As pressure increases on western governments to bring an end to the bloodshed in Syria, "non-lethal" assistance has become the promise of the hour. The term is ubiquitous, cropping up in White House press briefings and the European Union's arms embargo on Syria.
Yet despite the pervasive nature of the term, it does not yet have a widely accepted legal definition. Broadly speaking, it is used to describe equipment and intelligence that cannot be directly used to kill. This can encompass anything from helmets and body armor to more facilitative assistance such as encrypted radios and satellite imagery. In practice, the lines between non-lethal equipment and its lethal counterparts are more blurred. In fact, both are required for a soldier to maximize the use of his weapon. As Pieter Wezeman, a senior researcher at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, points out, "a guy with a helmet and a radio is more likely to use his gun effectively because his protection increases his survivability and his radio [improves] his targeting through better communication."
In 2008 -- 18 years after New York City threw him a ticker tape parade for helping to end apartheid -- it took an act of Congress to ensure that Nelson Mandela did not need a special waiver to enter the United States, finally removing his terrorist designation. In November 2011, Hezbollah leader Imad Mughniyah was removed from the "Individuals and Entities Designated by the State Department Under E.O. 13224" terrorist list. He had been dead for three and a half years. The "German Taliban," Eric Breininger, was dead for more than a week when he was added to the list. Although these may seem like bureaucratic oversights, they are indicative of wider problems in terrorist listing systems. While attempting to punish terrorist groups and restrict their activities, these systems have reduced the space for diplomacy, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). These disparate examples also highlight the continuing lack of agreement on who is a "terrorist."
Critics are right to interpret the decision by the government of Egyptian Prime Minister Kamal al-Ganzouri -- to refer 43 pro-democracy activists, including 19 Americans, to trial before a criminal court, where they will be charged with distributing illegal foreign funds "with the intention of destabilizing Egypt's national security" -- as a blatant attempt to intimidate pro-democracy forces in the country.
Nor can there be the slightest doubt that Egypt's ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) is directly behind the attempt. The evidence is twofold. None of the three interim cabinets that have taken office since the SCAF assumed power in February 2011 has been able to undertake policy initiatives in any public sphere without military approval. Additionally, no mere civilian would be allowed to jeopardize United States military assistance worth $1.3 billion annually on his or her own initiative, as Minister of International Cooperation Fayza Abul-Naga has seemingly done.
On January 6, 2011, then Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Sharm el Sheikh in an effort to resuscitate the flagging peace process. Egypt for many years played the role of regional protector of an Israeli-Palestinian peace process, which was extremely heavy on process while being ever-more transparently light on delivering peace. It is a role that the new Egypt is unlikely to volunteer for.
Almost exactly one year later, Jordan has gone some ways toward assuming that role by convening Israeli-Palestinian exploratory talks in Amman on Tuesday. Israeli and Palestinian negotiators did not meet officially or publicly throughout 2011 at the Palestinian insistence that Israel first stop settlement activity. It took a considerable effort to make yesterday's meeting happen, given ongoing settlement construction, land seizures, and home demolitions. The meeting, hosted by Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh on behalf of King Abdullah II, brought together Quartet envoys, Yizhak Molcho, legal adviser to Benjamin Netanyahu, and the indefatigable chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, awkwardly pictured at the table's head as he presented positions on border and security (proposals well known to his interlocutors). Following the meeting, Judeh sought to manage expectations while announcing that a series of talks will follow. Preserving an old school peace process is going to be very hard work in the new realities of the Middle East.
Cynicism and skepticism always have their place, but today might just go down as an historic day on the Israeli-Palestinian front. No, there is no direct or quick fix move from the Palestinian application for U.N. membership to the actual realization of a Palestinian state (and certainly not when one factors in the Israeli response) but the Palestinian U.N. move does represent the most definitive break yet with the failed and structurally flawed strategies for advancing peace of many a year. Many Palestinians and others are now suggesting that the PLO leadership progress from the symbolism of September 23rd to a concerted struggle for their freedom centered on nonviolent resistance, diplomacy, and international legality, believing that this would finally deliver a breakthrough.
