Not surprisingly, he’s going to frame it as an “Arab world at a crossroads” sort of thing in the wake of the Bin Laden raid. Either they can follow Osama’s example into Islamist rule and intolerance or they can push for democracy and economic reform. That’s actually a bold move rhetorically by The One given how things are shaping up in Egypt. Having presented the choice as one between progress and Osama Bin Laden, what happens if, as expected, the Muslim Brotherhood wins big in the parliamentary elections in September? (The Brotherhood’s alliance with Egypt’s Salafists, true Bin Ladenites, could give them even more power.) “EGYPT CHOOSES BIN LADEN” headlines await, along with endless self-flagellating navel-gazing western media pieces about how Osama defeated us after all.
Here’s a telling story from Egypt dated just a few days ago about which way the wind’s blowing. You sure you want to stake western credibility on them making the right choice at the crossroads, champ?
The president intends to argue that bin Laden’s death, paired with popular uprisings sweeping North Africa and the Middle East, signal that the time has come to an end when al Qaeda could claim to speak for Muslim aspirations…
Bin Laden’s death gives Mr. Obama a chance to underscore the belief among many administration officials that the terror leader’s relevance had already begun to diminish during the so-called Arab Spring. Mr. Obama, who has made outreach to the Muslim world a cornerstone of his presidency, plans to describe the Islamic world as at a crossroads, said U.S. officials, making the case that bin Laden represented a failed approach of the past while populist movements brewing in the Middle East and North Africa represent the future…
The White House is still debating, however, whether Mr. Obama should lay out a concrete plan for revitalizing the stalled Arab-Israeli peace process.
Many Arab governments have been pressing Mr. Obama to publicly outline his own parameters for the creation of an independent Palestinian state as a way to exert more pressure on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who visits Washington next week. These diplomats said the Mideast’s democratic surge is raising expectations among their own populations for an end to the decades-old Arab-Israeli conflict.
Really, they’re still debating it? The day after the Bin Laden raid, Hamas issued a statement condemning the killing and heralding Osama as a holy warrior. Just today, Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal said America had no right to conduct the raid and that “[t]he fact they disposed of his body at sea is unacceptable and has touched the dignity of Muslims.” How’s The One going to endorse peace with the newly Hamas-flavored Palestinian leadership in the very same speech where he’s calling Bin Laden’s death a turning point for the Arab world?
Oh well. At least there’ll be plenty of tasty Syria-bashing to warm the hearts of Arab democrats and try to convince them, at the eleventh hour, that we weren’t willing to play ball with their tormentors all along. Or will there?