Path to democracy in Mid-East is rocky: Obama

Obama hoped that in long-term democracy would bring peace to the region.

Updated: Sep 24, 2012, 15:10 PM IST

Washington: President Barack Obama has said the path to democracy in the Middle East - which is currently experiencing a surge in anti-US sentiments - is going to be a rocky one, but hoped that in long-term it would bring peace to the region.

"I`d said even at the time that this is going to be a rocky path. The question presumes that somehow we could have stopped this wave of change. I think it was absolutely the right thing for us to do to align ourselves with democracy, universal rights, a notion that people have to be able to participate in their own governance," Obama said yesterday.

"But I was pretty certain and continue to be pretty certain that there are going to be bumps in the road because, you know, in a lot of these places, the one organizing principle has been Islam. The one part of society that hasn`t been controlled completely by the government," he said.

"There are strains of extremism, and anti-Americanism, and anti-Western sentiment... There will probably be some times where we bump up against some of these countries and have strong disagreements, but I do think that over the long term we are more likely to get a Middle East and North Africa that is more peaceful, more prosperous and more aligned with our interests," he said.

Responding to a question on Iran, Obama said he shares the view point of Israel that Tehran should not be allowed to obtain a nuclear weapon.
"I have conversations with (Israeli) Prime Minister (Benjamin) Netanyahu all the time. And I understand and share Prime Minister Netanyahu`s insistence that Iran should not obtain a nuclear weapon because it would threaten us, it would threaten Israel and it would threaten the world and kick off a nuclear arms race," he said.

"When it comes to our national security decisions, any pressure that I feel is simply to do what`s right for the American people. And I am going to block out any noise that`s out there.

"Now I feel an obligation, not pressure but obligation, to make sure that we`re in close consultation with the Israelis on these issues because it affects them deeply. They`re one of our closest allies in the region. And we`ve got an Iranian regime that has said horrible things that directly threaten Israel`s existence," he said.