Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

in association with Access/Middle East
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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July 11, 2003

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In-Depth Issue:

Report to Reveal New Information on Saudi Financing of Terrorists - Frank Davies (Miami Herald)
    The report of a congressional investigation focusing on intelligence before and after Sept. 11, to be released in the next two weeks, contains new information about U.S. government mistakes and Saudi financing of terrorists.
    A source familiar with the investigation said a ''sensitive area'' of the report that will command public attention will be more information on ties between the Saudi royal family, government officials, and terrorists.
    The FBI may have mishandled an investigation into how two of the Sept. 11 hijackers received aid from Saudi groups and individuals.
    John Lehman, a member of the independent National Commission on Terrorist Attacks, said at a hearing Wednesday: "There's little doubt that much of the funding of terrorist groups - whether intentional or unintentional - is coming from Saudi sources.''
    Former Rep. Tim Roemer (D-Ind.), who served on the House Intelligence Committee and who has read the report, said, ''It's compelling and galvanizing and will refocus the public's attention on Sept. 11....Certain mistakes, errors, and gaps in the system will be made clear.''
    Roemer called the report a "well-written narrative that will be summer reading for adults the way Harry Potter is for kids.''

Palestinian Summer Campers Praise Homicide Bombers - Suleman al-Shafi (Israel TV2-Hebrew)
    Scenes of Palestinian youth at summer camps in Gaza were broadcast Thursday on Israeli TV Channel 2, showing youngsters praising homicide bombings against Israelis.
    Camp activities include visits to the parents of homicide bombers.

Rising Muslim Population Alters the West: Poses Challenge for U.S. and Europe - Uwe Siemon-Netto (UPI/NewsMax)
    In Manchester, England, a radical Muslim who does not even speak English has been elected to the city council, where he needs an interpreter.
    In France, about 70,000 young women, chiefly Muslim, are subjected to forced marriages every year, according to the country's High Council for Integration.
    Are European governments still masters in their own house? And to what extent will the growth of their Islamic communities have serious repercussions on foreign and domestic affairs?
    According to terrorism expert Michael Radu of the Philadelphia-based Foreign Policy Research Institute, there are between 12 and 16 million Muslims living in the EU's 15 member states, "more than in most Arab countries."
    "In certain countries Muslim communities have reached a critical mass, which pushes otherwise lucid politicians to see where their electoral weight lies. In France this is obviously the case....In Germany, the number of voters of Turkish origin made the difference that allowed [Chancellor Gerhard] Schroeder to remain in power."
    Earlier this year elections were held in Muslim congregations in France for the 50 seats on a national council. The result was a shock. The group around Dalil Boubakeur, the moderate rector of the Grand Mosque of Paris, who was supposed to be the council's first leader, won merely two seats. But the most radical organization came in second, with 14 seats.
    France has 5-6 million Muslims, whose young generation seems particularly troublesome, according to Radu. Half of these young Muslims "reject the French identity. They reject their immigrant parents' national identity. They see themselves not as Frenchmen but as Muslims" and are "very vulnerable to recruitment by radicals."
    Similarly, a substantial segment of young Muslims in the United Kingdom does not identify with Britain but only with Islam. Thus, Radu said, "it is not surprising" that the detainees in Guantanamo include nine British subjects.
    While most of the 3.5 million Muslims in Germany are of Turkish origin, "The Central Islamic Council of Germany is dominated by Islamists," said Ursula Spuler-Stegemann, who teaches Islamic studies at Marburg University.

U.S. May Link Israeli Arrow Sale with Indian Troops to Iraq - Huma Siddiqui (Financial Express-India)
    Washington is attempting to use the Israeli Arrow anti-missile system, which New Delhi is very keen on buying, as a handle to pressure the Vajpayee government into sending its troops to Iraq.
    New Delhi has been urged to provide a division (around 15,000-20,000 troops) that can command a sector in northern Iraq around the city of Mosul.
    "It would be a major step and mean a lot in terms of Indo-U.S. relations. This is a significant role in Iraq and would make New Delhi one of the major players on the ground," a senior Indian official said.
    Another issue concerns New Delhi�s interest in purchasing the Arrow anti-missile system, the only operational anti-ballistic missile system. Since this is built by Israel and Boeing, the sale requires U.S. approval.

