In his interview with a Saudi-owned TV channel on Tuesday, President Barack Obama referred to “an illusionary past” in the Muslim world that was in fact plagued by turmoil, a leading Middle Eastern expert declared.
Amir Taheri, in a New York Post column headlined “Pathetic Message,” said Obama “looked to the past rather than the future” when he told an Al-Arabiya interviewer 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.”
But 30 years ago, Taheri noted, American diplomats were being held hostage in Iran, Soviet troops were seeking to annex Afghanistan, Saddam Hussein was preparing to invade Iran, Saudi Arabia was under siege by Muslim militants, and Syrian troops were preparing to invade Lebanon.
Iranian-born Taheri, whose books include “Holy Terror: Inside the World of Islamic Terrorism,” wrote in the Post that “other features of this ‘golden age’” were “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.”
Twenty years ago saw the U.S. arming the mujahedin in Afghanistan, Iraq gassing thousands of Kurds and preparing to invade Kuwait, Iranian mullahs arming Hezbollah units in Lebanon, Turkey launching all-out attacks on Kurdish secessionists, and the Libyan terror network killing American soldiers in Europe and blowing up U.S. jets.
Meanwhile Obama offered only “trite” remarks regarding the Israeli-Palestinian issue, and did not offer any support “to democratic forces facing crucial elections in Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, the Palestinian territories, Egypt and Algeria,” observed Taheri, who has written for more than two dozen publications around the world.
“Nor was there any nod toward reformers in Saudi Arabia and Egypt.”
Obama sought to portray himself as the “bridge” between the U.S. and the Muslim world, according to Taheri, who added:
“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.”
(HAS “THE ONE” BECOME “THE BRIDGE”?)
“the new administration must realize and acknowledge that America is at war with a variety of forces dedicated to challenging its global leadership in the hope of ultimately achieving its destruction ….”
The core of the war Islamic radicalism is waging against the United States in the Middle East is ideological. On the one side, there is the Western ideology of human rights, democracy and secularism. On the other, there is religious obscurantism symbolized by the late Ayatollah Khomeini ……
A small but growing democratic constituency is emerging in virtually every country in the region. Allied with other moderate, conservative, traditionalist but nonviolent segments of society, this constituency could challenge and ultimately defeat Islamism in the political battlefield. The United States should throw its support behind such forces wherever they exist.
The showdown between these forces and Islamism will come this year as Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon and the Palestinian territories hold presidential, parliamentary and municipal elections. The Islamists have mobilized their forces and brought in massive resources to win those elections. The perception that America has abandoned its democratic and moderate allies could persuade the fence-sitters to side with the Islamists.
Obama has abandoned a multilateral approach (an approach where the US worked with the United Nations, the European Union, NATO and the Soviet Union) in favor of Obama’s singular brand of contact with both Hizbollah and the Iranian Government.
Mockingly, the inexperienced Presdient’s described as, “clearly counting on the “audacity of hope,” and “his charisma”. Obama’s reckless actions have robbed former Bristish Prime Minister Tony Blair of his previously granted authority as Chief Peace Envoy for the West in the Middle East.
By seeking unconditional talks with Tehran, he is also setting aside three unanimous, mandatory UN Security Council resolutions.
The move also means the effective dissolution of the “5+1 Group,” created three years ago to deal with Iran. Apart from America, the group includes Russia, China, Britain and France (the four other veto-holding Security Council members), plus Germany. http://www.nypost.com/seven/01282009/postopinion/opedcolumnists/o_goes_unilateral_152304.htm?&page=1
By naming Richard Holbrooke as special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, the new president has, in effect, killed the idea of appointing a Kabul coordinator backed by all of NATO. Holbrooke’s appointment has received an even cooler response in Afghanistan and Pakistan, where he is seen as the man who rubber-stamped Serbian territorial gains, secured through ethnic cleansing and the massacre of Muslims, in Bosnia in exchange for a piece of paper signed at Dayton, Ohio.
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.”
“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.
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.
The president appeared apologetic, offering no hope for democratization and economic development.
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.
At this critical time, with the World looking to America for Leadership, Obama can only display his inexperience, while his ego prevents him from consulting with our Allies. Obama has pathetically failed to make America’s case to either friend or foe. At this critical time in history rhetoric and ego cannot replace meaningful action.