<center><h1><a href=http://www.csmonitor.com/2004/0426/p02s02-usfp.htm>Reality intrudes on US vision for Mideast</a></h1></center> <center><b>Arab hostility to Iraq war and Bush's support of Sharon raises doubts about broader democratic reforms in region.</b></center> By Howard LaFranchi | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor <blockquote>WASHINGTON - National Security adviser Condoleezza Rice says that if there's one thing she sees President Bush become passionate about, it is reform in the Middle East. For the president, political and economic progress in a vast region of Arab and Muslim population he calls the "greater Middle East" is one of the keys to winning the war on terror. But just weeks before the Bush administration plans to roll out its greater Middle East initiative at a series of international summits, the plan is in trouble. Three factors - worse-than-expected violence in Iraq, the president's surprise alignment last week with Israeli leader Ariel Sharon on West Bank settlements and other sensitive issues, and the continuing deterioration of America's image among Arabs - have thrown the plan off and punctured enthusiasm for pursuing it. For many experts and foreign diplomats involved in the Middle East - and even some US officials skeptical of what they see as the plan's we-know-what-you-need tone - it has become the incredible shrinking Mideast vision. "We've had so many setbacks from so many different directions to what were some fairly radical projects that the prudent response might be to file this initiative in the wastebasket or at least scale it back - and in fact we're seeing some signs of that," says Michael Hudson, an expert at Georgetown University here. "The rhetoric is still there," adds a European diplomat in Washington, referring to continued administration talk of Middle East democratization. "But on the underlying levels where policy is made, the sentiment is a lot less enthusiastic than it was just some weeks back."</blockquote> The welcoming throngs have vanished...America's credibility as an honest broker in the Middle East is in ashes...Moderate Arab leaders are turning their backs on US ME policy. Dubbyuh needs to wake up and smell the coffee.