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7 Jun, 2009

In Cairo speech to the Muslim world, Obama promises much, but will he deliver?

Originally Published: 07 Jun 2009

Had he given anything close to his June 4 speech prior to his election, Barack Hussein Obama would not have become the 44th President of the United States.

Never in the history of modern geopolitics has the world’s most powerful man made one religion and its worldwide followers the subject of an entire speech. Even the Pope must have been green with envy at hearing the President tell the world that a future “partnership between America and Islam must be based on what Islam is, not what it isn’t.”

To the American people who elected him, the message was: “Much of what you have been told about Islam is a pack of lies.” To the Islamic world, the message was, “Get your act together, and help me to help you and each other, for a common human good.”

Not surprisingly, the speech has been warmly applauded in the Islamic world for its refreshing increase in balance and respect and decrease in the use of patronising, finger-wagging and fist-shaking language.

Having been elected on the promise of “Change You Can Believe In,” Mr Obama has clearly sought to deliver by promising “A New Beginning.”

However, it is quite possible that the Islamic leaders, who are primarily responsible for the mess in the Islamic world today, will again betray their peoples by doing what they do best – fight amongst themselves and wait for Mr Obama to act on his words, rather initiate some concrete, positive action themselves.

One striking aspect of Mr Obama’s speech was the complete absence of the word “terror” and his attempt to equate pain and suffering across peoples – as in the references to slavery, the Holocaust, 9/11 and the Palestinians – followed by the comment: “Any world order that elevates one nation or group of people over another will inevitably fail.”

But there were also some contradictions and omissions, which also need to be highlighted in the same spirit of truth-telling.

Mr Obama talked of the need to end violence and the killing of innocent people. But that is exactly what is happening in Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine and Pakistan as the pursuit of “violent extremists” has led and continues to lead to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent people.

Those deaths are dismissed as “collateral damage.” The bereaved families cannot be blamed if their suffering leads them to react in the same violent way as the U.S. government does when it becomes the victim of violence.

This tit-for-tat cycle of violence was not initiated by the Muslims. Mr Obama omitted another important truth: A Middle East peace process was well advanced in the 1990s until terminated by a bullet fired by a fundamentalist fanatic Jewish terrorist named Yigal Amir who, on 04 November 1995, assassinated former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, the Camp David peace-talks partner of his fellow Nobel Peace prize winner Yasser Arafat.

So, if violent extremists in the Islamic world need to be dealt with, so too, do  violent Jewish extremists.

Mr Obama also talked of spreading democracy. And here again, some “truths” were omitted.

The Hamas faction was legally elected in a free and fair election, but its outcome was never recognised by the Western governments because “the wrong guys won.”

The United States is considered a world leader. But unelected leaders are considered dictators, and the U.S. has never stood for an “election” on the world stage.

In fact, it regularly and democratically gets out-voted on many issues in UN forums, and has steadily vetoed resolutions that it considers anti-Israeli even though democratically supported by the rest of the world.

Finally, there was a tacit admission that the U.S. is paying the price of the lies and mistakes of the Bush administration.

Two very important truths in that direction: The world was told that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and the Osama bin Laden was “hiding somewhere in the caves of Afghanistan”. The WMDs were never found (because they did not exist) and bin Laden has so far not been found (probably because he’s long dead).

Just as Jews remember the Holocaust and Americans remember 9/11, so too do the peoples of the Arab and Islamic worlds remember – and have every right to remember – such lies, deceptions, double standards and hypocrisy, especially when they are leading to more innocent deaths on a daily basis in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and Palestine.

Having said that, Mr Obama deserves credit for extending a hand of friendship to the Islamic world. The window of opportunity he has opened to take this partnership forward can easily be put to a quick test, if the Arab/Islamic leaders are clever enough to do so.

All that needs to be done is to table a resolution in the UN General Assembly calling for the immediate and unconditional establishment of a Palestine state, in line with numerous previous UN resolutions, and as per the vigorous support extended by Mr Obama.

Such a resolution will be passed overwhelmingly and democratically by the real “international community.” Once that happens, the unilateral declaration of a Palestine state along the 1967 borders should be a logical next step.

The state of Palestine will be quickly recognised by developing countries. The tables will turn on Israel immediately, and the rest of the world will be free to impose sanctions and/or take a host of other non-violent diplomatic, legal and political measures to force Israel to recognise Palestine, in the same way that Israel craves recognition from the Arab/Islamic world.

Should the U.S. then veto or otherwise impede any of these perfectly reasonable, peaceful actions, Mr Obama’s rhetoric will be exposed as yet another hoax, and the violence will worsen.

Time is running out. In yet another stark reversal, Mr Obama has won valuable respect among the Muslims but lost the support of many financially/politically powerful people back home.

These people are of the same ilk as Yigal Amir, James Earl Ray and Nathuram Godse, all non-Muslim killers of would-be peacemakers.

The threat of another disruptive false-flag operation to derail this new beginning is higher than ever.

That is the real danger.