Will Obama’s Afghan plans survive Kashmir crisis?

August 15, 2008

Senator Barack Obama/Hugh GentryLess than a month ago, Senator Barack Obama was saying  that the U.S. war in Afghanistan would be made easier if the United States worked to improve trust between India and Pakistan. “A lot of what drives, it appears, motivations on the Pakistan side of the border, still has to do with their concerns and suspicions about India,” he told a news conference in Amman.

The logic was in line with thinking expounded by U.S. analysts at the time who argued that elements within Pakistan will never completely relinquish support for Islamist militants in both Pakistan and Afghanistan as long as they believe they can be used to counter Indian influence in the region. Therefore end Pakistan’s insecurity about India, and support for militants will melt away, making the U.S. campaign against al Qaeda and the Taliban much easier — or so the argument goes.  At least that was the thinking barely a few weeks ago, as I wrote in an earlier blog on this subject

Kashmiri Muslim protester/Fayaz KabliThe latest crisis in Kashmir has turned that logic on its head.  After a dispute over land snowballed into some of the biggest protests since a separatist revolt erupted in 1989, India and Pakistan are back at each other’s throats, hurling allegations at each other.  Rather than asking whether the two countries can be persuaded to make a durable peace, the question now is how bad the relationship can get. “India-Pakistan relations are getting perilously close to ground zero,” writes former Indian diplomat M.K. Bhadrakumar in an Asia Times article.

Add in the domestic political instability in Pakistan, and relations between India and Pakistan have probably not been so combustible since they declared a ceasefire on the Line of Control dividing Kashmir in November 2003.

So where does that leave Obama’s plans for Afghanistan? How much does it assume U.S. efforts to “manage” Pakistan more effectively — including encouraging peace with India — will combine with his pledge to send more troops to Afghanistan to succeed in a campaign he has declared more important that Iraq? The blog New America Media went as far as to say that “Kashmir may be the key to Obama’s Counterterrorism Policy” – perhaps overstating the case but well worth reading to see how it all fits together.

And if India and Pakistan descend into the dark days before the 2003 ceasefire, and play out their rivalry across the region from Kashmir to Kabul, what is the fall-back plan? Sending even more U.S. troops to Afghanistan?

   

27 comments

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To my understanding, the argument one month ago- that the Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan needs to be settled for world peace and proper prosecution by Pakistan of the war on terrorism- is only strengthened now that Kashmir is on fire!

The world community now must do its job of pressuring India, Pakistan and the Kashmiris to settle that damned dispute once and for all. Period.

Posted by Diogenes | Report as abusive

Trust between India and Pakistan will be beneficial for Afghanistan. It will improve the security situation for South Asia, support for millitancy will dry up. Onus is on India to either choose to give up its historic position on Kashmir and settle the dispute and look forward towards a future. This will help Pakistan and eventually the positives will be felt as far as Afghanistan.
Otherwise it will be the same dog and bear fight between India and Pakistan and Afghanistan will remain in tatters. The millitants are more than happy to keep up fighting, after all thats all they want.
More people in India need to start using their heads now.

Posted by UMPK | Report as abusive

I am constantly amazed at the inverted logic of some folks on this issue. Appeasement of terrorists always has and always will lead to more bloodshed. Didn’t we learn that in World Wars I & II? In more recent times, when the Taliban were allowed to take over Afghanistan, the citizens of that country suffered even more abuse and hardships than they had either during the Shah’s regime or under the Russians or even during the internecine fighting post Russian withdrawal. In fact, the Taliban assumed that it was they who had brought down the mighty superpower USSR. And that emboldened them to go after the other “Satan” … The US of A. The world continues to suffer the repercussions of that event.

The terrorists in Kashmir share their DNA with the Taliban. Both are creations of Pakistan’s intelligence agency ISI which continues to nurture and guide both movements. Asking a democratic, multi-religious, multi-ethnic India to cede Kashmir to Pakistan, which is a theocratic state and a known sponsor of terrorism worldwide, would be the worst blow imaginable to the global fight against terrorism. To think otherwise is just foolish and shortsighted.

