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Why don't Arabs love Obama anymore?

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama isn't living up to his promises in the Middle East, and it's driving Arab attitudes toward the United States to their lowest point in years, analysts say.

In a Zogby International poll released last week, respondents in four out of six countries surveyed had a lower opinion of the United States than at the end of the Bush administration in 2008.

The feeling among many in the region is that no American president can bring about change, James Zogby, founder of the Arab American Institute and a senior adviser at the eponymous polling firm, said Tuesday.

Citing conversations he had in the region during the polling, Zogby said, "There was this sense that it's a fundamentally broken system, that (the U.S.) can't do the right thing."

US more unpopular in the Arab world than under Bush

From Glenn Greenwald:

From the Washington Post:

Two and a half years after Obama came to office, raising expectations for change among many in the Arab world, favorable ratings of the United States have plummeted in the Middle East, according to a new poll conducted by IBOPE Zogby International for the Arab American Institute Foundation.

In most countries surveyed, favorable attitudes toward the United States dropped to levels lower than they were during the last year of the Bush administration.

From the full report:

With the 2008 election of Barack Obama, favorable attitudes toward the U.S. more than doubled in many Arab countries. But in the two years since his famous “Cairo speech,” ratings for both the U.S. and the President have spiraled downwards. The President is seen overwhelmingly as failing to meet the expectations set during his speech, and the vast majority of those surveyed disagree with U.S policies.   

In five out of the six countries surveyed, the U.S. was viewed less favorably than Turkey, China, France—or Iran. Far from seeing the U.S. as a leader in the post-Arab Spring environment, the countries surveyed viewed “U.S. interference in the Arab world” as the greatest obstacle to peace and stability in the Middle East, second only to the continued Palestinian occupation.

While the vehemence of Arab reaction to the U.S. was startling, the general sentiment echoed points made in AAI President James Zogby’s 2010 book Arab Voices, in which he reflected on Arab opinions of both the U.S. and our foreign policies. “American democracy [seems] a lot like damaged goods to many Arabs… U.S. policy in the region has increasingly undermined Arab attitudes toward America as a global model.”

Executive Summary

• After improving with the election of Barack Obama in 2008, U.S. favorable ratings across the Arab world have plummeted. In most countries they are lower than at the end of the Bush Administration, and lower than Iran's favorable ratings (except in Saudi Arabia).

• The continuing occupation of Palestinian lands and U.S. interference in the Arab world are held to be the greatest obstacles to peace and stability in the Middle East.

• While many Arabs were hopeful that the election of Barack Obama would improve U.S.-Arab relations, that hope has evaporated. Today, President Obama's favorable ratings across the Arab world are 10% or less.

• Obama's performance ratings are lowest on the two issues to which he has devoted the most energy: Palestine and engagement with the Muslim world.

• The U.S. role in establishing a no-fly zone over Libya receives a positive rating only in Saudi Arabia and Lebanon, but, as an issue, it is the lowest priority.

• The killing of bin Laden only worsened attitudes toward the U.S.

• A plurality says it is too early to tell whether the Arab Spring will have a positive impact on the region. In Egypt, the mood is mixed. Only in the Gulf States are optimism and satisfaction levels high.

Download the Poll Download the PDF

June 20th World Refugee Day

And least we not forget the millions of refugee's created in our names, the U.S., over the past decade in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as area's of Pakistan!

 

World Refugee Day

 

World Refugee Day on 20 June – a day like any other?

 

Ten Refugees, One Journey

 

Egypt's Mubarak, sons to be tried August 3

By Dina Zayed, Reuters

CAIRO (Reuters) - Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, overthrown by a popular uprising this year, was ordered on Wednesday to stand trial in August for the killing of protesters on charges that could carry the death penalty.

Mubarak, ousted on February 11 after mass protests demanding an end to his 30 years in power, has been questioned about his role in a crackdown in which more than 840 demonstrators died, as well as about alleged corruption.

He could face the death penalty if convicted on the charge of "pre-mediated killing."

His two sons, Alaa and Gamal, once viewed as being groomed for the presidency, will also stand trial alongside their father and prominent business executive Hussein Salem.

Judge Sayed Abdel-Azim, the head of the appeals court, said the trial would open on August 3 in a Cairo criminal court.

Suleiman: Mubarak Knew Of Killings

By William Fisher, Public Record

The man who was Hosni Mubarak’s Vice President and Egypt’s top spy is telling prosecutors that the aging dictator was aware that his security services were firing at peaceful protestors during the January 25 uprisings in Tahrir Square and elsewhere.

