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.

Europe, the US and the Strategic Triangle

by Saad Rahim
published in MER235

Oil is by its very nature a finite commodity. The question has always been not whether it would run out, but when it would. The doomsday scenarios that some predict --mass blackouts and the imminent demise of suburbia -- may be far-fetched, but the era of “peak oil” is here.

From the Editors

published in MER235

There is one cliché about the killing field that is US-occupied Iraq that rings true. There is no “good option,” no magic wand that will make the violence bedeviling the country disappear. The question ought to be which of the bad options offers the best hope for achieving a sovereign Iraq with a minimum of additional suffering for the Iraqi people.

Reading Culture, Identity and Space in US Foreign Policy

by Waleed Hazbun
published in MER236

Inundated by “theories” about the putative role of Islamic and Arab culture in shaping Middle East politics, one might ask: what role does American culture play in US foreign policy? In recent years, some of the most innovative contributions to the study of US relations with the Middle East have come from investigations into the role of culture, identity and space.