Struggle for Arab Hearts and Minds: Resentment Grows

A growing tide of protest has swept across the Arab world at western policies towards Israel and the Palestinians. Far from winning hearts and minds in the aftermath of the attacks on America last September, the battle has been lost. This dangerous gulf between the two views is probably wider than for half a century.

The World Today Published 1 May 2002 Updated 23 October 2020 4 minute READ

Mohamed Ei-Doufani

BBC Monitoring

September 11 2001 will be remembered for many things, not least of which is the devastation caused by the attacks in New York and Washington and the audacity of the perpetrators. Historians will see it as the date on which a new approach in international politics was ushered in – the ‘war’ on terrorism. This finally filled the post-Cold War vacuum in the world order, defining relations between states and overriding previously insurmountable obstacles between the major powers, such as NATO’s eastward expansion.

However, for many on both sides of the Atlantic, it will also be remembered as the moment at which they woke up to a huge gulf in perceptions and understanding between the west and the Arab world. For them, the fact that the perpetrators of the attacks were western- educated, middle class citizens of traditionally pro-western countries like Saudi Arabia was almost as shocking as the devastation of the Twin Towers and the Pentagon.

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