As political unrest spreads across the Middle East, analysts here in the United States wonder whether and how U.S. policy has influenced the protestors. How does the U.S.'s increasing role in the Middle East since 9/11 –  in Afghanistan, Iraq and in the Israel-Palestine conflict –  relate to the current political instability in the region?

Elliot Abrams, senior fellow for Middle Eastern studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, was a deputy national security adviser in the George W. Bush administration. He believes the protests in Egypt and throughout the Middle East confirm President Bush's beliefs about freedom in the Arab world.

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