Think EU-MED

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Obama meets Al-Arabiya

On his first day in office, US President Barack Obama put an end to the controversial U.S foreign policy towards the Middle East during the Bush administration. Bush's "war against terrorism" should be replaced by a new diplomatic strategy of dialog and cooperation with the whole region including Syria and Iran.
The reactions in the Middle East were divided: some expressed pessimism about the capacity of the Obama administration to bring about real change in the region, others were optimistic that Barack Obama is able to devise a more balanced role in the region.

In Obama's first interview since taking office, the new president said that the U.S. are not the enemy of the Muslim world and that Israel and the Palestinians should resume peace negotiations. US President Obama offered to the Islamic world a "new partnership in mutual respect". In his "greater Middle East" strategy Obama will use credible and active diplomacy that employs "all instruments of US power".
The crucial question will be whether Obama will succeed in translating his words into direct actions for the benefit of the region.

The Middle East experts Amr Hamzawy and Marina Ottaway conclude in a publication of Carnegie Endowment:

"Obama’s election was a public diplomacy triumph for the United States, the first real success the United States has won in the Arab world in a long time, and probably the most important one since President Eisenhower backed Egypt’s efforts to regain control of the Suez Canal in 1956. Yet the success could prove short-lived: Arabs were reacting to concrete change, not to words, and are likely to revert to the old hostility unless Obama’s words are backed by concrete changes in U.S. Middle East policies."

Check out Obama's first interview with the Arab satellite station Al Arabiya:

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