Friday 19 January 2018

It may be too late for neglectful president and the Middle East

IF BARACK Obama was under any illusions about the massive challenge he faces in trying to re-engage in the Middle East, he had a rude awakening the moment he arrived in Israel on his first visit there as US president.

As he prepared to meet Israeli and Palestinian leaders, Hamas militants based in Gaza fired two rockets at the Israeli town of Sderot. It served as a reminder to the president of the huge task he faces in trying to rebuild relationships after four years of abject neglect.

When Mr Obama chose Cairo to make his first keynote speech on the Middle East after becoming president, it was a deliberate attempt to redefine America's relationship with the region. Rather than the US being a slavish defender of Israel's security needs, he said he sought a "new beginning" with the Muslim world.

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