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The paradoxes of U.S. policy in the Middle East.

One important lesson learned from the traumatic events of September 11 was that the terrorist activities leading to the attacks were not just a story about one country. They were a multi-enterprise activity with a global network of deeply connected operatives. The tragedy was the outgrowth of a deep anger toward the United States, the roots of which can be examined from several angles. Some observers have suggested that the resentment in the Middle East needs to be understood from the viewpoint of a "clash of civilizations." (1) Others have traced its sources to inequities and injustices associated with the processes of globalization and geopolitical exclusion. (2) Still others have situated its roots in contradictory U.S. policies toward the region (3) It is this third perspective that is explored here. (4)


Writing on the history of the modern Middle East around the time of the Palestine mandate and the birth of Israel, William L. Cleveland summed up some key developments:
 From the perspective of relations between states, the decade of the 1940s
 was a period of profound change in the Middle East. The creation of Israel,
 the flight and homelessness of several hundred thousand Palestinians, the
 formation of the Arab League, the achievement of independence by the core
 Arab states, and the decline of Britain and France and the emergence of the
 United States and the Soviet Union as world powers clearly represented new
 and significant developments for the region. Yet in the realm of domestic
 politics, there was remarkably little change. With the exception of the
 young shah of Iran, the ruling monarchs of 1949 had been on their thrones
 in the 1930s, and the men who held office as prime ministers and presidents
 in 1949 had served in similar capacities in the 1930s.

 In several countries, especially the populous Arab states, these ruling
 elite no longer represented the aspirations of their people. They were seen
 to perpetuate an old order of corruption and privilege and to owe their
 political power to their willingness to cooperate with the forces of
 imperialism. (5)

A quick glance at the current realities in the Middle East shows that some things have changed while others have remained the same. Palestinians are homeless and still in search of sovereign independence; they see no end in sight despite frequent international condemnation of Israeli occupation and lethal Israeli reprisals against Palestinian uprisings (intifada) since 1987. The United States acts as the sole extra-regional hegemonic power on the basis of its military pre-eminence in the area, guaranteeing the persistence of pro-Western regimes. Many of these owe their political longevity and power to their readiness, albeit tacit, to adhere to the U.S. line in foreign policy.

There are several explanations for the persistence of monarchies in the region. One expert has argued that they have persevered because secular nationalist projects are in disarray and because Islamic political movements have failed to offer plausible alternatives. (6) Such regimes have effectively conveyed to the people the costs entailed in abandoning the present system for what could be less stable, less reasonable and even--ironically--less democratic alternatives. (7) The persistence of monarchies illustrates the ambivalence and ambiguity of political identity in the region. (8)

Another observer has noted that external support for the monarchies in Saudi Arabia and the smaller Persian Gulf states has proven critical, especially when they face threats from outside their borders. (9) Still another view holds that these monarchies have ossified into authoritarian systems. These regimes used to maintain legitimacy through the parliamentary (majlis) system, which provided for the direct petitioning for redress of grievances. Monarchical succession was not automatic; the successor was chosen by a consensus of tribal elders based on his qualifications. The British, with the United States in subsequent years, helped mold these relatively open traditional governing structures into largely inherited positions resembling modem bureaucratic authoritarianism. (10)

During the second half of the twentieth century, U.S. foreign policy toward the Middle East centered on protecting the oil flow, supporting Israel and the region's pro-Western governments and maintaining political stability--not just to keep the status quo, but largely to deter, contain and, if necessary, confront communism. Today this list has expanded to include other objectives such as combating terrorism, brokering a truce between the Palestinians and Israelis, and preventing the spread of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). In the pursuit of these objectives, the United States has relied on the use of force, covert intervention, economic and military assistance, arms sales, military presence and diplomacy.

The Middle East has been beleaguered by conflicts: intra-regional (Arab-Israeli wars and the Iran-Iraq War) as well as inter-regional (the U.S.-led war against Iraq and the U.S.-led war against the Taliban in Afghanistan). Other dramatic events that have shaped the region's political landscape include foreign invasions (the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1980, Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982, Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990), civil war in Lebanon and the subsequent stationing of U.S. marines there in the early 1980s, Iran's Islamic revolution, uprisings in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, a growing Islamic radicalism and associated terrorism, and a U.S. military presence in Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf.

Today the Middle East is home to repressive regimes, an oppressive Israeli occupation, human-rights abuses, economic disparities, unelected governments and corrupt political systems. The Arab defeat in the wars with Israel and the failure of parliamentary democracy to make ruling elites and the military electorally accountable have precipitated a deepening sense of disillusionment and crisis in many Muslim societies, culminating in the resurgence of political Islam by the late 1970s. (11) This resurgence has come to be seen as a potent backlash against the failure of secular states and ideologies such as liberal nationalism and Arab socialism, and against secular processes and institutions.

Following the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan (1988), the secular regime in Kabul was abandoned; the. United States had no reconstruction plan. As a result, chaos and poverty provided a fertile ground for the measure of stability the Taliban brought to the country. (12) While the U.S. focus had been on confronting and deterring communism, in the post-Cold War era, that fixation has been replaced with the Islamic threat. In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11, U.S. domestic scrutiny of Muslims has raised the concern that the war against terrorism would be seen as a war against Islam. (13) U.S. foreign-policy makers have warned against such proverbial fault lines, as they have shifted their focus to the threats posed by radical Islamic movements. In the wake of the tragedy, two central questions arise: How can global terrorism be explained'? What is the best way to prevent and ultimately eradicate it? The ironies and flaws in U.S. foreign policy are a legitimate place to focus.


The collapse of the peace process and the continuing plight of the Palestinians under occupation point to a contradictory U.S. diplomacy that makes unrealistic any prospect for successful mediation in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Such diplomacy has bred further radicalism, not only among the Palestinians inside the occupied territories but also throughout the Muslim world. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon lacks a vision for ending the conflict. His leadership record during the 18-year war of attrition in Lebanon (1982-2000) and the subsequent punishing losses that Israel has endured are hardly encouraging. (14) Chairman Yasser Ararat has no solution to stop terrorism and is rapidly losing control of popular politics to Palestinian radicals. Since President Bush's June 24 speech, in which he called upon the Palestinians to elect new leaders, Yasser Arafat's role has been in dispute. The irony is that those who voted for Arafat in the 1997 elections would probably vote for him now or in future elections because they simply do not want to surrender to Israeli and/or U.S. pressure. Arafat, however, is not the leader whom many would support were they to choose in peacetime. (15) The Quartet--envoys from the United Nations, the European Union, Russia and the United States--has agreed on the goal of creating a Palestinian state within three years. Members differ sharply, however, on the future role of Arafat and the proper degree of emphasis on security as a pre-requisite for resuming peace talks with Israel. To the extent that Chairman Arafat is viewed as the duly elected leader of the Palestinians, this drives a wedge between the United States and its Quartet partners. (16) Furthermore, both President Bush and Prime Minister Sharon tend to link their electoral success with the campaign against terrorism. Thus, progress in negotiations will be blocked by these countries' domestic politics for some time to come. Meanwhile, unqualified and unconditional U.S. support for Israel makes it difficult for the United States to challenge Israeli defiance on such contentious issues as the settlements in the occupied territories.

