April 8, 2009
Posted: 724 GMT
US President Obama visited Turkey, a predominantly Muslim country, on the last announced stop of his first international trip as US President. CNN's Ivan Watson looks at the ancient city of Istanbul and its people as they welcome the American President."
Posted by: IME Producer
Posted: 702 GMT
MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images. US President Barack Obama (R) greets troops during a visit to Camp Victory, just outside Baghdad, on April 7, 2009.
MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images. US President Barack Obama speaks during a visit to Camp Victory in Baghdad, Iraq.
Iraqi President's Office via Getty Images. Iraqi President Jalal Talabani (R) speaks with U.S. President Barack Obama (L) as an interpreter sits (C) April 7, 2009 in Baghdad, Iraq. Obama made a surprise visit to Iraq and spoke about the transition of power to the Iraqi government.
Iraqi Prime Minister office via Getty Images. Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki (L) shakes hands with U.S. President Barack Obama (R) on April 7, 2009 in Baghdad, Iraq. Obama made a surprise visit to Iraq and spoke about the transition of power to the Iraqi government.
High-end clothing boutique, KashMIRI, took to the catwalk to showcase collections of some of the region’s leading designers that they stock in all three of their Dubai stores. Pictured, a dress from Pakistani designer, Hassan Sheheryar Yasin.
Another dress from the KashMIRI show.
L’Oreal’s head make-up artist, Alexis Dralet, showcased the new make-up trends for Autumn/Winter 09. There were heavy brows, nude eyes and bronzed cheeks with deeply stained lips.
Mariam Al Mazro shifted the focus of Dubai Fashion Week A/W 09 to prints. Flamboyancy mixed with a carefree attitude was represented in her collection of panelled ankle-length dresses.
Posted by: IME Producer
April 6, 2009
Posted: 1421 GMT
Getty Images. US President Barack Obama (L) attends a wreath-laying ceremony at the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, founder of modern Turkey on April 6, 2009 in Ankara, Turkey. Obama is on a two-day visit to Turkey to revitalise links between Turkey and the United States and he has vocalised his support for the country's efforts to join the European Union.
Getty Images. Turkish President Abdullah Gul (R) and U.S. President Barack Obama shake hands during a welcoming ceremony in the courtyard of the Cankaya Presidential Palace on April 6, 2009 in Istanbul, Turkey.
DIMITAR DILKOFF/AFP/Getty Images. A Turkish protestor shouts slogans and holds a banner reading 'Obama go home' during a demonstration against upcoming visit of US President Barack Obama in Istanbul on April 5, 2009.
GALI TIBBON/AFP/Getty Images. The head of the Roman Catholic Church in the Holy Land, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Fuad Twal, leads the Palm Sunday procession at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem's Old City on April 05, 2009. The ceremony is a landmark in the Roman Catholic calendar, marking the triumphant return of Christ to Jerusalem the week before his death, when a cheering crowd greeted him waving palm leaves. Palm Sunday marks the start of the most solemn week in the Christian calendar.
MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images. Catholic clergymen take part in the traditional Palm Sunday procession from Mt. Olives to Jerusalem's old city on April 5, 2009.
MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images.Catholic nuns take part in the traditional Palm Sunday procession from Mt. Olives to Jerusalem's old city on April 5, 2009.
MAHMUD HAMS/AFP/Getty Images. Palestinian children wear Kefiyeh, traditional Arab scarf, during a rally in Gaza City to mark the Palestinian children day on April 05, 2009. Former international prosecutor Richard Goldstone will lead a broadened human rights probe into violence during Israel's military offensive in the Gaza Strip, the UN said on April 3. Israel's offensive against Hamas in Gaza, killed more than 1,300 Palestinians, nearly a third of them children, and injured 5,300 others, according to Gaza medics.
MAHMUD HAMS/AFP/Getty Images.Palestinian children attend a rally in Gaza City to mark the Palestinian children day on April 05, 2009.
