Fisk: Obama, US have lost all credibility in the Mideast

Influential British journalist says US president "goes on his knees before Israel"; claims Israel originally supported Hamas as way to hurt Arafat.

Obama funk face_311 DO NOT USE ANYMORE (photo credit: Reuters)
Obama funk face_311 DO NOT USE ANYMORE
(photo credit: Reuters)
US President Barack Obama has brought the United States to an all time low in the eyes of the Arab world and the US has lost its influence in the region, British journalist Robert Fisk argues in an op-ed article published by the Independent on Monday.
Fisk, the Independent's Middle East correspondent and a seven-time winner of the International Journalist of the Year award, argues that "Obama's failure to support the Arab revolutions until they were all but over lost the US most of its surviving credit in the region."
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Arabs are turning their backs on America, "not out of fury or anger, nor with threats or violence, but with contempt," Fisks says, because Obama "goes on his knees before Israel." He adds that, "It is the Arabs and their fellow Muslims of the Middle East who are themselves now making the decisions. "
Fisk slams recent meetings between Obama and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu as "irrelevant" amid the struggle for democracy taking place in the region. He refers to Obama's Middle East policy as "muddled," criticizing the US president for supporting democracy as long as it does not interfere with US interests. Fisk points specifically to the US supporting autocratic Saudi Arabia and allowing the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad to survive despite a bloody crackdown against protesters.
The British journalist claims that Obama's reluctance to remove Assad from power stems from the fact that "the Israelis would far prefer the 'stability' of the Syrian dictatorship to continue; better the dark caliphate you know than the hateful Islamists who might emerge from the ruins."
Fisk argues that Obama was bullied by Netanyahu into taking up the Israeli position in the conflict with the Palestinians. He says that despite what Obama says, the Palestinians should go to the UN to seek statehood. He suggests that the Palestinians may not remain silent but instead opt for "a Third Intifada in 'Palestine.'"
"Not a struggle of suicide bombers but of mass, million-strong protests. If the Israelis have to shoot down a mere few hundred demonstrators who tried – and in some cases succeeded – in crossing the Israeli border almost two weeks ago, what will they do if confronted by thousands or a million," he says.
Fisk also scoffs at Israel's refusal to negotiate with the Palestinians because of the inclusion of Hamas in the government. He says that Israel actually supported Hamas in the 1980s as a way "to destroy Arafat's prestige in the occupied territories."
"I actually saw with my own eyes the head of the Israeli army's Southern Command negotiating with bearded Hamas officials, giving them permission to build more mosques," Fisk claims, equating Israel's support for the Islamist group with the US and Britain's support for Osama bin Laden in his fight against the Soviets in Afghanistan in the 1980s.