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Arab states vent rising wrath

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Analysts here say that Mubarak may have needed to snub US Secretary of State Colin Powell during his Mideast diplomatic mission last week in order to shore up his reputation as a leading statesmen for an Arab world increasingly hostile toward the US. More concretely, Egypt's cancellation this month of regular flights to Israel by the semi-official airline Air Sinai may be one of the most significant moves against Israel to date.

In addition to the pressure posed by growing calls in Egyptian streets for concerted military action against Israel,President Mubarak is now facing mounting losses in his tourism industry, exacerbated by the Middle East crisis.

But the regimes of Egypt and Jordan have left the decades-old idea of economic boycotts in the hands of private citizens and nongovernmental organizations, and many Arab analysts are scoffing at the efforts as damaging to local economies and unlikely to bring about real change. If Israel's closest ally was anyone but the US, it might be easier.

"The foreign policies of Arab states are subject to serious constraints," says Dr. Korany, the professor of international relations. "The US is still the big guy in the region and many countries – like Egypt and Jordan – count on Washington for help and aid."

In addition to being the region's biggest consumer - in terms of oil supplies - the US is also its biggest arms dealer. Moderate and radical Arab states have built of large arsenals in recent decades with Washington's help.

Last Friday, the US Defense Department explained in a memo to Congress that a sale of an advanced long-range radar to Jordan was due to that country being threatened by Iraq, a "hostile neighbor with credible air and land forces.

Saudi Arabia and the gulf states
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