The Palestinians' cynicism is a logical consequence of the view that the United States might bully them into accepting Israeli demands while refusing to challenge Israeli intransigence. (17) The peace process, they argue, is based on asymmetries and biased against Arab countries. For many Palestinians, no peace is better than an unjust peace. (18) Consider, for example, the establishment of a Palestinian mini-state. Creating such a limited state with the idea that it would at some point negotiate outstanding issues of final settlement, including refugees, water, the status of Jerusalem and secure borders, would be a grave mistake with far more complicated consequences than before for all the parties concerned. (19) The peace process as such has created enormous credibility problems for the United States in the region. A perfect illustration of this is the Mitchell Report, which calls for a freeze on Israeli settlements in Palestinian territories. (20) The report has been blatantly disregarded by the Sharon administration. Further, the Israeli policy of moving its own nationals onto the territories occupied since 1967 has clearly violated the Fourth Geneva Convention. (21) The repercussions of this Israeli non-compliance are obvious: the Palestinians increasingly see the U.S.-brokered peace process as a failure and a resort to violence as the only alternative.

The paradox of brokering an honest deal is obvious, given the significance the United States places on its strategic alliance with Israel. Pointing to this self-contradictory policy during the 1990s, John Lewis Gaddis argues that U.S. foreign-policy adjustments since the Cold War have been woefully inadequate. In the Middle East, Gaddis writes, "We tolerated the continuing Israeli dispossession and repression of Palestinians even as we were seeking to secure the rights of the Palestinians." (22) U.S. partiality in the peace process, according to some experts, also has served to weaken the very regimes (Egypt and the Gulf nations) the United States intends to support. Those regimes have been placed in the difficult position of appearing to "collude in the empowerment of Israel at the expense of the Arab population." (23)

Palestinians see a double standard at work here: the right of return for Soviet Jews is upheld by the United States, whereas the return of Palestinian refugees is not. For many Palestinians, U.S. diplomatic initiatives have made no difference in their lives under occupation. As a result, they continue to lose faith in U.S. diplomacy even as they have come to grips with the reality that active and sustained U.S. engagement is crucial to the resolution of the conflict. This mentality in turn has created conditions among the Palestinians that assure the extremist elements of moral and material support. Because of America's reliance on the region's oil, there is arguably an incentive for the United States to help resolve the dispute. But this incentive is often overshadowed by other economic and geopolitical interests. With the United States playing the dual role of principal mediator of the conflict as well as the chief diplomatic, financial and military supporter of Israeli occupation forces, U.S. policy is mired in contradiction. (24)


A major goal of U.S. foreign policy has been to ensure access to foreign oil supplies, especially since 1971, when domestic oil production began its gradual decline. By 1996, the United States was importing half of its oil. (25) Meanwhile, twin U.S. addictions--that of its people to cheap gasoline and of its corporations to petrodollars--continue to lead the United States into costly and uncertain ventures. (26)

The recent reorientation of global politics after the war in Afghanistan appears to be based on expanding U.S. influence into a former Russian domain, the Central Asian republics. One expert writes, "The possibility of a pro-Western Afghan government is luring gas investors back to Central Asia to reevaluate the feasibility of a trans-Afghan pipeline. If built, the project will provide a much-sought-after outlet of Turkmen gas, a rental income for Afghanistan, and will satiate the rapidly expanding gas market of Pakistan." (27) Such a pipeline, according to another view, could generate wealth as well as trouble. Many factors render a trans-Afghan pipeline dicey: a remote and mountainous terrain, constant inter-ethnic strife, and regional warlords who could blackmail the government for a share of the profits. In similar cases in Central Asia, corrupt elites--not the masses--have been the main beneficiary of wealth from transit fees. It is easy to see why "a pipeline, which could bring more cash into Afghanistan than any other step short of legalizing opium, could just as easily promote destabilization and upheaval." (28) Increasingly, a foreign policy based on petroleum, coupled with the collapse of the Soviet Union and the international energy issue, has brought about the politics of intervention and war, often providing justification for keeping a vast military presence in the region. The U.S. naval facilities in Bahrain and troops stationed in Saudi Arabia are examples.

The history of the post-war period has shown that many nationalist leaders in the Middle East and North Africa have fallen into disfavor with the United States over the issue of oil. To better understand the region's place in U.S. policy, it is critical to take a hard look at the economics of war. (29) The lesson is obvious: U.S. petroleum politics has often resulted in continued intervention with tense and uncertain outcomes. Cutting oil dependency would arguably lead to the withdrawal of U.S. forces from the Gulf region, thus removing an important source of hatred of the United States. (30)

All-out embargoes have been shown to be ineffective. (31) Sanctions policies, such as the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act (ILSA, 1995) and "dual containment," have been either softened or not fully implemented owing to their unilateral nature. Meanwhile, U.S. dependency on oil has continued to soar. According to one source, U.S. demand is expected to grow 20 percent by 2015. (32)

Further complicating U.S. energy security is the unresolved Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Middle East oil-producing nations are under pressure to keep supply lines open. Many of these governments, which depend on the United States for military protection, face a populace increasingly agitated over the Palestinian issue. The second intifada, which erupted in September 2000, has been a concern for a significant number of governments and business people from the Middle East who regularly deal with the United States and Europe. (33) As the United States contemplates military action against Saddam Hussein, reliance on imported oil grows and fears of instability soar. Many oil experts concur that the best way to preserve stability would be to address the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. (34)

Some critics charge that U.S. oil policy has failed to spur the development of renewable energy resources. By keeping prices low and holding oil taxes below those of other consuming nations, the United States has in fact encouraged oil consumption with little regard for the consequences. (35) Hence the slow pace of the development of alternatives to oil, such as solar, wind, geothermal and biomass energy.

The U.S. defense strategy in the Gulf has rendered the cost of protecting the flow of oil exceedingly high. (36) Senator Richard D. Lugar, former chairman of the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee, in a meeting of the committee in 1977, reminded the members that the United States might spend more than $100 billion for oil from the unstable Middle East, taking into account the costs of keeping shipping lanes open, rogue states in check, and terrorists at bay. By contrast, Lugar added, the United States would spend less than $1 billion on energy research. (37)


U.N. sanctions policy against Iraq, championed by the United States, has generally not achieved its goal, and its political efficacy has increasingly been called into question. Critics argue that if sanctions do not in fact curb the regime's military aggression or human-rights abuses, then a policy that harms innocent sectors of the population loses its utilitarian justification. (38) Sanctions have done little to punish the regional outlaw, Saddam Hussein; they have instead done the greatest harm to the country's most vulnerable and disenfranchised. UNICEF reports indicate that the death rate for infants in Iraq has nearly doubled since the Gulf War in 1991 and following the U.N. sanctions. (39) The U.S. secretary of state during the Clinton administration, Madeleine Albright, once argued that this human loss is the price to pay for removing Saddam. By both moral and political accounts, this logic has failed.