In its theatrics, today was rather predictable -- other than the Quartet statement of the afternoon, on which more in a moment. The speeches of Abbas and Netanyahu held few, if any, surprises. Abbas played to the Palestinian community at home and around the world, and to the rest of the international community.
"I have seen no evidence yet in terms of hard changes on the ground that the Syrian government is willing to reform at anything like the speed demanded by the street protestors. If it doesn’t start moving with far greater alacrity, the street will wash them away."
That was the blunt verdict offered by U.S. Ambassador Robert Ford in a wide-ranging telephone interview with Foreign Policy today. Ford sharply criticized the Syrian government's continuing repression against peaceful protestors and called on President Bashar al-Assad to "take the hard decisions" to begin meaningful reforms before it is too late. Not, Ford stressed, because of American concerns but because of the impatience of the Syrian opposition itself. "This is not about Americans, it is about the way the Syrian government mistreats its own people," Ford stressed repeatedly. "This is really about Syrians interacting with other Syrians. I’m a marginal thing on the sidelines. I’m not that important."
Some might disagree. Last Thursday and Friday, Ford made a dramatic visit to the embattled city of Hama to demonstrate the United States' support for peaceful protests and its condemnation of the Syrian government's use of violence. His trip to Hama electrified supporters of the Syrian opposition, and marked a sharp escalation in U.S. efforts to deal with the difficult Syrian stalemate. It also sparked a vicious Syrian response, as government-backed mobs attacked the U.S. Embassy in Damascus, inflicting considerable damage. In a caustic note posted to his Facebook page, Ford called on the Syrian government to "stop beating and shooting peaceful demonstrators." Ford's sharp criticism of the Syrian government's violence against peaceful protestors and detailed outline of multilateral and American diplomatic efforts to pressure the Syrian regime suggest that the recent U.S. rhetorical escalation does mark a new stage in the ongoing crisis.
After six months of ongoing peaceful protests, a fracturing of the armed forces, and ongoing violence in numerous parts of the country, Yemenis face increasingly dire conditions each day. And yet they keep showing up. While non-democratic (nay, anti-democratic) neighbors fitfully engage in mediation efforts while also giving refuge to President Ali Abdullah Saleh, the U.S. continues to interpret the crisis through the lens of counterterrorism. Concerned about the risk of an emboldened al Qaeda on the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), the U.S. has offered tepid support for the aspirations of the country's majority, pinned its hopes on an atavistic autocrat, and opted to increase controversial drone attacks in some of the most unstable parts of the country.
This strategy is mistaken. It presupposes a narrow understanding of U.S. interests centered on counterterrorism, which I and others have argued against elsewhere. But it also assumes that working against the revolutionary aspirations of millions of Yemenis is, in fact, the best way to counter the threat of AQAP. Supporting the development of a democratically-constituted Yemen and offering support to its leaders as they build legitimate state institutions makes more sense. This Friday, the Organizing Committee of the Revolution, which is advocating for Saleh's immediate transfer of powers and the formation of a transitional council, has issued a call for a march in pursuit of a "Civil State." Yemenis from across ideological, occupational, generational, and class lines will gather around the country to demand a state accountable to its rights-bearing citizens. It will be the twenty-fifth Friday on which they have done so, camped out in the squares for the weeks in between.
The trajectory of peaceful demonstrations in Libya and Syria has been impacted by regime violence. The result: large populations of internally displaced peoples (IDP's) have been created inside of those countries as well as great numbers of refugees fleeing to bordering countries. Furthermore, the revolutions of the Arab Spring have serious ramifications for already existing refugee populations, notably the more than one million Iraqi refugees that have settled in Syria since 2006. The possibility of increased large-scale refugee movement from Libya and Syria will not only spur a devastating humanitarian crisis, but could also further destabilize the region.
Considering that the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is already working with insufficient funds, Western policymakers should pay attention to these imminent crises. One need only look at the social and economic repercussions of the still unresolved predicament of Iraqi refugees to see the urgency of keeping the current situations from escalating into another protracted refugee crisis. The consequences of a prolonged refugee situation could be dire, especially as many of the countries to which the people are fleeing allow few -- if any -- rights, benefits, or protection for refugees.
