In the Middle East, who cares what Obama says?

Robert Fisk writes:

This month, in the Middle East, has seen the unmaking of the President of the United States. More than that, it has witnessed the lowest prestige of America in the region since Roosevelt met King Abdul Aziz on the USS Quincy in the Great Bitter Lake in 1945.

While Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu played out their farce in Washington – Obama grovelling as usual – the Arabs got on with the serious business of changing their world, demonstrating and fighting and dying for freedoms they have never possessed. Obama waffled on about change in the Middle East – and about America’s new role in the region. It was pathetic. “What is this ‘role’ thing?” an Egyptian friend asked me at the weekend. “Do they still believe we care about what they think?”

And it is true. Obama’s failure to support the Arab revolutions until they were all but over lost the US most of its surviving credit in the region. Obama was silent on the overthrow of Ben Ali, only joined in the chorus of contempt for Mubarak two days before his flight, condemned the Syrian regime – which has killed more of its people than any other dynasty in this Arab “spring”, save for the frightful Gaddafi – but makes it clear that he would be happy to see Assad survive, waves his puny fist at puny Bahrain’s cruelty and remains absolutely, stunningly silent over Saudi Arabia. And he goes on his knees before Israel. Is it any wonder, then, that Arabs are turning their backs on America, not out of fury or anger, nor with threats or violence, but with contempt? It is the Arabs and their fellow Muslims of the Middle East who are themselves now making the decisions.

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3 thoughts on “In the Middle East, who cares what Obama says?

  1. Christopher Hoare

    One hopes that Robert Fisk’s predictions are fulfilled. There are two states whose policies in the Middle East are either lies or nonsense, and by logical standards will take progressively more effort to maintain until they reach the limits of reality.

    Not only should the Palestinians declare their independence in September but they should do so by delegitemising any past, present, or future American interference in the region. They may have to do it in blood if Abbas caves in to Zionist and Imperialist pressure.

    Obama’s words are not only irrelevent in the Middle East, they are becoming irrelevent everywhere. I was just looking at today’s Salon headlines and shaking my head at the absolute triviality of mainstream American discourse. If the US did not hold a gun to the head of every person in the world, their affairs and opinions would be beneath our contempt. To have any voice at all, they are condemned to become no more than the warmaker of the world until they bankrupt themselves.

  2. Paul Lookman

    An interesting comment, Christopher, particularly the phrase “They may have to do it in blood if Abbas caves in to Zionist and Imperialist pressure.” Let’s hope the Palestinians also read Robert’s and your comments on War in Context.

  3. Mark @ Israel

    Indeed, no one really cares about what Obama says especially in the context of the Middle East situation. His speech are but empty pronouncements because he has not done anything significant to the region and its people. If he could only something to improve the conditions of maltreated people in the Middle East countries then most probably many would listen to him. Unfortunately, he has not even done something good in his own country.

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