The Israeli-Palestinian conflict stands in the way of Arab states embracing democracy, even if they one day have a democratic Iraq as an example, Jordan’s King Abdullah said Sunday.
“With the cloud of the Israeli-Palestinian, Israeli-Arab issue hanging over our heads, we’ll never have the secure, stable atmosphere, not only in Jordan, but throughout the region, to be able to develop in the way that we want,” the King said.
King Abdullah was interviewed by CNN in London, where the king last week met with British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
On Iraq, King Abdullah repeated his call on the United States to move quickly to allow Iraqis to govern their country now that it has toppled deposed president Saddam Hussein. “I would have thought they should have moved faster,” he said.
King Abdullah said the violent rivalries between Shiite factions in southern Iraq reinforced earlier fears of Iraq’s “fragmentation.”
The King said Iran may be tempted to meddle in Iraq, but he expected it to behave cautiously and was reassured by signs of Iranian rapprochement with the United States and Europe.
Despite his concerns, he said he was hopeful about Iraq’s future as “a capable, talented, strong nation moving in the right direction [that] I think will be a comfort to a lot of us in the area.”
He said Ahmad Chalabi of the London-based Iraqi National Congress may not be Iraq’s best choice because of embezzlement charges against him in Jordan and because of his long absence from Iraq. “What contacts does he have with the people on the street?” King Abdullah asked. (Albawaba.com)