The regional implications of a military campaign to topple Saddam Hussein are uncertain. To begin with, the United States faces major difficulties in acquiring use of the bases it needs to attack. Many Americans, who seem not to have overcome the so-called "Vietnam syndrome" of fearing heavy casualties, think that Al Qaeda fighters are a softer target than Iraq. (40) The neighboring countries of Iran and Turkey fear that instability in Iraq, caused by any potential or projected attack, could have adverse effects on their countries. Likewise, Russia's oil interests in Iraq puts it at odds with U.S. policy in the region. Even in the wake of September 11, Russia has held onto its position as Iraq's main protector against new U.N. smart sanctions or a U.S. attack. (41) U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell concedes that the twin policy of regime change and smart sanctions has caused tensions with Moscow. (42) The Saudis have argued that a change in the Iraqi regime is likely to leave Iraq's Shiite minority more empowered. Given the Shiites' natural affinity for Iran, that could lead to trouble for the Saudis. The lack of a clear vision for post-Saddam Iraq is even more problematic. An indecisive political outcome could throw the country into a civil war and might leave Iran and Turkey jockeying to fill a power vacuum with their own proxies. (43)

Neither is the United States interested in the dismemberment of Iraq, albeit for different reasons, none more important than the politics of the post-Saddam era. The idea of further military strikes against Iraq is very unpopular with the masses in the Arab world. The absence of a viable alternative to Saddam Hussein poses a real dilemma for U.S. foreign policy in the region.

Likewise, the dual-containment policy, initiated in 1993 by the Clinton administration to weaken Iran and Iraq through strict economic sanctions and diplomatic isolation, has failed to make the Gulf region any more stable or secure than in the past. There is a growing consensus that containment has failed in its objectives of isolating Iran, converting the regime to the cause of regional peace, or convincing it to stop pursuing missile and nuclear technology. The implications of the policy have been ominous, as it has alienated U.S. allies and prolonged ineffective policies, such as ILSA's impotent secondary sanctions, that have simply been regarded as potential bargaining chips. (44)

In fact, as one expert notes, this strategy is "refighting of the Cold War, only on a smaller, regional scale." (45) While the Clinton administration acted in a multilateral context vis-a-vis Iraq, it was forced to apply sanctions unilaterally in the case of Iran. The emergence of a reformist movement in Iran since 1997 seems entirely unrelated to U.S. policy. David H. Saltiel and Jason S. Purcell question the effectiveness of this policy, while pointing to its paradoxical nature:
 Those who oppose a change in U.S. policy towards Iran often find themselves
 caught in a contradiction, arguing on the one hand that Iran's behavior is
 more egregious than ever, and on the other, that current U.S. policy is
 worth continuing because it has succeeded in restraining Iran's behavior.

Understandably, these sanctions may have hampered the ability of the United States to elicit greater cooperation from Iran in the campaign against global terrorism. (47)

Furthermore, the Iran and Libya Sanctions Act, intended to prevent foreign investment in Iran's petroleum sector, has never been enforced. Several members of the European Union have emphasized the positive impact that trade and economic relations have on Iran, especially in the context of supporting its reformist president. The Europeans' emphasis on "constructive dialogue" stands in stark contrast to U.S. sanctions policy. Furthermore, the U.S. double standard with respect to enforcing Security Council resolutions--sponsoring and upholding those directed against Iraq while denouncing any aimed at Israel--has resulted in increased policy differences and divisions between the United States and its European allies. (48)


The Western world has gained more access to the region's oil resources by working with dictators rather than with democratic regimes accountable to their people. The 1953 coup in Iran is a notable case in point. CIA and British agents, in collaboration with Iranian army generals, engineered a coup against the nationalist and constitutionally elected prime minister of Iran, Mohammad Mossadeq, who nationalized the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company. He was deposed, and the shah was restored to power shortly afterward. U.S. policy between 1953 and 1978 stressed a special relationship with the shah and his inner circle, while largely disregarding the needs and demands of the Iranian people. Increasingly, U.S. presence and interventionist policies became integral to Iranian domestic politics. (49) When, in the late 1970s, President Carter's concern for human rights had to be balanced against U.S. support for the shah's repressive regime, the policy of having it both ways boomeranged, precipitating the fall of the monarchy.

One study reveals the dismal human-rights conditions in five Arab states--Morocco, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia--considered "U.S. friends in the region." The United States, according to this study, exerts little or no political/ diplomatic pressure on these governments to adopt liberal reforms. (50) The most glaring example of this hypocrisy is Saudi Arabia, by far the closest U.S. Arab ally in the region, yet it has a poor human-rights record. Such considerations are clearly subordinated to U.S. interests in strategic, military and commercial ties with the government. (51) Countries that fall outside of this "friendly" orbit, such as Libya, Iraq and Iran, are pressured by economic sanctions. Since 1991, the fear of allowing democratic change--violent or otherwise--in Algeria to spread across the entire North African region and the Middle East has heavily influenced U.S. foreign policy toward the region.

It is not clear, however, why the so-called strategy of "democratic incrementalism," advocated by U.S. foreign-policy makers, failed in the case of Algeria to save that country from a descent into violence. Often the United States is resented for propping up dictatorial and corrupt regimes rather than prodding them to change. (52) U.S. policy makers' adherence in the post-Cold War period to the old adage that "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" created such monsters as Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden.

Osama bin Laden was the price of the U.S. victory over the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. (53) With the active encouragement of the CIA and Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), the mujahideen played a significant part in dislodging Soviet forces from Afghanistan throughout the 1980s. The Taliban's rise to power by the mid-1990s was made possible by the ISI, which in turn was influenced by the CIA. The actions of the Taliban at that time largely served U.S. geopolitical interests. (54) The drug trade in the region, according to one observer, was also used to finance and equip the Bosnian Muslim Army and the Kosovo Liberation Army. (55)

Promoting democratic principles could, in some cases, lead to the ascendancy of the Islamic opposition groups, some of which are not sympathetic to U.S. presence and interests in the region. Support for reform-minded groups, Islamic or otherwise, however, is likely to better accommodate some U.S. long-term interests. The democracy conundrum notwithstanding, there can be no doubt that U.S. backing of the region's corrupt and dysfunctional regimes has alienated reformist social movements, further discrediting the United States.


The U.S. policy of arms sales in the region is based on the strategic goal of safeguarding the status quo. This policy has contributed greatly to the militarization of the region. Yet the link between stability and militarization has been disproved in the case of the Iranian shah, whose mighty army was brought down by a mass movement in a fairly non-violent revolution, and in the case of Saddam Hussein, whose invasion of Kuwait had to be undone by direct U.S. force.

Reliance on huge and deadly arsenals has rendered regional stability fragile. Consider, for example, the superiority of Israeli military power, which has produced no order--much less peace--in the occupied territories. Furthermore, Israel's nuclear capability has provided an excuse, though not the only one, for other states to develop and deploy WMD. (56) There is a pervasive sense among the Arabs that any political settlement that leaves Israel well armed, while its neighbors are forced to cut their military might and show flexibility, is bound to create more insecurity in the name of peace. (57) Building the arsenals of the pro-Western regimes beyond the legitimate security needs of these states is counterproductive and will in the long run, ironically, undermine the stability of these regimes, resulting in further insecurity.

