Monday, January 26, 2009

Obama's TV Interview With Al-Arabiya Airs Tonight

Updated with video below.
Obama does some more reaching out. It's doubtful if in 8 years Bush ever did an interview on Arabic-language TV. I could be wrong.
If Obama could reach the Muslim world and let them know that the U.S. doesn't intend to conquer, that could go a long way toward defanging the terrorists, or at least helping to keep new ones from being made.
Al-Arabiya is based in Dubai. Check it out here.
ABC: President Obama has sat for his first formal TV interview with the Arabic cable TV network Al-Arabiya, ABC News has learned.

The interview was taped this evening and is set to air at 11 pm ET, as Mitchell is in the air and on his way to the region.
Al-Arabiya is a moderate voice in the Arab world.
This interview has caused the Obama haters to go into high freakout mode. Here's an excerpt of the interview from a Politico story:
Obama also signaled a move away from President Bush's confrontational, generalizing language. Melhem noted to Obama that "President Bush framed the war on terror conceptually in a way that was very broad, 'war on terror,' and used sometimes certain terminology that the many people -- Islamic fascism. You've always framed it in a different way, specifically against one group called al Qaeda and their collaborators."

"I think that you're making a very important point. And that is that the language we use matters," Obama replied. "[W]hat we need to understand is, is that there are extremist organizations -- whether Muslim or any other faith in the past -- that will use faith as a justification for violence. We cannot paint with a broad brush a faith as a consequence of the violence that is done in that faith's name.

"And so you will I think see our administration be very clear in distinguishing between organizations like al Qaeda -- that espouse violence, espouse terror and act on it -- and people who may disagree with my administration and certain actions, or may have a particular viewpoint in terms of how their countries should develop," he said. "We can have legitimate disagreements but still be respectful. I cannot respect terrorist organizations that would kill innocent civilians and we will hunt them down."

Obama's shift Monday was one of tone, not of policy, and he also affirmed America's support for Israel.

"Israel is a strong ally of the United States. They will not stop being a strong ally of the United States. And I will continue to believe that Israel's security is paramount," he said. "But I also believe that there are Israelis who recognize that it is important to achieve peace. They will be willing to make sacrifices if the time is appropriate and if there is serious partnership on the other side."

Part 2

Some analysis by CNN after part of the interview: