The number of Americans that think Barack Hussein Obama is Muslim is up 8% to 18% even before the main Ground Zero Mosque discussion in the press. Actually, Muslims in the world increasingly turn their back on Obama as this rise in belief happens in the US. He went out strongly with his speeches to Muslims in Turkey and Egypt but it did not help. This outstreched hand that failed perhaps has had an influence on the perception of him as a Muslim. In my mind it was just diplomacy that I did not understand.
Obama's job approval continues its slow descent as almost a fifth of the Nation thinks he is a Muslim which could be part of the problem. What is also happening is that Obamas pledge of bringing home the troops from Iraq is going on schedule. There is now only 50,000 of training personnel left of 140,000 total in March 2009. The last "combat" troops just left. Interestingly, this is happening just as the Iraqis have problems assembling a functioning government after the elections in March while the Iranians are knocking on the door via its shiite connections.
I belong to those believing that it was right to enter Iraq in 2003 and I therefore think the soldiers effort has been worthwhile. Saddam Hussein would have caused more problems in the region left alone than there is right now. After all, it was Saddam Hussein that attacked Iran causing a million casualties as well as Kuwait. It was Saddam Hussein that flouted 17 UN resolutions. The question is, however, if bringing home the troops under these circumstances leaving Israel potentially alone in the area with Iran as the dominating force could be part of the reason for the increased number that think Obama is a Muslim?
George Friedman, at Stratfor, points out that the government of Iraq is not friendly to the US at the same time as he asks the question if the US now leaves Iraq to Tehran. What I find most interesting with his analysis is that both Iran and the US then have no interest in a too viable Iraq. You get instead the need for keeping a delicate balance. For example, Iraq could turn against Iran again as well as against Israel. If the US in this fashion, as the troops in Iraq are supposed to leave by a bilateral deal in December 2011, has to give up the area this could give Obama an air of softness to Iran that plays into the Obama a Muslim belief problem.
It is also clear from the article in Washington Post cited above that it is mostly the Republicans that think Obama is a Muslim, not the Democrats. This would mean that since "Muslim" would have a negative connotation that we are dealing with a Midterm Election matter.
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