The massive infusions of military aid into the region have worked against the prospects of political opening and democratic change and created only the illusion of stability. (58) The persistence of simultaneous arms transfers to the Arabs and the Israelis as the tools of U.S. foreign policy and influence peddling shows no sign of ending or of increasing stability. U.S. policy--emphasizing a ban on WMD, plutonium production and enrichment, and missile technology--appears to be nothing more than political oratory and an unrealistic overture to the Middle East by one of the world's largest arms merchants, in the absence of multilateral arms agreements and bans. (59)

To better understand the subtext of this militarization requires an extensive and careful analysis beyond the scope of this essay. Suffice to say, arms sales tend to fortify the position of the extremists in the region, making it difficult for the moderates to win against the militants. The sale of U.S. weapons to Iran under the Reagan administration, in what came be known as the Iran-Contra affair, served as yet another example of such a misguided policy. Closely related to the rationale behind these flawed policies is the issue of how American weapons manufacturers influence the U.S. government. As one Middle East analyst reminds us:
 To link arms transfers with a given country's human-rights record would
 lead to the probable loss of tens of billions of dollars in annual sales
 for American weapons manufacturers, which are among the most powerful
 special-interest groups in Washington. (60)


Who exactly are the U.S. allies in the campaign against terrorism in the long run? The ambiguity of this question has cast its shadow over the relationship between the United States and pro-Western Middle Eastern regimes such as Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. Why did most of the hijackers of the planes that crashed into the World Trade Center and Pentagon come from Saudi Arabia and Egypt, America's closest allies? The governments of both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have over the years financed the export of Wahhabism to Afghanistan and Pakistan by building mosques and madrassas (religious schools) there. That those funds supported Al Qaeda has been seriously debated only in the aftermath of September 11.

Pakistan's role in the Taliban's rise to power is even more problematic. In fact, Pakistan was the incubator for the Taliban. Several questions loom: Has the Pakistani military been a major beneficiary of narcoterrorism in Afghanistan since 1996, when the Taliban took power? Why did the Pakistani military, the main force behind the Taliban, decide to shift its position suddenly after the September 11 tragedy? Some of the tiny Gulf emirates have also been financial supporters of the Taliban, realizing full well that the Al Qaeda terrorist networks had been operative there. How then could these countries be characterized as pro-Western regimes?

Furthermore, the military success in Afghanistan has raised the specter of a so-called "unilateral moment" in U.S. foreign policy. President George W. Bush's State of the Union address, which lumped together Iran, Iraq and North Korea in an "axis of evil," could undermine the progress made both in stabilizing Afghanistan and in enhancing the democratic movement in Iran. This is perhaps the best example of the potential extremist backlash a country in a domestic ideological battle can face. Such rhetoric contradicts the goal of the antiterrorist campaign, which is to promote freedom around the world. (61) Iran played a constructive role in the defeat of the Taliban by supporting the Northern Alliance and by nudging along the interim government headed by Hamid Karzai. In his visit to Tehran, Karzai said that "Iran made a highly significant contribution to help the Afghan people free themselves of terrorism and the Taliban." (62)

Iran's interest in Afghanistan is obvious. It has long fought the issue of drug trafficking on its border and has been host to more than 2 million Afghan refugees. Iran has no interest in destabilizing Karzai's government. (63) It shares a common religion, culture and language with most Afghans and has pledged $567 million toward the rebuilding of the country. Representatives of the United Nations, the European Union and various aid agencies have attested to Iran's positive influence there. (64) Moreover, the United States has found no evidence linking Iran to Osama bin Laden or the terrorist attacks of September 11. Washington has yet to offer any evidence to substantiate the claims that Iran has become a sanctuary for the Taliban and Al Qaeda. (65)

That the campaign against terrorism must be inseparable from enhancing democracy, civil society and human rights is axiomatic. But this campaign is likely to be counterproductive and self-defeating if foreign-policy makers shy away from defining friends and foes along those lines. The gap between principles and practices of U.S. policy precipitates disillusionment. Since 1997, U.S. administrations have failed, in the words of one scholar, "to adjust policy in response to the fact that an old adversary, Iran, was moving toward free elections and a parliamentary system even as old allies like Saudi Arabia were shunning such innovations." (66) The United States has frequently blocked the World Trade Organization (WTO) from opening negotiations with Iran on its attempt to become a member. (67) As a result of pursuing fundamentally incompatible objectives, U.S. foreign policy has been handicapped by political myopia.


The United States, the most powerful actor on the global scene, has grown steadily more dependent on its European allies. Warning against the trend toward unilateralism, Joseph S. Nye, Jr., points out that military power is still not enough to solve global problems such as terrorism, environmental degradation and WMD proliferation. (68) U.S. leadership must reorient itself toward the global community. The process might be contentious, tedious and sluggish, but it is likely to lead to more sustainable positive outcomes than unilateral actions. (69) For the global coalition against terrorism to stay together, the United States must give up the unilateralism it indulged in during most of the post-Cold War period. (70)

Some Middle East experts argue that the conventional forms of deterrence are likely to bring about the most effective outcome here and that actual military action against Iran would be enormously risky. The charge that Iran is producing WMD has yet to be substantiated; the connection between Iran's missile programs and terrorist activities is overblown and unclear. William Quandt, who was actively involved in the Egyptian-Israeli peace accords, argues that the United States has looked the other way as countries such as Israel have developed nuclear weapons and Egypt and Syria and others have long had chemical capabilities. (71) Missiles capable of delivering WMD, Quandt adds, exist in countries such as Saudi Arabia, Israel and Egypt, but only those in Iran and Iraq are regarded as worrisome. The idea of the development of a zone free of WMD faces a major obstacle: Israel's undeclared nuclear capability. (72)

Others argue that U.S. fears are exaggerated and that Iran's capabilities remain modest: "Iran has had trouble perfecting its top-of-the-line Shahab-3 missile, with a range of about 800 miles, and has shown little sign of embarking on a serious intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) program." (73) It would take Iran at least 10 to 15 years to develop an ICBM, even with maximum cooperation from Russia. (74) Furthermore, unlike its nuclear neighbors such as Israel, Pakistan and India, Iran has signed the Nuclear NonProliferation Treaty and allows the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency to inspect its nuclear facilities and materials. (75) Iran is working, one expert notes, toward achieving a credible regional capability. A more long-range missile program remains only a matter of speculation. (76)

A unilateral military action or a pre-emptive strike by the United States might encourage similar attacks by other countries against their real or perceived adversaries. This prospect bodes ill for stability and is reason enough to question the military option against Iran. Further, this hawkish posturing would bolster the hard-liners' position vis-a-vis both the United States and the voices of moderation and reform within Iran. (77)

In the last few years, Iran and the United States have shared similar views on combating narcoterrorism in Afghanistan and have participated in the meetings with other Central Asian Republics and Russia (known as the "six-plus-two talks") regarding the course of events in the area. Iran's centrality in regional stability is reflected in its bilateral ties with the new independent republics of Central Asia as well as in its participation in multilateral regional initiatives. (78) The rhetoric of the "axis of evil" could negatively affect Iran's constructive diplomacy and foreign policy toward its new northern frontier. Washington's refusal to positively engage Iran would strengthen Khatami's conservative opponents within the Iranian leadership. Paradoxically, but understandably, this position is bound to further push Iran's nuclear cooperation with Russia and China. Seen from the business community's vantage point, it would also deprive U.S. private oil companies of lucrative markets in the Caspian Sea. (79)

