Posts Tagged ‘al-Arabiya’

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NY Post: Obama Pandering to Muslim World

February 9, 2009

THE NEW YORK POST

AMIR TAHERI

January 29, 2009

IN his “first message to the Muslim world” Tuesday, President Obama on Al-Arabiya TV invited the Islamic Republic in Iran to “unclench its fist” and accept his offer of “un conditional talks.”

A few hours later, after Obama had appeared on the Saudi-owned satellite-TV channel, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told a crowd of militants that no talks are possible unless the United States met a set of conditions.

He demanded a formal apology for unspecified US “crimes” against Iran and the Islamic world. The crucial condition, however, was that America should withdraw its troops from other countries, “taking them back to their own territory.”

The contrast couldn’t have been greater. Obama tried to be as conciliatory as possible – asking only for an “unclenching” of the Iranian fist – a change of style. Ahmadinejad asked for concrete US moves, notably a global military retreat that would leave the Middle East at Tehran’s mercy.

In the understatement of the year, Obama said: “Iran has acted in ways not conducive to peace and prosperity in the region.” He also claimed that Iran’s support for terrorists, though “not helpful,” is a thing of the past – yet Tehran was running guns to Hezbollah and Hamas even as he spoke.

ON Al-Arabiya, Obama did something more interest ing: He cast himself in the role of a bridge [?] between America and the Muslim world, a kind of honest broker between two camps in conflict.

[?] To hammer in the point, he recalled the Muslim part of his own family background and his childhood in Muslim Indonesia – a topic he’d carefully avoided during the campaign. He also asserted that America is a land of “Muslims, Christians, Jews” and others – making sure to mention Muslims first.

At times, Obama sounded like a marriage counselor. He said his job is to communicate to Americans that “the Muslim world is full of extraordinary people who simply want to live their lives and see their children live better lives.” On the other hand, he said, he’d also tell the Muslims that “Americans are not your enemy.”

Obama looked to the past rather than the future to give such platitudes a tinge of political vision. He said he wanted a return “to the same respect and partnership that America had with the Muslim world as recently as 20 or 30 years ago.”

The problem is that few people in the Muslim world will welcome his back-to-the-future approach. Thirty years ago, Obama was a teenager in Indonesia. Vice President Joseph Biden, however, was already a senator and a champion of President Jimmy Carter‘s strategic retreat.

What was happening during what Obama seems to regard as the “golden age” of Carter’s leadership? US diplomats were held hostage in Tehran and daily humiliated with mock executions. Soviet troops were annexing Afghanistan to the Evil Empire. Saddam Hussein was preparing to invade Iran, starting an eight-year war that claimed a million lives. Mecca was under siege by the ideological antecedents of Osama bin Laden. Syrian troops were preparing to march into Lebanon.

OTHER features of this “golden age“: the seizure of power by mullahs in Tehran, the assassination of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, the coming to power of communists in the Horn of Africa, the military coup in Turkey, the first Islamist terror attacks in Algeria, unprecedented waves of repression in Egypt and Saudi Arabia and the imposition of military rule in Pakistan.

During the same period, and its immediate aftermath, dozens of Americans from many walks of life were seized as hostages and sometimes brutally murdered in several Muslim countries. The US ambassador in Sudan was murdered; the CIA station chief in Beirut abducted, taken to Tehran and killed under torture.

A similarly dark picture could be drawn of the situation 20 years ago, when America was arming the mujahedin in Afghanistan while Saddam Hussein was preparing to invade Kuwait.

And the first President George Bush was then trying to court the Iranian mullahs in much the same way as Obama is trying today. But the mullahs were training and arming Hezbollah units in Lebanon and opening channels to Palestinian radicals who would soon re-emerge as Hamas. Saddam was gassing thousands of Kurds to death, while Turkey was dragged into a full-scale war on Kurdish communist secessionists. Meanwhile, the Libyan terror network was killing American GIs in Europe and blowing up US jetliners over Western skies.

No – that was no golden age, either.