Posted by Ravi | Report as abusive

The resolution of the Kashmir dispute is not giving in to terrorists-they want constant war and destabilization. The resolution of the Kashmir dispute should be done because it is the right thing to do. There is supposed to be a plebicite on the wishes of Kashmiri people conducted-that is on the books of the U.N. agenda for 60 odd years-it’s about time that it be honored! I think a significant degree of terrorism in South Asia will be then snuffed out.

Posted by Diogenes | Report as abusive

UN resolution, Nehru’s words and blatant reaction of Kashmiri people against a cruel economic and ethnic abuse by India. It is absolutely clear what should be the stance of any democratic nation over Kashmir. In the post cold war world it is the first time that American foreign policy is tested on morals. America has to prove whether it is in Afghanistan to make the world a safe place or to threaten the energy supplies of south and east Asian region.

With the expected departure of Musharraf, and Obama’s likely success in the upcoming elections, I think the unresolved Kashmir issue will have a bigger negative impact on all of South Asia. Musharraf was very sincere in his efforts to resolve Kashmir with India that led to improved relations between India and Pakistan, with Bush’s backing. With Obama’s new hawkishness about Pakistan and Afghanistan and India’s growing influence in Afghanistan, the new Pakistani government is likely to come under intense domestic pressure to stand up to and defy both the US and India, and see the warming relations between the US and India with greater suspicion.

Ravi
Its a fact that India is a hindu fundamentalist state where Kashmiris are being oppressed, muslims in Gujarat were massacred, Golden Temple of Sikhs was ruined by the Indian Army, Australian missionaries were burnt alive. Indians seem to all the time project a dream picture of their country, facts is India is far from being a multi-culture or multi-religious society willing to give minorities full recognition.
Do you have any explanation of the oppression and misery of “Dalit” hindus who belong to low caste of hindu society comprising 25% of Indian population?
Stop your hypocricy NOW. We in Pakistan have seen that too much, Its time to either settle down the Kashmir dispute now, otherwise Pakistan has the will and strength to continue to challenge India on every sphere.

Posted by UMPK | Report as abusive

It is only with consternation that I’m questioning why the world community has ignored the cries of millions of innocent Kashmiri people for the freedom to exercise their right of self-determination de jure given to them by several U.N. Security Council resolutions. Yes, there are terrorists in Kashmir who should be dealt with harshly, but there is a vast majority in Kashmir – law abiding citizens, workers, professionals, students and peasants -who deserve to have their case heard in a democratic way for choosing to join India or Pakistan.
And we, in the U.S.A., should support democracy as a matter of principle wherever it exists, including in Kashmir.
Let freedom ring!

Posted by Diogenes | Report as abusive

As a Kashmiri, I can say that, people in Kashmir have always had an aspiration to have an independent state, and with good reason, now again that we have seen high communal tensions between Hindus and Muslims in India. It is unfortunate that after relative years of calm, we witnessed Indian police firing on unarmed separatists. And the extremists in India responded by cutting off the life line of Kashmir. The Kashmiris need to have their voices heard. It just not about India and Pakistan. Lets not have people of Kashmir ignored.

Posted by Ali | Report as abusive

In thinking from the viewpoint of the Millitants, India and Sfganistan are totally two different playgrounds and are totally different with respect to the issue, scale of operations and requirements.

A peaceful and appeased millitant groups with India not necessarily means a happy and content set of people who will start embracing what has been happening in Afghanistan. Instead they would have all the more resources and focus to deal with Afghanistan.

Posted by Senthil | Report as abusive

The only solution to the Kashmir conflict is to let the people of Kashmir decide for themselves. The same right should be given to the people of Pashtunistan and Baluchistan. Only by recognizing the rights of the people and respect them, can peace and stability prevail on the Indian subcontinent.

