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Aaron747
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Obama To Islam: America Is Not Your Enemy

Tue Jan 27, 2009 9:13 am

Despite my considerable ambivalence about Obama's economic policy team, I almost voted for the man purely on the basis of his thoughtful views on America's place in the world. He has a plainly stated a fraternal, rather than paternal view of how American power is to be employed, and is particularly keen to win the hearts and minds of moderate thinkers in the Middle East, a group who's trust the US desperately needs if we have any hope of succeeding long-term against radical Islamic terror. His first interview with an Arabic-speaking TV network today was a good start.

He made a few salient points that are a critical first step in gaining acceptance and understanding with the region, particularly given the previous administration's refusal to do so.

His view of his role as President:

- My job to the Muslim world is to communicate that the Americans are not your enemy."

Regarding a starting point for discussion:

- What I told him (George Mitchell) is start by listening, because all too often the United States starts by dictating — in the past on some of these issues — and we don't always know all the factors that are involved

A pretty convoluted sentence on not blaming all of Islam for terror, but we get the point:

- We cannot paint with a broad brush a faith as a consequence of the violence that is done in that faith's name.

And strong messages to extremists who are not his intended audience and of late have been floundering for attention:

- We can have legitimate disagreements but still be respectful. I cannot respect terrorist organizations that would kill innocent civilians and we will hunt them down.

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0109/18016.html

For those of you in the region who heard these comments, I'm curious, what is your reaction? The diplomatic and defense communities abroad are abuzz with this abrupt change in tone from the White House, if some e-mails I received today are an indication of anything.

Unfortunately I fear the realities of the economic crisis in the US mean that the Obama administration will be severely limited in its ability to deploy soft power strategies. This will make words and exchanges like this even more important as a means of laying solid groundwork for future efforts.
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Klaus
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RE: Obama To Islam: America Is Not Your Enemy

Tue Jan 27, 2009 9:34 am



Quoting Aaron747 (Thread starter):
Unfortunately I fear the realities of the economic crisis in the US mean that the Obama administration will be severely limited in its ability to deploy soft power strategies. This will make words and exchanges like this even more important as a means of laying solid groundwork for future efforts.

Soft power is much more than just checkbook diplomacy. This interview alone should have re-created quite a bit of political capital which had been destroyed through the years before. Which will only matter, of course, if the actions will actually match the words.
 
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mariner
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RE: Obama To Islam: America Is Not Your Enemy

Tue Jan 27, 2009 9:39 am

I was born and educated in the Middle East (British parents) and have spent a great deal of time there and have written about the area.

I haven't often heard a western leader do what President Obama did today.

He did not address himself to Middle Eastern leaders, he bypassed them - although he may have earned himself considerable political capital with the Saudi king.

He spoke directly to the Arabs in the street and the poor Arabs, and of their children.

He was firm and reasonable and above all, decent. He suggested the possibility a future for Arab children that is better, brighter than any future they have now.

I thought it was remarkable and I have spoken to several Muslim friends who feel the same way.

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Klaus
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RE: Obama To Islam: America Is Not Your Enemy

Tue Jan 27, 2009 10:00 am

Interesting side aspect: Obame re-affirmed the absolute commitment to Israel's safety, but he did not declare blanket support for just any israeli government policy either:

Al Arabiya

Quote:
THE PRESIDEN: Now, Israel is a strong ally of the United States. They will not stop being a strong ally of the United States. And I will continue to believe that Israel's security is paramount. But I also believe that there are Israelis who recognize that it is important to achieve peace. They will be willing to make sacrifices if the time is appropriate and if there is serious partnership on the other side.

Even given who he was talking to, the choice of emphasis (boldfacing mine, words Obama's) is remarkable.
 
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RE: Obama To Islam: America Is Not Your Enemy

Tue Jan 27, 2009 11:38 am

Good subject, Aaron747.

I gather that President Obama made specific reference to King Abdullah's 'peace plan' (first put forward in 2002, confirmed in 2007). This entails Israel withdrawing to the 1967 borders, giving East Jerusalem back, arriving at a 'just settlement' with regard to the Palestinian refugees, and entering into a non-aggression pact.

If Obama insists on Israel doing a deal on that basis, it will largely solve all the short-term problems of the region.

So I personally found the President's comments very encouraging.
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Aaron747
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RE: Obama To Islam: America Is Not Your Enemy

Tue Jan 27, 2009 1:15 pm



Quoting NAV20 (Reply 4):
If Obama insists on Israel doing a deal on that basis, it will largely solve all the short-term problems of the region.

I wouldn't hold my breath on that one.

Quoting Mariner (Reply 2):
He was firm and reasonable and above all, decent. He suggested the possibility a future for Arab children that is better, brighter than any future they have now.

I thought it was remarkable and I have spoken to several Muslim friends who feel the same way.

Agreed. Several people I know have said the same, but as we all know, workable resolutions to the fundamental issues in the region with American power are not met with mere words.

Quoting Klaus (Reply 1):
Soft power is much more than just checkbook diplomacy.

Checkbook diplomacy is the post-WWII American M.O. for just about anything that doesn't involve arms sales or under the table funding of the coup d’état du jour, so it's difficult to think of anything else with tangible results. 20-year projects to boost English education in South Korea, for instance, don't really make headlines.
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bahadir
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RE: Obama To Islam: America Is Not Your Enemy

Tue Jan 27, 2009 1:21 pm

I would have voted for Obama if I was able to . He is carrying a lot of load on his shoulders in terms of promises. Can he handle them, can he carry them? Will see..

US was one of the most admired , if not the most, countries in Turkey (where I spent 20 years of my life) in the Clinton times. People still talk about Clinton's visit to the earthquake victims to this day..

Fast forward to 2003/4, US became the most hated nation by the Turks; one of the best allies of Cold War and to this day a very big strategic partner. There isn't a day that goes by there isn't a conspiracy theory about US being involved in some clandestine operations. This is getting so ridiculous that if the power goes out at some Turk's home, they are going to blame 'America' for this  Smile (I am exaggerating a bit, but you get the picture)

Obama talking about innocent civilian deaths is one thing but when you look at the fact that we invaded a sovereign nation, against the will of the entire world (except British) and the civilian death toll is anywhere from 150K to a million; he has to convince the people in Middle East of his sincerity.

In addition how about the racism in this country towards people of Muslim faith? How are we going to change that? Thanks to Bush and Fox News and all the 'talk media' now I am considered a public enemy #1 and a sleeper and a terrorist , etc. I see the impact of this in my day to day life.. Now I get some idea how hard it was for African American population in this country in 50s, 60s, even though there is still racism towards them..

Is Obama going to stop supporting corrupt anti-democratic Saudi Arabia? Are we going to see elections in Kuwait? Is he going to help S.A get rid of stupid rules of sharia ? How about having the prejudice that was built during last 8 years? For crying out loud, if I had a dime for each time an American was shocked to see me drink beer as a Muslim, I would have been a millionaire..
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par13del
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RE: Obama To Islam: America Is Not Your Enemy

Tue Jan 27, 2009 2:18 pm

Not sure how much traction this thread will get, one gets the impression that we all expect that Rome was built in a day.

Quoting Bahadir (Reply 6):
Obama talking about innocent civilian deaths is one thing but when you look at the fact that we invaded a sovereign nation, against the will of the entire world (except British) and the civilian death toll is anywhere from 150K to a million; he has to convince the people in Middle East of his sincerity.

Numbers like these not broken down will not aid in his endeavours, a question to be asked woudl be how many deaths have been against Iraqis by Iraqis and non-Iraqis, I guess we could take the position that since the US invaved all deaths are attributable to them.

