AMMAN — Deposing regimes without knowing what the next step should be is the US’ major mistake in the Middle East, said veteran journalist David Ignatius.
The Washington Post columnist cited the deteriorating situation in Iraq since the ouster of president Saddam Hussein by US troops in a 2003 invasion.
In a lecture Wednesday at Columbia University Middle East Research Centre about America’s policy in the region, Ignatius said Iraq is the most obvious example of the “limits of American power to solve the region’s problems”.
“[President George W.] Bush made a terrible mistake in invading Iraq in 2003,” he said.
With his talk titled, “Back to the Future: US Policy and the Middle East Crisis”, the journalist said Egypt is another proof of America’s inability to shape events in the Middle East.
“All Egyptians are united now in one thing: their dissent from American policy.”
Presenting the views he developed over 35 years of covering the Middle East, Ignatius said a sustainable solution to the region’s sectarian dilemmas should incorporate Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shiite Iran.
The first time the now associate editor at the Washington Post came to the Middle East as a journalist was in 1980.
“I felt in Egypt and Syria that people have rights they are unable to express. They feel they live in police states.”
On President Barack Obama, Ignatius, who is also a novelist, said most Americans wanted him to be a strong leader capable of solving their country’s internal and external problems.
“People elected him [Obama] twice partly because of their trust in his economic programme and also because of their mistrust of the Republicans.”