He will also visit Kuwait, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates and Egypt. "This is a region of great strategic importance to the United States, and I'm looking forward to my visit", Bush said on January 5 in his weekly radio address to the nation.
"At its core, the battle unfolding in the Middle East is more than a clash of arms. It is an ideological struggle. On one side are the forces of terror and death. On the other are tens of millions of ordinary people who want a free and peaceful life for their children. The future of the Middle East depends on the outcome of this struggle, and so does the security of the United States”, the American President said.
After World War II "America invested the time and resources to help nations make the transition from dictatorship to democracy”, and provide stability and security in many regions of world, Bush noted and expressed confidence that “a similar transformation can take place in the Middle East”.
"The people of the Middle East can have confidence in the power of liberty to overcome tyranny and terror”, the US President claimed. According to him, this message will be the top subject of his visit to the region.
As quoted to Stephen Hadley, Assistant to the US President for National Security, who will accompany Bush in his trip, the head of the While House is departing Washington by Air Force One on Tuesday to arrive to Tel Aviv on January 9 in the afternoon. During his visit to Israel that will last until January 11, Bush will visit not only Tel Aviv but also Jerusalem and Ramallah on the Western bank of the Jordan River.
On Wednesday and Thursday in Israel, the US President is scheduled to meet with Israeli President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, and visit the West bank to have talks with Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. On Friday, Bush will have a meeting with Middle East Quartet’s Special Envoy Tony Blair , and will lay a wreath at the monument to the victims of the Holocaust in Yad Vashem in Jerisalem. Thereafter, he will depart for Kuwait to have a conversation with Emir of Kuwait Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah.
On Saturday, January 11 in Kuwait the head of the White House will visit US Army Base “Camp Arifjan” to address the American servicemen located there and to have a meeting with US Ambassador in Iraq Ryan Crocker and General David Petraeus, Commander of the Multi-National Security Transition Command Iraq, who will arrive to Kuwait from Baghdad for this purpose.
In Kuwait, Bush also is scheduled to attend a roundtable on the problems of democracy sponsored by the Kuwaiti female organizations.
On January 12, the US President will depart Kuwait for Bahrain to have talks with King Hamad bin Isa Al Halif, and on January 13 he will visit the US Fifth Fleet HQ located in Bahrain. The Fifth Fleet Area of Operations covers the Middle East and Gulf Region. The same day, Bush will fly to the United Arab Emirates to conduct negotiations with UAE President Sheikh Khalifa ibn Zayed Al-Nahayan, and then deliver a public speech in Abu Dabi on the situation in the Middle East.
On Monday, January 14, Bush will arrive to Dubai where he is going to have a conversation with Sheikh of Dubai Mahammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, and then he will depart for Saudi Arabia to have talks with King of Saudi Arabia Abdallah. ,
Bush will spend Tuesday, January 15 in Riyad, the capital of Saudi Arabia. According to Hadley, the President is going to have a number of meetings in this city, however, the details of this visit are not discovered.
On January 16, the US President will fly to Egyptian sea resort Sharm el-Sheikh to have a meeting with President of Egypt Hosni Mubarak. After the talks in the afternoon the head of the White House will depart Egypt for Washington, Hadley said.
In connection with the expected visit of Bush to Israel and other countries of the region, international terrorist organization Al-Quaeda on Sunday distributed an Internet video that shows “press-secretary” of this organization former American citizen Adam Gadan urging all Moslem people “to welcome Bush, a crusader and murderer, on his visit to Islamic Palestine and Arabian Peninsular in early January, and not with flowers and applauds but with bombs and bomb-cars”.
WH Deputy Press-Secretary Tony Fratto who was asked to comment on the Al-Quaeda statement, said to journalists flying on Monday together with Bush aboard Air Force One from Washington to Chicago that the new Internet video is “ just another reminder that there are people out there who are seeking ways to disrupt or derail the march to freedom and democracy”. In so doing, Fratto said that he is “not aware of “ any changes in plans of Bush’s trip to the Middle East associated with the Al-Quaeda video.
On Monday, FBI Spokesman Richard Kolko said to journalists that the FBI carefully analyzes the video of Gadan to identify if it contains any data on possible threat or possible plans of the terrorists.
American and world mass media watching the preparation of the Bush’s visit to Israel also forecast that one of the most important confidential topics of the US President’s trip will be the situation around Iran. In this connection on Sunday British newspaper “The Times” published an information that in Jerusalem the Israeli Intelligence Service will provide the head of the White House with a report containing the latest data on the Iranian nuclear programme as well as the possibility to terminate it.
According to “The Tomes”, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak wants to convince Bush that an Israeli military strike on the nuclear facilities in Iran would be feasible provided diplomatic efforts fail, and that several options of such strike have been already prepared. The comments of the White House on the allegation of the British newspaper are still pending.
Simultaneously, announcing the Bush’s trip Stephen Hadley, Assistant to the US President for National Security, confirmed last week that the Iranian subject is included in the agenda of the US President’s talks with the state leaders of the region.
According to him, during the trip the President is going to “conduct confidential talks and let them know privately that we (the USA) understand the problem that is created by Iran in the region, and that our friends and allies in the regions may rely on our commitments to the region and on our continuing presence in the region”.