Quoting Bahadir (Reply 6):
In addition how about the racism in this country towards people of Muslim faith? How are we going to change that? Thanks to Bush and Fox News and all the 'talk media' now I am considered a public enemy #1 and a sleeper and a terrorist , etc. I see the impact of this in my day to day life.. Now I get some idea how hard it was for African American population in this country in 50s, 60s, even though there is still racism towards them..

The US just became the first of the super power nations to elect a minority president, shoud that be regarded as progress and hope for the other minorities?

Quoting Bahadir (Reply 6):
Is Obama going to stop supporting corrupt anti-democratic Saudi Arabia? Are we going to see elections in Kuwait? Is he going to help S.A get rid of stupid rules of sharia ? How about having the prejudice that was built during last 8 years? For crying out loud, if I had a dime for each time an American was shocked to see me drink beer as a Muslim, I would have been a millionaire..

Lot of stuff in this last quote, you just spoke about US intolerance and invading a foreign country, what are you proposing they do with Saudia Arabia, are you stating that the items you mentioned just started after GWB was elected? If the west has a false understanding of Islams or Muslims, how exactly did they get those impressions, from the silent majority we are told exist or from the extremist? Who is responsible for ensuring that the ignorance is lifted?
 
baroque
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RE: Obama To Islam: America Is Not Your Enemy

Tue Jan 27, 2009 3:07 pm



Quoting Par13del (Reply 7):
Quoting Bahadir (Reply 6):
Obama talking about innocent civilian deaths is one thing but when you look at the fact that we invaded a sovereign nation, against the will of the entire world (except British) and the civilian death toll is anywhere from 150K to a million; he has to convince the people in Middle East of his sincerity.

Numbers like these not broken down will not aid in his endeavours, a question to be asked would be how many deaths have been against Iraqis by Iraqis and non-Iraqis, I guess we could take the position that since the US invaded all deaths are attributable to them.

You are not hearing Colin Powell. You break it you own it. Those Iraqis (and it probably is close to a million) died under Bush's watch and with the US as an occupying power.

It does not matter if Iraqi killed Iraqis, or it was Yemeni or how many Saddam would have killed instead, it happened on the US watch and the US owns it.

It is bad enough that a million or so were killed, then to be slippery about whose fault it was just makes it worse.

You break it, you own it. China shop rules - OK?

Quoting Aaron747 (Reply 5):
Checkbook diplomacy is the post-WWII American M.O. for just about anything that doesn't involve arms sales or under the table funding of the coup d'état du jour, so it's difficult to think of anything else with tangible results. 20-year projects to boost English education in South Korea, for instance, don't really make headlines.

Try looking at where a high percentage of the top public servants in dozens of countries got their education and yes it does make a difference. Obama's step father was a case in point although he joined Mobil, but Mobil had major influence at a governmental level in Jakarta. It costs, but it is hardly chequebook diplomacy. Everything costs but many things do not cost very much, as in the English ed in S Korea I dare say.
 
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Aaron747
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RE: Obama To Islam: America Is Not Your Enemy

Tue Jan 27, 2009 3:21 pm



Quoting Baroque (Reply 8):
Try looking at where a high percentage of the top public servants in dozens of countries got their education and yes it does make a difference.

That's an altogether different form of hegemony according to some. What is soft power in some quarters is a monopoly on ideas and cultural imperialism in others.

Quoting Baroque (Reply 8):
Obama's step father was a case in point although he joined Mobil, but Mobil had major influence at a governmental level in Jakarta.

And speaking of the devil, there's yet another one, though in this case, one with far more sinister connotations in years past. Certain American hotel companies and real estate firms and Latin American democracies come to mind.

Quoting Baroque (Reply 8):
You are not hearing Colin Powell. You break it you own it. Those Iraqis (and it probably is close to a million) died under Bush's watch and with the US as an occupying power.

We'll never know the real number so there's no use guessing at this point.

Quoting Par13del (Reply 7):
If the west has a false understanding of Islams or Muslims, how exactly did they get those impressions, from the silent majority we are told exist or from the extremist? Who is responsible for ensuring that the ignorance is lifted?

There's many sources for impressions of Islam in the west, but is it really about who's responsible for them at this point? That just leads to more of the same fingerpointing. Sanctomonius Hollywood, fearmongering American neocons, radicals who give Islam a bad name, moderate politicians in the region who don't give a damn about PR and don't see why they should, the list goes on. There's no point - the only point is what are the negative effects of these impressions and misconceptions, and how to go about both mitigating and eliminating them.
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RE: Obama To Islam: America Is Not Your Enemy

Tue Jan 27, 2009 3:26 pm



Quoting Baroque (Reply 8):
You break it, you own it. China shop rules - OK?

I do believe that you miss the point, the US has never denied that it invaded Iraq, so what difference does it make now saying you break it you own it? The US is pouring billions into the country, and their main complaint is that the Iraqis and not doing enough for themselves, if the entire nation had the philosophy of the Kurds, the US would be out by now. In the last couple years they even gave up on the UN and EU so I'm not getting where they are denying anything.

The world and the US wants the US out of Iraq, who exactly is going to be there after they leave, since the US broke it and they own it, are you saying that they should become a colonial power and rule Iraq for the next 100 years? If not, how does the ownership rational help the Iraqis, they want their independence, they want to be in charge of their country, I guess once the US leaves they will start to address the fact that Iraqis have been doing all manner of violence against themselves with the aid of others. When Sunni's and Shia's are battling, as observers the only thing can see is the US broke it so they own it, does an Iraqi take justification from that line of thought?
 
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RE: Obama To Islam: America Is Not Your Enemy

Tue Jan 27, 2009 3:36 pm



Quoting Par13del (Reply 10):
The world and the US wants the US out of Iraq, who exactly is going to be there after they leave, since the US broke it and they own it, are you saying that they should become a colonial power and rule Iraq for the next 100 years?

Well it is a rather slippery point and each of us is probably getting stabbed at times. Until the US accepts that full responsibility and does not try to use -  point  IT WAS HIM - you really will be stuck there. And for Obama trying to takes a different (and more difficult line) he needs to accept the responsibility as a way to get out with some honour.

Quoting Par13del (Reply 10):
I guess once the US leaves they will start to address the fact that Iraqis have been doing all manner of violence against themselves with the aid of others. When Sunni's and Shia's are battling, as observers the only thing can see is the US broke it so they own it,

Most likely all true.

Quoting Par13del (Reply 10):
does an Iraqi take justification from that line of thought?

At least to some extent. And while the US is there, in Iraqi terms "why not'?

The old question do you willingly get involved in a domestic quarrel? Not if you can avoid it is the only sensible answer.
 
baroque
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RE: Obama To Islam: America Is Not Your Enemy

Tue Jan 27, 2009 3:38 pm

Here is a cartoon to wonder about:

http://www.smh.com.au/cartoons/

Hmmmm.
 
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par13del
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RE: Obama To Islam: America Is Not Your Enemy

Tue Jan 27, 2009 3:48 pm



Quoting Aaron747 (Reply 9):
There's many sources for impressions of Islam in the west, but is it really about who's responsible for them at this point?

It's not, hence my reply to Baroque in post 10.

Quoting Baroque (Reply 11):
And for Obama trying to takes a different (and more difficult line) he needs to accept the responsibility as a way to get out with some honour

Now we want him to accept responsibility for this or try to fix it, he represents his country, so in tune with your line the US broke it and he owns it, as far as I remember, he wants out within a year or so, what does that mean?

Quoting Aaron747 (Reply 9):
There's no point - the only point is what are the negative effects of these impressions and misconceptions, and how to go about both mitigating and eliminating them.

You already listed some of the negatives

Quoting Aaron747 (Reply 9):
That just leads to more of the same fingerpointing. Sanctomonius Hollywood, fearmongering American neocons, radicals who give Islam a bad name, moderate politicians in the region who don't give a damn about PR and don't see why they should, the list goes on.

Those moderates whom you speak about, may have no interest in PR, but how about education, presently, their voice is not being heard, and yes, I believe that if they do not like what is out there they have to stand up and put their story out. Based on the fear already out there, a lot of folks will not travel to the region, support mosques in their countries or even allow the religion to flourish. To the educated minority, we call them ignorant, but if all they know is seeing acts of violence and terrorism, what exactly do you expect them to believe?
 
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mbmbos
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RE: Obama To Islam: America Is Not Your Enemy

Tue Jan 27, 2009 3:51 pm



Quoting Mariner (Reply 2):
He did not address himself to Middle Eastern leaders, he bypassed them...

I noticed that too and was most impressed. He has gone over the heads of their leaders and has directed his thoughts directly to the people of Muslim nations. A very smart move in my opinion.
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Aaron747
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RE: Obama To Islam: America Is Not Your Enemy

Tue Jan 27, 2009 4:01 pm



Quoting Par13del (Reply 13):
To the educated minority, we call them ignorant, but if all they know is seeing acts of violence and terrorism, what exactly do you expect them to believe?

I don't call them ignorant necessarily unless they see information and images that contradict what they previously believed and still refuse to change their position on the matter. Sadly, that is still the case in some quarters. I long ago gave up the tall-order notion that most reasonable people can reasonably assume that the average joe anywhere is mostly concerned with getting up, going to work, winning the daily argument with the woman, and putting food on the table for his kids.
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Beaucaire
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RE: Obama To Islam: America Is Not Your Enemy

Tue Jan 27, 2009 4:34 pm

Good day -after a one month long suspension from a.net I'm glad to be back among you.
First of all I think the Obama address to the Arab world was a very positive thing to do.
His way of speaking directly to the people announces a new way he intends to handle foreign affairs.The Arabs should be fair and concede, that the very early moment after being sworn in for Obama to send such a message, is a very stron signal .It does indicate the priorities have changed in the White House.His Middle East envoy George Mitchell should be treated with respect by all politicians.His background is half Lebanese-that carries again a message to the people in the area,that this new administration tries to implement diplomatic staff in the area that do have a deep understanding of the complexities.
The only mistake-in my opinion-is that Mitchell does not visit Damascus during his first tour-Syria still is the key to many unsolved solutions .But I do give the man a lot of credit and his track-record as defuser (North Irland ..!!) is recognised.
The mistake Arab leaders could do now is to press too hard too far and make Obama's task even tougher.I also think we will see rather sooner than later some informal discussions between Hamas and US negotiators -be it hidden or unofficial.Last week two French senators visited Damascus and met with Hamas leaders.The German foreig minister is most defenitely not closed to have talks with Hamas mediators if it can advance the process to bring back calm into the battle-zones.
But comming back to Obama's speech- good to have the man in the Oval office ,great to see Mitchell in his role and hopefully Hillary can jump over her shadow and consider that Iran ,Hezbollah,Hamas and Syria are entities you have to communicate with ...

[Edited 2009-01-27 08:37:32]
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kaitak
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RE: Obama To Islam: America Is Not Your Enemy

Tue Jan 27, 2009 4:44 pm

Obama's comments are hugely encouraging. This is a stern rebuke to the previous administration who dictated without listening. Also, to the Israeli leadership, whom he seems to suggest do not want peace. Shot across the bows to Netanyahu, who is apparently front runner to be new Israeli PM (and with whom Bill Clinton had a famously poor relationship).

Barely a week into his presidency, Obama has shown that the Middle East is a key priority. George Mitchell was an inspired choice; as an Irishman, I have immense admiration for the patience he had in bringing the two parties in NI together; if you can bring the Northern Unionists and Sinn Fein together, you have a pretty good chance with anyone. GM's record speaks for itself and it can be a source of much encouragement.

I think it's also fair to say that the change in the US government is a very good advertisement for democracy, which is of course ironic, given the lip service paid by the previous administration to brining democracy to the ME.

People in the M/E can see that the choice of the people - not revolution/armed insurrection or assassination - brought about the fall of a reviled government and it's replacement with a government which is far more reasonable and understanding; "if it can happen in Washington, why can't we do it too?"

I think that his address to the Muslim people from a Muslim capital (Doha? Cairo?) will be the most hotly awaited political event in the M/E this year. I would imagine - and hope - that it will be timed so as to allow the announcement of a major development, such as the Israeli acceptance of Abdullah's peace plan (or at least acceptance of an invitation for talks on it).
 
Charles79
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RE: Obama To Islam: America Is Not Your Enemy

Tue Jan 27, 2009 4:49 pm

Aaron,

Interesting topic indeed. The US relationship with the Muslim world has the potential to test the quality of our new President as it has done to the last, oh, 5 or 6 POTUSs. Whatever line he chooses to walk will be criticized by many, hated by others, and praised by a few. Within the US you have factions that call for armed conflict, factions that call for diplomacy, and some that call for something in between. My impression is that the President has chosen the latter, not completely discounting the right to respond to armed conflict with firepower but stressing the non-violent diplomacy that we lacked at times for the last 8 years.

It must be noted, though, that the burden to make this new approach work does not rest solely on the shoulders of the US or the West. Not only do the muslim countries need to be involved in this process as well, but also muslim communities, scholars, and religious figures living within western nations. Lastly, all parties involved must arm themselves with patience for this trend of conflict will not be undone in a matter of months or years, perhaps even decades.

Now I'm certain that some of the extreme elements in the US will categorize these words by Obama as making out with the enemy, selling out, or simply giving up. I personally don't see his words as a desire to "hug terrorists" and I'm hopeful that others will see it that way as well. In these words he addressed the peace-loving muslims first and made it clear that those who choose something other than peace will bear the consequences of their actions. I truly do hope that his administration can deliver on this tall order; his initial impressions seem like a good start.
 
NIKV69
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RE: Obama To Islam: America Is Not Your Enemy

Tue Jan 27, 2009 5:49 pm



Quoting Aaron747 (Thread starter):
My job to the Muslim world is to communicate that the Americans are not your enemy."

This is news how? They know that already. Yet they keep ignoring the fact that their own radical fellow muslims that are the problem.

Quoting Aaron747 (Thread starter):
is start by listening, because all too often the United States starts by dictating — in the past on some of these issues — and we don't always know all the factors that are involved

This was the biggest part of fluff in this otherwise fluff interview. Many wondered why Obama chose this venue as his first interview and it has become abundantly clear that he did it because he would be given a state to do what he does best. Just give us the talking points with absolutley no solid info on what has to be done to stop people dying by the hands of terrorists. What is there to listen to? AQ, Hamas and Hezbollah want Isreal and all western influence gone from that part of the world and then the people left to practice the same Islam they do. Until that is addressed and they are put on notice that it will not stand and not happen what are we accomplishing? We will still be going in circles here. What I saw in that interview was just more fluff and propaganda. Obama certainly is still in way over his head and doesn't have a plan for how to stop these people. I love how he says AQ ia scared of him. What a joke, if anything AQ is licking their chops now since the wiretapping and harsh interrogation is gone. It astounds me how my president thinks he can control the people that want to harm us by these fluff interviews. I think he better get a plan together fast because if anything what he said last night has only strengthened AQ. Not scared them.

