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Washington Improves Its Image - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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It is perplexing to witness the Pentagon buying articles in Iraqi newspapers to explain its position and garner support for Washington’s policies. For decades now, the U.S. government has operated a number of media institutions to broadcast, transmit and publish its official positions, which have done everything it their powers to defend its stances.

In a previous more successful experiment, aborted in its early stages, the State Department broadcast announcements by U.S. Muslims and Arab Americans discussing their point of view in support of the government. These interviews were shown through a variety of mediums, leaving the audience to examine them and either accept or reject them.

However, the question remains, why are the Americans chasing after an image when they have the chance to improve their policies? If their goal were to build a connection with angry Arabs and Muslim, the solution would be simple. If the U.S. administration were to search through its records, it would soon discover the key is to solve the Palestinian conflict and not to sponsor favorable articles that no one will read. The biggest lie is to claim the conflict is intractable and harder to solve than it is to build a water canal linking New York City and Los Angeles. The truth is the opposite; it is easier to achieve than governing Iraq or entering into trade agreements with Europe.

For some time now, Arabs have accepted mediocre solutions in order to end the Palestinian conflict. Generations of politicians died dreaming of a solution.

In the last thirty years, the Arab position has developed from a rejection of a peaceful solution entirely to the abandonment, officially and in public, of the military solution. The Arabs accepted the concept of two states living side by side on the disputed land. They accepted UN resolution 242 as a basis to resolve the conflict. They accepted an Arab Jerusalem and a just solution to the refugee problem. Twenty Arab states even agreed to recognize Israel en masse.

In the interest of fairness, the Israelis have realized that occupying the Gaza Strip was impossible and that the settlements would cost them more than they could afford. The same is true for the West Bank. Yet, regrettably, so far, we have witnessed countless political projects that were never completed and road maps, which lead their negotiators astray. We witnessed resolutions, which began with excitement but soon faltered. The solution is no optical illusion, but the souls are depressed.

If Washington truly wanted a solution to its problem with this part of the world, it ought to stop wasting its efforts on maps and longwinded roads. It is standing in front of a historic opportunity. It needs to dedicate its efforts to realizing it and consider it as its grandest project. Solving the Palestinian conflict will not cost it financially or humanly, as has its two-year presence in Baghdad. It will also allow America to leave in peace for the foreseeable future.

It is distressing to hear all parties involved truly interested in peace and an end to this enduring crisis while the corresponding effort leaves to be desired. The circumstances are ripe and only need dedication and determination for a solution to be achieved.

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed is the former general manager of Al-Arabiya television. He is also the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat, and the leading Arabic weekly magazine Al-Majalla. He is also a senior columnist in the daily newspapers Al-Madina and Al-Bilad. He has a US post-graduate degree in mass communications, and has been a guest on many TV current affairs programs. He is currently based in Dubai.

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