Tuesday 6 May 2003

Arabs say U.S., Israel want to control Middle East

Many Arabs believe the United States is working with Israel to control the Middle East and said U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell's recent threats to Syria are the first inkling of what was to come.

Many see Israel's hand behind what Powell called a "new strategic dynamic" signalled by the overthrow of Iraq's Saddam Hussein and moves to revive Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

They say the powerful Jewish lobby in the United States has President George W. Bush on a short leash to ensure that Washington reorganises the Middle East in Israel's interests.

"When the security of Israel becomes the key to the security of the world, as the Americans say, then one can only imagine the lengths to which the Bush administration will push Israel's neighbours -- particularly Syria -- to achieve this goal," wrote columnist Zohair Qosaibaty in the pan-Arab daily al-Hayat.

"The current level of Israeli-American collusion is unprecedented in Arab history and when the so-called security of the world is in the hands of the criminals in Israel, we can kiss the world good-bye," he added.

Powell, on his first Middle East trip since the invasion of Iraq, told Syria on Saturday its relations with Washington would depend on how it behaved, making clear it should curb its support for Lebanese and Palestinian groups fighting Israel.

On the same day, a senior U.S. official said a 10-nation stabilisation force would deploy in Iraq, which would be divided into three zones under U.S., British and Polish command.

The analysts said Arabs feared that the move was an attempt to carve up Iraq.

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