Bush's Inauspicious Middle East Visit

[Washington Post] Editorial - The occasion of Israel's 60th-anniversary celebrations has drawn President Bush into a Middle East trip he would be better off not taking. In Israel, Mr. Bush will face the crumbling Israeli-Palestinian peace process he attempted to launch last year; in Saudi Arabia, he will find a regime that has been deaf to his pleas to help with soaring oil prices or support the Iraqi government. In Egypt, Mr. Bush will meet a ruler, Hosni Mubarak, who not only defied the president's "freedom agenda" but also forced the administration to retreat to its old policy of backing corrupt autocracies. Then there is Lebanon, where what was once one of the administration's clearest achievements is unraveling. The pro-Western government of Fouad Siniora, in which the administration invested some $1.3 billion in aid over the past two years, has already meekly retreated from an attempt to curb Hizbullah's creeping takeover. The Lebanese army, which has received $400 million of the U.S. aid, has been facilitating Hizbullah's disarmament of pro-government militias and its destruction of pro-government television stations and political offices.

2008-05-13 01:00:00

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