IF ELECTED, Barack Obama will visit a major Islamic capital during the first 12 months of his presidency, as part of his strategy to more actively engage with the Middle East, his national security adviser, Greg Craig, revealed Wednesday.
Mr Craig, who was senior adviser to secretary of state Madeleine Albright, and assistant to former president Bill Clinton, talked about Senator Obama's plans for the region during a seminar attended by Democratic Party delegates and academics.
The visit would underscore the new approach that the Obama administration plans to bring the Middle East, including engagement with America's enemies as well as its friends.
Mr Craig said the administration would go far beyond simply trying to deal with the Palestine-Israel situation and would consult with a wide range of countries within the region, in what analysts called the "grand bargain" approach.
That theme was echoed by Senator John Kerry, a strong early backer of Barack Obama and one of the Senate's experts on the Middle East. He said the task facing the world was not a "war on terror" as President George Bush characterised it, but "a global counter-insurgency" which required entirely different tactics to those used so far.