THE truth is that the Middle East is not much better off than at any time since its emergence as a geopolitical unit after World War I. Thanks to the transformation of America from a power guaranteeing the deadly status quo into one that supports reform and change, the region has started to experience new currents of democratization.

Afghanistan and Iraq have been liberated, their peoples given a chance to build new systems of their own choice. The Syrians have been kicked out of Lebanon. Libya has been disarmed. Egypt has been forced to allow multiparty presidential elections. More than a dozen Arab states have adopted constitutions and introduced some form of electoral politics. Kuwaiti women have won the right to vote and get elected.

Iran’s democratic forces are encouraged to launch their campaign against the mullahs. The Islamists have been roundly defeated in Algeria, Egypt, Yemen and Saudi Arabia.

For the first time, the question of democracy is top of the political agenda in virtually every Muslim state.

Obama should remember that he is the president of the United States – not an impartial broker. It was unfortunate that he described himself as a bridge. For a bridge has no personality of its own and cares little about who might cross it and in which direction.

IF this was meant as the first direct contact between Obama and the Muslim world, the Al-Arabiya interview must be rated as a missed opportunity.

Obama’s remarks about the Israel-Palestine issue were so trite as to merit no analysis. He said he was sending former Sen. George Mitchell to listen to all sides – as if the world has not been hearing their stories for more than six decades.

The president appeared apologetic, offering no hope for democratization and economic development. He made no mention of the economic meltdown that is creating unprecedented mass unemployment in many countries of the region.

Nor did he offer any support to democratic forces facing crucial elections in Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, the Palestinian territories, Egypt and Algeria this year.

He had nothing to say about the thousands of Iranian workers who have been thrown into prison solely because they created independent trade unions. Nor did he mention Iranian women’s courageous “a million signatures campaign” or the series of student revolts that have been crushed by the mullahs with exceptional violence.

Nor was there any nod toward reformers in Saudi Arabia and Egypt or the heroic Lebanese democratic leaders who are fighting to preserve their nation’s independence from Iran and Syria.

Obama didn’t call for the release of the tens of thousands of political prisoners held in more than two dozen Muslim countries or a moratorium on executions that each year cost the lives of hundreds of dissidents.

CASTING himself in the role of a “bridge” and dreaming of a return to an illusionary past, Obama appeared unsure of his own identity and confused about the role that America should play in global politics. And that is bad news for those who believe that the United States should use its moral, economic and political clout in support of democratic forces throughout the world.

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Nothing to be Apologizing For

February 3, 2009


* MY COMMENTS IN GREEN

Fighting For And Freeing Muslims Is Nothing To Be Apologizing For

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER | 2 February 2009 | I.B.D

Every new president flatters himself that he, kinder and gentler, is beginning the world anew. Yet, when Barack Obama in his inaugural address reached out to Muslims with “to the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect,” his formulation was needlessly defensive and apologetic.

* Americans are quickly learning that Obama has a different loyalty.

Is it “new” to acknowledge Muslim interests and show respect to the Muslim world? Obama doesn’t just think so, he said so again to millions in his al-Arabiya interview, (His first interview – His FIRST PRIORITY?!) insisting on the need to “restore” the “same respect and partnership that America had with the Muslim world as recently as 20 or 30 years ago.”

Astonishing!! In these most recent 20 years — the alleged winter of our disrespect of the Islamic world — America did not just respect Muslims, it bled for them. It engaged in five military campaigns, every one of which involved — and resulted in — the liberation of a Muslim people: Bosnia, Kosovo, Kuwait, Afghanistan and Iraq.

* Has any American ever heard one thank you or compliment for our effort?

The two Balkan interventions — as well as the failed 1992-93 Somali intervention to feed starving African Muslims (43 Americans were killed) — were humanitarian exercises of the highest order, there being no significant U.S. strategic interest at stake.

In these 20 years, this nation has done more for suffering and oppressed Muslims than any nation, Muslim or non-Muslim, anywhere on earth. Why are we apologizing?  [???] * Has any Muslim shown any appreciation?  I don’t think so.

