President Obama has reached out to the Middle East in a number of ways since he took office. One of his first
interviews was with Al Arabiya
, a news channel serving the region.
"I'm not going to agree with everything that some Muslim leader may say, or what's on a television station in the Arab world," Obama said in the interview. "But I think that what you'll see is somebody who is listening, who is respectful, and who is trying to promote the interests not just of the United States, but also ordinary people who right now are suffering from poverty and a lack of opportunity."
Obama also appointed two important diplomats to the Muslim world: George Mitchell, the former senator from Maine, was appointed envoy to the Middle East; while Richard Holbrooke, former ambassador to the United Nations, was appointed envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Both made trips soon after their appointments to their respective regions. Mitchell visited Jordan and Saudi Arabia, countries that share borders with Iraq, as well as Egypt, Israel and the West Bank. When Mitchell returned, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told reporters, "This is the first of what will be ongoing, high-level engagement."
Mitchell did not meet with Iranian or Syrian officials, but all these events add up to measurable action on this promise. The Obameter says In the Works.