Jordan says Arabs wary of US intentions

23 April 2003
Jordan's King Abdullah on 22 April said that while Arabs were happy to see the regime of Saddam Hussein overthrown, there was serious concern about the US' wider intentions in the region. Speaking in an interview with the BBC, King Abdullah said that these fears were fuelled by Washington's threatening position towards Syria and US talk of permanent military bases in Iraq. 'The perception on the Arab street is today it's Iraq, tomorrow its Syria, who's next?' he said. 'So investing in bases in Iraq would give people the ammunition to say just that.' US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on 21 April denied the reports, which first surfaced in the New York Times, that the US was planning four permanent military bases in Iraq. King Abdullah said that from the point of view of stability in the entire region, the war had been a step backwards, and that it was now time to move forward by advancing the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. 'The only way you can balance and bring trust in the Arab street towards Western intentions is to see how fairly you're going to tackle the Israeli Palestinian problem,' he said.

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