Jordan King: 3 Mideast Civil Wars Possible in 2007


The week's flare-up of violence in Iraq has been met by a flurry of new diplomacy. Vice President Cheney has just returned from a one-day visit to Saudi Arabia, and President Bush is heading to Amman this week for a summit with the Iraqi prime minister, hosted by King Abdullah of Jordan. ABC News Chief Washington Correspondent George Stephanopoulos spoke with King Abdullah on "This Week."

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Welcome back to "This Week," Your Majesty.

KING ABDULLAH II OF JORDAN: Thank you very much, George.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Is this Amman summit the last chance to save Iraq?

KING ABDULLAH: Well, we hope that this is an opportunity for both President Bush and Prime Minister Maliki to be able to come together in a common understanding on how to bring the sectarian conflict much lower.

We are very, very concerned for the future of all Iraqis, and we hope that there will be something dramatic.

The challenges, obviously, in front of both of them are immense.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You say, "something dramatic." What could that be?

KING ABDULLAH: Well, we have to make sure that all parties in Iraq understand the dangers of the ongoing escalation, and I hope that Prime Minister Maliki will have some ideas to be provided to the president on how he could be inclusive in bringing all the different sects inside of Iraq together.

And they need to do it now, because, obviously, as we're seeing, things are beginning to spiral out of control.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Many here in the United States say that, if Prime Minister Maliki doesn't come forward with that kind of a package, President Bush should issue an ultimatum: It has to happen now or we're going to begin to withdraw our troops from Iraq.

Would that be useful?

KING ABDULLAH: Well, I'm not exactly privy to what the discussion points will be between both sides. But there needs to be some very strong action taken on the ground there today.

Obviously, the indicators are of tremendous concern to all of us, and I don't think we're in a position where we can come back and revisit the problem in early 2007.

There needs to be a strategy. There needs to be a plan that brings all the parties together, and bring them today and not tomorrow.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Is it a civil war in Iraq right now?

KING ABDULLAH: Well, George, the difficulty that we're tackling with here is, we're juggling with the strong potential of three civil wars in the region, whether it's the Palestinians, that of Lebanon or of Iraq.

And I hope that my discussions, at least, with the president will be to provide whatever we can do for the Iraqi people. But at the same time, we do want to concentrate ourselves on the core issues, which we believe are the Palestinians and the Palestinian peace process, because that is a must today, as well as the tremendous concern we've had over the past several days, what's happening in Lebanon.

And we could possibly imagine going into 2007 and having three civil wars on our hands. And therefore, it is time that we really take a strong step forward as part of the international community and make sure we avert the Middle East from a tremendous crisis that I fear, and I see could possibly happen in 2007.

STEPHANOPOULOS: That is a frightening prospect, the prospect of three civil wars. All three of those societies -- Iraq, Lebanon, the Palestinian Authority -- have had elections over the last couple of years. And now we're seeing the prospect of civil war.

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