Jihadi reactions to Obama

#1
Via Abu Muqawama Jihadi reactions to Obama
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In my two days of surfing the forums I was able to find one single statement mildly favourable to the Obama administration. A contributor named “Khaldun Halwani” wrote in a comment to a post: “Let us hope that this is the beginning of a new direction that will serve Muslim interests. I would add that Foreign Secretary has started changing US policy toward the enemy of Islam, Israel.” But this is of course an isolated statement by an anonymous contributor and thus not indicative of anything.

There are in other words no big surprises in the forum reactions to Obama’s Middle East tour, although it is still too early to tell how the jihadi movement will adapt to these initiatives. Hopefully we will see more serious jihadi strategic studies of Obama’s PR offensive in the weeks to come. I will keep my eye out for them and keep you posted. If anybody sees anything interesting, please let me know.
Actually I'm surprised they weren't more agitated.

Barry offered nothing new really, his line on Israeli squats is close to what Colin Powell said publicly and even ardent Bushies were saying privately. Bush had already made a two state solution US policy, he was just disinclined to complain about Tel Aviv's habitual foot dragging. What we had here was a more elegant rhetorical line selling very similar policies and the dubious idea that DC was misunderstood by many in the Muslim world rather than being at odds with their culture.

Barry's clearly eager to cultivate the near enemy. Bowing and scraping before the Saudi royalty. He said of Hosni Mubarak "I very much look forward in the months and years to come to continue to consult the president,". He wasn't pushing freedoms march much which won't please the Brotherhood.

The Takfiri hate the idea of a Palestinian state or even a Hamas style long Hudna. Israel has traditionally been a great aid to recruitment and unifier within the the diverse world of the Umma. Not that President Barry is actually likely to achieve much but a rift is looming with Bibi. If the great far enemy is seen to put a little distance between itself and the Israeli far right that's not good for the beards business.

Recent polling in Egypt puts a US withdrawal from Iraq well above nationhood for the Pals in the Arab streets desires. Obama is likely to deliver something that at least looks like that within a few years. Again not good for motivating bone headed Saudi human ordinance. They'll now have their hopes pinned on the much more distant Pashtun war.
 
#2
And then there's the Israelis...

In AT Obama lays his Likud trap by Ian Williams
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The Israeli government is clearly hurting, bewildered by the administration's refusal to emulate its predecessors in overlooking clear breaches of previous Israeli commitments. "Look what we say, not at what we do," has always been a cardinal principle of Israeli diplomacy - and it has been failing. Almost as close is the ability to get Israel's version of talks and meetings in the press as the definitive version. Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak told Israeli journalists this week that he had asked the US administration to cut back the briefings in which it laid out its policy, in effect leaving Israel to spin the results. Obama is unlikely to agree.

The protests from Israeli right-wingers about US interference in internal Israeli politics should raise some smiles from all sides in Washington, not least since they are paralleled by calls from other colleagues in the Knesset (parliament) for the lobby to get to work on Obama quickly.

But Obama's laidback rhetoric is a trap. It successfully entices Israeli hardliners to come out explicitly with their renunciation of the Road Map and the whole consensus, in a sense exposing themselves to American politicians who might otherwise be pressured into wrecking moves.

But the combination of Obama's popularity, not least with American Jewish voters, and the latter's exasperation with the neo-conservative/Likud alliance gives the White House some serious leverage to fight off such attempts to defang the new policy. However, the White House clearly knows what to expect, which is one reason for the nuance: firmly stating longstanding US official policy and restating Israeli promises while, so far eschewing overt condemnation and threats.
This "trap" is primarily a Likud construction and it's already been sprung.


It's very clear that Bibi gags at the thought of Pal nationhood. Lieberman would have a greater Israel with the Pals cleansed from the electorate. Arad wants "Judea and Samaria" just not the Pals. Bush's twin state solution for these guys was never more than an easily stalled, time wasting distraction for Goyim useful idiots. They are right in at least that.

But I fear Barry O is eloquently putting his head in another snare.

In the NYRB Obama and the Middle East by Hussein Agha, Robert Malley
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Today, the idea of Palestinian statehood is alive, but mainly outside of Palestine. Establishing a state has become a matter of utmost priority for Europeans, who see it as crucial to stabilizing the region and curbing the growth of extremism; for Americans, who hail it as a centerpiece in efforts to contain Iran as well as radical Islamists and to forge a coalition between so-called moderate Arab states and Israel; and even for a large number of Israelis who have come to believe it is the sole effective answer to the threat to Israel's existence posed by Arab demographics. Those might all be good reasons, though none is of particular relevance to Palestinians; and each only further alienates them from the vision of statehood, the purported object of their struggle.

Universal endorsement has its downside. The more the two-state solution looks like an American or Western, not to mention Israeli, interest, the less it appeals to Palestinians. It is hard to generate excitement among Palestinians for a project explicitly aimed at protecting the interests of their historic foe (Israel), defeating one of their political organizations (Hamas), or rescuing pro-Western Arab regimes for which they evince little sympathy. Many Palestinians feel that the notion of statehood has been hijacked by their historic detractors who rejected it when it was briefly a Palestinian idea only to endorse it when they made it their own. The process of legitimizing a state in international eyes has helped discredit it in those of its intended beneficiaries.

The two-state concept has been further tarnished by what has become of its Palestinian promoters. Today, many Palestinians no longer see their leaders as carrying out a national project but rather as instruments of foreign designs aimed at bolstering one faction of Palestinians against another. When the Palestinian Authority seeks guidance, it appears to look outward: to the US to judge whether the program of a putative national unity government would pass muster or to help devise a security plan; to Israel for assistance coping with the Islamist challenge; to Egypt and the rest of the world for how to deal with Gaza.
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The consequence is that some well-worn recipes cannot work. Claiming eagerness to end the Arab–Israeli conflict or reach a two-state solution has become stale by dint of sterile repetition. President Bush did so, possibly more passionately and fervently than any predecessor. Yet few listened because few believed in what he said, least of all the Palestinians who were his supposed audience. Relying upon and bestowing aid to traditional Arab allies or seeking to improve their ties with Israel will not help much either. It would be preaching to the choir, burdening the Obama administration with the weight of unpopular figures and entrenching the notion that, at least in this respect, America is content with prolonging the past.

The time will come for the US to unfurl a grand diplomatic initiative. Not now. The most urgent task is to prepare the way for that day by countering the skepticism that has greeted and torpedoed every recent American idea, good or bad—from Secretary of State William Roger's 1969 plan to the road map. The time is for a clean break, in words, style, and approach.

For many in the US, the notion of such radical change often is reduced to the question of whether or not to talk to Hamas. That is a diversion. The challenge is whether Obama can speak to those for whom Hamas speaks. They are the people who have lost faith in America, its motivations, and every proposal it promotes.

The broader point is this: a window exists, short and subject to abrupt closure, during which President Obama can radically upset Palestinian, Arab, and Muslim preconceptions and make it possible for his future plan, whatever and whenever it might be, to get a fair hearing—for American professions of seriousness to be taken seriously. It won't be done by repackaging the peace process of years past. It won't be done by seeking to strengthen those leaders viewed by their own people as at best weak, incompetent, and feckless, at worst irresponsible, careless, and reckless. It won't be done by perpetuating the bogus and unhelpful distinction between extremists and moderates, by isolating the former, reaching out to the latter, and ending up disconnected from the region's most relevant actors.

It won't be done by trying to perform better what was performed before. President Bush's legacy was, in this sense, doubly harmful: he did the wrong things poorly, which now risks creating the false expectation that, somehow, they can be done well.
 

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