Kashmiris are a distinct people with different language and history. Kashmir must be an independent country, not Indian and not Pakistani.

In fact, Kashmiris; Pashtuns and Baluchis are the hostages and victims of Punjabi-Hindu (Muslim-Hindu) conflict. Now Afghanistan is also drawn into this conflict.

I think Hindus and Muslims of Punjabi background should fight it out between themselves, and not making Kashmir, Afghanistan, Pashtunistan and Baluchistan their war arenas. So Punjabis and Hindus should leave these people alone!

For a free, independent and democratic Kashmir!!!

Posted by kabura | Report as abusive

The subject here is Kashmir and the resolution of its status. The Kashmir conflict is unique in that its status is disputed by India and Pakistan and, of course, Kashmiris, and the formula for its resolution is documented by the U.N. Security Council.

It should have been settled long ago, but its non-resolution continues to be the source of serious conflict and is more than ever a threat to world security.

Posted by Diogenes | Report as abusive

I believe Obama will bring India and Pakistan to the table in terms of world security but it will take firm negotiations on his part.

UMPK,
Responding to some of your comments

“Its a fact that India is a hindu fundamentalist state where Kashmiris are being oppressed, muslims in Gujarat were massacred, Golden Temple of Sikhs was ruined by the Indian Army, Australian missionaries were burnt alive.”

Right, you must know better than any one ,shouldnt you ? Living in Pakistan, you should be realllly “objective”.

Talk about the pot calling the kettle black !!- you are from a fundamentalist islamic country that was created solely on the basis of religion- the bloody savagery of you pakistanis is the reason, the partition even happened – you oppress Shias in your country, Ahmadias, you created the monster called Taliban that destroyed Afghanistan.

Your country massacred Bengalis when they asked for a free nation, and you now claim to speak for Kashmiris? Talk about chutzpah ! Hey how about freedom for Sindhis, the Baluchis and the pashtuns ?

“Indians seem to all the time project a dream picture of their country, facts is India is far from being a multi-culture or multi-religious society willing to give minorities full recognition.”
What the hell do you know ? Have you ever lived in India – dont show your ignorance for every one to see. We have had three Muslim Presidents in the last 50 years – how many Hindus do you have who hold any position in the Pakistani cabinet ? Heck, how many Hindus are even still alive in your country ?

Muslims living in India have a lot more to look forward to in their lives – unlike those in Pakistan who live in constant fear of Talibanization of their civil society, honor killings, the tragedy of women like Mukhtar Mai- assasination of political leaders like Benazir by islamic jihadi bararians. Your country is a ticking nuclear time bomb and your ISI is a criminal terrorist organization that even Washington has been forced to acknowledge – recenty the ISI terrorists bombed the Indian embassy in Kabul showing how much they want to control Afghanistan. Give me a fricking break before you start lecturing about India.

“Do you have any explanation of the oppression and misery of “Dalit” hindus who belong to low caste of hindu society comprising 25% of Indian population?”

You again have NO CLUE about how much progress that Dalits have made – the chief minister of the largest Indian state ,Mayawati is a Dalit. They now wield political power like never before and without their help no Govt is formed at the Center. They now have educational and job quotas to help them face some of the historical injustices they have had to encounter.

You have no standing to even talk about this – your so called “land of the pure” was an open expression of Islamic imperialism and eltisim and you want to talk about caste system? Take a look in the mirror.

“Stop your hypocricy NOW. We in Pakistan have seen that too much, Its time to either settle down the Kashmir dispute now, otherwise Pakistan has the will and strength to continue to challenge India on every sphere.”

If the Kashmir dispute is not settled, what would you do ? Your threats scare no one. You have nothing to compete with India – NOTHING. Heck, you cant even compete with Sri Lanka or Bangladesh ! There was this idiot called Zulfikar Bhutto who promised to give India a thousand cuts – he is now dead, his daughter is dead and your dreams of a democracy are dead as well.

