The Middle East in Motion

Great speeches are all too often underestimated as being mere words, when, in fact, they can have powerful consequences. This is obviously the case with President Barack Obama’s recent address to the Muslim world in Cairo, because – mere coincidence or excellent timing? – things in the Middle East have been in flux ever since.

BERLIN – Great speeches are all too often underestimated as being mere words. In fact, they can have powerful consequences. This is obviously the case with President Barack Obama’s recent address to the Muslim world in Cairo, because – mere coincidence or excellent timing? – things in the Middle East have been in flux ever since.

Since Obama’s Cairo speech, there have been elections in Lebanon where, surprisingly, the alliance of pro-Western parties scored a clear victory against Hezbollah and its allies. Also noteworthy in that election is that the losing side immediately accepted defeat and that Syria is now obviously serious about building a new rapport with Lebanon.

Iran’s recent “election” saw blatant manipulation in favor of the incumbent president incite a democratic mass uprising. One is astonished by the fact that Iran’s government did not opt for transparency immediately, by promptly and comprehensively providing the facts about the voting, facts that it alone possesses. After all, if President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has genuinely won by a margin of 2:1, there is nothing to fear. What is happening, however, is precisely the opposite, and for this there is only one explanation: the election was rigged.

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