So President Obama is in the Middle East trying to repair relations with countries in the region. Can he do the seemingly impossible?
The Middle East has a long and hate filled history with the U.S. and they don’t seem real keen to change in a hurry. Many terrorists seem to have the U.S. and their interests as their exclusive targets.
Sure Obama might be able to improve relations with some of the officials in this region but this is not going to change the views of the general population.
So what is it that people in the Middle East have against the U.S.?
Well largely the U.S. is seen as an empirical power trying to gain control over as much of the world as it can. They resent the U.S. using their military might to interfere in the region and acting like a bully protecting its own interests.
They also dislike the U.S. supporting Israel and giving them financial and military assistance.
There are also the obvious cultural differences between this largely Muslim area and the Christian dominated U.S.
As Obama lands in Saudi Arabia Al Quaeda has just released an audio message from Osama bin Landen denouncing Obama’s policies regarding the Middle East. The recording was released by news agency Al Jazeera shortly after Obama’s arrival in Saudi Arabia
In this recording he describes Obama as following the policy of his predecessor George Bush in “antagonising Muslims”.
“He has followed the steps of his predecessor in antagonising Muslims… and laying the foundation for long wars,” bin Laden says in the recording.
Saudi officials were quick to denounce the recording but bin Laden and Al Qaeda are quite effective at stirring up anti U.S. sentiment in the Middle East and as long as they and other groups like them can have an influence in the area it is going to be difficult to improve relationships in the region. The leaders of these countries are still politicians and they are, like politicians in other countries, interested in using the general opinion of the people to their advantage.
I hope Obama can make a peaceful difference and make the world a safer place but I fear it will take many more years of repair than there have been of damage to make a difference in Middle Eastern relations.