Testimony by Omar Suleiman could constitute key evidence against Mubarak, who will be tried for murder in the deaths of anti-government activists. Suleiman, a longtime Mubarak confidante, was appointed vice president in the waning days of the Mubarak regime and helped orchestrate the president’s resignation.

HUNDREDS OF BAHRAINIS JOIN U.S. CAMPAIGN AGAINST U.S. SUPPORT FOR THE GOVERNMENT OF BAHRAIN

NEW YORK, N.Y., May 24 2011 -- In a response that surprised U.S. organizers of a campaign calling on the United States government to repudiate its partnership with the Al Khalifa regime in Bahrain, hundreds of people from Bahrain joined in signing the Campaign for Peace and Democracy's launching statement "End U.S. Support for Bahrain's Repressive Government."

"The statement was originally circulated for signatures in the United States, but we have been deeply moved by the fact that hundreds of Bahrainis have added their names," said Joanne Landy, CPD Co-Director. "Given the violent government crackdown in Bahrain, the very act of signing is incredibly courageous. Bahraini signers have implored us to pressure the Obama administration to decisively repudiate its support of their brutal and authoritarian government."

Obama Should Follow His Own Advice on the 'Moral Force' of Non-Violence

Given that President Obama daily authorizes the firing of hellfire missiles and the dropping of cluster bombs in places such as Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen, it was awful odd seeing him wax eloquent this week about the “moral force of non-violence” in places like Egypt and Tunisia.

Kucinich: “Important to Critically Analyze what the President Does, not what he Says.”

Washington D.C. (May 19, 2011) – Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) today issued the following response to President Obama’s speech at the State Department regarding the so-called Arab Spring:

“We all want to be supportive of our President as he attempts to broaden America's positive role in the Middle East and North Africa. But it is important to critically analyze what the President does, not what he says, when it comes to U.S. policy abroad. When the President says ‘[i]t will be the policy of the United States to promote reform across the region, and to support transitions to democracy,’ we must look more carefully at how this policy has been implemented as well as the implications of the actions that have already been taken.

Oh, I guess civilians could be affected too

Occupational Lung Diseases in Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans

ScienceDaily (May 18, 2011) — A session presented May 18 explored the inhalational exposures and respiratory outcomes of military deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan. Presenters reviewed current knowledge on complex inhalational exposures, epidemiologic studies, animal toxicology studies, and clinical lung findings in U.S. military men and women who are returning from Southwest Asia.

How Obama Arms Dictators

Obama’s Reset: Arab Spring or Same Old Thing?
How the President and the Pentagon Prop Up Both Middle Eastern Despots and American Arms Dealers

By Nick Turse

If you follow the words, one Middle East comes into view; if you follow the weapons, quite another.

End U.S. Support for Bahrain's Repressive Government

Sign this statement here.

On Feb. 13, 2011, inspired by the forced resignation of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, peaceful democratic protests erupted in Bahrain. Protests grew and, in response, King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa invited other Gulf states to send security forces into the country to assist in violently suppressing the demonstrators. The March 15 invasion by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates brought an intensification of torture, secret trials, demolition of Shia mosques, and repression against human rights activists, journalists, labor, lawyers, medical professionals, students, political figures, and others. On March 18 the regime destroyed the Pearl Monument that had served as the protest center.

Prominent Human Rights Activist Threatened with Rape

URGENT ACTION: Human Rights Activist in Danger as Court Looks the other Way
After refusing to apologize on camera to the King:
Prominent Human Rights Activist Threatened with Rape

Joint Statement of the BCHR and BYSHR

Today at the 3rd hearing of the 21 defendants standing trial for charges including attempting to topple the government, former MENA Coordinator of Frontline Defenders and Former President of the Bahrain Centre of Human Rights, Mr. Abdulhadi Alkhawaja was removed from court. This happened immediately after he spoke at the beginning of the trial saying that he was threatened with rape after he refused to apologize to the King on Camera. He also told the judge that he had complained to the court in the previous session that he had been threatened and that the court had not done anything to secure his safety. The court judge refused to listen to these statements and Mr. Alkhawaja was ordered out of the court room even though he said that was all he wanted to say.

Is this Bradley Manning's future?

Nuclear whistleblower asks to renounce citizenship

By BEN HARTMAN, 07/05/2011
Mordechai Vanunu tells 'Post' no country has offered him asylum but that if he is allowed to leave "I will get on first flight anywhere out of here."

Nuclear whistle-blower Mordechai Vanunu on Saturday demanded that Israel rescind his citizenship in keeping with a new law that strips Israelis convicted of treason of their citizenship.

