President Bush, Palestinian Premier Mazen, and Israel's Prime Minister Sharon are poised to meet. Is America serious about bringing peace to Palestine and Israel? Where does this meeting fit in the overall US Middle East strategy? Richard Haass, Director of Policy Planning in the US State Department, offers his road map to the entire Middle East region.
What was accomplished in Iraq--and, more importantly, what the Iraqi people will now accomplish with American help--will determine the future of one of the Middle East's key countries. An open, market_oriented, and peaceful Iraq could also advance reform and growth across the entire region. But far-reaching change both in Iraq and the Middle East is certain to take time.
The post-Saddam challenge in Iraq has four components: humanitarian, security-related, economic, and political. The humanitarian challenge has been less burdensome than anticipated, thanks to advance planning by the US and the world community and to the rapid, focused, and discriminate way in which coalition forces fought the war.
Some pockets of humanitarian need remain, but the massive crisis that was anticipated thankfully never materialized. Refugees and internally displaced persons are relatively few; supplies of food, water and medicine are mostly adequate or at least improving. The US government has provided some $600 million through UN agencies and non-governmental organizations to meet immediate humanitarian demands.