Secretary Ric's heralding of the birth of the new Middle East amounts to is a belittling of true hopes for change now that the reform project is devoid of credibility, for it fails to intimate a better future in Arab minds tired of the inhumanity of the Israeli military machine and the gross ugliness of its American collaborators.
President Bush's view of Israel as a strategic ally and vision of a "new Middle East" has seen the escalation of the second intifada, the eclipse of Arafat's Fatah by the more radical Hamas, and a two-front war in Gaza and southern Lebanon. Bush's "new Middle East," has begun to look even less hospitable than the old.
Even though many Lebanese people and several Arab governments criticized Hezbollah for instigating the crisis with Israel, the Israeli air attacks -- including the killing of many civilians -- have now quieted the criticism, and in fact have worsened the already poor standing of the United States in the Arab world.
Amr Hamzawy appears on NPR's "The Conversation" to discuss the current crisis in the Middle East.
Given the last two weeks in the Middle East — client entities like Hizbollah provoking a conflict, the Saudis and Egyptians speaking without power from the sidelines, Western uncertainty about the role of Syria and Iran — is it possible to draw a new map of the Middle East?
This is a dangerous moment for the Middle East, because the conflicts in Gaza and Lebanon could easily escalate to involve the broader region. Any strategy to address the present crisis must deal with the realities of the Middle East as they are now, not try to leapfrog over them by seeking to impose a grand new vision. Such a vision would be bound to fail as it did in the case of Iraq.
Over the last few decades most, if not all, Arab-Israeli crises have occurred when the United States has been either unable or unwilling to play an aggressive role as a mediator; and most have only abated after the United States has finally thrown itself into the middle of them.
The regime of Bashar al-Asad is under pressure from Syrian citizens who want a different political system and from the United States, which wants Syria to change its regional policy. As a result, it is impossible to separate completely a domestic process of political reform from the external pressures.
The Heinrich Böll Foundation in cooperation with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace hosted a one-day workshop at Carnegie to explore the potential and the limits of engaging groups and movements with an Islamist platform and ideology.
The victory of Hamas in the Palestinian elections has given rise to much soul searching in Washington about who lost Palestine. The main problem, however, is not U.S. policy but the underlying conditions in the last few months that have led to the victory of Hamas and to the impressive showing by both Shia and Sunni religious parties elsewhere in the region.