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People's Daily Online>>World

Arab countries hold mixed feelings towards US

By Qin Tian (People's Daily)

11:09, April 21, 2012

Edited and Translated by People's Daily Online

It is a general impression of the world that the Arab people do not like the United States. At the country level, it could be said that Arab countries both “hate” and “like” the United States.

Their interests are not completely in common

People usually believe that the United States has five major interests in the Middle East region: first, guaranteeing the safety of Israel; second, making sure the oil supply and price is stable; third, cracking down on terrorism; fourth, preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and turning into a regional hegemony; and fifth, spreading values of democracy and human rights in the region.

Generally speaking, Arab countries' largest interest is to have a peaceful and steady external environment and realize their economic development and the revival of the Arab nation. Sometimes, Arab countries and the United States have common interests. For example, in order to guarantee a steady oil price, the United States is using a powerful naval fleet to safeguard the navigation in the Persian Gulf, and since many Arab countries rely on the petrol-dollar too, they are willing to see the United States' convoy. As the Arab countries are concerned about Iran’s nuclear program, when the United States takes strict sanctions against Iran and even uses military forces to threaten Iran, they are very supportive. But meanwhile, there are also in-depth contradictions between the United States and Arab countries. The United States always stands on Israel's side, but most Arab countries support Palestine. The United States' action of giving unprincipled protection to Israel dissatisfies a lot of Arab people.

On some other occasions, Arab countries and the United States' interests are seemingly in common but actually not. The latest example is the Iraq war starting in 2003. In the name of the Saddam regime possessing mass-destruction weapons and supporting terrorism, the United States invaded Iraq, which got tacit permissions of most Arab countries.

However, after the Saddam government was overthrown, Iraq did not realize stability and development. After the Iraq war, the United States carried out a democratic election in Iraq and established a Shiah administration, but it greatly disappointed Arab countries, because most of them are dominated by Sunnites. Saudi Arabia even believes that the Iraq war launched by the United States was a complete failure. What was bound together with the Iraq war was the “Greater Middle East Initiative.” However, the democratic “model” in Iraq is extremely fragile and completely unconvincing and has no demonstration effect at all.

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