Taba MythchiefIssue: Spring 2003
After the U.S.-led coalition routed Iraq in Operation Desert Storm in 1991, President George H.W. Bush told Congress that he would vigorously pursue the Arab-Israeli peace process. Indeed, a landmark Middle East peace conference in Madrid followed in short order, which for the first time brought Israel to the same table with all its immediate neighbors. A second U.S.-led war against Iraq will also likely be followed by a focus on the Arab-Israeli arena, for the same twin logic applies to both cases. The first part of this logic reasons that such a focus will improve America's standing with the Arabs, who believe, rightly or wrongly, that the United States has a double standard in which it seeks to redress Arab, but not Israeli, wrongdoing. But it is also driven by a judgment that an American victory will alter the regional equation, emboldening moderates and weakening extremists, and thus improve the prospects for peace.