The Bush administration's post-September 11 hawkish words drive a wedge between the Unites States and its European allies, giving further credence to the notion that the administration has edged toward a coercive multilateralism. This is a means by which the United States exerts immense leverage on other states to take part in international regimes dominated by Washington, especially in relation to the struggle against global terrorism, the proliferation of nuclear weapons, and the transnational control of migration and drugs. As Richard Falk argues, making opportune use of coercive multilateralism reinforces the fact that "September 11 has not changed anything except the cosmetics of diplomacy." (80)

Some European observers have even suggested that this hawkish rhetoric, along with U.S. talk of "flexible alliances" during the war on Afghanistan, makes NATO seem less relevant. (81) This also explains the pervasive lack of sympathy for the United States. We are reminded that despite military success in Afghanistan, the United States finds itself facing a much larger ideological adversary that may prove to be as hard to defeat as militant Islam: anti-Americanism, which is becoming increasingly visible all over the world. (82)


Writing in The New York Times, Paul Krugman argued that
 the [attacks of] September 11 told us a lot about Wahhabism, but not much
 about Americanism. The Enron scandal, on the other hand, clearly was about
 us.... I predict that in the years ahead Enron, not September 11, will come
 to be seen as the greater turning point in U.S. society. (83)

Without underestimating the significance of an act of business "terrorism" such as the Enron scandal, it is critical to understand the underlying tensions that give rise to acts of global terrorism. This painful tragedy can and should prove to be a valuable learning experience. The September 11 tragedy told us as

much about Wahhabism as it did about U.S. foreign-policy flaws.

Increasingly, experts observe that the United States cannot shrink from its responsibilities to the region's welfare:
 The experiences of the past half century have shown that the profound
 problems that September 11 has brought so starkly to light cannot be
 resolved merely through the use of military force, partisan diplomacy and
 sustaining oppressive but pro-Western regimes. (84)

In the long run, the resentment toward the United States will be significantly curtailed when and if such paradoxes are dealt with in the context of U.S. foreign policy. For the near future, three policy goals must be pursued: the resolution of Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the promotion of economic reform and the enhancement of democratic processes.

An Equitable Solution to the Palestinian Problem

The "Palestine question" is perhaps the central issue in the Middle East, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict merits particular concern. Israel's attempt to beat the Palestinians into submission has failed, as the recent round of violence demonstrates. An equitable resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli problem is the key to ending the intifada and resuming negotiations. It is clear that a peaceful resolution of this conflict hinges upon fair and balanced terms of agreement. The Oslo I (1993), Oslo II (1995) and Camp David II (2000) negotiations all collapsed because they failed to end Israeli occupation and yield a viable and sovereign state for the Palestinians. (85)

The peace proposal offered by Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah--that if Israel withdraws to its pre-1967 borders, the Arab world will make peace with it--has won the approval of many Muslims throughout the Middle East. The land-for-peace proposal has stirred hope even in Israel, especially after a paroxysm of killing in recent months. (86) Serge Schmemann, a staff writer of The New York Times, best captures the significance of this proposal: "The Saudi idea offers the hope of a world in which Palestinians would not be endlessly humiliated and Israelis would not be pariahs." (87) The end of the Israeli occupation is most likely to undermine the conditions conducive to the growth of Islamic radicalism. Absent a reasonable solution, the Bush administration's call for fighting global terrorism will likely be perceived as a war against Islam.

The creation of a Palestinian state is the first step en route to resolving other issues. Israel cannot gain security by imposing a version of peace unacceptable to the Palestinian leadership. Only the active and balanced involvement of the United States and the EU, coupled with progressive Arab leadership, can lead to peace. An effective negotiation must begin with halting further settlement building in the occupied territories, and a just solution must provide security and equity for both sides. (88)

Economic Reform

In the longer run, however, economic reform will be a key to undermining extremism. (89) Afghanistan, like any country devastated by war, cries out for economic assistance. Justifying such aid in the name of the political necessity of victory, Ian S. Lustick argues that the victory over fascist Italy, Nazi Germany and imperial Japan was followed and consolidated by a massive program of aid in the reconstruction of European democracy and the foundation of Japanese democracy. The victory of our arms in Afghanistan, Lustick continues, must be matched by "the same kinds of resources, political support and respect for our Muslim allies and their deeply held beliefs that we showed not only to our allies in post-war Europe, but toward our former enemies as well." (90)

The lack of consensus since the end of the Cold War on the purpose of foreign aid and its link to security issues needs an innovative analysis in the post-September 11 period. Some analysts find the United States dead last among industrial countries in the amount, relative to the size of its economy, that it allocates to foreign aid: "barely one-seventh of 1 percent of gross domestic product and less than a penny of every dollar in the President's 2003 budget." (91) Jeffrey Sacks, director of the Center for International Development at Harvard University, notes that by raising foreign aid by only one-tenth of one percent of GNP--a policy that would yield some $10 billion--the United States would have "an adequate strategy for fighting terrorism at its roots." (92) Taking a pragmatic view, as the argument goes, the security of the United States hinges upon achieving throughout the Muslim world what the Marshall Plan achieved in Europe.

What is needed is a reinvigorated foreign-aid program that is not based on bribing regional governments in exchange for support for the war on terrorism or other unilateral U.S. initiatives. On the contrary, much of this new plan should be devoted to initiatives that force regimes to make tough and uncomfortable choices. The lesson learned from the end of colonialism, lasting peace in Europe and the collapse of the Soviet Union is obvious: When used properly, foreign aid will most assuredly prove to be the key to sustainable security. (93) Military solutions are inadequate and thus less likely to end terrorism for good. (94)

Arguably, the divide between the rich and the poor should be seen for what it is, not viewed from the perspective of Islam versus the West. Neoliberal globalization has failed to eliminate poverty from the face of the earth. Conversely, one study demonstrates that, although the abject poor have decreased since 1960 as a proportion of the world's population, their absolute number has grown. The World Bank estimates that the number of people living on less than $1 per day increased from 1.2 billion in 1987 to 1.5 billion in 1997. (95) Encouraging us to engage in a critical understanding of the bewildering interdependence of our time, Edward W. Said writes,
 It is better to think in terms of powerful and powerless communities, the
 secular politics of reason and ignorance, and universal principles of
 justice and injustice, than to wander off in search of vast abstractions
 [such as civilizational talk] that may give momentary satisfaction but
 little sell-knowledge or informed analysis. (96)

As to the question of whether economic reforms should be introduced in tandem with political ones, the decision resides in the hands of national leaders themselves. There is no basic recipe that can take us through this process in the Middle East. What is clear, however, is that to the extent which Middle Eastern countries participate in the global and capitalist economies of the West, their continuing rejection of the underlying political forces for reform is contradictory. (97)