Quoting NAV20 (Reply 4):
If Obama insists on Israel doing a deal on that basis, it will largely solve all the short-term problems of the region.

So I personally found the President's comments very encouraging.

This statement is very alarming. What about Hamas? Maybe they can stop killing people too? Your all missing the point and are hanging your hopes on a snake oil salesman. For any talks or any peace to have any chance AQ, Hamas and Hezbollah have to stop and that is not going to be accomplished by the feel good interview we saw last night.

Quoting Mbmbos (Reply 14):
A very smart move in my opinion.

Not really since it is the radical part of their governments that are the problem.

Quoting Kaitak (Reply 17):
Obama's comments are hugely encouraging. This is a stern rebuke to the previous administration who dictated without listening. Also, to the Israeli leadership, whom he seems to suggest do not want peace. Shot across the bows to Netanyahu, who is apparently front runner to be new Israeli PM (and with whom Bill Clinton had a famously poor relationship).

Encouraging for whom? From where I sit they were only encouraging to our enemies who know feel we are going to go back to our passive days and do nothing. Which is why Isreal decided to act rather than wait for this fluff. Isreal does want peace my friend but it is radical Islam who doesn't. I don't see how talking to them is going to help. Or how bashng the previous administration who took a stand against these killers will do anything but bring us back to Jimmy Carter. The reason Bush dictated is because this route Obama is going has never worked with terrorists. Terrorist understand one thing, force, killing and fear. Which is why they have to be made to understand that their actions will not be tolerated with force if necessary. Isreal does want peace. If you can't accept that fine, but don't spin what is happening to make it look like Isreal is creating this. To get to the peace table all violence has to stop and for that you better call out Hamas, not Netanayhu.
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RE: Obama To Islam: America Is Not Your Enemy

Tue Jan 27, 2009 6:08 pm



Quoting Bahadir (Reply 6):
Is Obama going to stop supporting corrupt anti-democratic Saudi Arabia? Are we going to see elections in Kuwait? Is he going to help S.A get rid of stupid rules of sharia ?



Quoting Mariner (Reply 2):
I haven't often heard a western leader do what President Obama did today.

He did not address himself to Middle Eastern leaders, he bypassed them - although he may have earned himself considerable political capital with the Saudi king.

He spoke directly to the Arabs in the street and the poor Arabs, and of their children.

It is amusing that Bush did the same thing several times and I didn't see anybody gushing. It really boils down to perceptions and so many are infatuated with a slick speaker.

In the end however, as much as things change, they will remain the same. Every president for the last 3 decades has entered the middle east with renewed vigor and every one has learned the hard way that they couldn't fix what couldn't be fixed.
 
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mariner
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RE: Obama To Islam: America Is Not Your Enemy

Tue Jan 27, 2009 6:23 pm



Quoting NIKV69 (Reply 19):
I love how he says AQ ia scared of him.

The reprort asked him the question. But since you seem to disagree with the reporter:

http://www.examiner.com/x-243-Progre...iner~y2009m1d25-al-qaeda-and-obama

Examiner: ""Al Qaeda freaking about Obama"

"It's gratifying that something so simple as electing a new American president with a more grounded view of the Middle East could throw al Qaeda into a panic and worried about whether they can continue to recruit Muslims to their murderous cause."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...le/2009/01/24/AR2009012401703.html

WaPost: "To Combat Obama, Al-Qaeda Hurls Insults"

"The torrent of hateful words is part of what terrorism experts now believe is a deliberate, even desperate, propaganda campaign against a president who appears to have gotten under al-Qaeda's skin. The departure of George W. Bush deprived al-Qaeda of a polarizing American leader who reliably drove recruits and donations to the terrorist group."


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RE: Obama To Islam: America Is Not Your Enemy

Tue Jan 27, 2009 6:44 pm



Quoting Klaus (Reply 1):
Which will only matter, of course, if the actions will actually match the words.

That’s it in a nutshell. Can Obama’s decision-making and action follow the rhetoric?

Quoting NIKV69 (Reply 19):
This is news how? They know that already. Yet they keep ignoring the fact that their own radical fellow muslims that are the problem.

Good point. It’s continued to be glossed over entirely. This whole happy-happy smiling lovefest is a nice diplomatic overture, but if anyone thinks this “re-makes” the landscape, they’re terribly naïve.

Quoting NIKV69 (Reply 19):
The reason Bush dictated is because this route Obama is going has never worked with terrorists. Terrorist understand one thing, force, killing and fear. Which is why they have to be made to understand that their actions will not be tolerated with force if necessary.

I’m not against dialogue, but yeah, the gauntlet has to be thrown down that if you F with us, we’ll burn you down. Trust but verify, as Reagan said of Gorbachev. The problem is that there is NO track record of trusting much of the Middle East.

Obama’s words are great, but will he make hard decisions about energy independence? Will he work to reduce our Saudi attachments?
 
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par13del
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RE: Obama To Islam: America Is Not Your Enemy

Tue Jan 27, 2009 6:52 pm



Quoting Slider (Reply 22):
Trust but verify, as Reagan said of Gorbachev.

I still remember the cartoons world over proclaiming Reagan as th cowboy with his pistol drawn, sure we wanna quote a militant cowboy  Smile

At the end of the day, it is not what we expect, or think that extremist will do, but what they themselves do, lets hope we do not try to fool ourselves, because they certainely are not playing word games.
 
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RE: Obama To Islam: America Is Not Your Enemy

Tue Jan 27, 2009 7:29 pm



Quoting Aaron747 (Thread starter):
For those of you in the region who heard these comments, I'm curious, what is your reaction?

Reaction in Egypt I'd say is caution with small optimism. They've been talking about it on all the media. It is a big change from Bush, which is wonderful for building respect here, but most believe Obama will be hampered by other interests, like AIPAC, who found their hero in GW Bush.

Quoting Bahadir (Reply 6):
Is Obama going to stop supporting corrupt anti-democratic Saudi Arabia?

The BIG test. The Saudis are hanging on with a thin thread and paying billions for a security apparatus to keep them in power. They are in debt, the average person on the street is poor and unemployed, and they are as far from a democracy and a free civil society as you can get...yet Bush etc... considers them a great friend.

However, if they fall on their own without some kind of assisted transfer of power, they will fall to radical Wahabbis who strongly resemble the Taliban, their favorite offspring.

Quoting NIKV69 (Reply 19):
Terrorist understand one thing, force, killing and fear

I think those who advocate America's use of these tools are in the same boat.

Forget the fear - what would you do if you didn't fear the terrorists? Reducing the support for the terrorists is one way to hurt them. One way you can do this by making them unpopular and increasing America's popularity.

Quoting Slider (Reply 22):
energy independence? Will he work to reduce our Saudi attachments?

The Saudis are at the center of all terrorism America has faced since Beirut in the 80s. Simultaneously, they are in some ways America's biggest puppet in the region - this schizophrenic love/hate relationship is disasterous for everyone.

Energy independence, ignored by Bush, even discouraged by Bush, solves all these problems.

Cairo
 
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RE: Obama To Islam: America Is Not Your Enemy

Tue Jan 27, 2009 7:53 pm



Quoting Cairo (Reply 24):
Quoting NIKV69 (Reply 19):
Terrorist understand one thing, force, killing and fear

I think those who advocate America's use of these tools are in the same boat.

