The Nobel Prize for Peace to Barack Obama. Why? What has he done? The President of the United States has said so many things in speeches, interviews about peace, democracy and war on terror, but done nothing. No doubt it is too early to judge, but I believe that awarding him the Nobel Prize is a big mistake. A comparison between statements of Obama's and world reactions to them could help us to draw some conclusions about his policies, especially as far as the Islamic world is concerned.
During an interview with New York Times last March President Obama said: "If you talk to General Petraeus, I think he would argue that part of the success in Iraq involved reaching out to people that we would consider to be Islamic fundamentalists, but who were willing to work with us because they had been completely alienated by the tactics of Al Qaeda in Iraq. […] The situation in Afghanistan is, if anything, more complex. You have a less governed region, a history of fierce independence among tribes. Those tribes are multiple and sometimes operate at cross purposes, and so figuring all that out is going to be much more of a challenge." During the same interview he let it be understood that in the war on terror a dialogue with moderate factions of the Taliban in Afghanistan could be possible. The Taliban reaction was prompt. Qari Mohammad Yousuf, a purported spokesman for the insurgent group, when asked if its top leader, Mullah Mohammad Omar, would make any comment about Obama's proposal, commented: "This does not require any response or reaction for this is illogical. The Taliban are united, have one leader, one aim, one policy...I do not know why they are talking about moderate Taliban and what it means? If it means those who are not fighting and are sitting in their homes, then talking to them is meaningless. This really is surprising to the Taliban." The message was clear and left no room for doubt. Even the comment of the Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, to the announcement of the Prize is telling: "We have seen no change in his strategy for peace. He has done nothing for peace in Afghanistan. He has not taken a single step for peace in Afghanistan or to make this country stable. We condemn the award of the Noble Peace Prize for Obama. We condemn the institute's awarding him the peace prize. We condemn this year's peace prize as unjust". This means that even though the President expressed his intention to be open to some radical Islam factions this is useless: they simply refuse any kind of dialogue and do not want to shake hands with "infidels". This is confirmed by the Islamic jihad leader, Khaled al-Batsh, who said: "Obama's winning the peace prize shows that these prizes are political, not governed by the principles of credibility, values and morals. Why should Obama be given a peace prize while his country owns the largest nuclear arsenal on Earth and his soldiers continue to shed innocent blood in Iraq and Afghanistan?" Is this a contribution to peace or simply a naïve and dangerous position? Is it possible to kneel down in front of people who do not recognize us? Is this a contribution to peace or just a way to appease the enemy?
As far as the Arab-Israeli conflict is concerned, last June in Cairo, Obama clearly offered an opening to the Palestinian branch of the Muslim brotherhood Hamas: "Now is the time for Palestinians to focus on what they can build," he said. "The Palestinian Authority must develop its capacity to govern, with institutions that serve the needs of its people. Hamas does have support among some Palestinians, but they also have responsibilities. To play a role in fulfilling Palestinian aspirations, and to unify the Palestinian people, Hamas must put an end to violence, recognize past agreements, and recognize Israel's right to exist". Obama only needed to read article 13 of the Covenant of Hamas to understand that this was only a wishful thinking. The article reads: "Initiatives, and so-called peaceful solutions and international conferences, are in contradiction to the principles of the Islamic Resistance Movement. Abusing any part of Palestine is abuse directed against part of religion." Nationalism of the Islamic Resistance Movement is part of its religion. Its members have been fed on that. For the sake of hoisting the banner of Allah over their homeland they fight: "Allah will be prominent, but most people do not know."
The Muslim Brotherhood knows very well that Obama's positions about democracy in the Middle East and Islam are a green light to its strategy of reaching power through democracy, as already happened in 2006 when Hamas was elected. No wonder the reaction from Hamas to the Swedish Award has been positive. Ahmed Yousef, a Hamas diplomat, has commented that it is a prize to "his good will" and for "what he said in Cairo". Again, is this a contribution to peace or just appeasement?
In his Cairo speech, Obama, referring to Iran said: "It will be hard to overcome decades of mistrust, but we will proceed with courage, rectitude and resolve. There will be many issues to discuss between our two countries, and we are willing to move forward without preconditions on the basis of mutual respect. But it is clear to all concerned that when it comes to nuclear weapons, we have reached a decisive point. This is not simply about America's interests. It is about preventing a nuclear arms race in the Middle East that could lead this region and the world down a hugely dangerous path- […].And any nation – including Iran – should have the right to access peaceful nuclear power if it complies with its responsibilities under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty". The last sentence was welcomed by the Islamic Republic: as Ali Akbar Javanfekr, aide to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, commented on the Norwegian award: "We hope that this gives him the incentive to walk in the path of bringing justice to the world order. We are not upset and we hope that by receiving this prize he will start taking practical steps to remove injustice in the world."
For both Ahmadinejad and Hamas, to "remove injustice" means only the destruction of Israel. Obama never said he wants the destruction of Israel, but his appeasement towards Iran, the Muslim Brotherhood and radical Islamists could easily lead to it. This is the reason he does not deserve a Nobel Prize for Peace.
Peace cannot be dreamt of when dealing with people calling for jihad and resistance. Obama and the Swedish Academy should remember Churchill's words: "Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this island or lose the war. If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be free, and life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands. But if we fall, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age... Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, 'This was their finest hour.'"
The American President and the West should not wage war, but at least they should keep their eyes open in front of facts and words. Only then can we hope for a true peace, and not for just a truce that will lead to our defeat.