Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Who Are America's Arab Allies

American officials and Members of Congress often refer to America’s Arab allies.  Just who are they?  Egypt, with sixth-term President Mubarak?  Lebanon with a Hezbollah pick as new prime minister?  Tunisia with a new who-knows-what kind of government to emerge?  Saudi Arabia which underwrites the global spread of madrassas?  Pakistan which can’t make up its mind about the Taliban?  President Karzai in Afaghanistan?  Iraq with Moqtada al-Sadr squarely in the middle of Iraqi politics?  NATO member Turkey which would not let U.S. forces open a northern front in Iraq in 2003?

What is the definition and measurement of an American ally?  A country that’s with us more than 75% of the time, 50%, or even 25% or less.  Is Russia an ally because it helps with sanctions on Iran?  Is China an ally in coping with North Korea’s nuclear weapons program?  Are European countries reliable allies but which let the U.S. provide their military shield?  How many of our “allies” would remain allies if we cut off those receiving civilian and military aid?

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