Forget the fear - what would you do if you didn't fear the terrorists? Reducing the support for the terrorists is one way to hurt them. One way you can do this by making them unpopular and increasing America's popularity

I gotta agree with Cairo. The one thing that's more dangerous than anything else is a man who's got no hope and isn't afraid of death. Nobody's come up with an answer to that.
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RE: Obama To Islam: America Is Not Your Enemy

Tue Jan 27, 2009 7:54 pm

Very smart words from Obama. It is clear that Obama will be much more powerful at fighting terrorism.

The more we renounce our racist and dangerous attitude toward Islam, a faith of peace, the more we will win against terror. Terror has nothing to do with Islam.

Quoting Cairo (Reply 24):
Energy independence, ignored by Bush, even discouraged by Bush

Yes, it does solve those problems. It's strange why Bush did not take basic steps to win against our enemies. Energy independence is a basic step. A worldwide C02 treaty is another step, it will divert a lot of oil money away from oil toward other things.
 
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RE: Obama To Islam: America Is Not Your Enemy

Tue Jan 27, 2009 7:57 pm



Quoting Mariner (Reply 21):
"It's gratifying that something so simple as electing a new American president with a more grounded view of the Middle East could throw al Qaeda into a panic and worried about whether they can continue to recruit Muslims to their murderous cause."

Do you really think that electing Obama will prevent radical muslims from joining with AQ? Are you serious? Your going to have to explain what "grounded" means because it seems like more useless fluff used by CNN to make everyone happy. If anything our election will help AQ recruit more because we elected someone with a very naive view of who our enemies are and why they do what they do. If you are buying into this "AQ is scared of Obama" your are way off base.

Quoting Slider (Reply 22):
This whole happy-happy smiling lovefest is a nice diplomatic overture, but if anyone thinks this “re-makes” the landscape, they’re terribly naïve.

Absolutely, Obama chose this venue because he knew the person sitting across from him wouldn't ask him what he plans to do and would only go along with the constant droning on to say the same thing. He is great at saying what needs to be done but never says how or what needs to happen. Which is why he will never sit down for a real interview with anyone, even CNN if they don't agree to stick to only the preprepared questions.

Quoting Slider (Reply 22):
the gauntlet has to be thrown down that if you F with us, we’ll burn you down.

No, we are saying that if you continue to kill innocent people and try to destroy Isreal and all who believe they can exist we will fight. Don't use the talking points. It just gives MSNBC and CNN ammo to paint us as bullies and war mongers. We do what we do to preserve life and peace and liberty, not to thump our chest as the left wants you to think.

Quoting Cairo (Reply 24):
I think those who advocate America's use of these tools are in the same boat

How? If someone was against you existing for no other reason that religious hatred and lobbed bombs in your house what would you do? Get Obama to talk to them? Say your not their enenmy? They know that and they don't care. They want you dead and you have to fight. There is no reasoning with them. So what else do you suggest?
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RE: Obama To Islam: America Is Not Your Enemy

Tue Jan 27, 2009 8:10 pm



Quoting NIKV69 (Reply 27):
Do you really think that electing Obama will prevent radical muslims from joining with AQ?

No. I didn't say it.  confused 

Quoting NIKV69 (Reply 27):
Your going to have to explain what "grounded" means because it seems like more useless fluff used by CNN to make everyone happy.

Why? I didn't use the word.

I use italics to show the difference between what I say and what a linked article says.

Quoting NIKV69 (Reply 27):
If you are buying into this "AQ is scared of Obama" your are way off base.

You dumped on the President for agreeing that AQ seem nervous on him. I offered you a couple of links - there are may, many more - that suggest that many think it is true.

Why make it personal?  confused 

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RE: Obama To Islam: America Is Not Your Enemy

Tue Jan 27, 2009 8:52 pm

Quoting NIKV69 (Reply 27):
but never says how or what needs to happen.

Some of just hate one party or another and attach stereotypes to them, never bothering to read what they've said or plan to do. On numerous occassions, and on several websites, the President has said "how or what needs to happen":

< Responsibly end the war in Iraq and focus on the right battlefield in Afghanistan
< Ensure that our military becomes more stealthy, agile, and lethal in its ability to capture or kill terrorists. Bolster our military's ability to speak different languages, navigate different cultures, and coordinate complex missions
< Defeat al Qaeda in the battle of ideas by returning to an American foreign policy consistent with America's traditional values,
< Improve the American intelligence apparatus by investing in its capacity to collect and analyze information
< Stop shuttering consulates and start opening them in the tough and hopeless corners of the world.
< Put America on a path to energy independence by investing $150 billion in renewable and alternative energy over the next ten years
...and more...if you dare read it ; source:
http://www.whitehouse.gov/

Quoting NIKV69 (Reply 27):
If someone was against you existing for no other reason that religious hatred and lobbed bombs in your house what would you do?

There is not a single person in the world that I know of who would kill me because of my religion. What would it take for you come to terms with the painful reality: they hate and kill because of what America does, not because of what America is? Tell me again why China, Brazil, Japan etc... have nothing to fear from Islamic terrorists? Read the stated justifications for 9/11 or any AQ attack...

No one in the ME cares anything about your religion, your way of life, etc... they only care that American weapons are killing Muslims virtually every day....in many times the numbers of Islamic terrorism victims.

Quoting NIKV69 (Reply 27):
They want you dead and you have to fight.

Fight in the right way - yes. The most powerful military in the world can not eliminate this problem. The way the communists won in Vietnam is the way the radical Islamic radicals will win in the ME if US/Israeli war mongering continues.

Quoting NIKV69 (Reply 27):
So what else do you suggest?

End their money and end their selling points to mainstream Muslims. In other words, control or depose the Saudi regime and resolve the Palestinian problem.

Cairo

[Edited 2009-01-27 13:36:15]
 
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RE: Obama To Islam: America Is Not Your Enemy

Tue Jan 27, 2009 10:22 pm



Quoting Cairo (Reply 24):
The Saudis are at the center of all terrorism America has faced since Beirut in the 80s. Simultaneously, they are in some ways America's biggest puppet in the region - this schizophrenic love/hate relationship is disasterous for everyone.

Energy independence, ignored by Bush, even discouraged by Bush, solves all these problems.

To be fair, energy independence has been summarily ignored in substance by EVERY president since Eisenhower, who got us into bed with the Saudis in earnest in the first place.
 
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RE: Obama To Islam: America Is Not Your Enemy

Tue Jan 27, 2009 10:26 pm



Quoting Cairo (Reply 29):
Responsibly end the war in Iraq and focus on the right battlefield in Afghanistan

We know that already.

Quoting Cairo (Reply 29):
Ensure that our military becomes more stealthy, agile, and lethal in its ability to capture or kill terrorists. Bolster our military's ability to speak different languages, navigate different cultures, and coordinate complex missions

Again more fluff that is designed to take your eye off the ball.

Quoting Cairo (Reply 29):
Defeat al Qaeda in the battle of ideas by returning to an American foreign policy consistent with America's traditional values

This makes absolutely no sense, Their idea is to destroy anything that doesn't practice their brand of Islam and hates liberty and freedom. We have been fighting for Isreal and their right to have this as well as anyone else in that part of the world. This is different from what we have been doing how? Also how does Obama plan to react when AQ laughs at him and goes back to what they have been doing if not raise the stakes since there is no more wire tapping, harsh interrogation or Gitmo?

Quoting Cairo (Reply 29):
Improve the American intelligence apparatus by investing in its capacity to collect and analyze information

Yea we are going to need to since we can't listen in to them anymore.

Quoting Cairo (Reply 29):
Stop shuttering consulates and start opening them in the tough and hopeless corners of the world.

More fluff.