Historical dates often emerge by sheer coincidence. In 2009, Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad formulated an operational goal for his tenure: by 2011 he wanted to build institutions that would justify the proclamation of a Palestinian state. This would not just have symbolic value, as PLO Chairman Yasir Arafat's statement in 1988, but would carry practical implications. Fayyad's efforts have commanded international admiration. The West Bank is indeed run in a way that meets many criteria for successful statehood. As opposed to the past, funds are used responsibly and accounting standards are transparent. The security forces -- originally trained by U.S. Lieutenant General Keith Dayton -- are remarkably effective. Both the Palestinian population and the Israel Defense Forces rely on them more than ever. Hence, September 2011 began to crystallize as a realistic date for the founding of a Palestinian state.
Fayyad's 2011 deadline for the declaration of Palestinian statehood had acquired enormous importance, even though Fayyad never connected it to the bid for U.N. recognition. It has provided Palestinians with a political horizon and a strong motivation to try the route of peaceful resistance and reliance on the international community's support for the new state. The idea of turning to the U.N. for recognition of Palestine seems not to have been a long-term strategy; it emerged as an option faute de mieux, in the absence of negotiations, and without reasonable hope that Netanyahu has the will or the mandate for a meaningful Israeli compromise.
When the famed author Paul Bowles first caught a glimpse of Morocco, he quickly became convinced it was a "magic place."
The Moroccan government long ago embraced this fantasy, selling itself as a bastion of calm in a troubled region, the Arab world's model of reform. And American policymakers bought it. In sentiments repeated regularly by her successors, Madeleine Albright called the North African kingdom a "leader in democratic reform" -- boasting that "other countries are moving in the right direction, but Morocco is showing the way."
If Morocco's political system was our model all this time, then perhaps our standards were too low. Having the least-worst record of democratization in the region should never have been enough. Every time the U.S. government lavished praise on Morocco, we sent a message to all Arab citizens: This was the most they should ever hope for.
Since 1979 the United States has spent nearly $2 billion annually on aid to Egypt. Approximately two-thirds has been spent on "foster[ing] a well-trained, modern Egyptian military," with the purpose of ensuring stability in the country and in the region. The remainder of the aid has funded development and economic aid programs targeting civil society development, political party training, and educational exchanges, among other aims. In light of the Egyptian people's ongoing and forceful demonstrations for the removal of President Hosni Mubarak and their calls for a free and democratic political order, the U.S. should shift its aid distribution so that development aid is on par with funding to the military.
President Obama has already called for political change in Egypt leading to more freedom, opportunity and justice for the Egyptian people. In remarks on February 1, the President went so far as to press for an immediate and "orderly transition," leading to free and fair elections rooted in democratic principles. It is now time to begin putting in place the policies that support these words.
"Enough we say, the decision belongs to the people of the brotherly Egyptian and Tunisian nations... Turkey shares the grief of these nations as well as their hopes." So-declared a self-confident Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday in his prime-time speech on recent events in the Middle East that received broad coverage regionally. While commentators point to the protests and revolutions in the Arab world as being the most recent example of the crumbling vestiges of the Cold War, the more significant long-term global trend is strangely familiar to the Turks. Protests in Tunisia have already overthrown the rule of a 23 year-old regime and inspired a similar uprising in the form of Egypt's ongoing protest movement. Lebanon's continuing instability and threats of Tunisian-inspired revolutions in Yemen and even Jordan further add to the significance of the moment we are witnessing in the Arab world.
The unprecedented levels and inter-linkages of the protests against the traditional authoritarian regimes represented most starkly by President Mubarak, has brought the Middle East back to a period more reminiscent of the breakup of the Ottoman Empire and the rise of Arab nationalism than anything seen in recent memory.
Beyond the immediate dilemmas - how and how hard to push Mubarak to stand down, what to say in public versus in private, and how best to pressure the US-backed Egyptian security forces - the transition period that lies ahead for Egypt will hold its own complicating factors for Washington policymakers.
First, it needs to be remembered that this is not primarily about the US (nor should it be), this is about Egyptians empowering themselves. Nevertheless, the US and other international actors will have a role to play and will have to chart a new policy course for relations with Egypt, and this will in no small measure set a trend for the region as a whole.
