Marc Lynch catches a big story in the Arab media this morning, Obama's announcement that he will visit Saudi Arabia before his Egypt speech:
The key question for Obama's trip the region, his speech, and his strategic approach both to Iran and the Israeli-Arab tracks is this: will he reinforce or challenge the "moderates vs resistance" frame which he inherited from the Bush administration? The Arab leaders he has been meeting, like the Israelis, are perfectly comfortable with that approach, dividing the region between Israel and Arab "moderates" vs Iran and Arab "resistance" groups like Hamas and Hezbollah. That's the easy path. If followed it is likely to fail badly, destroy the hopes for change which his engagement policy has raised, and leave the region right back where Bush left it. But I think -- and hope -- that Obama will not fall into that trap.
He has an opportunity over the next few weeks -- with the unveiling of his approach to Israel and the Palestinians, the response to the Lebanese and Iranian elections, and his Cairo speech -- to break down those tired, dangerous, and unpopular lines of division. And if he chooses to do that, to really challenge the unsustainable status quo, then Riyadh and Cairo are the right place to start.
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