A Bloody Stupid War

by Moustafa Bayoumi
published in MER231

When a war breaks out people say, “It’s too stupid; it can’t last long.” But though a war may well be “too stupid,” that doesn’t prevent its lasting. Stupidity has a knack of getting its way; as we should see if we were not always so much wrapped up in ourselves.

 -- Albert Camus, The Plague

Neo-Conservatives, Hardline Clerics and the Bomb

by Kaveh Ehsani , Chris Toensing
published in MER233

Even as the US military launched a long-rumored offensive in the Iraqi city of Falluja in early November 2004, the subject of anxious speculation in Washington was not Iraq, but Iran. President George W. Bush’s victory at the polls on November 2 returned to office the executive who located Iran upon an “axis of evil” in the 2002 State of the Union address and called the Islamic Republic a “totalitarian state” during his campaign for a second term in the White House. The neo-conservatives who were so influential in promoting the invasion of Iraq have long harbored the desire to foment “regime change” in Tehran as well as in Baghdad.

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.