The Great Circle of Enmity

[U.S. News] Fouad Ajami - Vice President Dick Cheney may descend on Arab capitals, as he did last week, and our secretary of state can assemble one huge diplomatic conclave after another in support of Iraq, but the great circle of enmity around the fragile Baghdad government will not be broken. This region has been stubborn in its refusal to accept the stark verdicts of history. The State of Israel is a year away from its 60th anniversary, and still the Arab imagination denies Israel's legitimacy. Iraq is different, but a state that gives pride of place to the Shiites (and the Kurds) is still an oddity in the Arab landscape. For well over a millennium, the Shiite Arabs have not governed; they have been the stepchildren of the Arab world. The Sunni Arab rulers, and the angry men and women on the airwaves and in the "chat rooms" of the Arab world, insist that their animus toward this new Iraq derives from their opposition to the American presence. This is plain hypocrisy, for vast stretches of the Arab world are within the orbit of American power. Pax Americana, and the shadow and the reality of its power, underpin the security of the Arab states of the Persian Gulf. In Amman, Jordan, and Cairo, American largess and security networks uphold these regimes. In the Arabian Peninsula, the American presence - military, economic and cultural - dates back decades.

2007-05-15 01:00:00

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