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Barracking Obama, Part II

Barracking Obama, Part II

Moderates in the Arab world are growing increasingly vocal with their criticism of the US president’s Middle East policy, reports Trends. Part II.

January 1, 2010 8:54 by

“People in the region have looked to the U.S. to come to the rescue with muscular diplomacy to revive the peace process and Obama has not been able to get even that on track. No one in the Arab world expects the U.S. to stop being pro-Israel,” he says. “The American political system is geared towards that. The expectations are fairly realistic. People are asking him to deliver what he promised, not what they would like to see in an ideal world. Right now it doesn¹t look like he will even deliver what he promised.”

Cost of failure

American officials take issue with this. They say their government¹s position on settlements hasn¹t changed.

“It would be adventurous to ascribe a change in position to a difference in vocabulary,” one official says on condition of anonymity.

But, citing “status quo fatigue,” he stresses that it is important to begin the negotiations as soon as possible, which means in practice to start them even without achieving a settlement freeze in the face of the delaying tactics of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “The effort now is to get negotiations started again. Once they get started, who knows what will open up?” he says.

“President Obama had dedicated his personal attention to Middle East peace and made it a high priority. He is dedicated to two states living side by side in peace and security ­ to meet Israeli security needs and Palestinian aspirations for a state. This is further than other administrations have gone.” But failure to bring about a peace process that is viable and credible may have a high price, el-Amrani warns. It would boost states like Syria that would, with Iranian backing, like to see a more aggressive stance toward Israel.

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