Certainly it indicates a resurgence of appeasement-mindedness and unreality. And certainly it will indicate “the end of America” unless, before it is too late, officials shift American policy to a defensive anti-jihad posture, and abandon futile Wilsonian hearts-and-minds and democracy initiatives. “Arabs Say Report Shows Bush’s Failure,” by Maggie Michael for Associated Press, with thanks to Davida:
Many Arabs on Thursday interpreted an American advisory panel’s bleak assessment of President Bush’s Iraq policies as proof of Washington’s failure in the Middle East.
But others worried about the consequences if the U.S. follows the Iraq Study Group’s suggestions, warning that the report could fuel insurgents and others vying to fill Iraq’s security vacuum.
“This report is a recognition of the limitation of American power,” said Abdel Moneim Said, head of Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic studies in Cairo. “In the short term, America will highly suffer the loss of its reputation and credibility in the region.”
The bipartisan study, written under the leadership of former U.S. Secretary of State James A. Baker III and former U.S. Rep. Lee Hamilton, painted a dire picture of the situation in Iraq more than three years after the war started.
The report suggested the United States should find ways to pull back most of its combat forces by early 2008 and focus U.S. troops on training and supporting Iraqi units. The U.S. also should begin a “diplomatic offensive” by the end of the month and engage adversaries Iran and Syria in an effort to quell sectarian violence and shore up the fragile Iraqi government, the report said.
Mustafa Bakri, an outspoken critic of the U.S. and editor of the Egyptian tabloid Al-Osboa, told a state-run television show that the report indicated “the end of America.”
Bakri, who supports Syrian President Bashar Assad and the former regime of Saddam Hussein, urged Arab countries to “capture the moment as America now is in its weakest period.”
The Iraq Study Group’s report was the top headline in many Arab newspapers on Thursday, including the Egyptian opposition daily Al- Wafd, which declared: “Bush confesses defeat in Iraq.”…
Click here for the March 28, 2003 article entitled “Does President Bush have a realistic plan for bringing democracy to the Middle East?” I wrote the “No” section, which begins on page 2.
Joseph Samaha, editor-in-chief of Lebanese opposition daily Al-Akhbar, said that, even before the study group’s report found shortcomings in the Bush administration’s Iraq policy, Arabs had already concluded that Iraq had turned into a “holocaust for American claims.”
But others warned that insurgents and countries including Iran were taking advantage of Bush’s failures and the spiraling violence, and their influence would increase if the U.S. leaves.
“Al-Qaida must smell victory, but its a negative victory that comes from the defeat of America in Iraq,” Said of the Al-Ahram center said.
In Jordan, Al Arab Al Yawm editor-in-chief Taher al-Adwan suggested that Iran could “fill the vacuum” in neighboring Iraq if Arab countries don’t step up and counter U.S. failures.
Taher al-Adwan’s words herald a conflict about which Jihad Watch Board Vice President Hugh Fitzgerald has written a great deal here — see his articles page.