Prophecy in today's headlines

Obama Gets Tough With Israel, Readies For Cairo

President Barack Obama has gotten tough with Israel and chosen Cairo — where President Hosni Mubarak rules with a firm hand — for his much-awaited overture to the Islamic world in what appears to be a clear break from decades of U.S. policy.

Many issues cloud American relations with the Muslim world, but none rankles like U.S. ties to Israel and massive support for the Jewish state in the heart of the Arab Middle East.

While the majority of the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims live in Asia, the growing militancy among the followers of the Prophet Muhammad took root largely in the Middle East. The dramatic strike against the United States on Sept. 11, 2001, was the work of Arabs under the direction of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, who was born in Saudi Arabia.

Bin Laden cited anger at U.S. support for Israel as the guiding philosophy of the terrorist organization that drew American forces into wars in Afghanistan, where he was believed to be hiding, and Iraq, which was flooded by al-Qaida fighters after the U.S. invasion in 2003.

Those wars and U.S. policy toward Israel have produced a growing belief in the Muslim world that the United States is at war with Islam.

Given those realities, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs played down expectations of a quick turnaround in U.S.-Muslim relations after Obama’s Thursday speech.

“This is about resetting our relationship with the Muslim world. … We don’t expect everything to change after one speech,” he said.


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