"Managing policy differences on a range of issues emanating from the Middle East poses serious challenges for the United States and its European allies and friends. The most vitriolic dispute has centered on the U.S. decision to use force to oust Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq. However, divisions over how best to approach the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict, manage Iran, and combat terrorism also persist. The Bush Administration and Members of Congress are concerned that continued disagreements between the two sides of the Atlantic could both constrain U.S. policy choices in the region and erode the broader transatlantic relationship and counterterrorism cooperation over the longer term. The U.S.-initiated Broader Middle East and North Africa partnership project, unveiled at the June 2004 G8 Summit, seeks to encourage reforms in the region and U.S.-European cooperation in tackling Mideast problems. This initiative was welcomed by the 9/11 Commission, which recommended that the United States 'should engage other nations in developing a comprehensive coalition strategy against Islamist terrorism.' How deep and lasting the clash over Iraq and subsequent Middle East policies will be to transatlantic relations will likely depend on several factors, including whether Washington and European capitals can cooperate more robustly to rebuild Iraq; whether Europeans perceive a renewed U.S. commitment to revive the Middle East peace process; and whether differences over Mideast issues spill over into NATO, U.S.-EU trade relations, or impede EU efforts to forge a deeper Union. This report will be updated as events warrant."
CRS Report for Congress, RL31956