Given that his first call as President was to the President of the Palestinian Authority and his first official sit down interview with any news outlet as President is with an Arab station, it sends a pretty powerful message right off the bat that this administration is ready to reengage in the peace process in a fundamentally different way.
And note how he pivots off the words he talked about in his inauguration speech when contrasting America with al Qaeda.
What strikes me is how many times Obama talked about “respect” in the video. I’m not sure that’s something the Arab world has heard in recent years, and I think these small gestures are actually pretty important.
Also, I don’t think it’s trivial that Obama spent time during his youth traveling through he Muslim world and even lived in the biggest Muslim country on the planet when he was young. That is unique among ANY leader of any first world country. Like it or not, Presidents are also symbols and I can’t imagine McCain sitting in that chair and having anywhere close to the credibility that Obama has.
I can only imagine that al Qaeda is scrambling to come up with a response.