Russian pundits see Palestine and Afghanistan as main sources of anti-Americanism in Arab world

An outbreak of anti-American feelings in North Africa and the Middle East, manifested with the killing of the U.S. Ambassador to Libya, will not develop into a war of the Islamic world against the West but it shows that the U.S. has not carried till the end the Arab Spring project, Director of the Russian Academy of Sciences' Institute of Oriental Studies Vyacheslav Naumkin told Interfax on Thursday.

"Anti-American feelings had always been strong in Islamic countries although they were slightly subdued with the support of the U.S. and the West at large to massive protests of the Arab Spring, which toppled a number of regimes. Washington hoped to overcome the serious crisis in the relations with the Islamic world. That is so to a certain extent, but the main factors that breed the regional anti-Americanism remain," he said.

Radical Islamists are strengthening their positions, which means the United States - the Arab Spring project sponsor - failed to achieve its goals in full, the expert said.

"The current developments strengthen the position of radical Islamists in the Middle East. There will be no universal war against the U.S. But it is a crisis, and there will be a lot more crises of the kind. Obviously, the U.S. failed to take control of relations with the Islamic world and to bring them to a new level," he said.

The unsettled Arab-Israeli conflict and the U.S. actions in Afghanistan promote the growth of anti-American feelings, Naumkin said.

"First of all, the unsettled Palestinian problem causes objections. The region has a traditionally negative reaction to the U.S. support to Israel, the main irritant to the Islamists, especially those radical. They also recollect civilian murders in Afghanistan," he said.

The outbreak of anti-Americanism does not mean that Washington is unable to influence the regional situation, he said. "What the Americans have achieved is the interest of Islamic political forces, which are in office now, in the protection of U.S. interests. They are pragmatic and they need financial aid. So, one should not expect U.S.-Libya relations to explode," he suggested.

The current situation may have an indirect effect on the Syrian conflict, Naumkin said. "The Syrian situation is paradoxical. The United States and the West support the opponents of the Syrian regime, but the majority of them are Islamic radicals, advocates of Jihad. They oppose the United States in the first turn. One cannot presume that it may exacerbate the fighting in Syria. There may be even an element of Islamic consolidation, which may lead to a dialogue in Syria rather than directly against it," he said.

As for the possible effect of the current situation on the Russian interests, the expert expressed an opinion that it was a source of certain concern for Russia. "There is nothing unexpected. It is a different question that the events consolidate the most radical forces in the Middle East. That is a concern as such," the expert said.

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