Muslim anger threatens puppet Arab regimes

  • From: "Muslim-News" <editor@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <submit@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 9 Apr 2002 14:35:57 +0100

CAIRO Arab anger and demonstrations across the Middle East do not
represent an immediate threat to any of the moderate governments that
have served as America's principal friends and allies in the region,
Western diplomats and Arab officials say. 
. 
But an unrelenting siege by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank and
at the headquarters in Ramallah of Yasser Arafat, the Palestinian
leader, is radicalizing the politics of the region and creating a threat
to peace and recognition of the Jewish state by a rising generation of
Arabs, the officials say. 
. 
President George W. Bush recently alluded to this grave assessment,
which has been coming to him in a stream of reports from U.S. embassies
and intelligence agencies and from Arab leaders. 
. 
"I began to worry that the foundations necessary to achieve lasting
peace were becoming eroded," Bush said, in an interview Friday with the
British ITV network. "In order for Israel to be able to exist, it
requires the Arab world's willingness to encourage the conditions so
that she can exist." 
. 
Arab governments - particularly Egypt and Jordan, but also Lebanon,
Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states - might have to decide
whether to crack down violently against crowds of students who are
protesting the Israeli incursion into the West Bank and expressing
disillusionment with U.S. policy and Arab leadership. 
. 
A young Arab population is engaged in a verbal assault on the Arab
commitment to peace, which was forged over three decades and nurtured by
successive U.S. administrations. 
. 
If a new generation of Arabs walks away from the "strategic" policy of
peace with Israel that Arab leaders declared in Cairo in 1996, and
reaffirmed with their recent peace initiative from Beirut, the
consequences would be a return to the politics of resistance and
economic stagnation and the further rise of Islamic extremism, many
specialists say. 
. 
"It is reversing something that we in Egypt have managed to achieve, and
that is the acceptance of Israel," said the Egyptian foreign minister,
Ahmed Maher. 
. 
Bush's concerns reflect the message that President Hosni Mubarak of
Egypt delivered last week in a private letter to the American leader.
Mubarak said that, as both Israelis and Palestinians die and their
suffering is beamed around the Arab world, Arab resentment has focused
most intensely on the failure of the region's leaders and the United
States to hold to the path to peace. That path was charted in milestone
agreements like the one signed in 1993 by Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin, then
the Israeli prime minister. 
. 
Bush administration officials, many of whom had counseled the president
that the rage and anguish rising from the Arab streets should be taken
with a grain of salt, are now amending their assessments. 
. 
Many of those officials have taken the position since the Gulf War in
1991, when Bush's father led a coalition that included Arab states to
reclaim Kuwait, that the Arab street would always fall into line if
American leaders were resolute and their policies even-handed. 
. 
But now, Arab leaders "don't see themselves as having any viable
political options" or arguments with which they can calm the daily
demonstrations that, thus far, have been contained with minimal
violence, a senior Western diplomat in Cairo said. All it would take is
for a large crowd to break through police lines and race toward the
Israeli or U.S. Embassy. 
. 
"By the time they got a half mile down the road, tens of thousands could
join them, and then you would have a real crisis," an Egyptian official
said. 
. 
American diplomats in the region, all of them living with hundreds of
Arab soldiers stationed nearby to protect them, were rattled by the
breach of the U.S. Embassy compound in Bahrain on Friday, when about 20
demonstrators broke off from a crowd of several thousand and scaled the
wall. 
. 
The image evoked memories of 1979, when Iranian students seized the U.S.
Embassy in Tehran and held 50 American diplomats hostage in a crisis
that undermined the Carter administration. 
< < Back to Start of Article CAIRO Arab anger and demonstrations across
the Middle East do not represent an immediate threat to any of the
moderate governments that have served as America's principal friends and
allies in the region, Western diplomats and Arab officials say. 
. 
But an unrelenting siege by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank and
at the headquarters in Ramallah of Yasser Arafat, the Palestinian
leader, is radicalizing the politics of the region and creating a threat
to peace and recognition of the Jewish state by a rising generation of
Arabs, the officials say. 
. 
President George W. Bush recently alluded to this grave assessment,
which has been coming to him in a stream of reports from U.S. embassies
and intelligence agencies and from Arab leaders. 
. 
"I began to worry that the foundations necessary to achieve lasting
peace were becoming eroded," Bush said, in an interview Friday with the
British ITV network. "In order for Israel to be able to exist, it
requires the Arab world's willingness to encourage the conditions so
that she can exist." 
. 
Arab governments - particularly Egypt and Jordan, but also Lebanon,
Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states - might have to decide
whether to crack down violently against crowds of students who are
protesting the Israeli incursion into the West Bank and expressing
disillusionment with U.S. policy and Arab leadership. 
. 
A young Arab population is engaged in a verbal assault on the Arab
commitment to peace, which was forged over three decades and nurtured by
successive U.S. administrations. 
. 
If a new generation of Arabs walks away from the "strategic" policy of
peace with Israel that Arab leaders declared in Cairo in 1996, and
reaffirmed with their recent peace initiative from Beirut, the
consequences would be a return to the politics of resistance and
economic stagnation and the further rise of Islamic extremism, many
specialists say. 
. 
"It is reversing something that we in Egypt have managed to achieve, and
that is the acceptance of Israel," said the Egyptian foreign minister,
Ahmed Maher. 
. 
Bush's concerns reflect the message that President Hosni Mubarak of
Egypt delivered last week in a private letter to the American leader.
Mubarak said that, as both Israelis and Palestinians die and their
suffering is beamed around the Arab world, Arab resentment has focused
most intensely on the failure of the region's leaders and the United
States to hold to the path to peace. That path was charted in milestone
agreements like the one signed in 1993 by Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin, then
the Israeli prime minister. 
. 
Bush administration officials, many of whom had counseled the president
that the rage and anguish rising from the Arab streets should be taken
with a grain of salt, are now amending their assessments. 
. 
Many of those officials have taken the position since the Gulf War in
1991, when Bush's father led a coalition that included Arab states to
reclaim Kuwait, that the Arab street would always fall into line if
American leaders were resolute and their policies even-handed. 
. 
But now, Arab leaders "don't see themselves as having any viable
political options" or arguments with which they can calm the daily
demonstrations that, thus far, have been contained with minimal
violence, a senior Western diplomat in Cairo said. All it would take is
for a large crowd to break through police lines and race toward the
Israeli or U.S. Embassy. 
. 
"By the time they got a half mile down the road, tens of thousands could
join them, and then you would have a real crisis," an Egyptian official
said. 
. 
American diplomats in the region, all of them living with hundreds of
Arab soldiers stationed nearby to protect them, were rattled by the
breach of the U.S. Embassy compound in Bahrain on Friday, when about 20
demonstrators broke off from a crowd of several thousand and scaled the
wall. 
. 
The image evoked memories of 1979, when Iranian students seized the U.S.
Embassy in Tehran and held 50 American diplomats hostage in a crisis
that undermined the Carter administration. 

Source:  The New york Times

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