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Is Israel the Problem? By: Amir Taheri
Commentarymagazine.com | Tuesday, February 06, 2007

[First published in the February 2007 issue of commentarymagazine.com, reprinted with permission].

Fifteen years ago, after the first defeat of Saddam Hussein and the liberation of Kuwait, President George H.W. Bush and his Secretary of State James Baker faced the question of how best to exploit the American victory as a means of stabilizing the Middle East. The obvious course would have been to deploy the immensely enhanced prestige of the United States, backed by its unprecedented military presence in the Persian Gulf, to help create new and durable security structures in a region regarded as vital to American national interests.

How might this have been done? The U.S. could have urged its Arab allies to introduce long-overdue reforms as a step toward legitimizing their regimes and broadening their domestic political support. At the very least, the U.S. might have urged the six member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council to end their decades of intramural feuding and forge a broader alliance with Jordan and Egypt. This, with American support, might have helped create a new balance of power in the region to counter the ambitions of adventurist regimes like Iran, Iraq, and Syria.

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