For days, Arab governments lobbied against any American opening to Iran, Jordanians planned protests against President Bush and politicians braced for a possible announcement of a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq.Anyone who finds this result surprising simply hasn't been paying attention. Bush just wants to run out the clock so Iraq can become someone else's problem. Which, by the way, suggests to me that he expects a Democrat to take the presidency in 2008.
But as the summit meeting between President Bush and Prime Minister Kamal Nuri al-Maliki of Iraq concluded Thursday morning, the Arab world was left dumbfounded that nothing had come of it.
“I am baffled by what I saw,” said Abdel Moneim Said, director of the Ahram Center for Strategic Studies in Cairo. “This was an expression of the Americans in deep trouble, but Bush’s approach to dealing with the Iraqi problem also bore the signs of someone out of touch with what is going on.”
“I did not see a coherent strategy that really deals with the situation,” Mr. Said said. “I did not see Bush realizing how bad it is.”
The sessions ultimately proved disappointing for Arab nations, [Fares] Braizat said. “The meeting showed that Bush cared about the game, but he did not know how to make the right moves,” he said. “There were no tangible results.” And results, he said, were what Arab leaders were looking for.
My favorite line in the story comes from a Jordanian security official:
They burnt some flags, but for us, burning flags is not a security issue, it’s an environmental issue.*wistful sigh*