One minor luxury that the administration should have is that there are not significant or obviously apparent domestic political pressures being brought to bear on this issue. Both parties, Democrat and Republican, have made nice with dictators in the Arab world while paying limited lip service to democracy. There is no victory lap, freedom coupon to clip as was the case in the former Soviet bloc, there is no Arab democracy political lobby, even if the Arab American community will be largely thrilled by what is happening in the region. The one exception to this is the role that some traditional pro-Israel groups may play in urging a go-slow conservatism to a US embrace of change in the Middle East.
If the regime of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak falls, the tipping point will have been mid-afternoon of January 28. For several hours after the conclusion of Friday noon prayers, the police and Central Security Forces successfully kept demonstrators away from the center of Cairo. About 2:00 pm, 20,000 protestors broke through the blockades and took over the Qasr al-Nil Bridge connecting Giza and Zamalek to Tahrir Square, the hub of the downtown district. Two hours later the headquarters of the ruling National Democratic Party, which President Mubarak leads, was on fire.
Earlier in the afternoon, crowds stormed regional NDP headquarters in the Suez Canal city of Isma‘iliyya and the Delta provincial capital of Mansura. The provincial NDP headquarters in Fayyum was torched a few hours later. Hundreds of thousands of protesters throughout the country defied the 6:00 PM curfew proclaimed by the regime and remained in the streets throughout the night. In Alexandria, Egypt's second city, demonstrators drove the police and Central Security Force out of town. By the time President Mubarak addressed the nation that evening and announced he had requested the resignation of the entire cabinet, the army had begun to assume security responsibility for Egypt's major cities.
The targets of angry crowds are rarely accidental. In this case, assaulting the offices of the ruling party, and other official buildings in Alexandria, Suez, and Tanta underscored one of the main chants of the demonstrators: "The people want an end to the regime." Not "reform" and the resignation of the cabinet, which is a technocratic and administrative body with limited powers, but a regime change and a transition to democracy which would only begin with the resignation of President Mubarak.
A classical Arab idiom maintains that a flood begins with a mere droplet. For freedom-aspiring citizens across the Middle East, Tunisia was akin to the first shower of rain. Two weeks ago, no one could have predicted the overthrow of Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali's repressive regime in Tunisia. Today, the chatter of citizens and officials across the Middle East is when, not if, the "Tunisia scenario" will completely unfold in Egypt, the Arab world's most populous country. Egyptians have struggled for many decades with an authoritarian regime whose rule is marred by repression, corruption, and political and economic stagnation.
The social contract that former President Gamal Abdel Nasser had with Egyptians -- to liberate Arab lands from colonial powers, subsidize food staples and guarantee employment to all university graduates -- has been unraveling for more than three decades. Egypt unscrupulously maintains a peace treaty with Israel, despite that country's relentless occupation of Palestinian, Syrian, and Lebanese territories. The government has also pursued a policy of economic liberalization without regard to its impact on the Egyptian people. Despite its success in achieving moderate rates of economic growth, this strategy has left millions of families impoverished and unemployed.
MOHAMMED ABED/AFP/Getty Images
As the Palestinian leadership struggles to contain the damage caused by Al Jazeera's release of leaked documents detailing years of their negotiations with Israel, there is one lesson that risks being buried in all of the current hype. The Palestine Papers, and much of the response to them, demonstrate the increasingly narrow line the Palestinian leadership must walk between satisfying its U.S. and Western benefactors, as well as Israel, and maintaining credibility in the eyes of its own people.
As someone who was involved in Palestinian-Israeli negotiations for many years, including in the development of many of the documents now in question, I have been particularly struck by the extent and tone of the outrage surrounding the leaked documents. For those Palestinians and other Arabs who actively oppose a two-state solution, I can understand and appreciate their outrage over some of the "unprecedented concessions" contained in these documents.
On the other hand, for those who understand the basic requirements of a two state-solution-an outcome most Palestinians and other Arabs still say they favor, even as they remain highly doubtful of the other side's intentions and the ability of their own leaders to achieve it-there hardly seems cause for surprise, at least as relates to the concessions on permanent status issues - if not on other matters.