An Inward-Looking Approach

One of the unintended political results of September 11 was that it brought about a critical self-examination of social and political life in the Middle East. This tragedy has unleashed a remarkably vocal and public debate in the Arab press about massive social and economic problems including poverty, corruption, failed expectations, extremism and the inequitable distribution of wealth. Similarly, more and more Palestinians are openly criticizing the strategy of suicide bombings as the second intifada has left them worse off and more frustrated than ever. Writing in the pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat, Mustafa al Fiqi, an Egyptian diplomat and a member of the parliament, argues: "What is needed is the cleaning up of Arab society, which is beset by defects, misguided beliefs and the deviant use of our religion." (98) Mohamed Charfi, former president of the Tunisian Human Rights League and minister of education from 1989 to 1994, in an op-ed piece in The New York Times, writes that Muslim countries today, after experiences with Islamic radicalism in the region, most notably in Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, "need to begin a new phase of engagement with the world. Educational reform needs to be at the heart of this effort." (99)

The Muslim world has increasingly become the site of an emerging cultural conflict over who controls the process of social change, as well as whose interests are really served by change or resistance to it. The struggle over authoritative cultural meaning and interpretations, also known as a "politics of culture," has become widespread in the region. In such an arena, power interests stake competing claims to the labels, ideals and symbols that Islamic communities hold in high esteem. (100) The outcome of such conflicts may well determine the future of democracy, human rights and economic development in the region.

The Middle East now faces a war of ideas that must be waged from within the Muslim world. One scholar observes that this is more than a global war on terror or militancy, it is "a battle for the soul of the Middle East." (101) Another analyst writes that in a post-September 11 inter-Arab struggle, the West has an obvious interest in that struggle's "being fought and won by moderates." (102) If democratic processes are to prevail, external support for domestic reforms is essential. Without that support, the moderates will be on the defensive, and the pervasive sense of powerlessness will keep the militants in the thick of politics. Terrorism is bound to seep from within such societies.

The September 11 tragedy also served as a vivid reminder that the growth of Islamic extremism poses a major threat to existing Middle Eastern regimes and leaders. Some courageous and progressive leadership from some Arab countries could go a distance toward promoting stability in the region. Perhaps the Saudi proposal to get involved will begin that kind of participation. Certainly, if a coalition of countries in the region made reasonable and pragmatic proposals for peace solutions--territory for the Palestinians, secure borders for Israel, regional human-rights or democratic governance agreements, etc.--instead of war, the cycle of violence might be overshadowed by practical progress toward stability.

Surely a process of mutual introspection now more than ever appears to be imperative, both in the Arab/Muslim world and in the United States. (103) The contradictory U.S. positions as a lone superpower in the world merit a serious look. U.S. refusal to commit its resources to preventing genocidal violence in areas with little or no strategic salience is less likely to undermine its hegemonic power. Such contradictory policies, however, will, in the words of one expert, "more often than not put the United States on the margins of global public opinion even as it proclaims its leadership position." (104)

A recent poll conducted by Shibley Telhami, Anwar Sadat Professor for Peace and Development at the University of Maryland, shows that in Saudi Arabia more specifically and in the Middle East generally, the prevalent feeling of anti-Americanism has largely to do more with the U.S. foreign policies than with its values. (105) The public-opinion survey conducted through the summer of 2001 showed that 63 percent of Saudis considered the Palestinian issue as "the most important issue" to them personally. When asked if their attitudes toward the United States were mostly based on its policies or values, 86 percent answered policies. A mere 6 percent said values. (106)


It seems all too clear that new realities should inform the conduct of U.S. foreign policy if the current antipathy toward U.S. policies is to significantly subside. That U.S. Middle East policy is handicapped by conflicting agendas should not obscure the fact that several aspects of U.S. foreign policy need to be reconsidered in these changing and challenging times. The policy of basing U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia, where they are kept in check and out of sight, with limited or no interface with the Saudis, needs rethinking. (107) U.S.-sponsored Resolution 1397, which envisioned two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side within secure and recognized borders, is a step in the right direction. (108) In general, however, U.S. foreign policy lacks a clear strategy for handling the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Until peace becomes a priority item on the overall U.S. policy agenda in the region, the hopes of achieving it remain unrealistic.

Looking back on a half century of U.S. involvement in the Middle East, it is obvious that many contradictory policies have propped up unpopular regimes, caused disillusionment, prolonged the plight of the people there, and produced deepening confusion regarding who is our ally or our enemy. To challenge effectively the threat of radical Islamist movements, the United States must shift its focus from trying to crush such movements to pursuing policies that lead to popular and civil participation. (109) Preventing terrorism, U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan points out so poignantly, involves "addressing those grievances which terrorists find useful to exploit for their own ends." (110)

A foreign policy based on oil and pipeline politics is more of the same: unmitigated political support of unpopular and corrupt governments. How to make the proper policy adjustment on the basis of the new realities is an open question. There is a need to reflect on the deeper causes of the September 11 tragedy. Terrorism cannot be eradicated through military means alone. To work against such tragedies in the future, it is essential to address the grievances that lead to political dispossession and terrorism in the first place. (111) It is time to take a hard look at the policy approaches that have so far offered no resolution to the lingering problems of political mistrust, alienation and hatred.

(1) See Bernard Lewis, "The Roots of Muslim Rage," Atlantic Monthly, No. 226, September 1990, pp. 47-60; Bernard Lewis, Islam and the West (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993), pp. 3-42; Samuel P. Huntington, "The Clash of Civilizations?" Foreign affairs, Vol. 72, Summer 1993, pp. 22-49; Samuel P. Huntington, The Clash of Cilivilizations and the Remaking of World Order (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1996). For a critique of such perspective, see Mahmood Monshipouri, "The West's Modem Encounter with Islam: From Discourse to Reality," Journal of Church and State, Vol. 40, No. 1, Winter 1998, pp. 25-56.

(2) Mustapha Kamal Pasha and Ahmed I. Samatar, "The Resurgence of Islam," Globalization: Critical Reflections, James H. Mittelman, ed. (Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 1997), pp. 187-201; Richard A. Falk, Human Rights Horizons: The Pursuit of Justice in a Globalizing World (New York: Routledge, 2000), see "The Geopolitics of Exclusion: The Case of Islam," especially Chapter 8; see also Jan Aart Scholte, Globalization: A Critical Introduction (New York: St. Martin's Press, 2000).

(3) Stephen Zunes, "The United States and the Breakdown of the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process," Middle East Policy, Vol. VII, No. 4, December 2001, pp. 66-85; see also Stephen Zunes, "U.S.-GCC Relationship: Its Rise and Potential Fall," Middle East Policy, Vol. II, No. 1, pp. 103-112; Jeffrey W. Helsing, "The American Shadow: U.S. Foreign Policy and the Middle East," The International Relations of the Middle East in the 21st Century: Patterns of Continuity and Change, Tareq Y. Islmael, ed. (Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2000), pp. 293-359; John L. Esposito, The Islamic Threat: Myth or Reality, Second Edition (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995).

