|THE IRAQ SITUATION
Will Saddam Hussein comply with the latest agreement?
February 27, 1998
in this forum:
Why are we so concerned with Saddam Hussein's development of weapons of mass destruction? Upon what basis of authority does Washington stand in planning a unilateral military attack on any country? Has the U.S. lost its credibility in the region as an honest broker? Will the Arab states support U.S. policies against Saddam in the future? Has the U.N. brokered deal with Iraq resolved the crisis or is it just an interlude to war?
February 23, 1998
Sec. Albright discusses the U.N. brokered deal with Iraq.
February 23, 1998
Four policy experts discusses the latest deal.
February 16, 1998
How significant a threat does Saddam Hussein's country really pose?
February 11, 1998
Ambassador Richardson discusses the ongoing crisis with Iraq.
February 4, 1998
Secretary Albright tries to marshal support for a possible attack on Iraq.
January 14, 1998
Iraq's U.N. Ambassador, Nizar Hamdoon, defends his country's actions.
What's the best way to deal with Iraq?
November 17, 1997
Arab perspectives on the Iraqi crisis.
November 13, 1997
Deputy PM Aziz defends his country's expulsion of U.N. weapons inspectors.
November 3, 1997
U.N. Ambassador Richardson discusses tensions between the U.S. and Iraq.
Online Forum: 1996:
The plight of the Kurds in Northern Iraq.
Browse the NewsHour's coverage of the Middle East.
American Enterprise Institute
Middle East Institute
John Pollak of Evanston, IL, asks: Many critics of U.S. foreign policy have charged the U.S. with having double standard in its treatment of Arab states and Israel. Given the U.S.' apparent willingness to use force against Iraq, and its inability to exact concessions from Israel in the peace process, has the U.S. lost its credibility in the region as an honest broker?
Dr. John Calabrese, resident scholar at the Middle East Institute, responds:
U.S. credibility in the region has steadily eroded over the past several years. The level of bitterness and frustration on the "Arab street" has intensified, as the "peace dividends" of the Cold War and Gulf War have delivered fewer tangible rewards than people expected. A good deal of this anger and disappointment - well beyond the geographic confines of Israel and West Bank/Gaza - pertains to the impasse in, if not total collapse of, the "peace process."
Your suggestion that the two cases - Iraq and Israel - are judged alike by most Arabs (even if there are differences) is, in my opinion, absolutely correct. The notion that these issues should not be linked is disingenuous: they ARE linked, whether or not they deserve to be.
Similarly, whether or not always deserved, the United States is held to high standards, in part because of the principles and objectives we set for ourselves. In short, Arabs expect the U.S. to deliver results. After all, the U.S. is the sole superpower, Israel's patron, as well as the leading player in the U.N. confrontation with Iraq and the stagnant peace process with Israel.
It is therefore quite understandable that Arab "public opinion" would not just link the Iraq and Israel cases, but link the United States to them. Lately, the "double standard" you refer to in your question has not only circulated widely on "the Arab street" and in the Arab press. It has also become apparent in the remarks of Arab opinion leaders and policymakers, many of whom had previously been more cautious about their criticism of the United States.
My concern is that this sentiment is growing wider and deeper, that it may not be merely a transitory phenomenon, and that it may therefore adversely affect U.S. interests in the long term.
Mr. John Bolton, senior vice president of the American Enterprise Institute, responds:
The United States has long stood as the guarantor of the independence of the State of Israel, as well as the central actor in the search for an Arab-Israeli peace. Whether this long-standing, bipartisan foreign policy is aesthetically pleasing, it is fully accepted by all of the parties in the region.
Although some have alleged that the United States treats Iraq and Israel with a double standard, the fact is that the two nations are not comparable. Iraq is an international rogue regime which has repeatedly made war against its neighbors and its own people. We should not be diverted from the threat to international peace and security posed by Iraq by raising extraneous issues related to Israel.