Posted by: IME Producer
Posted: 1402 GMT
By the looks of this TV ad campaign for a Turkish bank, Barack Obama is expected to get a warm welcome in Turkey, on his first presidential visit to a Muslim country. CNN's Ivan Watson reports.
Posted by: IME Producer
March 21, 2009
Posted: 1044 GMT
TEHRAN, Iran (CNN) - Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Saturday he sees no change in U.S. policy toward Iran despite the U.S. promise of a "new beginning."
Ayatollah Khamenei said Iran would change its policy when the U.S. did so as well.
Khamenei said a change in rhetoric is not enough, and Washington must practice what it preaches, according to the English-language Press TV channel in Iran.
He also promised that Iran will change its policy if the United States does so as well, Press TV reported.
Khamenei's comments, which he made in a televised address to mark the start of the Iranian New Year on Friday, come a day after U.S. President Barack Obama reached out to Iran in a videotaped message.
A spokesman for Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad condemned U.S. foreign policy Friday in response to the video.
Obama's message spoke of "new beginnings" with the promise of a new year.
"My administration is now committed to diplomacy that addresses the full range of issues before us, and to pursuing constructive ties among the United States, Iran and the international community," the president said in his message Friday.
Obama said the United States seeks engagement with Iran that is "honest and grounded in mutual respect."
The president's message is part of a dramatic shift in tone from that of the Bush administration, which branded Iran as part of an "axis of evil" along with North Korea and Iraq. It also echoes Obama's inaugural speech in which he told the Muslim world, "We seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect."
Khamenei also said world powers have come to realize they are not able to block Iran's nuclear progress. He looked back on the February 25 testing of Iran's first nuclear power plant, at Bushehr, as one of the "joyful developments" of the past year.
Last month, the Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security released a report saying that Iran has reached "nuclear weapons breakout capability" - it has enough uranium to make a nuclear bomb.
The report was based on an analysis of data from the International Atomic Energy Agency. However, an IAEA official who asked not to be named cautioned against drawing such dramatic conclusions from the data, saying Iran's stock of low-enriched uranium would have to be turned into highly enriched uranium to be weapons-grade material. That hasn't been done, the official said.
The United States has had tortuous relations with Tehran since the Islamic revolution in 1979.
Filed under: Iran Obama U.S.
Posted: 619 GMT
CNN's Reza Sayah reports on the Iranian reaction to Obama's New Year (Nowruz) message to the Iranian people.
Filed under: CNN Coverage Iran Obama Video
March 20, 2009
Posted: 749 GMT
From the White House blog:
President Obama released a special video message for all those celebrating Nowruz. Translated "New Day," Nowruz marks the arrival of spring and the beginning of the New Year for millions in Iran and other communities around the world. This year, the President wanted to send a special message to the people and government of Iran on Nowruz, acknowledging the strain in our relations over the last few decades. "But at this holiday we are reminded of the common humanity that binds us together," he says.
After committing his administration to a future of honest and respectful diplomacy, he continues on to address Iran's leaders directly: "You, too, have a choice. The United States wants the Islamic Republic of Iran to take its rightful place in the community of nations. You have that right - but it comes with real responsibilities, and that place cannot be reached through terror or arms, but rather through peaceful actions that demonstrate the true greatness of the Iranian people and civilization. And the measure of that greatness is not the capacity to destroy, it is your demonstrated ability to build and create."
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Today I want to extend my very best wishes to all who are celebrating Nowruz around the world.
This holiday is both an ancient ritual and a moment of renewal, and I hope that you enjoy this special time of year with friends and family.
In particular, I would like to speak directly to the people and leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Nowruz is just one part of your great and celebrated culture. Over many centuries your art, your music, literature and innovation have made the world a better and more beautiful place.
Here in the United States our own communities have been enhanced by the contributions of Iranian Americans. We know that you are a great civilization, and your accomplishments have earned the respect of the United States and the world.
For nearly three decades relations between our nations have been strained. But at this holiday we are reminded of the common humanity that binds us together. Indeed, you will be celebrating your New Year in much the same way that we Americans mark our holidays - by gathering with friends and family, exchanging gifts and stories, and looking to the future with a renewed sense of hope.
