This is unlikely to do anything but reinforce the idea, often assumed in the Obama Administration, that the conflict between the U.S. and the Islamic world is all our fault, and that we can end it with various concessions. “President to Renew Muslim Outreach,” by Jay Solomon and Carol E. Lee for the Wall Street Journal, May 11 (thanks to AJ):
WASHINGTON””President Barack Obama is preparing a fresh outreach to the Muslim world in coming days, senior U.S. officials say, one that will ask those in the Middle East and beyond to reject Islamic militancy in the wake of Osama bin Laden’s death and embrace a new era of relations with the U.S.
Mr. Obama is preparing to deliver that message in a wide-ranging speech, perhaps as early as next week, these officials say. 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.
“It’s an interesting coincidence of timing””that he is killed at the same time that you have a model emerging in the region of change that is completely the opposite of bin Laden’s model,” Ben Rhodes, deputy national security adviser at the White House, said in an interview….
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.
Mr. Rhodes said timing of the speech remains in flux but Mr. Obama could deliver it before leaving on a five-day trip to Europe on May 23. The White House is already telegraphing the message of the coming speech to the Islamic world by placing American diplomats on Arab television and radio, according to U.S. officials….
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….