Pakistan has been an UTTER failure and place of extreme instability – if there is a terror strike any where in the world – US, London, Madrid, India – there is ALWAYS a Pakistani connection.

Set your house in order before starting to threaten other nations – you have nothing but terrorism to offer to the world – and you should BE ASHAMED of that.

Posted by NS | Report as abusive

Why don’t the peace loving democratic free americans who support Musharaf give freedom to the Southern States of America like Texas, Missisipi, etc? It is long overdue from the American Civil War. We have great respect for Lincoln, but even he used force when the Southern States declared themselves independant. But Indian leaders accepted partition to avoid bloodshed (which was in any way meaningless because of the massacres that followed).

It is a fact that India was a Hindu country with sizeable population of other minorities and Muslims came as invaders. We still agreed to give Pakistan to Muslims. India remained a secular country while Pakistan is an Islamic state.

Kashmir, a part of India for thousands of years was populated by Hindus like any other part of India. Then due to muslim invasion it became a pocket of muslim majority. There are still so many such regions in India which have majority muslim population. So, shall we grant them all independence? Why independence for muslim dominated areas alone? There are Christian dominated areas in the northeast and south, why should not we grant them too independence? Why India, even Britain and France have Muslim majority areas and they are a head ache for them. You people talk about democracy, tell me how many muslim countries are democratic?

Posted by Shaan | Report as abusive

UMPK,

We did not need your examples telling us about these issues like Amritsar Sikhs issue and some other, myself being a minority Sikha has always been proud to be a national of Hindustan (INDIA).

You experience in pakistan is different as you’ve never experience any democracy and brai-washed to hate India. The situation is worsening in kashmir becaise of ISI backed propagand and today some Hurriyat men protested to UN’s mission in Kashmir. I am against any action against Kashmiri people but these so called “protesting leaders” calling India’s oppression is ridiculous. All these movement is backed and supported by our neighbour which will definitely harm them in long-term.

We can never get any peaceful solution until these so-called kashmiri separatisit leaders change their mind or kashmiri youth rises to be a part of greater force which is INDIA.

Posted by Sandy | Report as abusive

Good one NS and Ravi, we need to be more pro=active and assertive in answering to these so called bloggers, I have nor words for them !

Posted by Sandy | Report as abusive

One must not forget that Pakistan is also home to millions of Kashmiris. Along with that its also home to millions of Afghans. What both refugees share?..basically, denial of basic human rights in their own homeland. Moreover, these refugees are not living in perfect conditions in camps.Now is the time for world community to move forward and liberate them, so that they can return to their land and stop participating in terror related activities. Resolution of Kashmir issue is the only and only solution to end the instability in Pakistan.

Lets not turn this blog into war of words between Indians and Pakistanis. Kashmir problem is as old as the birth of these nations.

Posted by Ajay | Report as abusive

Everyone like apples… I believe whether its Kashmiri Muslim or Kashmiri Hindu taste of freedom is universal. This note is to separatist Kashimiri’s if you want to establish long term solution for Kashmir first of all call back majority of displaced Hindu & Sikh Kashmiris back home. Give them a security for 5-7 years and then with them including demand for separate Kashmir. That will be something true separatist voice, and not by killing minorities you can demand separate Kashmir.
The way I look at Kashmir problem, solution could be reach if govt is dedicated to do so, like:
1) Amend J&K property law it should allow any Indian/Foreign person could buy land in J&K. Currently no one can buy property in J&K except local people. This will open door for future investments and crank up the economy.

2) Open up door for industrial growth, current industrial policies are British times and it’s old. Government should provide special incentives for heavy infrastructure investments. Mix up with global economy. This environment will provide good opportunity for all youngsters to get employed in homeland. If employment is there then no one would like to pick a gun. Ask any employed man to pick gun in name of Jehad, I don’t think he’ll ever do.

