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Sat 6 Feb 2010 09:20 AM

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Obama's not delivered on Mideast promises - Al Habtoor

Habtoor Group head disappointed with US policy in the region.

Obama's not delivered on Mideast promises - Al Habtoor
BUSINESS LEADER: Al Habtoor is a stakeholder in the British bank Barclays. (Getty Images)

The chairman of one of the UAE's largest firms has said he is disappointed with America's policy in the region, despite President Obama's promise to bring peace to the Middle East.

In June,

President Obama delivered a speech from Cairo University

click here to read full text of the speech

] aimed at healing a rift between Washington and the Islamic world. But Khalaf Al Habtoor, founder of the Habtoor Group and one of the UAE's wealthiest businessmen, told Arabian Business those promises have not be delivered.

"As far as his promises especially to the Arab world, especially his speech at the University of Cairo and his promise of solving the problem of the Palestinian and the Arabs etc unfortunately nothing has been delivered," he said.

But he said the gap between the Muslim world and America is closing under the new leadership.

"It is not widening at all because we have great relationship with America and I think the Americans by now they know [the difference] between Arabs and Muslim and terrorist," he said.

In January, Al Habtoor - a stakeholder in the British bank Barclays - told Reuters that Obama's proposals to crack down on banks is making investments in the financial sector less attractive.  "Not really, we're not looking at that," he said.

"The market is not stable and the wrong announcement from the head of the United States has damaged the market ... With all my respect to him he has damaged all the markets in the world, including the UAE."

Simon 9 years ago

Although Mr Habtoor is late acknowledging that Obama is nothing but a man of 'rethoric', at least now a high profile voice in the UAE is acknowledging this very fact. Obama is not trust worthy has has not delivered on any of his pre-election policies. The USA have done nothing other than maintain the staus quo of the Bush adminstration. The USA remains and will continue to remain, under Obama, the worlds war mongerers. More money is made in the first day of war than in a whole year of peaceful trade. Thats quite a sobering thought. Since the end of worldwar2, the USA military has not seen a single year of peace where it has not been involved in one war or another. There might be one or two exceptions but I couldn't find any when I came accross the statement. That Nobel peace prize for Obama was a disgrace, since after it was announced he has/is sending more than 40,000 troops to Afghanistan. Maybe these troops are going to protect the opium trade or maybe the very recent oil/mineral finds found there estimated to be in the region of $1Tln. Call me a sceptic/pessimist but the USA only tend to engage in military action where there is a benefit to them...and never as peace keepers holding the moral ground. I could go on but the list is endless. This isn't a bashing of the USA populos, the people, its a bashing of the USA govt and administration based on their actions and facts...its something which its own people are fast waking up to and starting to protest against.

Peter 9 years ago

Obama is realistic and has not damaged markets around the world. They damaged themselves before he got into power. However, he is cleabibg up now and the first step is to be realistic. Dont tell me that the Dubai market bobble and meltdown is the wrong doing of Obama?

Jumeirah John 9 years ago

I think one should not lose sight of the fact that Mr. Barack Obama's policies regarding new bank regulations and restrictions are designed to serve the interests of the man in the street and not that of the bank's shareholders. The lack of any regulations in the banking sector allowed the banks to get into the mess they are in today. Contrary to Mr. Al Habtoor's statements, the markets have not been damaged by Mr. Obama's policies. The markets are simply adjusting to the realities of life, and the 'new normal' as they call it, where banks will go back to being banks i.e. savings and lending institutions as opposed to hedge fund traders, and the world will go back to being a better place.

Janice Olds 9 years ago

The Bankers, Federal Reserve, Goldman Sacs, etc. are the CRIMINALS responsible for the global economic crisis! It was set up so when President Barack Obama walked in, people would blame him, thereby insuring that he would not be reelected and someone more 'maleable' would be put into the position.

Annie Smith 9 years ago

Obama has had his hands full with the domestic economy, unemployment etc. Until the domestic problems are solved he is not going to be spending time on peace in the Middle East! He is only human -- not a miracle worker!!!!!

P.A.S.S. 9 years ago

And again, someone else looking for the U.S. to solve the world's problems, and I am quite certain this comment will be followed by comments on how the U.S. creates all of the world's problems. I suppose I should expect this ongoing issue - when the U.S. comes to help we are 'pirates' and when we don't get involved we become a villain. Would you all just settle on what you think of us? If I were in that big white house every American soldier would come home, and all of the U.S. based aid agencies would have to move their headquarters to another country. A 10-foot wall on the Mexican and Canadian borders, and sub-sea mines between the Florida Keys and Cuba. That should solve the problem.

Simon 9 years ago

You sound as though you are an Obama apologist... Obama didn't create this Crisis...but look who is in his adminstration and running it. Wall Street have taken over...the very people responsible for the crisis. Obama said he would not have lobbiests in his govt...his administration is full of them. Obama said he would be independent of Wall Street...look whose in the treasury! Obama said he would never sign 'executive orders' as he was opposed to them and he rounded on push for his use of such orders...yet Obama has signed more than 1,200 of them! You really do need to research Obama and his administration and find out who is who and where they came from. Do that and you will find you knight in shining armour, Mr Obama is a man of rethoric and very little else... apologise for him all you like but the facts are there for everyone to see...if you are prepared to research and look for them...

JTBB 9 years ago

Obama has domestic US issues to solve - that's what his people elected him for. It's a disservice to them if he instead chooses to focus on an incredibly contentious, emotionally charged issue such as the Palestinian-Israeli question. I don't see a single leader in the Middle East deciding to focus on solving the public finance problem in Greece, Portugal and Spain, or the ongoing looting in Venezuela.

Annie Smith 9 years ago

I agree with you -- America is criticized regardless. When there are problems in the world, everyone wonders why the US is not doing anything-- when the US does go in, it is trying to take over. I would bring back every soldier too and let everyone fend for themselves!

Saiyed 9 years ago

Why do Arabs have to look at Obama or US to solve the problems, why can't they solve their problems by themselves. It seems that the more they look at US to solve the problems the more it becomes complicated and crises keeps increasing day by day. If they fear the security of the region then why don't they form a joint Arab force to patrol the region or build up a joint Muslim force, i am sure it will help alot by taking charge. This is will help in following way: 1. Frequent military exchange between arab and muslim countries. 2. Confidence building between arab and muslim countries. 3. Exchange of scientific and Military technology. 4. Help in boosting confidence of local population that they are under protection of their own people and not US or Britain. 5. Enhancing military capibilities of arab and muslim countries by conducting joint military, air and naval exercises. Comments invited by mind like folks.