News Release

Bush in the Mideast: A Big Charade?

NIR ROSEN
Currently in Beirut, Rosen is a fellow at New York University’s Center on Law and Security. He witnessed much of the recent fighting in Lebanon and can assess the role of the army and various groups in Lebanon. He said today: “A big part of what is driving events is the creation of a new identity for Sunnis in Lebanon, largely pushed by Saudi and Harri [family] funded media.” Rosen is author of The Triumph of the Martyrs: A Reporter’s Journey into Occupied Iraq.
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MOHAMAD BAZZI
Bazzi is a visiting fellow on the Middle East at the Council on Foreign Relations. His latest piece is “Israel and Syria are edging closer to the negotiating table. What Bush must do to make sure they get there.”

JILLIAN SCHWEDLER
Author of the book Faith in Moderation: Islamist Parties in Jordan and Yemen, Schwedler said today: “Bush is denouncing the prospect of talking with Iran while [Secretary] Gates is emphasizing the need for diplomatic channels.” Schwedler is professor at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and is chair of the board of the Middle East Research and Information Project.
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JOEL BEININ
Professor of Middle East History at Stanford University, Beinin is currently on leave and Director of Middle East Studies and Professor of History at the American University in Cairo.
He said today: “It’s all a big charade. Bush is in Israel talking about peace while [Israeli Prime Minister] Ehud Olmert is under criminal investigation, so that any possibility of peace is even more remote than before. Even if that were not the case, Olmert and [Palestinian President] Mahmoud Abbas are so weak as leaders that the possibility that they could convince their respective constituencies of any peace agreement on terms the other might agree to borders on the ridiculous.

“Bush is celebrating the creation of Israel as if it is a great human achievement while ignoring its catastrophic consequences for the Palestinian people. Under these circumstances, talking about a peace agreement before Bush leaves office is detached from reality. In addition, we are not supposed to notice that after proclaiming that the great task of the United States is to promote democracy in the Middle East, the closest regional allies of the Bush administration are autocrats like Egyptian President Husni Mubarak and monarchs like Saudi King Abdullah. Isn’t this utterly delusional?”

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167