The U.S. image in the Middle East has taken a beating despite summits and a multi-million dollar public relations campaign.
The State Department has ordered a review of its information campaign in Arab
and Islamic states after a new polls that show rising anti-American sentiment.
The Arabic and Islamic media have reported heavily on U.S. measures
against illegal Muslim immigrants. Officials said these reports have
undermined the State Department campaign. They also cited the resignation in
March of Undersecretary of State Charlotte Beers, a former advertising
executive who ran the public relations campaign.
The review will be led by former Assistant Secretary of State Edward
Djerejian, a former ambassador to Syria, Middle East Newsline reported.
Officials acknowledged that President George Bush's campaign for the
establishment of an interim Palestinian state by the end of the year has not
increased support for the United States in the Arab and Islamic world. Last
week, Bush held two summits in the Middle East.
"The group will study the efficacy of the department's public diplomacy
efforts aimed at this region and recommend new ideas and policy
initiatives," the State Department said. "In addition, the advisory group
will report their findings to Congress by early fall."
Last week, Arab newspapers reported tension between Bush and Crown
Prince Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz. The newspapers said Abdullah had threatened
to leave the summit in Egypt's Sharm e-Sheik because Bush wanted to release
a joint communique that Arab nations would normalize relations with Israel.
Abdullah remained for rest of the meeting when Bush withdrew the proposed