Archive for the ‘al-arabiya’ Category

Obama reaches out on Al-Arabiya TV

January 28, 2009

President Barack Obama‘s television interview on Al-Arabiya was a bold move and a big break from what Americans have gotten used to over the last eight years.

In a little over a week, Obama has made some sea changes in certain policy areas even if in some cases this just amounts to getting the country back to “normal.”

Even many Obama critics were delighted by the president’s willingness to accept such a risky interview, which could have produced some awkward moments. Also surprising was Obama’s willingness to discuss the tough Israeli-Palestinian problem were tensions are still high after the recent ceasefire in Gaza. The lull in fighting was interrupted today as Israeli aircraft retaliated after one of their soldiers was killed by a bomb while on patrol. The attacks come just as U.S. envoy George Mitchell began his Middle East tour.

Obama sends clear signal via Arab TV
Financial Times – 51 minutes ago
By Roula Khalaf in London and Edward Luce in Washington Barack Obama has given his first television interview as US president to a Saudi-backed channel, reinforcing his message to the Muslim and Arab worlds that “Americans are not your enemy”.
document.write(NVF_generateVideoLink(‘”javascript:NVF_toggleBox(\’221\’, \’\’,\’s-Jmo-yQ5ROzh6Dh0Ylc9M2w:u-AFQjCNFAvygw5LnRh3GrJod6C-0ST1cMsw:v-2-2-1_1297924719\’, \’n\’);” ‘,’zippy221′,’va221′,’Video: Obama’s First Formal Interview on Al-Arabiya TV’));Video: Obama’s First Formal Interview on Al-Arabiya TV AssociatedPress

Obama launches effort to ‘communicate’ in Mideast Los Angeles Times


Boffo reviews: Arab reaction to President Obama’s Al Arabiya interview "astonishingly positive."

January 28, 2009

By GottaLaff

Progress in the Middle East will be frustratingly slow, but for those who think reaching out is a bad idea, check this out:

Since President Obama‘s interview with Al Arabiya last night, State Department public diplomacy officials have been closely monitoring reaction in the Arab media — TV, newspapers, radio and blogs — to get a sense for how the interview is playing.

The State Department is busy preparing a report for the White House on what they’ve observed and, so far, the reaction has been a very positive one.

In reviewing Arab media commentary, officials say, two messages seem to have resonated: Obama’s focus on listening and not dictating U.S. policy and his emphasis on the fact that he has lived in the Muslim world and has Muslim family members.

Flies. Honey. Vinegar. Imagine that.

The U.S. Embassy in Cairo reports: “We are getting overwhelmingly positive feedback from bloggers and contacts in country. Their main points are that they were highly impressed…” that he gave his first TV interview to an Arab satellite channel.

In Saudi Arabia, a newspaper editor told the embassy, “The reader reaction that he’s getting so far is astonishingly positive.”

In the United Arab Emirates, the embassy said, “Anecdotal public reaction has been highly positive.

In Bahrain, one newspaper normally critical of U.S. policies commented favorably on the appointment of George Mitchell as special envoy.

The interview aired too late for Syria, Iran, and other places to meet newspaper deadlines, so tomorrow there will be more reaction from the enemies of the Bush administration.

President Obama’s First Post-Inauguration Interview

January 27, 2009

Given to Al-Arabiya

Obama’s TV Interview With Al-Arabiya Airs Tonight

January 27, 2009

Updated with video below.
Obama does some more reaching out. It’s doubtful if in 8 years Bush ever did an interview on Arabic-language TV. I could be wrong.
If Obama could reach the Muslim world and let them know that the U.S. doesn’t intend to conquer, that could go a long way toward defanging the terrorists, or at least helping to keep new ones from being made.
Al-Arabiya is based in Dubai. Check it out here.

ABC: President Obama has sat for his first formal TV interview with the Arabic cable TV network Al-Arabiya, ABC News has learned.

The interview was taped this evening and is set to air at 11 pm ET, as Mitchell is in the air and on his way to the region.

Al-Arabiya is a moderate voice in the Arab world.
This interview has caused the Obama haters to go into high freakout mode. Here’s an excerpt of the interview from a Politico story:

Obama also signaled a move away from President Bush’s confrontational, generalizing language. Melhem noted to Obama that “President Bush framed the war on terror conceptually in a way that was very broad, ‘war on terror,’ and used sometimes certain terminology that the many people — Islamic fascism. You’ve always framed it in a different way, specifically against one group called al Qaeda and their collaborators.”

“I think that you’re making a very important point. And that is that the language we use matters,” Obama replied. “[W]hat we need to understand is, is that there are extremist organizations — whether Muslim or any other faith in the past — that will use faith as a justification for violence. We cannot paint with a broad brush a faith as a consequence of the violence that is done in that faith’s name.

“And so you will I think see our administration be very clear in distinguishing between organizations like al Qaeda — that espouse violence, espouse terror and act on it — and people who may disagree with my administration and certain actions, or may have a particular viewpoint in terms of how their countries should develop,” he said. “We can have legitimate disagreements but still be respectful. I cannot respect terrorist organizations that would kill innocent civilians and we will hunt them down.”

Obama’s shift Monday was one of tone, not of policy, and he also affirmed America’s support for Israel.

“Israel is a strong ally of the United States. They will not stop being a strong ally of the United States. And I will continue to believe that Israel’s security is paramount,” he said. “But I also believe that there are Israelis who recognize that it is important to achieve peace. They will be willing to make sacrifices if the time is appropriate and if there is serious partnership on the other side.”