3) Stop spending on free ration, let people earn it. Provide mandatory education till higher secondary.

5) Central govt should stop making statements in media blaming Pak for each tiny-mini incident.

I have faith in democracy and I do believe if we really take care of people they’ll pay back.

Chao!
- AS

Posted by Ajay Singh | Report as abusive

i’m an indian by birth & i love india more than any other entity on this earth. i’m closely monitoring the present day policies of various outfits that they adopt to uplift thier votebank. these power hungry criminals should be dealt sternly under the law of land as thier deeds of spreading hatred, communal & regional divide is not only de-stablising our country but also giving a very bad name. Babri masjid demolishion, Bombay blasts, Godhra carnage, Gujrat riots, Grahm stanes case, kandhamal violence, Delhi, up, jaipur, bangalore, ahmedabad blasts, amarnath row, economic blockade of kashmir, massacre of sikhs and above all genocide of kashmiri muslims are some of the examples of our secularist character. If we have to survive as one nation, we should immediately put an end to all this by bringing real culprits to book & save innocents to be prosecuted. From the updates intelligence agencies recieve, the main players for all these unfortunate mishappenings are the people of saffron brigade. we must try to establish the facts & bar them from further misdoings if we have to prosper.

Posted by ASHFAQ ZEHGEER | Report as abusive

My heart beats for the human values which have been put to rest in indian administered kashmir. The helplesness of the people there has led every human soul to raise the voice of revolt against the treatment metted out to the people of that part of the world. Kashmir issue is definitely a serious heart burn for the whole of south asia but it should be amicably resolved by india, pakistan & people of kashmir. If we are really serious in bringing peace to this sub continent & resolving kashmir issue, we must immediately put an end to the oppression & suppression of kashmiris under the garb of countering terrorism. the genocide & masacre of innocent people in kashmir should be at once stopped.
The people of kashmir are peace loving & every saner soul must help in resolving kashmir issue keeping in mind the larger interests of the people of india, pakistan & kashmir who are living under constant fear of militancy & terrorist related activities.

Posted by ASHFAQ ZEHGEER | Report as abusive

Dear zehgeer!
unless & until Indian people throw the communal brigade out, the reverse terrorism by these saffron criminals will continue to destablise India. BJP, RSS & others are power hungry goons & can go to any extent to catch the throne.. SO BEWARE ALL…..

Posted by casima rica | Report as abusive

I believe Pres. Elect Obama will improve relations with India and peace throughout the region……….but it is going to take all parties willing to work together……..

SHOE OFF UNCLE SAM!