PA Security Reorganizes in Bethlehem - James Drummond (Financial Times-UK)
    A condition of the road map is that the Palestinian security services are supposed to be rationalized into three organizations rather than the 10 of the 1990s.
    Brigadier Ahmed Aid, the senior policeman in Bethlehem, said that the reorganization had taken place in the city - into police, intelligence, and national security - although for now the men still have the uniforms of their original units.
    There is a new security control room in Bethlehem and each of the three services rotates to provide chiefs of the station.
    Brigadier Aid said the CIA sent a representative late last week to audit procedures at the control room.
    The CIA operative "was very pleased with what she saw," he said.

Iraq Abounds in Anti-Israel Rumors - Steven Gutkin (Jerusalem Post)
    Iraqis, who grew up on a steady diet of anti-American rhetoric, are being bombarded by a fresh wave of disinformation, much of it coming from an explosion of new newspapers. The country now has about 150 newspapers, compared to 14 before the war.
    The Assaah newspaper claimed that the Israeli government ordered the modification of its export laws to flood Iraqi markets with Israeli goods.
    The paper urged Iraqis to carefully check Taiwanese or Chinese-made appliances for hidden Stars of David.

IBM Adds Israel Design Center (Electronic News)
    IBM Corp. announced Thursday the establishment of a design center in Haifa, Israel, that will focus on components, especially in the areas of ASIC logic design, full custom digital and analog circuit design, array design, physical design, and verification.
    The move adds another 40 engineers to IBM Engineering & Technology Services.

Key Links

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Back Issues

News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • Palestinian Militants Vow to Continue Fight
    Fatah militant Zakariye Zubeydi, 27, who heads the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades in Jenin, vowed in an interview "to continue our operations." Militants like Zubeydi are strong in northern parts of the West Bank, and the success of the truce may depend on whether he and dozens of others like him can be reined in. "Who are they to tell us what to do, wearing their fancy suits in their air-conditioned offices," Zubeydi said of Palestinian leaders, sitting under a tree Wednesday in the Jenin refugee camp where he lives. Militants like Zubeydi say that in ignoring the truce they are carrying out the true will of the Palestinians - and also, they are convinced, of Arafat. (AP/USA Today)
  • U.S. Blocks Libya's Attempt to Gain Security Council Seat
    With the vote for the next five nonpermanent members of the UN Security Council a few months away, Libya has taken itself out of the running and has agreed to let Algeria serve in its place for the 2004-05 term, diplomats said Thursday. The decision was a victory for the U.S., which in anticipation of Libya's candidacy had encouraged the introduction of rival West African candidates to scuttle Libya's chances of success, the diplomats said. (New York Times)
  • Mother Who Left Children in Saudi Arabia Testifies
    Sarah Waheed Saga, who was herself kidnapped by her Saudi father and taken to Saudi Arabia as a child, told the House Government Reform subcommittee on wellness and human rights Wednesday that three U.S. consular officers in Jidda stood by as Saudi government officials insisted she sign a document waiving all custody rights to her 5-year-old son and 3-year-old daughter if she left the country. "Nobody at all talked to me about my legal rights," she said. Subcommittee Chairman Dan Burton (R-Ind.) called Mrs. Saga's case a "tragedy" and said it was only the latest in a series of bitter disputes with Saudi Arabia in child-abduction and disputed custody cases. Saudi Arabia has refused to sign an international convention on child-abduction disputes, he said. "We continue to foster a relationship with a country that abuses not only its own citizens but American citizens as well," said Rep. Diane Watson (D-Cal.) (Washington Times)
        See also Sarah�s Saga - Joel Mowbray (National Review)
  • New U.S. Visa Measures Mean Headaches for Israelis
    New regulations added by the U.S. State Department to its visa program in the wake of 9/11, which apply to all Israelis and other foreign nationals who require visas to enter the U.S., have at times flummoxed and frustrated Israelis coming to America. Beginning this year, the Department of Homeland Security instituted a new computerized database, a more elaborate visa application process and, beginning Aug. 1, a face-to-face interview with an American consular officer. According to Ariella Feldman, North American service director for the Jewish Agency for Israel program which coordinates bringing Israeli staff to most North American Jewish summer camps, nearly 1,400 Israeli shlichim, or emissaries, are at 185 North American camps this summer, up from 1,250 the previous year, and about 1,100 in 2001. Visas, which last year cost $55 apiece, jumped to $120, Feldman said. Twenty-seven countries - mostly European - are exempt from the requirements and their citizens can travel to America without a visa for tourism or general business. Some believe Israelis should not be subject to the newest stringent measures. (JTA)
        See also Congressional Panel Discusses Easing Visa Policy for Israelis - Nathan Guttman (Ha'aretz)
  • News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:

