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Middle East

Special Coverage: Iraq and Remaking the Mideast

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Listen to Monday's one-hour special report on the Mideast conflict:

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As fighting continues between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon, and between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, critics are questioning the role that the U.S. mission in Iraq is playing in the current Mideast conflict.

In a special one-hour report, host Neal Conan and guests discuss the consequences of the war in Iraq, how it has changed the region — and what the prospects are for spreading democratic reform.

Only a few months ago, elections in Lebanon and the Palestinian territories were hailed as important steps toward spreading democracy, developments that could entice terrorist groups to abandon violence and help establish more representative, more transparent and more legitimate governments.

That, in turn, followed a series of elections in Iraq, where sizeable majorities appeared to reject insurrection. All along, the Bush administration hoped that the installation of a stable democracy in Baghdad would prompt democratic reforms elsewhere in the region and, eventually, transform the Middle East.

But now, some critics charge that the U.S. intervention in Iraq spawned new conflicts and new divisions in the region, and that democratic reform has thus far bolstered Islamic fundamentalists.

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