Subsequently, in his first television interview as president, with the Saudi-owned Al
Arabiya satellite channel on Jan. 26, Obama spoke about his own ties to the Muslim world:
"Now, my job is to communicate the fact that the United States has a
stake in the well-being of the Muslim world, that the language we use has to
be a language of respect," Obama said . "I have Muslim members of my family. I
have lived in Muslim countries."
"My job to the Muslim world is to communicate that the Americans are not
your enemy — we sometimes make mistakes — we have not been perfect," Obama
The two presidential actions have already prompted calls for reconciliation by a
range of leading Muslims. Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi called on the
United States to launch a
dialogue with Al Qaida chief Osama Bin Laden while the Al Qaida-aligned
Gamiat Islamiya urged an immediate four-month ceasefire.
At this point, according to the report, Al Qaida appears divided over Obama.
"Addressing the Islamic world, Obama said we are in need of a new
direction," a statement by Gamiat leaders said. "So he is calling for
adopting a new approach that differs to the blocked and irrational path that
[former U.S. President George] Bush followed."
The report also says Obama's initiative has been endorsed by much of
the U.S. intelligence community.
"The United States has imposed attrition on Al Qaida, disrupting its
command, control and communications and isolating it," George Friedman, a
leading U.S. strategist and director of Stratfor, said in a Stratfor.com report.
avoid penetration by hostile intelligence services, Al Qaida has not
recruited new cadres for its primary unit. This makes it very
difficult to develop intelligence on Al Qaida, but it also makes it
impossible for Al Qaida to replace its losses."
Still, Saudi Arabia' royalty fears any reconciliation between
Al Qaida and the United States. The sources said Saudi King Abdullah worries
that Obama's effort would legitimize Al Qaida and bolster its status in the
Gulf Arab kingdom.