Friday, August 4, 2006

'The US is the kiss of death' in the Arab world

By Jim Lobe
Asia Times

"Not only is Washington's thus far staunch support for Israel losing Arab "hearts and minds" at an astonishing pace, but the "moderate" governments and non-governmental forces the administration had hoped would act as catalysts for reform are increasingly isolated across the region, according to Middle East specialists.

"I have never seen the United States being so demonized or savaged by Arab commentators, by Arab politicians," Hisham Melham, veteran Washington correspondent for Lebanon's An-Nahar newspaper, told a conference this week at the Brookings Institution, an influential think-tank.

"People are clinging to Hezbollah, clinging to Hamas, because they see them as the remaining voices or forces in the Arab world that are resisting what they see as an ongoing hegemonic American-Israeli plan to control the region," he said.

Shibley Telhami, an expert on Arab public opinion at the University of Maryland, observed at the same meeting, "Right now, the United States is the kiss of death."

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