Bush Visit and the Prospects for Regional Stability

  • 8 January 2008

Today, US President George Bush will begin his tour of the Middle East. In addition to visiting the UAE, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain, his itinerary includes Egypt, Palestinian Territories, and Israel. This tour is highly important in the context of the changing situation in the Arab region, and the Middle East in general.

Despite the controversies related to the tour and their consequences, and in the backdrop of the various crises facing the region, such as the situation in Iraq, the Iranian nuclear issue, and the crises in Palestinian Territories and Lebanon, the visit is important for various other reasons. Firstly, the visit shows that the US is mindful of the issue of the region’s security and stability. Bush’s eight-day tour of the region clearly reveals the importance the Middle East holds in the strategic vision of the US, especially in the context of global security. This invalidates the argument made in certain quarters that the US is not paying sufficient attention to the region. The second sign is that the US seems ready to intervene in the various crises, affairs, and problems facing the region. It also gives a clear sign that it is ready to help the concerned parties in establishing security and stability in the Middle East. Bush’s tour also confirms that the US believes in dealing diplomatically with the region’s issues, and problems. For this reason, President Bush is visiting a large number of places and is meeting with several personalities during this tour because he understands the importance of negotiations with the countries of the region for evolving a general strategy on handling various crises. Another significance of the tour is that it has come close on the heels of the Annapolis peace conference in the Middle East, which was held in the US in November 2007. This shows the US interest, at the highest levels, towards stimulating the peace process and in bringing Palestinian and Israeli sides closer to sort out the critical and historic conflict between Arabs and Israel.

Bush tour’s offers an important opportunity in the Middle East that should be used to give a strong impetus to all movements aimed at putting an end to tensions in the region. The intervention of the most influential country in of the world in the Middle East could provide significant outcomes related to the building of a comprehensive strategy for promoting stability, development, and security in the region.