Within these celebrations lies the promise of a new day, the promise of opportunity for our children, security for our families, progress for our communities, and peace between nations. Those are shared hopes, those are common dreams.
So in this season of new beginnings I would like to speak clearly to Iran's leaders. We have serious differences that have grown over time. My administration is now committed to diplomacy that addresses the full range of issues before us, and to pursuing constructive ties among the United States, Iran and the international community. This process will not be advanced by threats. We seek instead engagement that is honest and grounded in mutual respect.
You, too, have a choice. The United States wants the Islamic Republic of Iran to take its rightful place in the community of nations. You have that right - but it comes with real responsibilities, and that place cannot be reached through terror or arms, but rather through peaceful actions that demonstrate the true greatness of the Iranian people and civilization. And the measure of that greatness is not the capacity to destroy, it is your demonstrated ability to build and create.
So on the occasion of your New Year, I want you, the people and leaders of Iran, to understand the future that we seek. It's a future with renewed exchanges among our people, and greater opportunities for partnership and commerce. It's a future where the old divisions are overcome, where you and all of your neighbors and the wider world can live in greater security and greater peace.
I know that this won't be reached easily. There are those who insist that we be defined by our differences. But let us remember the words that were written by the poet Saadi, so many years ago: "The children of Adam are limbs to each other, having been created of one essence."
With the coming of a new season, we're reminded of this precious humanity that we all share. And we can once again call upon this spirit as we seek the promise of a new beginning.
Thank you, and Eid-eh Shoma Mobarak.
Posted by: IME Producer
February 10, 2009
Posted: 2306 GMT
By Bill Schneider
CNN Senior Political Analyst
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Talk to Israeli voters, and you hear disillusionment.
An Israeli voter casts her ballot on Tuesday.
"We are the young people. We don't believe in politics," an Israeli voter told CNN. "They disappointed us, year after year."
You also hear longing for an Israeli Obama. Another voter said, "Now in the United States, you have Obama, who manages to carry away the people and give hope and faith. I think that's someone that we need in Israel and is missing."
Israeli candidates got the message. They tried to be like President Obama.
The Kadima Party brought a truckload of young people to dance at a rally for their candidate, Tzipi Livni. Livni's slogan? "Believni." They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Benjamin Netanyahu's Web site was explicitly modeled after Barack Obama's Web site.
Can any candidate be Israel's Obama? Not so easily.
Two candidates - Ehud Barak and Netanyahu - are not exactly fresh and new. Both have already served as prime minister. And both got thrown out by the voters. Watch what Israelis say about Obama »
As for Livni, she and her party are already in power. "Tzipi Livni is a fresher face," David Horovitz, editor of the Jerusalem Post, said, "but she's the foreign minister. She has been around."
The far-right contender Avigdor Lieberman did create a big stir in the Israeli campaign. But Lieberman was not exactly the candidate of hope.
"What you see here is despair, you see fear and you see a wave of dangerous nationalism," Ha'aretz columnist Ari Shavit said.
Lieberman was more Israel's Ross Perot than Israel's Barack Obama. Israeli political analyst Chemi Shalev said, "It's a kind of protest vote against Israeli politics and against Israeli politicians."
Israelis use the Hebrew word "mavrik" to describe Obama. But it doesn't mean "maverick," exactly.
"'Mavrik' means 'brilliant,'" journalist Gil Hoffman explained. "Brilliant not only in the 'smart' sense of the word but also in the 'cool' sense of the word, the sense of what Israelis see Americans as, what they want America to be."
Do Israelis feel confident that President Obama will be a true friend to Israel?
The headline from a January 2007 Israeli tabloid newspaper read, "Worry is in Jerusalem. Obama is coming closer to the presidency."
On November 5, 2008, the same newspaper had a photo of Obama on the front page with the headline, "He has a dream."
Hoffman explained, "Obama came here to the town of Sderot and identified with the people of Israel. He said that if rockets were fired on his house where his two daughters were sleeping, he would do everything possible to stop it. So he has come a long way."
