Posted on November 19, 2010 in Viewpoint with James Zogby

Prince Turki al-Faisal, former Saudi Ambassador to the United States, Britain and Ireland, director of Saudi Arabia’s intelligence service and current chairman of the Faisal center, provided his perspective on U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East and South Asia. Prince Turki discussed President Obama’s declining approval rating in Saudi Arabia, stating “the mood [in the Middle East region] is one of despondency, disappointment, and not great expectations, contrary to what it was in the middle of 2009, after President Obama's speech in Cairo.” In particular, the Prince believes the expectations have diminished on the Arab-Israeli peace process, especially with respect to the President’s ability to persuade the Israelis to stop settlement activity in the Palestinian territories. Prince Turki, however, was hopeful about the future of Iraq, and expressed support for the country's new government.


Arab American Comedian, Dean Obeidallah discussed a wide range of issues, including his role as Executive Producer in the 3rd annual Amman Stand-Up Comedy Festival. In the first part of his segment, Mr. Obeidallah took a serious look at Islamophobia in the U.S. He expressed frustration and anger with what he termed “base hatred” towards Muslims and Islam. “It's [Islamophobic rhetoric] accepted as normal discourse,” said Obeidallah. When asked how anti-Muslim remarks affect his comedy, Obeidallah jokingly suggested: “We might do the Islamophobia award, tongue in cheek awards show. You have to hold up a light to these comments.” Mr. Obeidallah briefly discussed the new TSA full body scanners and joked, “I went through one and I felt self conscious. I asked them not to laugh.” Concluding his segment, Obeidallah commented on the annual Amman Stand up Comedy Festival and discussed clips from the festival's previous two years.

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