebanon's centrist Al Anwar ironically termed Bush the "number one Arab revolutionary...and reformist." 


Critics insist any FTA is 'entirely dependent' on first solving political issues--  Peace between the Palestinians and the Israelis "remains a prerequisite for development, prosperity and stability."  Saudi Arabia's pro-government Arab News noted that the U.S.' FTA proposal "will be entirely dependent upon the success of their roadmap for Palestine."  UAE and Pakistani dailies cited the U.S.' "total bias" for Israel's "racist and aggressive policies" to explain why Washington will find it difficult to "convince a skeptical Middle East of American bona fides."  Oman's independent Al Watan added that "nobody expects the economic partnership plans to succeed" during the current violence.  Kuwaiti and Turkish dailies downplayed the FTA as a "PR campaign" designed to "minimize the anti-American sentiment" in the Middle East.   


The 'breathtakingly arrogant' FTA may be just a 'blueprint for U.S. economic hegemony'--  Opposition to the FTA stemmed from fears of the U.S.' "cultural imperialism" and "colonial and unilateralist mindset."  Arab dailies called for "protective covenants" to prevent the U.S. from "sweeping aside its smaller and weaker commercial competitors" in the Middle East.  Morocco's independent L'Economiste admitted "Rabat doesn't have the power to say no to the U.S.," while the UAE's Al Khaleej cautioned the FTA would be established "between two unequal sides."  An FTA with "the mightiest economy on the globe" would allow Washington to "interfere in Arab and Islamic affairs," Egyptian and Saudi dailies warned, with Jeddah's moderate Okaz declaring that Washington would not succeed in its "attempts to McDonaldize the region."


EDITOR:  Ben Goldberg


EDITOR'S NOTE:  This survey was based on 26 reports from 18 countries over 10 - 14 May 2003.  Excerpts from each country are listed from the most recent date. 




BRITAIN:  "What Conspiracy?"


The centrist Times noted (5/13):  "The shape of Iraq, post-Saddam Hussein, is becoming clearer....  It confirms the commitment of the coalition to Iraq when critics had predicted that America would rush home once the military job was done, and leave the country in a state of anarchy....  President Bush on Friday urged progress in the Israel-Palestine peace process and set out a vision of a United States-Middle East free trade area in a decade....  Trade could offer countries an economic route out of the chronic underperformance that has provided such a fertile breeding ground for terrorism.  Before the war that would have been a fantasy.  Now it is merely ambitious. The road to a better and safer Middle East is being mapped out, however much the critics carp from the sidelines."


"Empire Economics--The U.S. Is Hypocritical Over Trade"


The far-left Guardian opined (5/12):  "George Bush's imperial ambition can be terrifying.  But the president's speech last week outlining an offer of a US-Middle East free trade pact was a dramatic shift from the loud, bellicose rhetoric of military force to the siren words of economic progress.  This is a startling and welcome change for a region where the Bush White House, partly thanks to its armed interventions, is more loathed than loved....  The worry is that while Mr. Bush has correctly identified many of the region's problems, recent history suggests that his administration views trade policy as another way of projecting power, not as a weapon of mass

salvation....  For Mr. Bush's White House the business of running America is often confused with running American businesses.  So US firms are handed big contracts to rebuild Iraq while Russia and France, which opposed the war, risk losing $5bn each as unpaid loans to Baghdad are written off.  If Mr. Bush wants to display global leadership on trade then his actions will have to match his gestures. American unilateralism, even if coated in universal values, is a real threat to the globe.  Trade hypocrisy will help no one.  Mr. Bush's narrow agenda has not been good for the world or America and will certainly not be good enough for the Middle East."


FRANCE:  “When Bush Bets On The Middle East”


Pierre Rousselin commented in right-of-center Le Figaro (5/10):  “Turning the Middle East into a vast free-trade zone is not a revolutionary idea. The fact that today President Bush is adopting a vision shared by Shimon Peres and Bill Clinton is in itself good news. This method is better than threatening this or that country with a new unilateral military operation....  The Middle East, with its oil reserves, is the biggest economic waste in the world today. The permanent threat of war has kept the region from the wealth of globalization. But these threats are also useful alibis for some regimes. Pushing these towards free-trade means to push them towards democracy. But history has proven that political issues must be resolved first. Hence the popular skepticism that will probably welcome this new vision for the Middle East. As the U.S. gets ready to deal with Iraq without the UN, President Bush’s plans for the Middle East look like one more sign in support of the idea that the U.S. wants to take a long-lasting foothold in the region. For Europe, it means new competition. It is also a new challenge.”