In bringing about the fall of Lebanon's government, Hezbollah has deployed its "nuclear option." The move underscores Hezbollah's ruthlessness and determination in its campaign to force Prime Minister Saad Hariri to reject the results of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) -- which is expected to issue its long-delayed indictments soon and identify Hezbollah as complicit in the assassination of Saad's father, former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, in February 2005. The government's collapse followed the breakdown of attempts by Syria and Saudi Arabia to broker a deal between Hariri's forces and Hezbollah's that would permit the prime minister to avoid the politically untenable and personally repugnant option of denouncing the tribunal's indictments and thus lend his support to his father's killers. Syrian sources, predictably, blame the collapse of negotiations on Hariri's refusal to accept what they characterize as joint Saudi-Syrian demands for concessions. What this latest twist tells us about Syrian intentions and the limits of Saudi influence over both Syria and Saad Hariri may be no less telling.
Hezbollah is playing a high stakes game, confident that its military dominance gives it a decisive upper hand should politics move from parliament into the streets. The tea leaves are still settling and will no doubt be further stirred up in coming days. Yet whether Hezbollah's withdrawal from the Hariri government will have the effects it desires is far from clear.
Sitting in Washington, pundits and politicians tend to overestimate U.S. influence on the Sudanese government. These days, provided the Gulf States and China continue to open the checkbook, the biggest threat to the Islamists in Khartoum comes not from Washington, but from inside Sudan itself.
The ruling National Congress Party (NCP) understand that they do not have the support of the marginalized people that make up the bulk of the Sudanese population; their worst nightmare is that this disenfranchised periphery might one day unite against their elite dictatorship in Khartoum. Hence the significance of a series events that have taken place over the past month inside Sudan, where opponents of the NCP have been putting the ruling party under increasing pressure in advance of the referendum on Jan. 9 in which southern Sudanese are widely expected to vote to become an independent nation.
The last time you visited your favorite blog, how wide of a cross-section of public opinion did the comments represent? It probably depended on the blogger, on the article, and on the mood of the day.
Yet these limitations haven't stopped advocates from trying to discern Palestinian public opinion from bloggers' views. Last week, the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD) presented to Congress a new report that puts Palestinian public attitudes, in contrast to polling data, in a decidedly hostile light. "P@lestinian Pulse: What Policymakers Can Learn From Palestinian Social Media," by Jonathan Schanzer and Mark Dubowitz is the first published study which attempts to ascertain Palestinian public opinion exclusively from web sources. But is the report accurate?
FDD contracted out to ConStrat, a D.C.-based communications firm, which mined an array of content, and then FDD drew broad conclusions such as Hamas "supporters showed no apparent disagreement with Salafists such as al-Qaeda" and "Palestinian reform factions are weak and have little influence online." But the study's methodology leaves much to be desired: it's impossible to confirm whether the sample only includes Palestinians; there isn't a clear theory of how to analyze this content or how FDD reached these conclusions.
It has become a truism to state that President Obama erred when he picked a fight with Israel over settlements at the outset of his Middle East peace efforts. Like many Mideast truisms, this one too is false.
Obama's error had nothing to do with settlements. His error was picking a fight that he apparently wasn't committed to winning.
Because if Obama wasn't ready to play tough and demonstrate -- to both sides -- that there are real consequences for not playing ball, then his Middle East peace efforts were doomed to failure from the start, regardless of what strategy or tactics he adopted along the way.
After 19 months, President Barack Obama has finally convened Arab-Israeli peace talks and set a one-year timeline for securing a final peace deal. If he is serious about this goal, he will need to establish a regional environment conducive to peace -- a step that requires rebuilding American strength in the region.
Historically, the United States has made its most significant progress in Middle East peacemaking when it operated from a pre-eminent position in the region. That's what convinced Egyptian President Anwar Sadat to chuck the Soviets and turn to Washington to engineer his peace with Israel in the 1970s; it is also what convinced Arabs and Israelis to start the modern era of peacemaking at the Madrid peace conference, following the U.S.-led liberation of Kuwait.
But this iteration of peace talks, which will resume on Sept. 14 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, begins with many in the Middle East questioning American strength, not deferring to it. This change has potentially negative implications for our ability to help Arabs and Israelis forge peace.