And what of that happy U.S.-Muslim relationship that Obama imagines existed “as recently as 20 or 30 years ago” that he has now come to restore? Thirty years ago, 1979, saw the greatest U.S.-Muslim rupture in our 233-year history: Iran’s radical Islamic revolution, the seizure of the U.S. embassy, the 14 months of America held hostage.

* Don’t forget that America’s FIRST THIRTY YEARS of our existence required our founders and leaders to fight radical Islam, to learn about the Qur’an and it’s plan for world conquest.  That’s why President Jefferson had to read the Qur’an.  Those Barbary Pirates were the radical Muslims – that’s where our “leathernecks” come from – to fight sword wielding Muslims of that day.

Which came just a few years after the Arab oil embargo that sent the United States into a long and punishing recession. Which, in turn, was preceded by the kidnapping and cold-blooded execution by Arab terrorists of the U.S. ambassador in Sudan and his charge d’affaires.

This is to say nothing of the Marine barracks massacre of 1983, and the innumerable attacks on U.S. embassies and installations around the world during what Obama now characterizes as the halcyon days of U.S.-Islamic relations. [!!]

Look. If Barack Obama wants to say, as he said to al-Arabiya, “I have Muslim roots, Muslim family members, have lived in a Muslim country” — implying a special affinity that uniquely positions him to establish good relations — that’s fine. * He’s telling this to his supporters – who are (many of them) hearing it for the first time.

But it is both false and deeply injurious to this country to draw a historical line dividing America under Obama from a benighted past when Islam was supposedly disrespected and demonized.

As in Obama’s grand admonition: “We cannot paint with a broad brush a faith as a consequence of the violence that is done in that faith’s name.” Have “we” been doing that, smearing Islam due to a small minority? * Has any of us heard a Muslim criticizing Islamic attacks on American interests?  You will never hear that.

George Bush went to the Islamic Center in Washington six days after 9/11, when the fires of Ground Zero were still smoldering, to declare “Islam is peace,” * (that was naïve and the Hadiths clearly tell us that for Islam – the only peace that we can expect is when they control the whole world) to extend fellowship and friendship to Muslims, to insist that Americans treat them with respect and generosity of spirit.

And America listened. In these seven years since 9/11 — seven years during which thousands of Muslims rioted all over the world (resulting in the death of more than 100) to avenge a bunch of cartoons — there’s not been a single anti-Muslim riot in the United States to avenge the greatest massacre in U.S. history.

On the contrary. In its aftermath, we elected our first Muslim member of Congress and our first president of Muslim parentage.

“My job,” says Obama, “is to communicate to the American people that the Muslim world is filled with extraordinary people who simply want to live their lives and see their children live better lives.”

* Has anyone read or heard any such statements(?) that the Muslim world is filled with – “extraordinary people who simply want to live their lives and see their children live better lives”-  The only Muslim I know who says that is Dr. Zuhdi Jasser – a Muslim American and former physician to the U.S. Congress.    He is the only person I know who is not afraid to tell you the truth about Islam – Interested? Write for ‘THE THIRD JIHAD’ – Radical Islam’s Vision For America DVD.   Rudy Giuliani: called the DVD “A wake-up call for America” – Jim Woolsey, CIA Director; Senator Joe Lieberman, Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge – all appear in the production.

That’s his job? [?]

* His job is to do all that he can to protect America from an attack by an enemy.  Let’s pray that he will get his act together and do this.

Do Americans think otherwise? Does he think he is bravely breaking new ground? George Bush, Condoleezza Rice and countless other leaders offered myriad expressions of that same universalist sentiment.

Every president has the right to portray himself as ushering in a new era of this or that. Obama wants to pursue new ties with Muslim nations, drawing on his own identity and associations. Good.

But when his self-inflation as redeemer of U.S.-Muslim relations leads him to suggest that pre-Obama America was disrespectful or insensitive or uncaring of Muslims, he is engaging not just in fiction but in gratuitous disparagement of the country he is now privileged to lead.

* We know Obama is no Messiah – far from that – He does deal in fiction – just read his book (that he didn’t write.)