Message from Mideast

KING Abdullah of Jordan has snubbed the US President George W Bush by refusing to meet him and returned home cutting short his visit to the US on Wednesday. The move goes to the heart of the strain that is severely testing America's relations with its trusted and traditional allies in the Middle East.

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Published: Fri 23 Apr 2004, 12:51 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 1:08 AM

Although the White House insisted President Bush did not feel snubbed by Abdullah's decision to leave early and skip the scheduled meeting with the president, the estrangement of friends like Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia is too obvious to be dismissed casually. Significantly, Abdullah made the reasons for his annoyance absolutely clear when he said he expected the White House to clarify on the carte blanche given to Israel's Ariel Sharon. On the other hand, Egypt's Hosni Mubarak, who had been a guest at the White House last week, is concerned that the anger in Arab world over America's Middle East policy has scaled new heights.

"Arabs hold a hatred never equalled" before toward the US, points out the leader. Mubarak is not way off the mark. In fact, the Arab street is so agitated over Bush's shenanigans last week that Washington's closest of allies like Abdullah and Mubarak, the so-called moderates among the Arab leaders, cannot face their own people. And then to top it all, there was the outrage of Rantissi assassination. The message from Middle East is clear: Washington cannot continue to look away while Israel inflicts injustice and daily humiliation on Palestinians and yet hope to maintain good relations with Arab world.

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