[A-List] US Imperialism: Middle East
Annewilliamson at msn.com
Thu Dec 12 14:00:55 MST 2002
Tariq alert! Note Powell's quote in third paragraph - already they are
"stepping in it," something I would
not have known myself without our exchange last weekend :-) Anne
White House Outlines Plan to Fight Illiteracy, Poverty in Arab Countries to
By BARRY SCHWEID, AP Diplomatic Writer
The Bush administration outlined a program Thursday to help modernize Arab
society, offering an initial contribution of $29 million and pledging to
seek more from Congress and rich Arab countries.
In the process, the administration hopes to deflect radicalism and combat
illiteracy and poverty through scholarships and economic development.
"We are adding hope to the U.S.-Middle East agenda. We are pledging our
energy, our abilities and our idealism to bring hope to all God's children
who call the Middle East home," Secretary of State Colin Powell said.
"Hope begins with a paycheck," he said. "And that requires a vibrant
Few details were released by Powell in a speech and news conference at the
Heritage Foundation, a private research group.
On Wednesday, CIA Director George J. Tenet pledged in a speech that the
United States would draw closer to the Muslim world.
Tenet said it was a "strategic imperative" to support democracy and reform
among Muslim nations. Otherwise, he said, they will be vulnerable to
al-Qaida and other terrorist groups.
The two speeches reflect an effort by the administration to convince Arabs
and other Muslims that the U.S. fight against terrorism and the threat to
use force to disarm Iraq are not directed at followers of Islam generally.
Powell said 14 million Arab adults lack the jobs they need to put food on
their tables, roofs over their heads and hopes in their hearts. He said 10
million school-age children are at home or working and half the Muslim women
in the region are illiterate.
"Too many people there lack the very political and economic freedom,
empowerment of women and modern education they need to prosper in the 21st
century," he said.
Powell said the $29 million contribution from the United States was designed
to get the program started. He said the administration would ask Congress
for more money next year that would be in addition to the more than $1
billion the United States already provides annually in economic assistance
to Arab countries.
Asked whether such rich Arab countries as Saudi Arabia and Kuwait should
help finance the program, Powell said the United States would seek
contributions from Arab nations, as well.
Meanwhile, Powell said the administration would keep trying to establish a
Palestinian state by 2005.
But acknowledging that peacemaking was moving at a snail's pace, he said:
"We would do anything to find a way to move forward."
Next week, Powell will host a conference with U.N. Secretary-General Kofi
Annan, Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov and leaders of the European
Union on the stalled peace process.
They are working on what they call a "roadmap" toward Palestinian statehood
and a settlement with Israel in which Israel is required to give up land on
the West Bank and in Gaza.
An administration official said the roadmap was unlikely to be completed at
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