GERMANY:  "Important Signal"


Klaus-Dieter Frankenberger observed in right-of-center Frankfurter Allgemeine (5/10):  “Trade theorists regard bilateral free trade agreements with skepticism because they are based on exclusiveness.  But President Bush’s proposal to create such a zone between America and the Middle East is a signal whose importance reaches far beyond these concerns and the core problem, or at least it can.  The remarkable thing is the optimism, which radiating from this proposal: that the reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians will progress a step further and be reflected constitutionally and internationally by a Palestinian state which will have close ties with America.  And the proposal fosters the hope that the states in the region will not remain stuck in their rigid and authoritarian ways, thus entering the path of liberalization.  After the announcement of the “road map”, Bush’s new proposal is a further element lending substance to his determination to transform the Middle East, in the wake of September 11- with the regime change in Baghdad as a pivotal point.  Washington’s commitment to the pursuit of what could be called power-based world order politics is conspicuous anyway.”


TURKEY:  "The Road and the Map"


Hadi Uluengin commented in mass appeal Hurriyet (5/13):  "President Bush's statement in South Carolina is a clear indication of Washington's determined initiative for the settlement of the Middle East issue.  This is an imminent issue on Washington's agenda in order to minimize the anti-American sentiment in the post-war period....  Following both the Bush statement and Secretary Powell's meetings in Israel, we can draw a conclusion that there is no significant achievement on the horizon.   Sources close to Arabs are saying that the road map for the Middle East has no chance of success unless there has been a concrete gesture from the Israeli side.  And the same sources indicate that even the new PM of Palestine, Abbas, agrees with this....  As for Israel, it depicted its terms for settlement as even tougher than before, and Ariel Sharon evidently was aloof to Secretary Powell....  There might be some hope for the Sharon-Bush meeting which is scheduled for next week.  On the other hand, the Jewish lobby in the US will do its best to prevent Sharon from facing American pressure.  If that is the case, the roadmap is doomed to fail."




EGYPT:  “Facts”


Leading pro-government Al Ahram Editor-in-chief Ibrahim Nafie remarked (5/11):  “In the South Carolina speech, President Bush proposed a plan to establish a free trade zone between Middle East countries and the U.S. like the Marshall Plan for European reconstruction after World War II--though Bush’s new plan is broader in range....  We Arabs, have had no basic differences with Americans except for their flagrant bias towards Israel and their attempts to interfere in Arab and Islamic affairs under pretexts of modernization and reform by force because Arabs and Moslems prefer dialogue over violence....  However, Washington’s dreams may evaporate if the Israeli right-wing insists on making an alternative home for Palestinians in Jordan."


JORDAN:  “Familiar Objectives”


The centrist, elite English-language Jordan Times editorialized (5/11):  “U.S. President George Bush’s initiative for the establishment of a free trade area between the United States and the Middle East might not be original, but it is timely and promising....  Unless solid foundations for peace are laid, free market reforms have few chances.  Peace remains a prerequisite for development, prosperity and stability.”


“America Proposes Trade Openness To Middle East Countries”


Fahd Fanek declared in semi-official, influential Arabic-language Al-Rai (5/11):  “The U.S. President realizes that America’s image, as a state biased in favor of Israel and against the rights of the Palestinian people and as a state occupying a very important Arab country, has reached rock-bottom.  Arab people must, therefore, be appeased and America’s image must be improved in the Arab public opinion.  Politically, Bush stressed the need for Israel to deal with the Palestinians with dignity and respect....  Economically, Bush presented a grand project for establishing a free trade area between the Middle East and America.  This is the first step towards reshaping the map of the Middle East....  If the American President wants to bribe the Arabs, then finding a just solution to the Palestinian cause is the way to do that.”


