Carrots and Sticks for the Middle East
For Muslim nations, an offer of “mutual respect.”
The speech offered Arab and Muslim countries a few carrots and a couple of sticks. On the carrot side, Obama pledged not to continue George W. Bush’s policy of pre-emption, which brought about the war in Iraq, stressing that he will not sacrifice America’s ideals for security expediency.
Instead, he extended an olive branch to Muslim nations that are willing to live in peace and dignity, based on “mutual interest and mutual respect,” offering to work with them to meet common security threats. He made no mention of his predecessor’s doctrine of spreading democracy in the Arab and Muslim world, though he condemned some nations’ oppression and corruption.
The Arab media has taken note of the president taking the oath of office using his full name—Barrack Hussein Obama.
To terrorist organizations such as Al-Qaeda, and state-sponsors of terrorism, he was defiant, saying America will not apologize for its way of life, promising to defeat their ideologies of hate. “Our spirit will not be broken…you cannot outlast us,” he said. “We will defeat you.”
The Arab media has taken note of the president taking the oath of office using his full name—Barrack Hussein Obama. Hussein is an Arabic Muslim name.
Salameh Nematt is the international editor of The Daily Beast. He is the former Washington bureau chief for the international Arab daily Al Hayat, where he reported on US foreign policy, the war in Iraq, and the US drive for democratization in the broader Middle East. He has also written extensively on regional and global energy issues and their political implications.