Muslims say Obama failing to keep Cairo promises
(Photo: A protest against U.S. President Barack Obama in Jakarta November 9, 2010/Dadang Tri)
President Barack Obama’s pledge on Wednesday in Jakarta to strive for better relations with the Muslim world drew skepticism in Cairo, where last year he called for a new beginning in the Middle East after years of mistrust.
Seventeen months after Obama’s Cairo University speech, al Qaeda is still threatening the West, peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians remain stalled over the issue of West Bank settlements and U.S. troops remain in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Many in the Middle East believe that Washington’s tight alliance with Israel makes it impossible to end the suffering of the Palestinians, breeding cynicism among Arab Muslims toward U.S. intentions in the region.
“As soon as Obama took over, he said he would do this and that — a lot of things. But he still hasn’t met a single goal,” said Saad Zaki Khalil, 56, who was selling cigarette lighters in central Cairo.
“It’s all speeches — in the end the same American politics, and Jewish politics, continues,” said Cairo retiree Mohamed Abdel. “This is why nothing since Obama’s Cairo speech has translated into action with Arab nations.”
“I personally had higher expectations for change” after the 2009 speech, said Cairo lawyer Hatem Khalil. “It’s ignorant to believe Obama will solve the Palestinian case… I also agree that if the U.S. takes out all its military from Iraq in one phase the country will collapse — but I think that with Egypt, more needs to be done.”