  • Arafat Tells Envoy Abbas is "Betraying Palestinian Interests" - Arnon Regular, Amos Harel, and Aluf Benn
    Yasser Arafat on Thursday accused Prime Minister Mahmud Abbas of "betraying the interests of the Palestinian people." Arafat reportedly told UN envoy Terje Larsen, "How does he dare to stand next to an Israeli flag and next to Sharon and to act friendly?" Most senior Fatah activists support Arafat against Abbas, but the prime minister also has supporters, and the fight is causing a serious rift within Fatah, Palestinian sources said. (Ha'aretz)
  • Arafat Blocks Dahlan Control of West Bank Security - Danny Rubinstein
    It was announced Thursday that Arafat appointed Jibril Rajoub in charge of the district governors in the West Bank and Gaza. This is significant because each governor is in charge of the regular police forces, in practice the Palestinian military, in the area. With this posting, Arafat has prevented Palestinian Minister for Security Affairs Mohammed Dahlan, who is close to Abbas, from extending his control of security beyond the Gaza Strip into the West Bank. Dahlan and Rajoub were close in the past but had a falling out more than a year ago. (Ha'aretz)
  • Arafat to Purge Abbas Loyalists from Fatah - Khaled Abu Toameh
    Yasser Arafat has endorsed a plan to overhaul the Fatah movement in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, PA officials in Ramallah disclosed Thursday. The move is seen by some officials as an attempt by Arafat to tighten his grip on Fatah and flush out activists who appear to have shifted their loyalty to Mahmud Abbas and Muhammad Dahlan. Former interior minister Hani al-Hassan, a senior Fatah leader, has been entrusted with overseeing the changes. Many of the local Fatah leaders in the West Bank and Gaza Strip may be replaced, a move that is likely to spark another crisis inside the movement. Fatah officials, including Arafat, are also concerned at the growing power of Dahlan and insist on clipping his wings. "Dahlan is behaving as if he's the king," said one official. "The fact that he's on Bush's payroll doesn't give him the right to sideline the legitimate leadership of the Palestinian people." (Jerusalem Post)
  • PA Won't Disarm Islamic Jihad during Hudna
    Abdullah al-Shami, head of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, said he had received assurances from Mahmud Abbas that the PA would not disarm the Islamic Jihad during the three-month hudna (cease-fire) (Israel Radio-Reshet Bet/Hebrew)
  • Ivry: "Israel Will Help India Fight Terrorism" - Amit Baruah
    Israel will assist India in its battle against terrorism, visiting Israeli special envoy David Ivry said Thursday in New Delhi where he met with External Affairs Minister Yashwant Sinha, Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani, and National Security Adviser Brajesh Mishra. Mr. Ivry said that a recent speech by Mishra in Washington implied that India, the U.S., and Israel should cooperate in fighting terrorism. "The U.S. can be the leader and we (Israel and India) can contribute as much as we can,'' he said. He said that sharing of intelligence was very important. Ivry confirmed that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon would visit India within the year. Asked about recent statements by Pakistan President Musharraf that Islamabad was looking at the possibility of building ties with Israel, Ivry said Israel wanted to be recognized by everyone. However, to ensure that India would not "misunderstand'' if eventually Pakistan and Israel were to establish diplomatic relations, he said that Israel would coordinate with India on the issue. (The Hindu-India)
        See also American Jews are Key Advocates of U.S.-India Ties - Carol Giacomo
    When India's deputy prime minister, L.K. Advani, was in Washington last month, his brief visit included dinner at the elite Cosmos Club, courtesy of the American Jewish Committee. "It's a natural alliance between Israel and India," said Jason Isaacson, the committee's director of government and international affairs. "It's about trade and common interests between democracies (and), complimenting that is the growing relationships between Indian Americans and American Jews," he said. Isaacson has visited India seven times since 1995 and the AJC plans to set up a liaison office in India this year. The organization is also renovating a school in Gujarat, where minority Muslims have been the victims of ethnic violence. As evidence these ties have "come of age," the AJC, AIPAC, and the U.S.-India Political American Organization plan a joint reception for Congress on July 16. (Reuters)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • How Much Don't We Know? Government-Imposed Constraints on Middle East Media Coverage - Doug Jehl and Khaled Abu Toameh
    Of the seventeen countries covered by the New York Times' Cairo bureau, only a few are accessible without constraints: Kuwait, Jordan, and, more recently and to a lesser extent, Lebanon and Bahrain. The most interesting countries in the region from a reportorial standpoint are Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iran, and Iraq, and all of them have very restrictive visa policies. During Israel's incursion in Lebanon in 1996, the lead sentence in my New York Times article read, "The Israeli army fired an artillery barrage into a United Nations peacekeeping camp today. The attack, which Israel said came in response to rocket mortar fire...." In contrast, the Washington Post described "Israeli artillery shells fired in retaliation for a rocket barrage slammed into a UN compound." Evidently, the Post's wording upset the Syrians, and the author was banned from entering the country for years. (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
  • Deciphering the Hudna - Azmi Bishara
    Talk shows are parading experts to discuss the place of hudna in Islamic history. Can anything be more painful than to hear interlocutors peppering their speech with an Arabic word, as if by doing so they automatically acquired an esoteric key to knowledge which the Hebrew or English languages lack? Thus hudna has now joined intifada, which has survived in Hebrew and English. In the process, the intifada was elevated into a special case, differentiated from other uprisings and revolts. It became a unique phenomenon, confined to the Palestinians, and resistant to full comprehension. The same thing is now happening with hudna. Suddenly, we are no longer talking of a cease-fire - a concept readily available in English, and which is widely used in reference to the armistice lines of 1949 - but of something much stranger, much harder to pin down. In actual fact, what the Palestinian groups have recently offered is a unilateral cease-fire. It is as simple as that. When the armistice lines were drawn up in 1949, the action was rendered in English by its appropriate name, and no one saw any reason to introduce the Arabic word, hudna, into other languages.