KUWAIT:  “The Future Of The Gulf”


Naief Al-Hajraf wrote in independent Al-Anba (5/14):  "President Bush’s suggestion to establish a free trade zone in the Middle East in his recent speech at the University of South Carolina must be welcomed cautiously despite the importance of this idea. The GCC, Iran and Iraq must work closely to create a stronger position to negotiate with the U.S. when it reveals more about its idea. It is time now for the cannons to stop, and to get the factories running.”


“A New Initiative Or Public Relations?”


Ahmad Al-Dayeen held in independent Al-Rai Al-Aam (5/11):  “President Bush’s address [on May 9 at the University of South Carolina] included many slogans such as ‘economic reforms’ and ‘confronting corruption.’ To achieve these slogans is not an easy mission simply because our regimes...are the ones that resist democratic reforms....  Having said that, should we expect the US to force our regimes to carry out [the US] demands or will Washington try to achieve its ends by preserving the regimes in power? In this case, then the whole project is no more than a PR campaign to improve the image of the US.”


“Kuwait’s Name Was Not Mentioned”


Hassan Al-Essa wrote in independent Al-Qabas (5/11):  “Kuwait’s name was not mentioned during President Bush’s address at North Carolina [sic] University when he talked about a free trade zone in the Middle East region. The two words ‘freedom’ and ‘women’ were repeated more than once in his speech. President Bush gave examples of countries where women have been appointed to high positions, including Bahrain, Jordan and Turkey, but what about Kuwait which is known for its constitution and democracy?....  Forty years after the establishment of the constitution, Kuwait’s democracy has not developed and, as a matter of fact, it has regressed due to some of our MPs whose priorities were to segregate university students [by gender].”


LEBANON:  "Confronting Challenge By Entrenching Deterioration"


Rafiq Khoury contended in in centrist Al-Anwar (5/11):  "Nothing shows the extent of political misery in the Arab world better than a situation where President George Bush finds himself able to emerge as the number one Arab revolutionary, opponent, and reformist. The utmost of misery is that instead of working seriously to introduce democratic change, all that we do is offer repeated arguments that the United States is not serious in its talk about democracy. We proceed from the right position of scoffing at a democratic slogan raised on the tanks of the occupation only to maintain the wrong position of refraining from introducing change unless forced on us by a foreign power. It is inconceivable that we confront the challenge by entrenching deterioration. It is unacceptable that in the 21st century we remain hostages to an unfair option: Foreign enslavement or local despotism....  Change begins from Washington's variable vision on the protection of its invariable vital interests. The first line in this change is that the American national security is now linked 'not only to security in the Middle East but also to "political reforms, economic development, education, the rule of law, and the settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict.'  For the first time in half a century the 'national security interest and the principles and values' converge on the ground of one policy, namely, 'supporting freedom' in the region, as President Bush says. The question is:  Is it conceivable that we wait for the United States to decide to 'seize a historic opportunity for the Middle East' instead of us taking the initiative to create and seize the opportunity? No one is unaware of the imperialist objectives of the American empire...but the difference is huge between rejecting hegemony and closing the eyes to our reality."


MOROCCO:  "Imagination"


Editor-in-chief Nadia Salah contended in independent, business-oriented French-language L’Economiste (5/13):  "The FTA proposal from the U.S., another proposal to develop the "neighboring countries' offered by the European Community to develop relations and may be answer what Morocco has asked for more than ten years: 'More than partnership less than integration.' The two options, the American and the European, are not disconnected: it is not a coincidence that they have presented themselves in this hard world of post-September 11, 2001.  It is not a coincidence either if they do not go through WTO.  They are not compatible on all points but they are not completely incompatible. Their common denominator is the reduction of the obstacles that face change....  These two distinctive regions, that are sometimes rivals, put Morocco in a difficult position: Rabat doesn't have the power to say no to the U.S. while, due to its proximity to Europe, its interests are more European than American.  But this complicated position, where both countries must be taken care of, provides opportunities....  If Morocco does not want to see itself as a grain falling down between two millstones, now is the time...for imagination."


