Powell and Mideast Reform
By Micah Halpern
The conference was held in Rabat, Morocco. 20 Middle Eastern and North African countries attended.
Colin Powell and US policy took some hard shots right on the chin.
Saudi Prince and Foreign Minister, Faisal, summed it all up when he publicly challenged the US Secretary of State saying: "Let us face it ... the real bone of contention is the longest conflict in modern history. For too long, the Arabs have witnessed the Western bias toward Israel ..."
Powell's response was sad. It was as if he was taken by surprise. He asked for leaders to show the way. He said that no change could happen with out them.
This is exactly the point. The Arab world (as well as Europe) has no idea why the US supports Israel. And the US has no idea of how to defend, or define, its position to the Arab world.
So what happens? They talk in circles. Where is the logic in that?
It should be made clear that democratic reform in totalitarian regimes of the Middle East has nothing to do with US policy toward Israel and the Palestinians.
It should be made clear that "the Palestinian" cannot and should not be an excuse for Arab regimes anymore.
What's needed now is straight talk, not diplomatic speak.