In a letter written to Interior Minister Eli Yishai and released to the media on Saturday Vanunu, a Beersheba native, says "I have no interest in Israeli citizenship, I don't want to go on living here." Rest of the article at the Jerusalem Post

Vanunu Mordechai's letter.

May 5TH 2011

To:
MK Mr. Eli Yishai

Minister of Interior

The State of Israel

Re: Revoking my Israeli Citizenship

I am Mordechai Vanunu that was kidnapped from Rome on September 30, 1986 by The Israeli Secret Services.

I was tried by The Jerusalem District Court and convicted of Aggravated Espionage, High Treason and Assisting the Enemy and I was sentenced to 18 years imprisonment. This followed an interview I gave to The London Sunday Times regarding the secret production of nuclear weapons materials in Israel.

I fulfilled the democratic principal of the right of the public to know.

I have served 18 years in Ashkelon Prison, mostly in solitary confinement.

I was released on 21 April 2004 with severe restrictions imposed by the Israeli Government.
Seven years past and the restrictions had been renewed again and again relying on The Emergency Laws from 1945.

Since my release I have lived 6 years in East Jerusalem and since September 2010 I live in Tel Aviv.

Blogger Disappeared in Bahrain

This letter is from SAID YOUSIF ALMUHAFDAH, a blogger and human rights activist from Bahrain.

Thanks in Advance

Date: 2011/4/26
journalist arrested in Bahrain

Dear Frineds

Please not that the police arrested the well known bloger and journalist in alwasatnewspaper mr haidar alnayme two days ago on 24-04-2011 , and we dont knwo his place , his family didnt get the chance to visit him or call him he is disapear

please find the below details from Committee to Protect Journalists

if you need any information about him or family contact let me know

Best Regards

Said yousif

Bahrain center for human rights

Death of fourth person in ten days in Bahrain detention centers

From: SAID YOUSIF ALMUHAFDAH
Date: 2011/4/14
Subject: Death of fourth person in ten days in Bahrain detention centers

Dear Friends,

The fourth death in detention in 10 days yesterday, source: AlWefaq. Kareem Fakhrawi was a businessman who disappeared after he went to the police station to file a complaint. He was one of the founders of AlWasat Newspaper and was on the board of directors. You can see the footage of his body which shows torture marks here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Z3hoDO_Lfg The only official statement was on the Bahrain News Agency twitter account he died from liver failure complications: https://twitter.com/#!/bna_ar/status/57938447310131200.

19 Human Rights Organizations Severely Condemn The Continuous Crackdown on Human Rights Defenders in Bahrain: http://bahrainrights.hopto.org/en/node/3913.

RALLY IN SOLIDARITY WITH ALL PRO-DEMOCRACY MOVEMENTS ACROSS THE MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

Middle Eastern and North African Diaspora Rally to Demonstrate Solidarity with All Pro-Democracy and Human Rights Movements across the Middle East and North Africa

(WASHINGTON DC, 04/23/11) – Hundreds of members of the Middle Eastern and North African diapora and human rights activists will rally to support the efforts of pro-democracy movements across the Middle East and North Africa.

WHAT: Solidarity with All Pro-Democracy and Human Rights Movements across the Middle East and North Africa Rally

WHEN: Saturday, April 23, 1:00 P.M.

WHERE: Dupont Circle (traffic circle), Washington, DC

WHO: The Middle Eastern and North African Diaspora Coalition

Letter to Obama From Bahrain

From Angry Arabiya

Mr. President,

Why are U.S. Wars on the Middle East Wrong?

Are the U.S. Wars on the Middle East Wrong Because They Cost so Much?

Or are they just wrong, immoral, unjust, and against humanity's interests?

U.S. occupations, bombs, and secret operations have wreaked havoc in the Middle East since 2001, sold to the public on the basis of being in the “United States' national interest.”

Rolling Stone reported that in 2010 the 5th Stryker Brigade’s “Kill Team” went on a shooting spree, killing unarmed Afghan civilians and mutilating corpses for fun, while US NATO bombing raids kill even more civilians this year than last. The U.S. detains hundreds of Afghans in Bagram, without charges, lawyers, or rights...and Guantanamo remains open, in spite of Obama’s declaration over two years ago that he would close it as a stain on America’s conscience.

Please Stop Burning Korans

DUBAI, UAE -- I was on my way to Afghanistan and have delayed the final leg of the trip a day to see whether being American is compatible with not getting blown up. The problem seems to be that, in addition to the U.S. military occupying the country for almost a decade and routinely murdering random innocent people, some bigoted jerk in Florida is creating a big stink about how much he hates Islam and enjoys burning copies of the Koran.