In fact, President Obama became a bit of an issue in the Israeli campaign.
Livni charged that Netanyahu would not be able to get along with Obama. Netanyahu countered by saying, "I've had a couple of really good meetings with Barack Obama. We speak the same language."
Asked whether he expected a better relationship with the United States now that Obama is President, former prime minister Ehud Barak told CNN, "My experience with all presidents since President Ford is that each and every president becomes even more friendlier with Israel than we can expect."
Nevertheless, Shavit noted, "There is still caution because it's not clear that it's the same kind of intimacy that Israel had, not only with Bush, but also with Clinton and other American presidents. But this is typical in any period when a new President steps in."
Israelis are openly envious of the American political process that produced President Obama.
As Horovitz put it, "When Israelis made comparisons with the American election, we were full of admiration and envy. We have a lousy system here."
Shavit said, "There is so much apathy, there is so much disillusion, there is such lack of enthusiasm - the political vacuum here is so deep and enormous that one can almost expect the unexpected."
Israelis are certainly disillusioned with the peace process. And they are disillusioned with their leaders. Who can inspire them and be their Obama?
The best bet right now is - President Obama. After all, Israelis have fallen in love with an American president before.
"Had Bill Clinton run in Israel in 2000, he would have won in a landslide," Shavit said.
Clinton and Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin were icons of the Israeli peace movement.
"Rabin and Clinton were our Kennedys in many ways," Shavit added. "To this day, Clinton is Israel's love."
With President Obama, Israelis are hoping to fall in love again.
Posted: 1454 GMT
A former intelligence chief and former ambassador to the US and UK, Prince Turki talks about regional concerns, Gaza and the status of the U.S-Saudi relationship, traditionally so strong. Is the relationship at risk? Now with President Obama in office, how does that change things or does it? Is a pan-Arab effort on Israeli-Palestinian peace a real possibility? Could we see Saudi leaders meeting directly with Israeli leaders?
Watch Nic's report on Inside the Middle East early February.
Watch the extended interview.
Send us your thoughts and comments!
Posted by: IME Producer
January 27, 2009
Posted: 1530 GMT
Listening to President barack Obama's interview on satellite news channel Al-Arabya, I was reminded of something Hisham Melhem – the man who conducted the one-on-one – told me a few weeks: "It is going to be very difficult for Mideast leaders to demonize someone whose full name is Barack Hussein Obama."
Indeed, the tone was conciliatory and President Obama made sure to mention the fact that he'd lived in a Muslim country and that members of his family are Muslim. A hand extended to the region. An "I understand you" from the Commander-in-Chief.
Though in recent polls, a majority of people in the Mideast do not believe anything will change with an Obama presidency, could a softer tone alone be a game-changer?
After eight years of a Bush presidency and an Iraq war that has made virulent anti-Americanism the norm in the Arab world, Barack Obama's statement that he has advised his Mideast envoy George Mitchell to "start by listening, because all too often the United States starts by dictating" is a rhetorical leap that marks a clean break with the past.
But here is the wider question: how to achieve true, lasting peace, without involving all actors of the Mideast tragedy in the discussions?
Mister Obama's peace envoy is in the region right now speaking with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Egyptian and Israeli leaders, but will not stop in Syria and will not meet Hamas officials.
The issue here is not whether Hamas is legitimate or popular, but how any deal can hold as a result of negotiations conducted without them.
Since Egypt has acted as a mediator between Israel and Hamas in past agreements, it's not inconceivable that messages will somehow be relayed to the group through Cairo.
Would this be like trying to achieve peace in Northern Ireland by not involving the IRA's political wing? It's a question worth asking.
Meanwhile, the process will be slow: president Obama himself has lowered expectations ("it's going to be difficult",) violence is flaring up again in gaza and nothing tangible is expected to happen before Israelis select a new Prime Minister as a result of elections next month.
What are your thoughts on President Obama's interview on Al Arabya?
Thanks to all for commenting!
Posted by: CNN Anchor, Hala Gorani
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