World eyes were fixed on last Sunday’s looped video of an Iraqi journalist Muntazar alZaidi throwing his two shoes at President George W. Bush during a press conference in iraq. “This is a farewell kiss, you dog. This is from the widows, the orphans and those who were killed in Iraq.” yelled AlZaidi while throwing his shoes at Uncle Sam.
The whole of the Muslim world erupted in glee at the shoe attack on George W. Bush. Far from a joke, many in the Middle east saw the act by an Iraqi journalist as heroic, expressing the deep, personal contempt many feel for the American leader, they blame for years of bloodshed, chaos and the suffering of civilians. The sight of an average Arab standing up and making a public show of resentment was stunning. The pride, joy and bitterness it uncorked showed how, many Arabs place their anger on Bush personally for what they see as a litany of crimes – chief among them the turmoil in Iraq and tens of thousands of Iraqi deaths since the 2003 U.S. invasion.
“The heroic effort of alZaidi sent the message loud and clear to Bush: that he’s loathed for his wrongdoing, for killing Muslims in Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine,”By willingly risking prison and death just to throw those shoes, he reminded the powerful and powerless alike that a single symbolic gesture can be more effective than a thousand grenades.
The Iraq war is the most prominent cause of Arab resentment of Bush. Even many who were outraged at Shiite and Sunni militant groups for the killings of civilians and sectarian strife that tore the country apart ultimately blamed Bush for unleashing the chaos. Some accuse his administration of fueling Shiite-Sunni tensions across the region. But more broadly, nearly every U.S. policy in the region became seen as part of a campaign to divide or subjugate Muslim nations, from Iran and Syria to Sudan and Somalia. His administration’s war on terror was seen as a war on Muslims and Arabs in general, an image fueled by civilian deaths in Afghanistan and, in particular, the abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo bay. Bush was seen as heavily favoring Israel over the Palestinians. His administration’s campaign to isolate the Palestinian militant group Hamas translated to the Arab public as an attempt to starve Palestinians in Hamas-ruled Gaza.
Shoes hold a special place in the Arab lexicon of insults as a show of contempt — effectively saying, you’re lower than the dirt on my shoes. Even sitting with the sole of a shoe pointed at another person is seen as disrespectful. Iraqis had bashed the statue of Saddam with their shoes after US marines toppled it to the ground following the 2003 invasion of their country.
AlZaidi attained instant hero status around the Arab world. People from around the world have rejoiced in the glory of a frogmarched Iraqi reporter and vowed to make him rich and eternally famous. What made al-Zaidi’s defiance particularly resonant for many was their anger at autocratic Arab leaders whom they have considered slavish followers of Bush’s policies in the Middle East.
The al-Baghdadia television network, which employs Zaidi, broadcast his photo and martial anthems. Arab satellite TV channels and Web sites repeatedly played the scene of Bush ducking as the shoes flew past.
In Libya, a charity led by Moammar Gaddafi’s daughter Aisha announced it would give Zaidi an award for bravery and urged the Iraqi government to free him.”What he did represents a victory for human rights across the world,” said the organization, Wa Attassimou.
“The flying shoe speaks more for Arab public opinion than all the despots/puppets that Bush meets with during his travels in the Middle East,” Asad Abu Khalil, a Lebanese American college professor, wrote in his blog, the Angry Arab News Service (http://angryarab.blogspot.com).
A Saudi businessman offered to buy either of the shoes thrown at Bush for $10 million, Saudi television reported.
In Cairo, Egyptians in the middle-class neighborhood of Bulak laughed as they recounted Zaidi throwing his shoes at Bush.
“It was especially gratifying that it happened toward the end of his presidency, because this is how he will be forever remembered,” Nermine Gabaly, a 32-year-old homemaker, said with a smile.
“The Iraqi reporter should not be penalized for doing this,” she added. “He just expressed his emotions as an Iraqi citizen.”
During college, Zaidi, whose family is originally from the southern city of Nasiriyah, was the head of the student union. Unmarried, he had a reputation for jumping on stories that took him to the front lines of Iraq’s conflict. He declined a promotion because he didn’t want to be cooped up inside an office, said his brother Durgham al-Zaidi, a cameraman.
“When we see a family that has experienced tragedy, we look at them as if we had lost one of our own relatives,” Durgham said.
On the air, Zaidi referred to the U.S. militarypresence as “the occupation” and was known to call Bush “the devil.”
Saif al-Deen al-Kaisi, an editor at al-Baghdadia, recalled a conversation a year and half ago in which Zaidi said, “I hope to meet Bush and hit him with my shoes.”