Quoting Cairo (Reply 29):
Put America on a path to energy independence by investing $150 billion in renewable and alternative energy over the next ten years

No matter how you look at it we are going to need oil. Do we need to conserve? Of course but to think we are going to be able to power our cars, aircraft and other things an industrialized nation needs on just windmills is a stretch. Not to mention it will no matter much when it comes to Palestine and Isreal and getting them to come to some sort of agreement where they can live in peace and not bomb each other. This is something Obama refuses to address as he constantly uses his rhetoric to take your attention away from it.

Quoting Cairo (Reply 29):
There is not a single person in the world that I know of who would kill me because of my religion. What would it take for you come to terms with the painful reality: they hate and kill because of what America does, not because of what America is? Tell me again why China, Brazil, Japan etc... have nothing to fear from Islamic terrorists? Read the stated justifications for 9/11 or any AQ attack...

Sir you sure need to read up a little because you are horribly misinformed. AQ, much like Iran and the rest want Isreal gone. Or at least far away from the land they inhabit as we speak. The reason China, Brazil and Japan have nothng to fear is because they don't support Isreal like we do and are not involved with Isreal's fight to exist and be safe from attack. The fact of the matter is that AQ, Hamas, Fatah, Hezbollah and people like Ahmmadinejad have used the Quran to wage war and try to reclaim the land Isreal is on as their own and fight us since we are Isreal's ally. That is why other countries are not involved and will never be involved. If you want to seriously believe it is the USA's behavior that drives AQ I respect that but it's dead wrong buddy. We are just the only ones who will help Isreal as they have to fight to survive. Since now AQ has a new method to gain sympthaziers such as yourself.

Quoting Cairo (Reply 29):
Fight in the right way - yes. The most powerful military in the world can not eliminate this problem. The way the communists won in Vietnam is the way the radical Islamic radicals will win in the ME if US/Israeli war mongering continues

The communists won the propaganda war, which is what AQ is winning with people like yourself.

Quoting Cairo (Reply 29):
End their money and end their selling points to mainstream Muslims. In other words, control or depose the Saudi regime and resolve the Palestinian problem.

How? You have to stop the violence, no matter how much money you cut they still won't adhere to a cease fire enough to get to the bargaining table. Mostly because the only way that they will accept to resolve the Palestinian problem is for Isreal to leave which is not happening so.
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RE: Obama To Islam: America Is Not Your Enemy

Tue Jan 27, 2009 10:27 pm

Why give up your guns while watching your neighbor buy more?
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RE: Obama To Islam: America Is Not Your Enemy

Tue Jan 27, 2009 10:46 pm



Quoting NIKV69 (Reply 31):
The reason China, Brazil and Japan have nothng to fear is because they don't support Isreal like we do and are not involved with Isreal's fight to exist and be safe from attack



Quoting NIKV69 (Reply 31):
If you want to seriously believe it is the USA's behavior that drives AQ I respect that but it's dead wrong buddy.

Just help me understand your point of view please. You say that China, Brazil and Japan have nothing to fear because they don't support Israel and their fight. You also say it is wrong to believe that America's behavior is what motivates AQ.

Isn't supporting Israel America's behavior? Isn't it America's behavior in supporting Israel what you are saying is motivating AQ?

Cairo
 
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RE: Obama To Islam: America Is Not Your Enemy

Tue Jan 27, 2009 11:09 pm



Quoting NIKV69 (Reply 19):
What is there to listen to?

Listen up folks - this is the voice of a person who has only stayed in the hotel if they've ever been abroad.

Quoting NIKV69 (Reply 19):
It astounds me how my president thinks he can control the people that want to harm us by these fluff interviews.

The interview wasn't directed at those people - it was aimed at the man on the street.

Quoting NIKV69 (Reply 19):
I think he better get a plan together fast because if anything what he said last night has only strengthened AQ.

Knee-jerk nonsense of the first order. Most of the intelligence community is full of talk now that AQ is trying to regroup its anti-American propaganda since the President's words themselves can't be used as a point of attack any longer. The tone of AQ communiques has changed recently from speaking against American actions and policy to personal attacks on the new President.

Quoting NIKV69 (Reply 19):
From where I sit they were only encouraging to our enemies who know feel we are going to go back to our passive days and do nothing.

Oh so you know what they're thinking now? That's rich.

Quoting Mham001 (Reply 20):
It is amusing that Bush did the same thing several times and I didn't see anybody gushing.

He did no such thing. Bush addressed Middle Eastern governments - he never attempted to speak directly to the man on the street with a conciliatory message.

Quoting Slider (Reply 22):
This whole happy-happy smiling lovefest is a nice diplomatic overture, but if anyone thinks this “re-makes” the landscape, they’re terribly naïve.

Nobody said this is remaking anything - merely that we're putting a good diplomatic and PR foot forward at long last.

Quoting Cairo (Reply 24):
Reducing the support for the terrorists is one way to hurt them. One way you can do this by making them unpopular and increasing America's popularity.

People with inflexible views on the matter will never get that.

Quoting NIKV69 (Reply 27):
Get Obama to talk to them? Say your not their enenmy? They know that and they don't care. They want you dead and you have to fight. There is no reasoning with them. So what else do you suggest?

Case in point: nobody is talking about reasoning with them. Winning the allegiance of moderates is designed to do only one thing: remove the sympathies and political apparatuses that allow terrorists to operate, function, and recruit. Without houses to hide in, communities to take refuge in, or governments to coddle them, then what?? What do they do when their financial transactions are blocked by the country hosting them...then what?? You've no clue as to what's needed to shut them down for good.

Quoting Cairo (Reply 29):
The most powerful military in the world can not eliminate this problem.

You can say that all day and certain people still won't get it. That's OK - several serving line generals in the US armed forces are on record saying we can't kill our way out of the problem. I'll take their word over an amateur's any day.

Quoting NIKV69 (Reply 31):
Since now AQ has a new method to gain sympthaziers such as yourself.

Talk about a cheap shot - you should apologize.
If you need someone to blame / throw a rock in the air / you'll hit someone guilty
 
cairo
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RE: Obama To Islam: America Is Not Your Enemy

Tue Jan 27, 2009 11:22 pm



Quoting Aaron747 (Reply 34):
sympathies and political apparatuses that allow terrorists to operate, function, and recruit.

EXACTLY

There are many ways to put out a fire - a very effective way is to deprive it of the air and fuel it needs to burn.

Quoting Aaron747 (Reply 34):
Without houses to hide in, communities to take refuge in, or governments to coddle them, then what?? What do they do when their financial transactions are blocked by the country hosting them...then what??

The last thing a dentist wants is for us to cure tooth decay and the last thing the terrorists want is for us to stop pissing off moderates and mainstream figures in the Middle East. They feed off our own mistakes. They grow more powerful with each Muslim we kill.

Cairo
 
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RE: Obama To Islam: America Is Not Your Enemy

Wed Jan 28, 2009 12:25 am



Quoting Klaus (Reply 3):
Even given who he was talking to, the choice of emphasis (boldfacing mine, words Obama's) is remarkable.

Not really. You could EASILY find very similiar comments by President Bush or Clinton before him. Of course, the world is going to react differently to Obama saying it.

Quoting NAV20 (Reply 4):
If Obama insists on Israel doing a deal on that basis, it will largely solve all the short-term problems of the region.

Hah. It is just ridiculous beyond belief to think that solving Palestinian issues in Gaza and the West Bank will solve ANY problems in the region, except of course the relatively minor Israeli-Palestinian issue. It doesn't deal with the fact that many, many millions of Arabs are living in autocratic countries (many of which are American allies) with no hope, no future, no economy, etc...Don't forget that the 9/11 hijackers were Saudi and Egyptian...This always has been and always will be the root cause of instability in the Middle East.

