Diplomacy and Promises of Democracy in the Middle East
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At the Arab Summit, Saudi Arabia has taken the lead from Egypt in the effort to make peace between Israel and the Palestinians. Meantime, two participants at the meeting--Egypt's President Mubarak and Musharraf of Pakistan--are accused of reneging on promises of democracy. Is the US supporting repressive leaders to pursue its own interests? How great is the threat of extremist takeover in either Egypt or Pakistan? Also, a captured sailor tells Iranian TV that her British boat was trespassing on that country's water and, on Reporter's Notebook, another showdown is shaping up between President Bush and the Congress.
Iranian TV Airs Footage of Captured British Sailors ()
Fifteen British sailors and marines have been shown on Iranian State TV, including the one woman, who says British boats "trespassed" on Iranian waters before she and her comrades were seized last Friday by Iranian forces. The British government has released photographs it claims prove their boat was on the Iraqi side of the line. John Prideaux is Political Correspondent for the Economist.
- John Prideaux: Political Correspondent, Economist
Diplomacy and Promises of Democracy in the Middle East ()
The Arab summit is reaching out to Israel, led by the regional powerhouse of Saudi Arabia, where King Abdullah has taken up where Egypt left off. Despite Israel's initial rejection five years ago, Prime Minister Olmert has agreed to take another look. In Egypt itself, voters have increased the powers of President Mubarak, but the election's being criticized as a violation of his promise to increase democracy. Pakistan's President Musharraf, a guest at today's Arab summit, is another US ally accused of stifling dissent to strengthen his own position. For three years before September 11, US aid to Pakistan amounted to less than $10 million; since then, it's been more than $10 billion, with only Israel and Egypt getting more. How great is the risk of extremist takeovers in Egypt or Pakistan? Is US aid promoting democracy or propping up repressive regimes? We hear from journalists, military and political analysts, foreign policy experts, and human rights advocates.
- As'ad AbuKhalil: Professor of Political Science at Cal State University Stanislaus
- Elijah Zarwan: Researcher with Human Rights Watch
- James Dobbins: Director of International Security and Defense Policy Center at the RAND Corp
- Talat Masood: Military and political analyst
- Hasan-Askari Rizvi: Columnist for Pakistan's Daily Times
Senate, House Create War-Funding Problems for Bush ()
By two votes last night, the US Senate approved a non-binding deadline for pulling out of Iraq by March of next year. By the middle of May, the military will be running short of money in Iraq. This morning, after President Bush again threatened to veto any measure with a deadline for troop withdrawal, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi urged him to "calm down with the threats." Mike Allen, who reports for the new website, Politico, reports on a potential impasse.
- Mike Allen: Chief political writer for the Politico
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