(4) Jeffrey W. Helsing, "The American Shadow: U.S. Foreign Policy and the Middle East," The International Relations of the Middle East in the 21st Century: Patterns of Continuity and Change, pp. 293-359; see p. 297. I borrowed this theme from Helsing who argues that "securing America's three fundamental interests in the region--oil, Israel, and regional stability--have usually led to policies that are contradictory and very hard to coordinate" (p. 296).

(5) William L. Cleveland, A History of the Modern Middle East, Second Edition (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 2000), p. 263.

(6) Lisa Anderson, "Dynasts and Nationalists: Why Monarchies Survive?" Middle East Monarchies: The Challenge of Modernity, Joseph Kostiner, ed. (Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2000), pp. 53-69.

(7) Ibid., p. 63.

(8) Ibid., p. 66.

(9) F. Gregory Gause III, "The Persistence of Monarchy in the Arabian Peninsula: A Comparative Analysis," Middle East Monarchies: The Challenge of Modernity, pp. 167-186; see pp. 179-180.

(10) Stephen Zunes, "U.S. Foreign Policy, Democracy, and Human Rights: Barriers to Action in the Middle East," The United States and Human Rights: Looking Inward and Onward, David P. Forsythe, ed. (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2000), pp. 227-245; see p. 228.

(11) John L. Esposito, The Islamic Threat: Myth or Reality? Third Edition (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999), p. 73.

(12) For a stimulating analysis of U.S. foreign policy, see the opinions expressed by Melani McAlister, Stephen Baker, and Richard Ebeling in Josh Burek, "Searching for Foreign Policy Lessons," September 25, 2001,

(13) Augustus Richard Norton, "America's Approach to the Middle East: Legacies, Questions, and Possibilities," Current History, January 2002, pp. 3-7; p. 4.

(14) The New York Times, February 22, 2002, pp. A1 and A10.

(15) Serge Schmemann, "Palestinian Voices: A Deep Despair," The New York Times, July 14, 2002, p. 16.

(16) The New York Times, July 17, 2002, p. A8.

(17) Zunes, "The United States and the Breakdown of the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process," pp. 66-85; see p. 72.

(18) Helsing, op. cit., pp. 297 and 322.

(19) Shibley Telhami, "The Case Against a Mini-Palestine," The Washington Post, June 18, 2002, p. A 19.

(20) The New York Times, February 22, 2002, pp. A1 and A10.

(21) See Helena Cobban, "Pushing Hard for Mideast Peace," The Christian Science Monitor, March 14, 2002, p.

(22) John Lewis Gaddis, "And Now This: Lessons From the Old Era for the New One," The Age of Terror: America and the World After September 11, Strobe Talbott and Nayan Chandra, eds. (New York: Basic Books, 2001), pp. 3-21; see p. 15.

(23) Yvonne Yazbeck Haddad, "Islamist Perceptions of U.S. Policy in the Middle East," The Middle East and the United States: A Historical and Political Reassessment, David W. Lesch, ed. (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1999), pp. 433-452, p. 446.

(24) Stephen Zunes, "Ten Things You Should Know About U.S. Policy in the Middle East," AlterNet, September 26, 2001,

(25) Mary H. Cooper, "Oil Production in the 21st Century," Global Issues: Selections from The CQ Researcher (Washington, DC: CQ Press, A Division of Congressional Quarterly, Inc., 2001), pp. 113-131; see p. 117.

(26) Johnny Agnel, "It's the Oil: Never Mind the Pundits, the Root Cause Remains the Same," LA Weekly Media, September 21-27, 2001.

(27) Lucy Ashton, "A Lucky Break for the New Great Game?" Oil & Gas North Africa Magazine, December (21) 2001, pp. 40-43; see p. 40.

(28) Stephen Kinzer, "Today's Silk Road Might Carry Black Gold," The New York Times, March 17, 2002, p. 6.

(29) Harry Davidson, "The Economics of War," The Final Call, November 20, 2001, Internet Edition,

(30) Matt Hinckley, "Changes in American Foreign Policy Can Forestall Future Terrorist Actions," The Richland Chronicle, September 26, 2001.

(31) Jonathan Power, "The U.S. Needs to Discard Its Old Relationships in the Middle East," October 17, 2001,

(32) Cooper, op. cit., p. 120.

(33) See John L. Esposito's comments quoted in Nick Snow, "In the Wake of September 11," Oil and Gas Investor, Vol. 21, No. 11, November 2001, pp. 60-64; see p. 60.

(34) The Christian Science Monitor, March 4, 2002, pp. 2-3.

(35) Cooper, op. cit., p. 120.

(36) Mamoun Fandy, "U.S. Oil Policy in the Middle East," January 1997,

(37) Cooper, op. cit., pp. 120 and 122.

(38) Joy Gordon, "A Peaceful, Silent, Deadly Remedy: The Ethics of Economic Sanctions," Ethics and International Affairs, Vol. 13, 1999, pp. 123-142; see p. 133.

(39) Muqtedar Khan, "Islam and the Two Faces of the West," The Globalist, October 11, 2001, Interact Edition,

(40) Amitai Etzioni, "Show U.S. Mettle in Pakistan," The Christian Science Monitor, July 18, 2002, p. 13.

(41) The New York Times, February 3, 2002, p. L3.

(42) Richard Wolffe and Gerard Baker, "Powell's New Doctrine," Financial Times, February 14, 2002, p. 10.

(43) Todd S. Purdum, "After Saddam: Now What?" The New York Times, February 17, 2002, Section 4, pp. 1 and 6.

(44) Suzanne Maloney, "America and Iran: From Containment to Coexistence," Policy Brief# 87, August 2001,

(45) Laura Drake, "Refighting the Cold War: Containment as the Foundation of America's Post-Cold War Political-Military Posture in the Middle East," Middle East At the Crossroads: The Changing Political Dynamics and the Foreign Policy Challenges, Manochehr Dorraj, ed. (Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1999), pp. 173-210; see p. 203.

(46) David H. Saltiel and Jason S. Purcell, "Moving Past Dual Containment: Iran, Iraq, and the Future of U.S. Policy in the Gulf" The Atlantic Council of the United States, Vol. XIII, No. 1, January 2002, pp. 1-4.

(47) Ibid.

(48) For more on U.S. foreign policy of double standards, see Helsing, op. cit., pp. 300-305.

(49) James A. Bill, The Eagle and the Lion: The Tragedy American-Iranian Relations (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1988), p. 97.

(50) Christopher Joyner, "U.S. Foreign Policy, Democracy, and the Islamic World," The United States and Human Rights: Looking Inward and Outward, pp. 246-270; see p. 262.

(51) Ibid, p. 264.

(52) Norton op. cit. p. 4.

(53) Noam Chomsky, "United States, Global Bully: Terrorism, Weapon of the Powerful," This is an edited extract of a talk Chomsky gave at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on October 18, 2001.

(54) Michel Chossudovsky, "Who Is Osama Bin Laden?" Global Dialogue, Vol. 3, No. 4, Autumn 2001, pp. l 7; see p. 5.

(55) Ibid.

(56) Helsing, op. cit., p. 352.

(57) Ibid., p. 352.

(58) James A. Bill and Robert Springborg, Politics in the Middle East, Fifth Edition (New York: Addison-Wesley Educational Publishers, 2000), p. 17.

