Two years ago, when President Barack Obama spoke to the Muslim world in Cairo, he devoted 12 paragraphs totaling more than 1,000 words to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Promoting democracy in Muslim countries mustered a mere three paragraphs totaling 375 words.
When Obama delivers an address at the State Department on Thursday that many are billing as “Cairo II,” his text is expected to reflect how much the Mideast has changed. The urgent need for democratic change in the Arab world will stand front and center, while the foundering peace process recedes in prominence, White House officials signaled. The president and his aides are eager to capitalize on the burgeoning Arab Spring pro-democracy movement and the killing of Osama bin Laden as promising opportunities to wrest young Muslims from the path of radicalism.