In speech at Cairo University Barack Obama outlines US foreign policy

In speech at Cairo University Barack Obama outlines US foreign policy

Cairo, 4 June – US President Barack Obama delivered a skilfully packaged speech aiming at the hearts and minds of US allies, but carefully avoiding all key issues. Addressing a selected audience assembled at Cairo University, Obama told the world that the Bush-era feeling of a “clash of civilizations” had been thoroughly misguided. To mark the change he paid his greatest respects to Islam as a religion and a culture, calling for mutual respect and invoking mutual interests. Obama displayed knowledge of the Quran and of Islam”s commitment to peace and tolerance.


Since the speech in Cairo was announced weeks ago, expectations had kept mounting regarding the degree of change. Today in Cairo his staunch defence of the “unbreakable bond” tying the United States to Israel and his explicit upholding of the Nazi Holocaust as legitimizing founding factor of Israel, as well as his defence of the enhanced military operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan outlined the measure of continuity in US foreign policy between the two administrations. This continuity was made explicit in Barack Obama”s justification of the military campaign in the Middle East with the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in September 2001.


While Obama emphatically reminded the nearly three thousand victims of the assault, figures from Pakistan were arriving at international news agencies today indicating the number of internally displaced victims of the military campaign had rised to three million. Continuity with the former US administration”s foreign policy emerged clearly when Barack Obama touched the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the core issue at the heart of the conflict. Warming the hearts of Arab “moderate” politicians and slamming Israeli Zionist hardliners, the US President defined the situation of Palestinians living under Israeli occupation as “intolerable”, but then went on declaring the US is “committed to the right of the Palestinians to a state of their own”, calling for “two states for two peoples”, while declining to indicate the territorial confines of the future Palestinian state.


The US President called on Palestinians – and on Palestinians alone – to “abandon violence” in their struggle for a Palestinian state, while no mention was made of the Israeli violence that afflicts and often enough destroys Palestinians lives on a daily basis. No condemnation was heard of the military assault on the civilian population of the Gaza Strip, although it had claimed the lives of 1400 people. Instead, Barack Obama sidestepped the Palestinian resistance to Israeli occupation declaring that what was needed now was the capability of the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah to “govern”, without mentioning that a network of Israeli checkpoints and the separation wall make it impossible for the PA to govern by exercising any form of control over Palestinian territory under Israeli occupation.


While Barack Obama emphasized that “it is time for (Jewish) settlements to stop” on occupied Palestinian territory, he carefully avoided calling for dismantling the Israeli settlements created beyond the Green Line and for the withdrawal from East Jerusalem, where Tel Aviv is carrying on a fierce campaign to evict Palestinians. Therefore it was no wonder that US President”s speech prompted mixed reactions as soon as it was released. While the PA”s spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina hailed it as “an innovative political step and a good beginning on which one must build”, Hamas” spokesman Fawzi Barhum said “it is a speech that plays on sentiment and is filled with civilities, which leads us to believe that he (B. Obama) aimed to embellish America”s image in the world”. Similar opinions were voiced out by exponents of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood.


The Source