If anybody will ever earn the respect of the warring parties of the Middle East and of the rest of the world, it will be a black American president with a Muslim name, a sense of universal fairness, and the courage to speak the truth as he sees it. As someone who is deeply pained by how the world continues to malign the state of Israel, I have the audacity to hope that such a change will be good for the Jews.
In a recent report, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) challenged the impact of U.S. sanctions against Iran, noting Iran's ability to negotiate $20 billion in contracts with foreign firms since 2003 to develop its energy resources. The GAO correctly recognizes that "Iran's overall trade with the world has grown since the U.S. imposed sanctions." What the GAO fails to recognize is that the most important provisions of the cornerstone of America's sanction against Iran, the Iran Libya Sanctions Act (ILSA) of 1995, have not been implemented, and it is precisely these provisions that sought to cripple Iran's ability to trade with the rest of the world.
If there is one thing the Bush White House excels at it is lowering expectations, and the administration spin machine was operating at full speed in the days leading up to President Bush's Middle East trip, which at press time on Tuesday was expected to begin on Wednesday.
The tragic assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto will engulf Pakistan in grief and turmoil. Her death symbolizes the wider calamity that envelops us all -- throughout the Middle East, Asia, Europe and the United States.