European Views and Policies Toward the Middle East
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS WASHINGTON DC CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE
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Managing policy differences on a range of issues emanating from the Middle East poses serious challenges for the United States and its European allies and friends. The most vitriolic dispute has centered on the conflict in Iraq. However, divisions over how best to approach the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict, manage Iran and Syria, and combat terrorism also persist. The Bush Administration and Members of Congress are concerned that continued disagreements between the two sides of the Atlantic could both constrain U.S. policy choices in the region and erode the broader transatlantic relationship and counterterrorism cooperation over the longer term. The U.S.-initiated Broader Middle East and North Africa partnership project seeks to encourage reforms in the region and U.S.-European cooperation in tackling Mideast problems. This initiative was welcomed by the 911 Commission, which recommended that the United States should engage other nations in developing a comprehensive coalition strategy against Islamist terrorism. The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 P.L. 108-458 contains elements that seek to promote Middle East development and reform and enhance international cooperation against terrorism. Many analysts assert that the United States and Europe share common vital interests in the Middle East combating terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction promoting Middle East peace and stability ensuring a reliable flow of oil and curtailing Islamic extremism. U.S. and European policies to promote these goals often differ considerably. Although the European governments are not monolithic in their opinions on the Middle East, European perspectives have been shaped over time by common elements unique to Europes history and geostrategic position. Many Europeans believe the Israeli-Palestinian conflict should be a priority.
- Government and Political Science