Before 9/11, modern United States policy towards the Middle East has been characterized by three main goals. These goals included: Middle Eastern support for the United States and its Western allies during the cold war, the unhindered flow of oil at market rates, the resilience of Arab states allied with it, and the security and well being of Israel. To some extent, these goals were contradictory and at times the United States failed to make gains in all four categories.1 Policy in the wake of 9/11 attempted to address the shortcomings of policy the Cold War and its immediate aftermath. In a rare episode of self-criticism, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice acknowledged that the United States has not achieved the stability it desires in the Middle East by ignoring democracy in the region:
The speech was part of an overall strategy called the Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI). While the conflict in Iraq is not a part of this program, it is particularly important to the Arab League, because it represents one of the few US initiatives that treat the region collectively. The program has had its shortcomings and is not without its faults. It represents one of the few tangible ways the United States has tried to alter the institutional culture of the region.