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Commentary :: International
BTL:Critics Challenge White House Claims that Iraq War Responsible for...
17 Mar 2005
...Tentative Moves Toward Middle East Democracy ~ Interview with Phyllis Bennis, fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies conducted by Between the Lines' Scott Harris
Critics Challenge White House Claims that Iraq War Responsible for Tentative Moves Toward Middle East Democracy

Interview with Phyllis Bennis, fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies conducted by Scott Harris

Since the Jan. 30.election in Iraq, which saw a higher than expected turnout among Shiite and Kurdish voters -- the White House and some major corporate media outlets have been crediting President Bush for what's been characterized as a wave of democracy spreading across the Middle East. The wars launched by the Bush administration in Afghanistan and Iraq -- as well as public pressure on authoritarian governments -- have been cited by some pundits as an important factor in moves toward democracy taking place in Lebanon, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the Palestinian territories.

But other analysts point out that movements supporting democracy pre-date Bush's invasions, and in some cases have been hurt by a post-war anti-Washington backlash. Critics also say that the White House has refused to pressure anti-democratic regimes, such as those in Pakistan and some former Soviet states that have cooperated with the Bush administration's war on terrorism.

Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with Phyllis Bennis, a fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies, who examines the claim that White House policy is responsible for some tentative progress toward democracy in the Middle East. She also looks at Bush's nomination of John Bolton to be the next U.S. ambassador to the U.N. despite his long record of hostility toward the world body.

Phyllis Bennis is author of the book, "Before and After: U.S. Foreign Policy and the September 11th Crisis." Contact the Institute by calling (202) 234-9382 or visit their website at

LISTEN to this week's half-hour program of Between The Lines by clicking on one of the links below:
"Between The Lines" is a half-hour syndicated radio news magazine that each week features a summary of under-reported news stories and interviews with activists and journalists who offer progressive perspectives on international, national and regional political, economic and social issues. Because "Between The Lines" is independent of all publications, media networks or political parties, we are able to bring a diversity of voices to the airwaves generally ignored or marginalized by the major media. For more information on this week's topics and to check out our text archive listing topics and guests presented in previous programs visit:
"Between the Lines," WPKN 89.5 FM's weekly radio news magazine can be heard Tuesdays at 5:30 p.m. ET; Wednesdays at 8 a.m. ET and Saturdays at 2 p.m. ET (Wednesday's show airs at 7:30 a.m. ET during fundraising months of April and October).
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©2005 Between The Lines. All Rights Reserved.
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