Tuesday, June 2, 2009

As President Travels to Middle East, Expectations and Perspectives Vary

Expectations vary widely for President Obama's groundbreaking trip to Egypt and Saudi Arabia this week. It is expected that he will point to his Muslim roots and his childhood spent partly in Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation. Center Director Brian Levin, who was the only American and non Muslim participant in a National Academies outreach on democracy and extremism in the Islamic world said: "The symbolism of his own background, speaking locations and conciliatory words are of great significance, but he will be carefully scrutinized by the substance of his proposals as well." He will speak with Saudi King Abdullah on Wednesday and then make a major address at Cairo University on Thursday. The two nations are crucial to the Israeli/Palestinian dispute as Egypt was the first Arab nation to make peace with Israel in 1979 and the Saudi's are the originators of a comprehensive 2002 peace proposal. 
NY Times: Arab States Cool to Proposals http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/03/world/middleeast/03saudi.html?_r=1&hpw
Saudi Press Agency (Main page)  http://www.spa.gov.sa/english/
CNN International: Al Qaeda's #2 Zawahiri Criticizes Pres. Obama
CNN: Americans Hold Negative View of Muslim Nations

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