        Whatever the motives of the various Palestinian factions in declaring a unilateral cease-fire, the decision was a strategically appropriate one under the current local, regional, and international circumstances. There is something to be said for combatants choosing to stop and catch their breath in the current circumstances. The great challenge facing the Palestinians today is to find a balance that will enable them to survive for a long period while resisting occupation and refusing the terms it seeks to impose on them. The Palestinian forces that are active in the fight against occupation need to prepare the public for a long period of steadfastness. Unless the Palestinians are determined to continue the struggle, the cease-fire may simply disrupt the resistance and discourage the young from joining its ranks. The writer is a member of the Israeli Knesset from Nazareth. (AMIN-Palestinian Authority)
  • Iranian Missiles: The Nature of the Threat - Yiftah Shapir
    Iran's announcement on July 7 that it had conducted the final test of its Shehab-3 medium-range ballistic missile confirmed an earlier report in the Israeli media. The Shehab-3 is a single stage ballistic missile based on the technology of the Soviet-built R-17 (Scud-B) missile. Its estimated range is 1,300 km - just enough to reach targets in Israel - and it can carry a payload of approximately 700 kg. For the time being, the Shehab-3 is thought to carry only conventional warheads but it is probably intended to carry a nuclear warhead if Iran manages to produce one small enough. A chemical or biological warhead is also a possibility. The Shehab-3 is thought to be identical to the North Korean No-Dong or a further refinement of it. As early as 1994, it was assessed that North Korea had transferred prototypes of its No-Dong missile to Iran. In its present configuration, the Iranian system does not constitute a serious danger to Israel. Even if Iran can launch a small number of conventionally-armed missiles, the damage would be comparable to that inflicted by the Iraqi missiles fired on Israel in 1991. (Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies-Tel Aviv University)
  • The Shi'ites and the Future of Iraq - Yitzhak Nakash
    In the wake of the September 11 attacks, the threat to U.S. interests in the Persian Gulf does not emanate from an Iranian Shi'ite revolution that has lost its fervor, but rather from the growth of Sunni Islamic radicalism influenced by the Wahhabi-Hanbali school dominant in Saudi Arabia. Wahhabism's hatred for America is rivaled only by its hostility to Shi'ism. To contain its spread, the U.S. will need to build bridges to Shi'ites in the Arab world as well as to the reformers in Iran. (Foreign Affairs)
        See also Shi'ite Leaders Not a Threat, For Now - Peyman Pejman
    Almost all the attacks against U.S. forces in Iraq have occurred in areas controlled by Sunni Muslims. There are signs also that some Sunni Muslims might be receiving financial and material help from Saudi Arabia's radical Wahhabi Muslims. "We realize there is some Saudi activity and involvement and we've basically told them cut it out," a senior U.S. official in Baghdad said. (IPS-Italy)
  • Must Pakistan Be Hostile Toward Israel Forever? - Col. Riaz Jafri (Ret.)
    The fact of the matter is that Jews have a home (country) - Israel - for the last 50 years or so. Israel is member of the UN and recognized by all the countries of the world except the Muslim countries. Even among the Islamic countries, Egypt and Turkey have diplomatic relations with it. The Holy Prophet himself went into an agreement with the Jews of Medina. Most importantly, we must see where Pakistan's interests lie. Must we keep a hostile attitude toward Israel forever and in the process antagonize her allies, most of whom wield tremendous influence in international politics? (PakTribune)
  • Visas to America - Editorial
    With all due sympathy, especially in Israel, for the American need to tighten its homeland security, it was correct for the foreign ministry to express its reservations about the hard line the U.S. is taking with Israelis who want to visit. Hundreds of thousands of Israeli citizens visit the U.S. every year. Half the world's Jewish population lives there and many Israelis have relatives in America. Israel has a strict, effective security regime at its borders, and makes sure its passports are scannable and as counterfeit-proof as possible. In recent weeks and on more than one occasion, well-known Israelis or government officials have had their visa requests turned down, or subjected to lengthy delays, because as children they immigrated to Israel from an Arab country. At the very least, Israeli citizens should be granted a relaxation of the visa requirements, if not full exemption. (Ha'aretz)
  • R.P.G. Alley - Michael R. Gordon
    American convoys delivering supplies to the troops in Iraq are being attacked more frequently than during the war. The insurgents have become proficient in their weapon of choice - the rocket-propelled grenade. An area just south of Baghdad has become so treacherous that G.I.s have dubbed it "R.P.G. Alley." The attacks indicate that allied forces are contending with a cunning adversary, one that has studied the pattern of American military operations and has adjusted its tactics accordingly. (New York Times)
  • What Iraq Needs Now - Jalal Talabani and Massoud Barzani
    The first building blocks of Iraqi federalism and democracy have already been laid in Iraqi Kurdistan. Thanks to protection from American and British air power, facilitated by Turkey, Kurds have had 12 years of a sometimes faltering, but ultimately hopeful, experiment in self-rule, openness, and pluralism. With continued help from the U.S., and with our work on the interim Iraqi administration, what has become known as the Kurdish experiment in democracy can be a model for all of Iraq. (New York Times)

