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The Middle East has traditionally been important for the world economy. The Middle East situation today has an impact on all aspects of life in America and much of the world.

Only by understanding the motivations of the various factions in the Middle East can we hope to understand how to promote peace and national security for Middle Eastern nations, Europe, and the United States.

May 22, 2011

The Positive and Negative Aspects of President Obama’s Speech

President Obama’s speech regarding the spring revolutions in the Arab world contained both positive and negative remarks. In his speech, he supported the young people’s uprising, which started in Tunisia and a few weeks later in Egypt. People in the region are still fighting to regain their freedom and self-respect, which was suppressed by authoritarian regimes. Furthermore, he also supported people in Yemen who are fighting to replace President Saleh’s corrupt regime. He called on Mr. Saleh to surrender his authority. Similar remarks were also made about Libya and the days of Gadhafi’s reign are limited. He also supported the Syrian people’s protests and advised President Assad to start political reforms or surrender his authority. President Obama emphasized that people in the Arab world have the right to express their views and their demands for political reforms without being killed or jailed. In his reference to Bahrain, he noted that the Shiaa majority’s demands should have been addressed and those who are in power should not practice religious discrimination. Furthermore, President Obama emphasized that the U.S. and other western governments should extend economic aid and support to both the Tunisian and Egyptian governments so they can make the transition to democracy successfully. These are the positive highlights of the president’s speech regarding the Arab world’s spring revolutions.

Other parts of his speech reflect the cons, such as the fact that he made no reference whatsoever to the fact that the Saudi government helped Bahrain to suppress the protestors movement by sending 2,000 Saudi soldiers. Also, he did not make any remarks about the Saudi government’s suppression of the few attempts by young Saudis who were demanding political reforms. This is one of the basic shortcomings of American foreign policy: the double standard that is always used and that contributes to its lack of credibility.

Saudi Arabia’s government is the most authoritarian and oppressive regime in the Middle East. Ignoring what the Saudi government does to appease the regime is nothing but a mistake. The whole world is aware that Saudi Arabia is the biggest exporter of oil, but this does not justify Obama’s policy toward the Saudi government. When he declared openly that the people in the Arab world are entitled to freedom, free expression and democracy, this should have also included the Saudi people. For that reason and others, his speech did not enhance the image of the U.S. in the region.

Another negative remark in President Obama’s speech is his reference to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The content of that part seemed as if it was written for him by AIPAC, especially when he pointed out that the declaration of a Palestinian state through the United Nations will not work. The Palestinians and Israelis should get together and work to overcome their differences to create a Palestinian state side by side with the Jewish state. Such remarks have been repeated over and over during the past forty years by several American presidents and it led nowhere.

People who are well versed in the conflict can tell you that the U.N. created the state of Israel and only the U.N. can impose a solution that the whole world will support. Internationalizing the conflict is the only solution to this problem. It is very logical that when the two feuding parties are not of an equal strength, the powerful one will always impose its policies and conditions on the weaker one. In this case, Israeli is the more powerful party, and it is even referred to as the 5th or 6th most powerful military state in the world. The Palestinians, whose military power is zero, are not in a position to negotiate from a position of strength. Furthermore, the Israeli Zionists do not want a settlement to bring an end to the conflict. Many of them are firm believers in the creation of “Eretz Israel”: “Greater Israel”. So far, they have been successful in grabbing more and more Palestinian land by force, under the protection of the United States government, which has used its veto power at the U.N. to protect Israel repeatedly. President Obama’s speech regarding the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is not credible. After all, the president wants to be elected for a second term and he cannot afford to go against Israel and their supports in the U.S, the Christian Zionist Evangelicals whose number exceeds 50 million.
In conclusion, President Obama’s speech did not create a positive reaction in the region.

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