Quoting Mham001 (Reply 20):
t really boils down to perceptions and so many are infatuated with a slick speaker.

Unfortunately, I agree. It is nice and easy for Obama to give a speech like this; but it will wear off soon and then the harsh realities of the region will come back to the surface, as they always do.
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RE: Obama To Islam: America Is Not Your Enemy

Wed Jan 28, 2009 12:59 am

These are welcome words from Obama, a refreshing change from the cowboy rhetoric
"We'll hunt you down", and "smoke 'em out", "your with us or against us" nonsense. It's a
step in the right direction but actions do speak louder than words. If this new administration
continues with the age old American tradition of arming and aiding the Israeli's to continue
oppressing the Palestinians, invading, bombing and threatening "rogue" Arab states, then
these words will fall on deaf ears. The reality is that in some parts of the Arab population,
the US is seen with deep suspicion, some believe the US is scared of Islam, and that it's
trying to suppress Muslim countries from becoming prosperous and influential, i.e divide
and conquer. These deep rooted thoughts will take time and effort to eradicate, it's not
going to happen overnight, it might not even happen during Obama's reign in power. But now
that America has swung away from right wing extremism and a flawed neo-con ideology,
it might give itself a chance. Some right wingers think Obama is getting "soft" (whatever
that's supposed to mean!"), he's already made it clear he'll get tough with those countries
and shady terrorist groups who don't play ball.
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RE: Obama To Islam: America Is Not Your Enemy

Wed Jan 28, 2009 1:20 am



Quoting Aaron747 (Reply 34):
Case in point: nobody is talking about reasoning with them. Winning the allegiance of moderates is designed to do only one thing: remove the sympathies and political apparatuses that allow terrorists to operate, function, and recruit. Without houses to hide in, communities to take refuge in, or governments to coddle them, then what?? What do they do when their financial transactions are blocked by the country hosting them...then what?? You've no clue as to what's needed to shut them down for good.

 checkmark  I could not agree more.

Quoting Cairo (Reply 24):
The BIG test. The Saudis are hanging on with a thin thread and paying billions for a security apparatus to keep them in power. They are in debt, the average person on the street is poor and unemployed, and they are as far from a democracy and a free civil society as you can get...yet Bush etc... considers them a great friend.

However, if they fall on their own without some kind of assisted transfer of power, they will fall to radical Wahabbis who strongly resemble the Taliban, their favorite offspring.

 checkmark  Oh so true.

Quoting Charles79 (Reply 18):
It must be noted, though, that the burden to make this new approach work does not rest solely on the shoulders of the US or the West. Not only do the muslim countries need to be involved in this process as well, but also muslim communities, scholars, and religious figures living within western nations. Lastly, all parties involved must arm themselves with patience for this trend of conflict will not be undone in a matter of months or years, perhaps even decades.

Very wise words, Charles.

Quoting NAV20 (Reply 4):
If Obama insists on Israel doing a deal on that basis, it will largely solve all the short-term problems of the region.

While I agree with the principle, I would be a bit more cautious. Indeed, I believe that tensions in Palestine have generated frustration and anger in the Arab streets from Marrakech to Doha, and more generally in the Muslim world from Mauritania to Indonesia. Therefore a peaceful resolution, or at least clear steps towards mutual understanding and cooperation in the Near East will win many (check that, the vast majority of) hearts there.

But I guess it depends on your definition of "short term" as I think it will be a decisive-yet-slow process.

 Smile
 
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RE: Obama To Islam: America Is Not Your Enemy

Wed Jan 28, 2009 1:28 am

I find this significant. Abbas, ('Abu Mazen'), widely regarded as a bit of a pro-Israel 'trusty,' is joining in the criticism of Israel's methods in Gaza; and also insisting on implementation of the 2007 Arab Peace Plan.

On war crimes, he said:-

"Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas vowed on Tuesday to take a tough stance in talks with Israel and said he would tell a U.S. envoy that
Israel's Gaza offensive proved it was not intent on peacemaking.

"In his first news conference in the Palestinian territories since Israel launched its 22-day offensive on December 27 that killed some 1,300 people in Gaza, Abbas also said he would back international efforts to prosecute Israel for war crimes.

"We will do all we can to prove Israel committed crimes that would make your skin crawl," Abbas said, referring to the Geneva Conventions. "We want the world to give us justice for once.

"Israel does not want peace, otherwise it would not have done this. We need to understand this and tell it to those coming from Europe and America. Israel wants to waste time to strengthen facts on the ground with settlements and the wall."


And on the subject of peace terms. he was uncompromising (for once  Smile):-

"We want a state in the 1967 borders, a fair solution to the refugee issue, removal of settlements. There will be no going beyond these points or bargaining," said Abbas, on the defensive in the Arab world before Hamas' rhetoric of "resistance".

"The Palestinian Authority wants to establish a state in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, land captured by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War, and the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, territory that Israel evacuated in 2005."


Looks as if, on arrival in the region, Mitchell is going to find the whole place speaking with one voice for once. Except Israel, of course.........

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1059232.html
"Once you have flown, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards.." - Leonardo da Vinci
 
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RE: Obama To Islam: America Is Not Your Enemy

Wed Jan 28, 2009 1:29 am



Quoting RJpieces (Reply 36):
It doesn't deal with the fact that many, many millions of Arabs are living in autocratic countries (many of which are American allies) with no hope, no future, no economy, etc.

Once again, after a long life, born in and associated with the Middle East, I recall very few western leaders who have even begun to address that issue - which the President did in that interview.

The problems may be intractable. I cannot think of any solution to the Israel/Palestine issue, and I was startled to hear the President discuss a Palestinian state "with contiguous borders."

Something is going to have to give to achieve that.

It is tough to think of easy solutions to many of the perceived "Middle Eastern problems," but back when I was young it was a hope of mine to see the Berlin Wall come down and to see some semblance of peace in Northern Ireland.

If anything is to be achieved, we're going to have to start talking - and listening.

I don't expect any permanent solutions will be found in my lifetime, it may all fall apart, it may all come to nothing. But since it is already nothing, now perhaps - only perhaps - something that is better than nothing may be achieved. Every journey begins with a single step.

mariner
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RE: Obama To Islam: America Is Not Your Enemy

Wed Jan 28, 2009 2:19 am

Quoting WunalaYann (Reply 38):
But I guess it depends on your definition of "short term" as I think it will be a decisive-yet-slow process.

I said 'short-term,' WunalaYann, because even the Arab Peace Plan is only aimed at correcting the allocation of territory between the two sides (to some extent), and ending miltarism/terrorism.

It will leave unsolved the problems of over-population, shortage of resources, and above all religious discrimination.

I remain of the opinion that the long-term solution must be based on a single state with secular government, freedom of religion, equal opportunity for all, and sensible immigration policies.

I know that seems to be a pipedream at present - but I share Mariner's view that the most unlikely things can eventually come to pass over time:-

Quoting Mariner (Reply 40):
It is tough to think of easy solutions to many of the perceived "Middle Eastern problems," but back when I was young it was a hope of mine to see the Berlin Wall come down and to see some semblance of peace in Northern Ireland.

Worth remembering that the progress of Germany from fascism, through occupation, partition, and a Communist regime in the east, to a distinguished and stable democracy, all happened since 1948. So did the rise and fall of the Provisional IRA, the end of the post-war 'Troubles' in Northern Ireland, and the establishment of a power-sharing government.

So it is not beyond the bounds of possibility that both sides in Palestine may eventually come together in peace.