    Weekend Features:

  • Raid on Entebbe - Editorial
    On Friday as part of his tour of Africa, President Bush stops off at Entebbe, the capital of Uganda. Twenty-seven years ago, pro-Palestinian terrorists hijacked an Air France flight, filled with Israelis, to Entebbe airport. The terrorists - supported by the brutal Ugandan dictator Idi Amin - threatened that unless Israel released 50 convicted terrorists, they would execute the Israeli hostages. Israel's response on July 4, 1976, was to send commandos on a daring 2,200-mile rescue mission to save the hostages. Hours before the executions were due to start, the Israeli commandos managed to kill the terrorists, destroy a quarter of the Ugandan airforce, and fly out of Entebbe with the hostages - all within an hour after landing. The lesson from the raid on Entebbe was that terrorists can be defeated. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Jordan's Troubling Detour - Toujan Faisal and Ian Urbina
    When Washington cites examples of the potential for reform and democracy in the Arab world, Jordan is one of the first countries mentioned. In elections last month for parliament, voter turnout topped 52% and Islamists took part in the elections rather than boycotting them. Six parliamentary spots were specially set aside for women. Yet Jordan is still a long way off from embracing true democratic reform. At the heart of the problem are the "temporary laws" the Jordanian government has decreed over the last two years containing a wide range of domestic restrictions. Public gatherings require a three-day-advance permit, which is almost never given. Criticism of "friendly" nations is a crime prosecuted before a military court. Reporters who write stories critical of the government now face up to three years in prison.
        In expanding the parliament's size from 80 to 110 seats, the regime watered down its critics by concentrating the new seats in the south and west where regime support is strong. The north and central voting districts, where the bulk of the Palestinian population resides, are sorely underrepresented. Amman has roughly one parliament member for each 52,255 voters, whereas the city of Karak has a parliament member for every 6,000 voters. (Los Angeles Times)
  • Democracy in Kuwait - Peter Berkowitz
    On the occasion of the July 5 parliamentary election in Kuwait, I joined a small delegation of journalists, think tankers, and Senate staffers as a guest of the Kuwaiti government to learn more about democratization in that country, whose 850,000 citizens and 1.25 million guest workers live in a small, sun-baked land beneath which lies 10% of the world's proven oil reserves. Its 50-seat parliament is the most active in the Gulf, its press the freest, and its women, who account for 34% of the labor force and two-thirds of the bachelors degrees in the country, are the most economically active in the Arab world. While the liberals fell from 9 seats to 3 in the elections, and Islamists gained slightly, this is not the debacle for democracy that the Western press has made it out to be. Because most of the seats went to candidates loyal to the government, informed observers believe that this National Assembly, with the support - and perhaps at the initiative - of the government, will indeed enact legislation giving women the right to vote. (Weekly Standard)
  • Hip-Hop Thrives in Israel - Loolwa Khazzoom
    The tenth anniversary celebration of hip-hop in Israel took place July 3rd in Tel Aviv. Israeli youth are mass consumers of Hebrew hip-hop, a music genre that cuts across lines of ethnicity not only between Arabs and Jews, but within the Jewish community itself - featuring artists from Ethiopian, Mizrahi (Middle Eastern/North African), Sephardic (Spanish-Portuguese and Latin), and Ashkenazi (Central/Eastern European) backgrounds. (Rolling Stone)
  • Observations:  

