Cablegate: Media Reaction: Middle East

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.




E.O. 12958: N/A

1. "Blowing apart Mideast hope"
The liberal Toronto Star opined (8/26): "Millions of
Israelis and Palestinians feel betrayed today, as the
Middle East lurches back into chaos after a brief
respite. Most endorse the American-brokered 'road map'
to peace. Yet they've just seen their leaders fritter
away a precious two-month truce. Palestinian President
Yasser Arafat, furious at being sidelined by
the Americans and Israelis, never did give Prime
Minister Mahmoud Abbas the backing he needs to suppress
extremists. Instead, Arafat undermined him.... Last
week's horrific bus bombing in Jerusalem by Hamas, in
which 21 Israelis died, was one of the most vicious
attacks yet. But Israeli Prime Minister
Ariel Sharon, too, has failed to live up to the spirit
of the road map.... And Sharon's policy of hunting down
and killing Hamas and Jihad leaders has spurred new
attacks.... The violence of the past week should
inspire Bush to get more actively involved, if only to
salvage his own flagging credibility. This post 9/11,
terror-fighting president has broad interests in Iraq,
Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Pakistan and
elsewhere. He has to be seen to be even-handed, as he
tries to end three years of violence in which 2,300
Palestinians and 840 Israelis have died. Yet he is
being thwarted by regional actors who can't bring
themselves to take the first steps. Bush must step up
pressure on Arafat and Abbas to crack down hard on
terror, so that Israelis can safely ride buses again.
But he must also press Sharon to speedily quit the
occupied areas so that the road map's pledge of a
Palestinian state by 2005 looks like more than wishful
thinking. The Palestinian and Israeli leaders must be
prodded to places where they would not willingly go,
left to their own blinkered vision. America's
credibility rides on it. So do the hopes of millions."

2. "Stand Firm"
Under the sub-heading, "Western nations must not shrink
from the escalating threats of terrorism," the right-of-
center Calgary Herald observed (8/25): "Middle East
developments have led all parties to a critical
confluence, which future historians will judge to be
one of that blood-soaked land's pivotal moments. From
western leaders, the situation demands wisdom, courage
and, above all, resolution. At stake are two key
pillars of U.S. Middle East policy. Failure does not
mean the political status quo, but a fundamental
reordering of the area, to the West's detriment.
America's two regional objectives are a liberal
democracy in Iraq and peace in Israel/Palestine,
through the so-called road map process. Success would
mean a better tomorrow for people who have never known
hope. If the Americans can be forced out, however,
Islamic theocracies from Iraq to Saudi Arabia are the
most likely result - and even, perhaps, Israel's
isolation.... The Americans cannot find Osama bin
Laden. Powerful they are, but not omnipotent....
Likewise, they have deposed Saddam Hussein, but cannot
find him. Nor have they brought peace to Iraq, much
less the hoped-for better life.... Therefore, Iraqi
nationalists have accepted aid from whomever offers.
Facilitated by Syria, Iran and Saudi Arabia, America-
hating militants come to Iraq from all over the region,
as well as Chechnya and even Bosnia.... Meanwhile in
Israel, old hatreds - guided, we suspect, by those with
a larger picture - have been manipulated in an attempt
to demolish the second pillar of U.S. Middle East
policy, a permanent peace settlement. The terrorist
plan is manifest: inflame the whole region, force out
the U.S. and remake the Middle East, not as a
constellation of liberal democracies but as Islamic
republics, nests of terrorism, a Taliban culture with
Saddam's efficiency. The West cannot tolerate such an
outcome. If we do not win today, we will have to fight
again some other time. Fortunately, the English-
speaking people can draw inspiration from their own
defining moments, as when Abraham Lincoln took up the
Confederate challenge or Great Britain's years standing
alone against Nazi Germany. Today is another such
moment, and it belongs to U.S. President George W.
Bush. We must hope he can keep the American people with
him long enough to see that his vision, not the default
one, becomes reality."


© Scoop Media

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