Arab Views of America: Deepening Discontent

American and British action in Iraq is likely to have radicalised Arab opinion. Moderates and religious leaders have joined more extreme groups in condemnation. Only rapid attention to the Palestinian tragedy, human rights and the rule of law can alter this dismal scenario.

The World Today Updated 21 October 2020 Published 1 May 2003 3 minute READ

Fawaz A. Gerges

Professor of Middle East and International Affairs, Sarah Lawrence College New York

Now that the United States has invaded and occupied Iraq, a leading Arab/Muslim state, its relations with the Muslim world will be tested further. America is no longer seen as an external player which exercises considerable influence over Arab politics, but as a direct participant and sustainer of the existing autocratic order in the region. It is now militarily and politically entangled in the Arab heartland, shouldering heavy imperial responsibilities and facing serious societal opposition and hostility throughout Arab lands.

America’s local allies are also on the defensive, having succumbed to superpower demands to support a very unpopular war at home against a sister Arab/Muslim country. Arab leaders have forfeited their public mandate at the altar of their political-military relationship with Washington.

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