The Koran-burning preacher claims that he's just burned a book, not killed anyone. Of course, nothing excuses those who actually engage in killing, no matter what inspired their rage. But the preacher hasn't just burned a book. He's preached hatred. He's added deep insult to injury. The results were predictable, or at the very least are predictable now, while he shows no sign of relenting.

Refugee's: 27.5 million From Violence

Report: 27.5 million uprooted by violence

 

March 23, 2011 - The number of people around the world uprooted by conflict or violence and displaced within their country has increased to 27.5 million, the highest figure in the last decade, according to a new report released Wednesday.

The report by the Geneva-based Internal Displacement Monitoring Center, established by the Norwegian Refugee Council in 1998 at the U.N.'s request, said close to three million people in 20 countries were newly displaced by conflict or violence in 2010 including 1.2 million in Africa.

 

American and British arms used to kill peaceful Bahrainis

From the Bahrain Freedom Movement

Save Bahrain from Saudi occupation

The use of the American-made and supplied Apache helicopter gunships, the British-made and supplied tear gas canisters and guns and various other weapons has exposed the catastrophic moral and ethical downfall of all involved in the attack on the unarmed civilians of Bahrain. The Saudi invasion that started on Monday 14th March is a replica of the invasion of Saddam Hussain’s invasion of Kuwait on 2nd August 1990. If that invasion was wrong, how could the Saudi occupation of Bahrain be right? The world community is thus duty bound to end this occupation. The latest episode of the all out war started at around 4.00 am GMT Sunday 13th March with massive attacks from the air and land at the peaceful protesters at the Pearl Square, many of whom were asleep. They were hit with salvo of tear and nerve gases, live ammunition and rubber bullets. Hundreds have so far been injured and many killed.

AUDIO: Lt. Gen. Tad J. Oelstrom Opposes No Fly Zone

High Stakes, ElectricPolitics

An F-16 taking off from Aviano airbase in ItalyThe Obama administration has yet to explain, apart from vague humanitarian concerns, whether a direct U.S. national security interest is at stake in Libya's internal strife. Nevertheless, Hillary Clinton is waffling her way toward war. What this could ultimately entail remains unknown but given yesterday's affirmative vote in the UN Security Council some sort of intervention is bound to materialize. To talk about a no fly zone and related issues I turned to Lt. Gen. Tad J. Oelstrom (USAF, Ret.), a veteran combat pilot and prominent national security expert. Before our conversation I had no advance knowledge whatsoever of the General's views — I was pleased, then, to find we see things very much in the same way. Total runtime forty four minutes. War is not for amateurs.

Listen

War Through UN Still War, Still Hell, Still the Worst Option

The problem with bombing Libya is not hypocrisy. Better a good thing once than consistent bad performance, after all. The problem is that war is uncontrollable, usually spreads, always kills, rarely achieves its objective, creates blowback (al Qaeda wants the US in Libya for its recruitment purposes), costs a fortune, and maintains imperial interests.

While the US props up all the nearby dictators and arms them, including in Bahrain, and was doing the same for Gadaffi until about 5 mins ago, it's switched sides in Libya. This doesn't just look bad. It is bad: the US wants to control someone else's country.

When the Iraqi govt murders and tortures after years of US involvement, who cries out for the solution of US involvement? When the Afghan govt or Bahraini govt does so, what then? No fly zones were themselves genocidal in Iraq and Yugoslavia.

Saudi Arabia is helping out Bahrain, by the way. Nations joining in each other's violence or spreading around the weapons we've provided them is not good news.

There is not a well-intentioned world police force at work here, and the bad intentions will lead to very bad places and are not the only option. Other options include humanitarian aid, nonviolence training, and communicating to Libya the seriousness of US support for local rule and democracy by cutting off the dictators we're backing all over the region.

"You can't drop bombs and not kill people"

"In a war that's being fought for the benefit of the Iraqi (read Libyan) people, you can't afford to kill any of them. But you can't drop bombs and not kill people. There's a real dichotomy in all of this."
- Rob Hewson, Editor of Jane's Air Launched Weapons, April 1st 2003.

Former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense Larry Korb told the BBC today that Libya has about 50 air defense sites and that most of them are located in populated areas. If U.S. planes dropped only two "precision-guided" bombs on each of them, the chances are that at least 20 of those bombs would miss their targets and hit something or somebody else.

Informed Activist

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