"Bush Wants FTA For The Middle East"


Independent, French-language business-oriented L’Economiste declared (5/12):  "The offer might be well received in the region. George Bush presented, last Friday, a comprehensive plan for the Middle East suggesting mainly the establishment, in ten years, of a FTA between this region and the U.S....  President Bush will tie his offer to reforms such as the struggle against corruption, terrorism and protection of property rights."


OMAN:  "Peace Precedes Trade Partnership"


Sami Hammed remarked in independent, Arabic-language Al Watan (5/11):  "In the light of the current situation, nobody expects the economic partnership plans to succeed.  The logical sequence of the events is the elimination of occupation first, followed by the successful implementation of the Road Map and the establishment of a Palestinian state to which all the refugees are returned to their homes. At that time, the Arabs will feel the birth of a new era of peace, justice and economic flourishing that is sought by all the people in this very sensitive area.”


SAUDI ARABIA:  "McDonaldization Of The Region"


Jeddah's moderate Okaz carried a commentary by Fahim Al Hamed saying (5/12):  "It seems that President Bush intends to bring McDonalds; Pizza Hut and the fast food culture to the entire ME region. In other words a McDonaldization of the region, the American way.  But, before this is possible the Bush Administration should put pressures on Israel to declare its official acceptance and approval of the Road Map....  The time has come for America to understand that, as long as Israel remains an occupation force in the ME, there will be no peace. Peace will only prevail when occupied territories are returned to their rightful owners. Washington's attempts to McDonaldize the region will not succeed. The Israeli occupation of Palestine will not be accepted. Also, the American occupation of Iraq will not be tolerated any longer."


"Free Trade With Caution"


The English-language pro-government Arab News opined (5/11):  "The United States has proposed the creation by 2013 of a free trade area linking it with the Middle East. The idea is worth serious consideration but should also be approached with caution. There are two factors, which will be critical. The first is that free trade between the mightiest economy on the globe and the countries of the Middle East cannot be truly free for the foreseeable future. It must instead be governed by protective covenants that stop the financial power and technological pre-eminence of the US from sweeping aside its smaller and weaker commercial competitors....  The second factor stems from these requirements. To the American way of thinking, capital and expertise are elements of competition.  A free trade area with the Middle East would, by US logic, lead to the gradual buying up of the best regional corporate assets. Under aggressive new management they would then drive their local competitors out of business and achieve market dominance. At that point domestic businessmen would justifiably conclude that 'free trade' had meant nothing more than offering up their throats to the sharp knife of US capital. The counter-arguments that the local economy benefits from increased trade and that anyone can buy shares and own a part of any of the great US corporations....  In such circumstances, are both sophistries? They do however indicate the cultural imperialism behind US thinking....  This blind spot is dangerous.  The most tragic victims of such arrogance are the Palestinians. Americans have swallowed the propaganda of “democratic” and “free market” Zionist Israel hook, line and sinker....  And Washington should understand from the outset that the success of their free trade area proposals will be entirely dependent upon the success of their roadmap for Palestine. A just settlement will only be achieved by even-handedness. The same is true of free trade."


"The American Vision For The Middle East"


Jeddah’s conservative Al-Nadwa maintained (5/11):  "The U.S. President George Bush's plan to create a free trade area with the Middle East represents a jump over many factors in order to integrate Israel with the countries of the region...especially when Bush has urged Arab leaders to recognize and to announce explicitly and openly that Israel has the right to exist as a Jewish state and live in peace with its neighbors....  The reshaping of the Middle East will not happen by ignoring well known facts, that Israel is an occupying power and exercises terrorism in its worse form....  Recognition of Israel cannot be achieved while there are occupied Arab territories....  This fact will not allow Israel to become a part of this region. If the United States wants the Arab world to acknowledge Israel to live in peace with its neighbors, it must completely withdraw its borders back to the borders of June 4, 1967, by doing so Israel would have actually paved the way for normal relations with all Arab countries....  Any attempt to ignore this initiative (Crown Prince Abdullah’s initiative) in order to impose a new reality will not succeed."


SYRIA:  "Major Obstacle"


Haydar Haydar opined in government-owned Al-Thawra (5/11):  "The call made by President Bush to establish a free trade zone in the Middle East by 2013 clearly shows clearly that the US wants to utilize the outcome of its war on Iraq to the utmost limit. But how can a stable and productive future for the region be established when Israel, with its racist structure based on expansion, occupation and settlements, is standing as an obstacle to the construction of a secure future for the peoples of the region?"


