By A Khokar 09 June 2009
Obama returns to the Oval Office in Washington where conservatives are deriding his trip abroad as an “apology tour.” In keeping with their general philosophy of giving no quarter to President Barracks Obama, conservatives spent much of last week lambasting Obama’s visit to the Middle East as an “apology tour.”
It was widely thought that Obama will bring in some drastic changes the way USA relate to the existing governments in the Middle East. Currently, whether US is officially on record as favouring democracy or not, they are still deeply in bed with status quo regimes. Israel, the US backed bullying kid since planted there on the Arab lands and the global network of military bases especially the installations in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, and Iraq and US warships operate constantly in the region’s coastal waters. Not to say the least that US is in occupation of Afghanistan and is bent upon, to pour in the planned surge of thousands of more troops into that forsaken land.
But contrary to what all is going on on the grounds; Obama interestingly struck a hot chord of announcing the withdrawal of all the forces from Iraq as well as Afghanistan in the near future. But it would be naïve enough to think that Osama bin Laden and his Al-Qaeda who was able to mark his presence on the dart by his messages prior to Obama speech, would just pack up and live a quiet life in the absence of the heavy American military presence in the region, it can’t be denied that they’re frequently cited as a rallying cry and recruiting tool. What’s more, it’s their presence that bolsters the broader logic of Al Qaeda’s view that Muslims must attack the “far enemy”—the United States—in order to express their grievances with local governments.
The invasion of Iraq, needless to say, did a great deal to intensify Arab fear that the United States is seeking the imperial subjugation of their lands (and oil). And Obama’s not condemning the invasion of Iraq by George W Bush helps in this regard, but there continues to be speculation about “residual forces” remaining in Iraq even after Obama’s promised withdrawal of “combat forces.”
But unlike the other US bases around the world, the Middle Eastern ones are deeply unpopular and seen as a legacy of colonialism.
Muslim World was expecting a plan for substantive changes in policy. What we got instead were fine words expressing complicated ideas on ‘deep subjects’ and Obama left this region rather in limbo with everything essentially the way the things were before.