(59) I have made this point in a paper that examined U.S. foreign policy in the aftermath of the Gulf War. See Mahmood Monshipouri and Thaddeus C. Zolty, "Shaping the New World Order: America's Post-Gulf War Agenda in the Middle East," Armed Forces and Society, Vol. 19, No. 4, Summer 1993, pp. 551-577.

(60) Zunes, "Ten Things You Should Know About U.S. Foreign Policy in the Middle East."

(61) See R. K. Ramazani, "U.S., Don't Turn Your Back on Iran." The Christian Science Monitor, February 7, 2002, p. 11.

(62) International Iran Times, March 1, 2002, p. 1.

(63) The Christian Science Monitor, Febraury 25, 2002, pp. 1 and 9.

(64) These ideas are expressed in the Readers Write section of The Christian & Science Monitor, March 1, 2002, p. 10, by Kewmars Bozorgmehr, London.

(65) Ross Peters, "U.S.'s Myopic Strategy on Iran," Asian Times, February 7, 2002, http://www.iranexpert.q/2002/usiran7february,htm.

(66) Gaddis, op. cit., p. 15.

(67) International Iran Times, March q, 2002, p. 2.

(68) Joseph S. Nye, Jr., The Paradox of American Power: Why the World Only Superpower Can ? Go It Alone (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002).

(69) Michael Cox, "September 11th and U.S. Hegemonic--Or Will the 21 st Century Be American Too?" International Studies Perspectives, Vol. 3, No. 1, February 2002, pp. 53-70; see p. 67.

(70) Gaddis, op. cit., p. 19.

(71) William Quandt, "New U.S. Policies for a New Middle East," The Middle East and the United States: A Historical and Political Reassessment, pp. 426-432; see p. 430.

(72) Ibid., pp. 430-431.

(73) Michael Dobbs, "A Story of Iran's Quest for Power: A Scientist Details The Role of Russia," The Washing ton Post, January 13, 2002, p. A1.

(74) Ibid.

(75) See the essay by Scott Peterson: "Iran's Nuclear Challenge: Deter, Not Antagonize," The Christian Science Monitor, February 21, 2002, p. 7.

(76) Michael Dobbs, "How Politics Helped Redefine Threat," The Washington Post, January 14, 2002, p. Al.

(77) Abbas Amanat, "A Risky Message To Iran," The New York Times, February 10, 2002, p. 15.

(78) Mohiaddin Mesbahi, "Iran's Foreign Policy Toward Russia, Central Asia, and the Caucasus," Iran at the Crossroads, John L. Esposito and R. K. Ramazani, eds. (New York: Palgrave, 2001), pp. 149-174; see pp. 160-161.

(79) Jean-Christophe Peuch, "Private and National Interests in the Caspian Region," The Politics of Caspian Oil, Bulent Gokay, ed. (New York: Palgrave, 2001), pp. 166-184; see p. 180.

(80) Richard Falk, "Bush's International Charade," AlterNet, December 20, 2001,

(81) The New York Times, February 3, 2002, p. L7; and also see op.ed. piece by Thomas Freidman, "The End of NATO?" on p. 15.

(82) Salman Rushdie, "American and Anti-Americanism," The New York Times, February 4, 2002, p. A23.

(83) The New York Times, January 29, 2002, p. A21.

(84) Amant, "Empowering through Violence: The Reinventing of Islamic Extremism," The Age of Terror: America and the World After Setember 11, pp. 25-52; see p. 51.

(85) Sara Roy, "Why Peace Failed: An Oslo Autopsy," Current History, Vol. 101, No. 651, January 2002, pp. 8-16.

(86) The New York Times, February 26, 2002, p. AS.

(87) Serge Schmemann, "A Saudi Peace Idea, Suddenly in a Spotlight," The New York Times, March 3, 2002, pp. L1 and L12-13; see p. L13.

(88) For a similar argument, see Arthur Goldschmidt, Jr.. A Concise History of the Middle East, Seventh Edition (Boulder, CO: Westveiw Press, 2002); see chapter 18: "War and the Quest for Peace."

(89) Fareed Zakaria, "How to Save the Arab World," Newsweek, December 24, 2001, pp. 22-28.

(90) lan S. Lustick, "The Political Requirements of Victory," Middle East Policy, Vol. VIII, No. 4, December 2001, pp. 14-17; see p. 17.

(91) Richard Sokolsky and Joseph McMillan, "Foreign Aid in Our Own Defense," The New York Times, February 12, 2002, p. A23.

(92) Quoted in The Christian & Science Monitor, February 26, 2002, p. 2.

(93) Sokolsky and McMillan, op. cit.

(94) David D. Newsom, "Don't Neglect the Roots of Terrorism," The Christian Science Monitor, February 5, 2002, p. 9.

(95) Jan Aart Scholte, Globalization: A Critical Introduction (New York: St. Martin's Press, 2000), p. 214.

(96) Edward W. Said, "The Clash of Ignorance," The Nation, October 22, 2001, Internet Edition,

(97) Heather Deegan, The Middle East and Problems of Democracy (Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 1994), p. 135.

(98) The Christian ,Science Monitor, January 28, 2002, p. 7.

(99) Mohamed Charfi, "Reaching the Next Muslim Generation," The New York Times, March 12, 2002, p. A27.

(100) Roy R. Andersen, Robert F. Seibert and Jon G. Wagner, Politics and Change in the Middle East: Sources of Conflict and Accommodation, Sixth Edition (New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 2001), p. 151.

(101) Shibley Telhami, "Understanding the Challenge," The Middle East Journal, Vol. 56, No. 1, Winter 2002, pp. 9-18; see p. 15.

(102) Thomas L. Friedman, "A Foul Wind," The New York Times, March 10, 2002, p. 19.

(103) See Nabil Fahmy, "Agenda for Two Worlds," The Washington Post, February 9, 2002, p. A27.

(104) David Campbell, "Contradictions of a Lonely Superpower," The American Century: Consensus and Coercion in the Projection of American Power, David Slator and Peter J. Talylor, eds. (Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 1999), pp. 222-242; see p. 235.

(105) Shibley Telhami, "Polling and Riyadh," The New York Times, March 3, 2002, p. 4.

(106) Ibid.

(107) For an interesting perspective on this subject, see Elaine Sciolino and Eric Schmitt, "U.S. Rethinks Its Role in Saudi Arabia," The New York Times, March 10, 2002, p. 24.

(108) For details regarding the U.N. Security Council Resolution 1397, see The New York Times, March 13, 2002, p. A 14.

(109) Stephen Zunes, "U.S. Policy Toward Political Islam," Foreign Policy in Focus, September 12, 2001, Internet Edition, pp.1-7; see p. 4,

(110) Quoted in The New York Times, March 7, 2002, p. A13.

(111) Gaddis, op. cit., p. 20.

Dr. Monshipouri is chair and professor of political science at Quinnipiac University. He specializes in Middle Eastern and European Studies. He is author of Islamism, Secularism, and Human Rights in the Middle East (Lynne Rienner Publishers, 1998). His most recent articles have appeared in Yale Human Rights and Development Law Journal, Human Rights Quarterly and Journal of Church and State.
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