UAE:  "President Bush's Plan For A New Middle East"


Sharjah-Based pan-Arab Al Khaleej held (5/11):  "President George Bush's plan for a new Middle East and his suggestion to establish a U.S.-Middle East Free Trade Area by the year 2013 gives the impression of good will and American concern for the region and its people....  But whoever looks carefully at this plan and its goals and refers to past U.S. policies towards the region...the plan relies on previous Israeli Minister Shimon Perez's proposal for a new Middle East.  The plan in theory will be established between two unequal sides, economically and militarily.  This plan is talking about a region that still has conflicts, most importantly the Arab-Israeli conflict, which the U.S. treats with total bias for Israel and supports its racist and aggressive policies....  This plan now puts the 'cart before the horse,' because its implementation suggests first that this region should be blessed with security, stability, and peace....  The U.S. plan for a new Middle East comes at the wrong time, except if the U.S. thinks that it can impose Israel on the region....  If the U.S. is serious about establishing a new Middle East that is economically prosperous and blessed with the liberty and democracy President Bush talks about, it (the U.S.) should immediately start by requiring that Israel implement the international decisions in order to reach a just, comprehensive, and lasting peace....  Or else these plans will only aim to beautify the U.S.'s image in the eyes of the people of the region."


"Carrot And Stick Diplomacy"


The English-language pro-government Gulf News editorialized (5/11):  "American President George W. Bush has outlined a Mideast trade plan.  The objective is to have Middle East nations sign up to a U.S.-backed trade initiative, giving such nations special terms, presumably on a quid pro quo basis. Yet, there is more to this initiative than mere business....  The underlying reason is for the Arab World to improve--or change--its political structures and see democracy in Arab nations, together with greater human rights and freedoms.  Whilst many Middle East nations may welcome the possibility of improving trade with the U.S., every Arab and Muslim nation will object strongly to the method employed to attract such participation. For it requires fundamental changes not only in society and the rule of law but, far more importantly, the very interpretation of Islam.  This is because Arab Muslim law and society is based on the Holy Quran, so any modifications to the interpretations of the Holy Quran should certainly not be made by an outside power--a western one at that--and definitely not coerced by the prospect of increased trade.  The religion, history and culture of the region can be traced back farther than that of America; it is the failure of successive American administrations to understand the theory of such concepts that depicts their desire to impose the "American way of life" where it is not wanted."




CHINA (HONG KONG):  "Economic Difficulties Need Reform--Middle East's Potential Should Not Be Ignored"


Independent Chinese-language Hong Kong Economic Journal observed (5/10):  "U.S. President George W. Bush will deliver a speech today advocating the establishment in the next decade of a U.S.-Middle East free trade zone to strengthen economic and trade ties with the Middle East and to attract investment.  Economic growth might help drive democratic development in the region....  According to statistics, the combined exports of more than ten Arab countries accounted for 13.3% of world exports in 1980.  This figure dropped to 3% in 2001.  Economic development in the region is at a standstill.  This is not because Arabs are stupid or lazy, but because of the Arab world's insulated and isolated political and economic systems, making it difficult to attract overseas capital to the Middle East.  The region accounts for a tiny percentage of global trade and investment and has seen that share drop 8% over the past twenty years, limiting growth for any industry except oil.  One should not ignore, however, the region's economic potential.  The Arabs have a long history of trade and commerce.  If economic reforms in the Middle East are hastened by the downfall of Saddam Hussein, releasing the region's development potential, this may benefit the world economy--including that of Hong Kong."