After all, that remains the only truly sensible solution to the area's problems.

[Edited 2009-01-27 18:21:24]
"Once you have flown, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards.." - Leonardo da Vinci
 
WunalaYann
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RE: Obama To Islam: America Is Not Your Enemy

Wed Jan 28, 2009 2:31 am



Quoting NAV20 (Reply 41):

I am with you all the way.
 
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mariner
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RE: Obama To Islam: America Is Not Your Enemy

Wed Jan 28, 2009 2:41 am



Quoting NAV20 (Reply 41):
After all, that remains the only truly sensible solution to the area's problems.

The sensible solution was set out in Sykes-Picot, by Balfour and at Versailles. If I am reading you correctly, it is the basis of your solution.

Quoting NAV20 (Reply 41):
I remain of the opinion that the long-term solution must be based on a single state with secular government, freedom of religion, equal opportunity for all, and sensible immigration policies.

It's ironic to think that during the Ottoman Empire, the two groups coexisted in the same space in relative peace and stability.

But the paradigm changed with WW2 and I don't know that anyone can turn back time.

mariner
aeternum nauta
 
cairo
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RE: Obama To Islam: America Is Not Your Enemy

Wed Jan 28, 2009 2:56 am



Quoting Mariner (Reply 43):
It's ironic to think that during the Ottoman Empire, the two groups coexisted in the same space in relative peace and stability.

The most common reason people have an "awakening" to their national or ethnic identity is when economics start to go bad and the younger generation faces high unemployment and a dismal future. They then pick on the people they identify as "different" and let loose wth the accusations and blame. As long as everyone is comfortable and the young men of the community have something positive to do with themselves, everything seems to work out fine for everyone.

At this point, I now believe there are simply too many people in Israel-Palestinain territories to survive together in economic prosperity, unless someone went in and massively industrialized the place. I mean, even if everyone agreed to a Palestinain State tomorrow, what the heck would they do for a living?

Cairo
 
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mariner
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RE: Obama To Islam: America Is Not Your Enemy

Wed Jan 28, 2009 3:02 am



Quoting Cairo (Reply 44):
At this point, I now believe there are simply too many people in Israel-Palestinain territories to survive together in economic prosperity, unless someone went in and massively industrialized the place.

I agree. That's partly what I meant about not being able to turn back time.

mariner
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cairo
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RE: Obama To Islam: America Is Not Your Enemy

Wed Jan 28, 2009 3:18 am



Quoting Mariner (Reply 45):
I agree. That's partly what I meant about not being able to turn back time.

Right.

Even if in hindsight one thinks the way Israel was born in 1947 was wrong, or at least handled badly, can you really ask them to get up and leave at this point?

In Israel's defense, which admittedly I rarely do, they did take a lot of difficult land and turn themselves into a modern prosperous society, but it took decades. Some will now ask why the Palestinians didn't do the same, but that's in the past and we can't erase their mistakes either.

---
To some of the above posters who say even solving the Palestinain problem will not bring peace - this is no doubt true, but it will move things towards resolving the other problems in the area and perhaps turn people's focus inward to the problems in their own country.

Cairo
 
NAV20
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RE: Obama To Islam: America Is Not Your Enemy

Wed Jan 28, 2009 3:33 am



Quoting Cairo (Reply 44):
At this point, I now believe there are simply too many people in Israel-Palestinain territories to survive together in economic prosperity, unless someone went in and massively industrialized the place. I mean, even if everyone agreed to a Palestinain State tomorrow, what the heck would they do for a living?

Obama just said something that I find very interesting - and maybe ominous, from the point of view of Netanyahu when he gains power in February:-

"In terms that largely tracked Bush's position, Obama said he believed it was "possible for us to see a Palestinian state - I'm not going to put a time frame on it - that is contiguous, that allows freedom of movement for its people, that allows for trade with other countries, that allows the creation of businesses and commerce so that people have a better life."

http://www.iht.com/articles/2009/01/27/america/arabs.4-417226.php

It's the word 'contiguous' (touching, adjacent, in contact) which is interesting. We all know that Gaza is completely cut off from the West Bank and the outside world. It's less well-known that even the 'self-governing' areas of the West Bank consist only of a series of 'townships,' ringed by Israeli Army checkpoints and separated by 'settlers-only' highways which Palestinians are forbidden to use, or even, in most cases, to cross. Even access to Jordan via the bridges over the river is subject to strict Israeli control.

Reference to a peace deal 'that allows freedom of movement for its people, that allows for trade with other countries, that allows the creation of businesses and commerce' implies, at the very least, a 'land bridge' between the West Bank and Gaza, plus a seaport and an airport. And probably the elimination of the 'security zone' that Israel maintains along the whole west bank of the Jordan, and further 'land bridge' arrangements giving the Palestinians open communications with Syria and Lebanon.

If Obama means what he says (and there's currently no reason to suppose that he doesn't) all the signs are that the likes of Netanyahu and Livni are not going to enjoy their upcoming meetings with Senator Mitchell..........  Smile
"Once you have flown, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards.." - Leonardo da Vinci
 
NAV20
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RE: Obama To Islam: America Is Not Your Enemy

Wed Jan 28, 2009 3:57 am



Quoting Mariner (Reply 43):
The sensible solution was set out in Sykes-Picot, by Balfour and at Versailles. If I am reading you correctly, it is the basis of your solution.

Absolutely, Mariner. As far as Balfour was concerned, his Declaration specifically said that nothing should be done "which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine".

One can add to that that UN Resolution 181, in 1947, laid down that the new federated state should guarantee "....to all persons equal and non-discriminatory rights in civil, political, economic and religious matters and the enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, including freedom of religion, language, speech and publication, education, assembly and association;"

No international approval was ever given for the setting up either of an independent state of Israel, or of a system of government incorporating religious/racial/ethnic discrimination of any kind.
"Once you have flown, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards.." - Leonardo da Vinci
 
baroque
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RE: Obama To Islam: America Is Not Your Enemy

Wed Jan 28, 2009 5:24 am



Quoting Slider (Reply 30):
energy independence has been summarily ignored in substance by EVERY president since Eisenhower

Yes Peanut Jim is totally forgettable?

Quoting N867DA (Reply 32):
Why give up your guns while watching your neighbor buy more?

Assuming that rather Delphic comment applies to boths sides, how true.

Quoting Aaron747 (Reply 34):
Quoting NIKV69 (Reply 31):
Since now AQ has a new method to gain sympthaziers such as yourself.

Talk about a cheap shot - you should apologize.

Wear it as a badge of honour Aaron, you join those trying to explain why Hamas does what it does and found themselves painted as fully paid up members. Next you will be asked for comment on how to revise the AlQ manuals when they are translated into English (one of the charges against Hicks!). It all flows on from the "have exactly the same opinion as me or you are an enemy" - forget who said that, someone will know! At all costs, you must not try to understand anything. This is Obama's fault too.

In time that form of attack on you will be known as the "Gonzales defence".

Quoting NAV20 (Reply 39):
I find this significant. Abbas, ('Abu Mazen'), widely regarded as a bit of a pro-Israel 'trusty,' is joining in the criticism of Israel's methods in Gaza; and also insisting on implementation of the 2007 Arab Peace Plan.

Well not a lot of choice there, the attacks on Gaza ensured he did that or was dead politically, or literally. And he may well still be dead in spite of his recent trip to Tarsus.

Quoting Cairo (Reply 46):
a lot of difficult land and turn themselves into a modern prosperous society, but it took decades

Slight qualification:
"But it took decades" and is not sustainable at present levels. Check the salinities in the coastal plain aquifers.

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