Comment 1: That’s how Middle Eastern dictators love their American presidents: weak, clueless and irrelevant. Furthermore, and the Cairo Speech which appeased the regional officialdom notwithstanding, Obama’s “street creds” in the region have always been low due to his abandonment of the Freedom Agenda. The rhetoric of the Bush Administration might have offended the sensibilities of our peoples at times, but they did love it when their rulers squirmed. Obama’s policies, on the other hand, have painted too many smiles of contentment and ridicule on the faces of our autocrats. The meek are not always blessed.
Comment 2: Even the supposedly positive side to our relation with Turkey has negative implications. This is the dilemma of weak authoritarian states and countries who pimp themselves out: “Syrian presidential aide Hassan Turkmani said ties with Turkey had helped Damascus overcome Western attempts to isolate it, but acknowledged challenges in befriending a powerhouse with an economy 10 times as big as Syria’s.”
Comment 3: The availability and distribution of water is probably the most important problem facing the region, touching almost every country in it, Egypt, Sudan, Syria, Turkey, Iraq, Yemen, Jordan, Israel, Lebanon, etc. And what’s being done about it? Nothing. We’re busy resisting, grandstanding, saber-rattling and finger-pointing over other issues. Oh well, I guess our children can drink each other’s blood.
Comment 4: Arabs keep looking for a new Saladin when they should be looking for a new Averroes. True liberation begins in the mind.
Comment 5: Turkey’s resurgence is good news for Turkey. Israel, Europe and the U.S. will find ways to cope in time. And so will Iran. But Arabs, and specifically the Palestinians, are the ultimate victims. Yet, they dance. Trapped between the rock of authoritarianism, and the hard-place of atavistic longings, modern-day Arabs, confused, dejected, clueless, continue to dance at their own funerals. Still, we won’t despair, for sobriety does follow intoxication.
Comment 6: The Turkish Islamic movement is too diverse, and the AKP does not represent it all. This enigmatic figure, Fethulla Gulen, will, through his people, be playing an important role behind the scene in the next few days and months, in repairing Turkish-US-Israeli relations.