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[With the backdrop of the settlements and East Jerusalem dispute, this is the last in a series of three pieces looking at historical precedents and how they might inform the current debate. The series also includes pieces by Gideon Lichfield and Leon Hadar.]
Reactions to the recent diplomatic squabble between the U.S. and Israel over building in East Jerusalem display a startling lack of historical memory. More than 30 years ago, Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin insisted on building beyond the green line, and President Jimmy Carter proved unable to stop him. President Barack Obama risks a repeat performance. With the Netanyahu government's announcement to build 1,600 more housing units in Ramat Shlomo, the consequences of U.S. inaction will prove even more damaging than in Carter's time. Given a shift in American priorities, Obama can't afford to stand down.
Back in 1977, Carter recognized that a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was central to broader regional peace. He got to work immediately upon taking office. Yet two days after his initial meeting with Begin, Carter was astonished to hear that the Israeli prime minister had returned home and legalized three West Bank settlements, declaring them "permanent." These settlements had existed before Begin's victory, but the declaration of permanence secured government subsidies and attempted to assert Israeli claims across the green line. Begin cast this bid to expand Israel's territory in religious and nationalist terms, receiving critical support from then Minister of Agriculture Ariel Sharon. Together they established a matrix of control in the West Bank that gnawed away at the foundation of a viable future Palestinian state.
For all the anger and indignation of the White House and Department of State over the humiliation of Vice President Joseph Biden by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government during Biden's visit to Israel, it is difficult to deny that we virtually invited that treatment.
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It took a little over 24 hours, but in the end a version of events was agreed on that allowed for the resumption of something resembling business as usual in Vice President Joe Biden's visit to Israel. Prime Minister Netanyahu had not known about the planning approval of 1600 housing units in Occupied East Jerusalem - this was all terribly embarrassing, Israel was sincerely sorry for the unpleasantness caused, and the minister directly responsible displayed appropriate contrition. You see, the relevant district planning committee in Jerusalem had its timing wrong, completing the approval process would anyway take several more months, and actual building on the ground would only happen some time in the distant future.
While the ordinary U.S. Supreme Court case doesn't grab the attention of foreign policy specialists, Holder v. The Humanitarian Law Project, argued Feb. 23, 2010, is one of those rare exceptions. Depending on how the Supreme Court rules, it could be making a decision with major ramifications (even personal ones) for foreign policy specialists. At issue is the constitutionality of the United States government's interpretation of a 1996 law criminalizing, with a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison, the provision of "material support" to foreign terrorist organizations. This provision is the government's most used law in prosecuting those suspected of terrorism, largely because of the law's breadth, and because it does not require the government to prove that the defendant intended to further the violent aims of the terrorist group. Especially troubling from the perspective of the foreign policy community is that it also prohibits providing "training," "personnel," "expert advice or assistance," or "service" to such a group, even when such services are completely unrelated to terrorist violence.
Barack Obama entered office last year promising a sweeping reinvention of America’s image in the world, most of all in the Middle East, where George W. Bush saw his ambitious agenda of democratic transformation meet with the reality of a region deeply suspicious of U.S. intentions and locked into stagnant authoritarian regimes.
As part of that reinvention, the Obama administration has changed the tone of U.S. interaction on the democracy front. Administration officials have espoused democratic principles in general -- as the president did in his eloquent June 4 speech in Cairo, in which he pointedly criticized Arab regimes’ lack of accountability to their people -- but shied away from direct confrontation. The question is whether this behind-the-scenes approach will be any more successful than Bush’s in-your-face policy.
It was hard to mistake the mood at the seventh annual U.S.-Islamic World Forum in Doha Qatar. A little more than a year after Barack Obama came to office, there is tension brewing in U.S. relations with Arab and Muslim communities around the world. To be sure, hope is not lost, and many are still positive about President Obama himself. But the high expectations that followed the president's election, especially after his important speech in Cairo last June, have been replaced by widespread disappointment. What happened during the past year? It boils down to mostly one issue: the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which clearly remains the prism of pain through which many Arabs and Muslims see American foreign policy. Above all else, it was hard to miss the anger over the continued blockade of Gaza.
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