    America Should Pick Up the Ottoman Burden - Simon Karam (Beirut Daily Star)

    Simon Karam was Lebanon's ambassador to the United States.

    • The American military presence in Iraq will last for 10 years or more, U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz recently told Congress. This may be an understatement according to Washington insiders. The truth is that for the foreseeable future the United States is the dominant power in the Middle East, a strategic development swiftly recognized after the Iraq war by the major regional actors. In Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, a few weeks ago, U.S. President Bush chaired an "Arab summit" that sanctioned the American presence in Iraq. In Iran, former President Rafsanjani recently stated that his country recognized it "now has a frontier with the United States." All those who count in the region have accepted America's new status. However, no clearly defined political order has emerged that matches America's remarkable power.
    • For America's enemies, events in Iraq strengthen their belief that the U.S. may be heading toward what it faced in Lebanon in 1983-84, when it withdrew in blood and defeat. These states and groups believe the U.S. is especially vulnerable because of the 2004 presidential election, and think now is the time to reverse history by provoking a U.S. collapse in Iraq and a retreat from the Middle East. Two ways to achieve this are through an intensification of attacks in Iraq, and also by ensuring the failure of the road map. Despite such doomsday scenarios, Arabs do not necessarily regard the American Imperium as something bad. Against the backdrop of the general failure of the Arab order, the majority of people in the region see a Pax Americana in the Middle East as potentially beneficial, whether politically, economically, or socially.
    • Caught between the U.S. and Islamists, Arab nationalists see that the order they established after World War I and consolidated after World War II has little chance of surviving. In the contest for the hearts and minds of the Arab world, the U.S. is far better equipped than they to provide Arab peoples with a desirable political and economic future.
    • Democracy, pluralism, and economic partnership are valid slogans the U.S. is raising at a time when the discovery of mass graves in Iraq is exposing the hideous face of the current Arab order. Yet all this provides no answer to the conundrum of Islamic identity, central to societies where political regimes - since the assassination of Ali, the fourth caliph - have been unable to fully establish themselves without successfully passing the legitimacy test vis-a-vis Islamic law, the Sharia, both as definer of a social order and a way of life.
    • The only alternative today is to revive the Ottoman tradition recognizing the region's different cultural identities - religious, ethnic, and regional - and integrating it into a concept of modernization that incorporates American notions of gradual democratization and open Middle Eastern markets. In achieving this, the U.S. will come to play a neo-Ottoman role in the Middle East. However, once they have taken on this burden, the Americans have a slim chance of success unless they can add an acceptable Islamic reference point to their new order.

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