The US War on Terrorism: Impact on US-Arab Relations

The US War on Terrorism: Impact on US-Arab Relations

  • 30 June 2003

James H. Noyes noted that even before the attacks of
September 11, the Bush Administration was reevaluating
national security strategy to shift emphasis to post-Cold War
vulnerabilities created by proliferation. Bush’s declaration
of war reflected the newly dramatized realization that
America’s vast borders were only marginally defensible.
Thus, the war was to be taken to the enemy wherever he
was. In many countries and areas, Washington demanded
intrusive access to security matters and terror suspects. The
Arab origins of the perpetrators of September 11 attacks
brought an immediate and profound negative impact to
US–Arab relations. This was magnified by the anti-US rage
throughout the Muslim world as a result of the US policy
on the Arab and Islamic issues. Mutual accusations and
suspicions bounced between the US and the Arab world.
These increased as new evidence on Al-Qaeda unfolded
from Afghanistan revealing the scope of their support from
some Arab countries and their full range of destructive
intentions. Defeat of the Taliban regime and continued
US military presence in Afghanistan were followed by the
invasion of Iraq and Washington’s warnings to Iran and
Syria. This, in turn, spawned fears of American quasicolonization
of the Middle East exacerbating the downward
spiral of US–Arab relations. Closer analysis indicates, on
the contrary, many built-in correctives to prevent such
a development and in fact the opening of potential new
avenues of cooperation based on more realistic appraisals
of shared threats and capabilities.

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Monday 30 June 2003

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Monday 30 June 2003

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