WASHINGTON — President Bush and his top advisors fanned out across the troubled Middle East over the last week to showcase their diplomatic initiatives to restore strained relationships with traditional allies and forge new ones with leaders in Iraq.And it's not just Iraq.
But instead of flaunting stronger ties and steadfast American influence, the president's journey found friends both old and new near a state of panic. Mideast leaders expressed soaring concern over upheavals across the region that the United States helped ignite through its invasion of Iraq and push for democracy — and fear that the Bush administration may make things worse.
President Bush's summit in Jordan with the Iraqi prime minister proved an awkward encounter that deepened doubts about the relationship. Vice President Dick Cheney's stop in Riyadh, the Saudi capital, yielded a blunt warning from the kingdom's leaders. And Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's swing through the West Bank and Israel, intended to build Arab support by showing a new U.S. push for peace, found little to work with.
In all, visits designed to show the American team in charge ended instead in diplomatic embarrassment and disappointment, with U.S. leaders rebuked and lectured by Arab counterparts. The trips demonstrated that U.S. allies in the region were struggling to understand what to make of the difficult relationship, and to figure whether, with a new Democratic majority taking over Congress, Bush even had control over his nation's Mideast policy.
Expressing deeper unhappiness with the United States, leaders from Jordan, Egypt and Persian Gulf countries told Rice during her trip to an economic development conference in Jordan on Friday that the U.S. had a responsibility to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which they and many analysts viewed as the key to regional stability.And you can tell the Saudis are worried:
Amr Moussa, secretary-general of the Arab League, urged greater U.S. action, warning that the Middle East was becoming "an abyss…. The region is facing real failure."
Saudis lead Israel peace bid
THE Saudi Arabian government is emerging as a key player in talks to broker a comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace agreement.Yes the Israelis are worried too as they are about to agree on something they could have had four years ago.
According to senior Israeli sources, Ehud Olmert, Israel’s prime minister, will soon meet high-ranking Saudi officials to explore the formation of a group of moderate Arab countries to negotiate with Tel Aviv over the future of the Middle East.
A preliminary meeting between Olmert and a leading Saudi representative took place in Amman, the Jordanian capital, at the end of September. According to Israeli sources, the Saudi was Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the former ambassador to Washington and one of the closest advisers to King Abdullah, the Saudi ruler.
Olmert is believed to be considering a Saudi initiative, endorsed by the Arab League four years ago, as the basis for a peace settlement.
This would include the establishment of an independent Palestinian state and could lead to a formal peace deal between Israel and seven Arab countries: Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, the Emirates, Morocco and Tunisia.
The world now realizes that George W. Bush doesn't have a clue as to what's going on and doesn't have the ability to do anything about it even if he did. Yes, he is delusional and irrelevant and the player in the middle east know it. Now I don't know if George W. Bush is the worst president but he is certainly the most dangerous.