Zaidi opposed a recently signed U.S.-Iraq security agreement that will extend the presence of U.S. troops for at least three years. “Any honest Iraqi patriot rejected the agreement,” Maithan al-Zaidi said. Zaidi had returned to Baghdad two weeks ago after spending two months in Lebanon attending a journalism course, his relatives said. Two hours before the news conference, he spoke to Maithan and made plans to have dinner with him afterward, Maithan said. He added that there was no discussion of throwing shoes at Bush. After the incident, Iraqi guards wrestled Zaidi, his colleague Waad al-Taie and another journalist to the ground, Taie said. “They beat us and said, ‘You are a group of conspirators against this visit,’ ” he recalled. “I told them: ‘I had no idea about all this. He surprised me just as much as you.’ ” Taie said a U.S. official asked the Iraqis to release him and the other journalist.
“Muntadar has not joined any party or movement,” Maithan said. “Nobody paid him to do this. His love for Iraq made him do this.”
In the southern city of Najaf, several hundred followers of Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr took to the streets Monday, describing Zaidi as a religious warrior. They threw shoes at U.S. military Humvees but the Americans did not respond, witnesses said.
In Sadr’s Baghdad stronghold of Sadr City, protesters burned American flags and chanted, “Bush, Bush listen well: We pushed you out with two shoes.”
But Hassan Jarrah, a government employee in Najaf, said that Zaidi should have “expressed his personal views of protest by words, not through assaulting President Bush.”
“What he did is condemned by all decent, reasonable people,” Jarrah added. “We should show to the Iraqi public and the world at large that we Iraqis do not condone such acts, and we are innocent of his actions.”
Zaidi’s brothers said they had received scores of offers from lawyers to represent him. Iraqi politicians have also expressed their support, but Durgham said he was worried about his brother. “If in front of TV cameras, they are beating him, can you imagine what they are doing to him behind the cameras?”
At one Baghdad elementary school, a geography teacher asked her students if they had seen the footage of the shoe-throwing, then told them, “All Iraqis should be proud of this Iraqi brave man, Muntazar. History will remember him forever.”
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez hailed the Iraqi reporter as a role model for courageousness. “It’s a good thing it didn’t hit him. I’m not encouraging throwing shoes at anybody, but really, what a courage,” he said.
“I am not surprised. Whole word hates him.” said the CPM general secretary Prakash Karat. Himself an ardent Bush baiter, Mr Karat was unfazed and felt that Bush deserved that. “I am not for once surprised. What he had done is well known and hence the entire world hates him” he added.
Abdel-Sattar Qassem, a Palestinian political science professor at the West Bank’s An Najah University, wrote in an online commentary that “Bush wanted to end his bloody term hearing compliments and welcoming words from his collaborators in the Arab and Islamic world. But a shoe from a real Arab man summed up Bush’s black history and told the entire world that the Arabs hold their head high.”
Players can now hurl their shoes in a video game designed to bring back memories of the Iraqi farewell to Bush. Internet surfers got a kick out of making Flash-based games. In one of the games, players assume the role of Bush to earn points by dodging the shoes flying toward him. Another game scores player on how many shoes hit the animated Bush.
The intense personal resentment of Bush may give Obama an automatic advantage in his attempts to repair the U.S. image. Obama’s race and his family ties to Islam have raised hope among some Arabs that he’ll be more sympathetic to their views. Obama’s aides have spoken of his delivering a major address in a Muslim capital early in his administration to set a new tone. But many in the Middle east say it will take more than symbolic gestures. The president-elect’s promises to withdraw from Iraq and close Guantanamo have also raised Arab hopes. Another top demand is for a more balanced U.S. stance in the Arab-Israeli peace process.

But on Monday, Arabs were just glowing with pride over the farewell to Bush.
“I’ve watched the video over a dozen times on You Tube and was excited every time I see him (alZaidi) standing up and calling Bush a dog,” said Tamer Ismail, 23-year-old art student in Cairo. “But I felt so bitter when he missed.”

Posted by ashfaq zehgeer | Report as abusive

With Obama formerly elected and in office now, all eyes are set on him to bring forth the promised CHANGE to america. It will be interesting to see the future steps he takes toward foreign policy and relations. Certainly, the world is embracing a new era, a change where the first american black president takes on the commander in chief role in US.

I believe Obama will improve relations with India, but still, just one man’s power will not be sufficient, it is going to take all parties willing to work together.

Obama is doing a good job! come on! U have all my support :)

Posted by Oyned | Report as abusive