A brave new world

White House press release about Bush's speech to the UN, which apparently highlighted the bright and positive and fluffy and oh-so-pretty developments in the Middle East. Argues that minute changes in the Gulf's absolute monarchies are great, that a sham election in Algeria is just super-duper, manages to place blame for "the suffering of the Lebanese people" entirely on "state within a state" Hizbullah rather than Israel, which did the actual bombing of civilian targets, mentions the sin of Iran pursuing nuclear weapons without talking about regional allies who have them (Pakistan, Israel, India). I could go on. A lot of this stuff is standard fare of US Middle East diplomacy, but coming from the guy who is driving the region into complete chaos it smells worse than usual. Perhaps the worst is that the last third is devoted to peace in the holy land, something this president has put less efforts in achieving than any of his predecessors for the last three decades at least.

[Thanks Simon]

Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani is a Cairo-based writer and consultant. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He also publishes one of the longest-running blog in the region, www.arabist.net.