SINGAPORE:  "Bush's Trade Offer To Arabs Is Cosmetic" 


Leon Hadar commented in the pro-government Business Times (5/13):  "The unveiling of the plan last Friday in the aftermath of the US military victory in Iraq is seen in Washington as a reflection of the Bush administration's long-term commitment to reshape the politics and economics of the Middle East....  But unlike Singapore and Chile, as well as many economies in East Asia and Latin America, almost all the countries in the Middle East are clearly not ready to sign an FTA with the United States....  The US did sign FTAs with Israel and Jordan, but those decisions by the Bush administration were based mostly on political considerations, since those agreements brought about very limited benefits to the American economy. Those FTAs--like the one Washington is negotiating with Morocco and may soon discuss with Egypt and Saudi Arabia--are regarded in Washington as economic rewards to America's political and military allies in the Middle East.  From that perspective, the US-Middle East FTA proposal should be seen mostly in Middle East, and as part of an effort to demonstrate its commitment to the economic reconstruction of Iraq and other regions as well as to work towards the resolution of the Israel/Palestine conflict. In reality, most of the trade of the economies of the Middle East, including Israel, is with countries of the European Union and not with the US....  And it is doubtful that America's farmers and textile manufacturers would allow Washington to open US markets to cheap exports from the Middle East."


PAKISTAN:  "Reforming By Diktat"


An editorial in the Karachi-based independent national Dawn read (5/13):  "There is something breathtakingly arrogant about the U.S. decision to unveil an ambitious and unilateral plan of action for the Middle East. Released in Washington on Friday, the plan proposes to bring about sweeping social, political and economic changes in the region. While many of the proposals are in themselves not particularly controversial, it is the imperious manner in which the plan has been handed down from high above that make it seem like a royal decree rather than a set of proposals meant to be considered....  What is remarkable about this wish list is that it has been announced as a fait accompli without any prior discussion or debate between the U.S. and the regional countries involved.  This is not only patronizing but reveals a colonial and unilateralist mindset that must be deplored....  The plan of action is clearly designed as a sop to those outraged by the American occupation of Iraq and by Washington's support for Israel's repressive policies against the Palestinians.  The intent to present a more humane U.S. face to the Middle East is so palpable that there is already much speculation about the plan's real aims and objectives....  The U.S. must realize that at the heart of the current anti-Americanism in the region is Washington's indulgent stance towards Israel.  Unless it pressures Israel and forces it to stick to its part of the obligations under the new peace initiative, no amount of well-meaning rhetoric on women's empowerment and parents' rights in the matter of education will convince a skeptical Middle East of American bona fides....  The delicate task of reshaping the Middle East is better left to its own people to handle, according to their own lights, with the help of the United Nations where necessary.  The U.S., or any other country, is fully free to guide and assist in this effort.  But to try to enforce reforms by diktat can only fuel greater resentment in the region. Democratization and basic reforms are essentially evolutionary processes and simply cannot be thrust on nations and peoples by means of external pressure and intimidation.




CANADA:  "Arabs And Free Trade"


The leading Globe and Mail editorialized (5/13):  "Mr. Bush wants to open the borders of the Mideast in psychological as well as economic terms. This can take place, however, only once peace between Israel and the Palestinians has been achieved--or alongside it. In other words, the Bush economic proposal is highly dependent on the Bush political proposal--the so-called road map that Secretary of State Colin Powell is pressing now during a Mideast tour. Initial Arab reaction to the free-trade proposal has been disappointing. Suspicions abound that this is a blueprint for U.S. economic hegemony. It might help if other countries supported the talks or even sought to sign on to them. Canada prides itself on being a free trader; it should be the first to encourage this process."


ARGENTINA:  "Bush Reinforces His Plan For The Middle East"


Jorge Rosales wrote in daily-of-record La Nacion (5/10):  "In his diplomatic offensive to reach peace between Israelis and Palestinians, stabilize the region and highlight disagreement with the European countries that opposed the war in Iraq, President George W. Bush offered an economic incentive to the Arab world by proposing to create a free trade zone with the Middle East countries within ten years...with the purpose to grant larger prosperity and stability to the region, said Bush yesterday when launching the ambitious initiative....  This step represents a larger US involvement in the strategic region and long commitment to reach peace in the rocked area. But it is also a response to the criticism of the US intervention in Iraq from the countries of the 'old Europe,' as the Republican administration terms France and Germany due to their closed opposition to the war that deposed Saddam Hussein... Bush's strategy for the Middle East is based on the promotion of democratic and economic reforms that, in the Republican administration's hope, should be adopted as an example of the changes in Iraq after the removal of the Saddam regime."



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