The Tar Baby of Foreign Aid

How Palestinians Are Trying to Keep Their Hands Clean

by Charmaine Seitz
published in MER234

In his 2005 State of the Union address, President George W. Bush, hailing “the beginnings of reform and democracy in the Palestinian territories,” pledged $350 million in US aid to the Palestinian Authority. One day before the heralded meeting of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at Sharm al-Sheikh on February 8, the State Department announced the immediate transfer of another $40 million in aid to the Palestinians.

QIZs, FTAs, USAID, and the MEFTA

A Political Economy of Acronyms

by Pete Moore
published in MER234

Jordan is the poster child for the Bush administration project of “transforming” the political order in the Middle East through free trade. If Jordan is any guide, however, economic liberalization does not lead inexorably to the diffusion of political power.

Democracy, Deception and the Arms Trade

The US, Iraq and Weapons of Mass Destruction

by Irene Gendzier
published in MER234

The controversy over Iraq's alleged possession of weapons of mass destruction, the prime justification for the Bush administration's decision to invade Iraq, has apparently been laid to rest. A succession of US-commissioned reports have failed to confirm the Bush administration's claims.

Bush in Jerusalem

Rhetoric vs. Reality

by Josh Ruebner
published in MER246

The first leg of President George W. Bush’s whirlwind January tour of the Middle East took him to Jerusalem, where, in his first visit as president, he tried to breathe life into the renewed Israeli-Palestinian negotiations launched under US auspices at Annapolis, Maryland in November 2007. The talks remain moribund, but ears pricked up during a speech Bush delivered at the King David Hotel on January 10. Several formulations seemed downright alien to the lexicon from which the Bush White House has generally drawn.

A Kurdish-American in Mosul

An Interview with Herro Kader Mustafa

by Herro Kader Mustafa
published in MER247

Herro Kader Mustafa is a Kurdish-American, originally from Iraq, who has built an impressive portfolio of responsibilities in the course of her career at the State Department and the National Security Council of the United States. She is currently the acting chief of staff for the undersecretary for political affairs at the State Department. Mustafa served as the senior US civilian official responsible for administering the Iraqi province of Ninawa—of which Mosul is the capital—in the aftermath of the 2003 war. She is the subject of an upcoming documentary entitled American Herro. In May 2008, Mustafa spoke to MERIP about her experiences.

When and under what circumstances did you and your family leave Iraq?

Faded Dreams of Contracted Democracy

by Kevin Begos
published in MER234

Iraq now has an elected provisional national assembly and elected provincial councils. In the end, the $467 million given to a US contractor to build democracy had little to do with these achievements.

The Bush Team Reloaded

by Jim Lobe
published in MER234

On September 20, 2001, just nine days after the attacks on New York and the Pentagon, the Project for the New American Century (PNAC) laid out a consensus agenda for President George W. Bush's “war on terrorism.” In addition to military action to oust the Taliban in Afghanistan and “capture or kill” Osama bin Laden, PNAC called for regime change in Iraq “even if evidence does not link Iraq directly to the attack,” and “appropriate measures of retaliation” against Iran and Syria if they refused to comply with US demands to cut off support for Hizballah.

The Curious Case of Oil-Exporting Jordan

by Pete Moore
published in MER234

From time to time, the boring economic data regurgitated by Jordan’s amply staffed ministries offers up a tantalizing mystery. In the Monthly Statistical Bulletin (May 2004) published by the Central Bank of Jordan, for example, one learns that Jordanian export of refined oil products increased 46 times over from 2002 to 2003 -- a trend that continued well into 2004. This is certainly odd, since Jordan has no proven oil reserves.

Iraqi Elections

by Chris Toensing
published in MER234

Just once, one wishes, events in post-invasion Iraq could transpire without instantly being spun as helping or hurting President George W. Bush. There was no such luck after images of Iraqis cheerfully -- even joyously -- voting in the January 30, 2005 elections for a provisional national assembly zipped around the world. Bush, not surprisingly, claimed the images as vindication of the 2003 invasion and proof that his promised “forward march of freedom” in the Middle East is just getting started.