June 3, 2009
Posted: 1802 GMT

Hello everyone,

On the eve of his long-anticipated speech to the "Muslim world" in Egypt tomorrow, President Barack Obama made a stop today in Saudi Arabia. We'll have all the angles of the president's first leg covered at the International Desk, starting with a live report from our White House team on the ground.

We'll also cross live to Pakistan to speak with Reza Sayah about a presumed Osama Bin Laden audio message criticizing the U.S president and his support of a Pakistani operation against extremists in the Swat Valley.

Also, we'll chat with Saudi media personality Muna Abu Suleyman. I remember profiling her for Inside the Middle East a few years ago in Jeddah when she was one of the members of a popular TV show in the region. We'll ask her how Saudis are reacting to the Obama trip. He's popular in Saudi, for sure, but is there more hope that he will help end conflicts and find a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The latest on the Air France 447 disaster features high on our rundown today, as well. Brazilian aithorities say they have found more debris believed to be part of the doomed Airbus that went down into the Altantic Monday. The search to find the 2 black boxes has intensified. This could be the investigators' only chance to know for sure what cause the plane to drop out of the sky.

We're live in Brazil and France for the latest.

Plus, you'll be amazed to hear how much Manchester United's new sponsor is going to shell out to see their name printed on the players' jersey. The troubled and now government-owned AIG, unsurprisingly, did not renew its sponsorship deal with Man U. But despite the worldwide recession, another company stepped in with the largest sponsorship deal in club football history.

We'll reveal names and figures at the Idesk!

See you on TV,


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Anjikwi   June 3rd, 2009 7:07 pm ET

There have been series of plane crashes due to poor weather. I want to know why the authorities allow planes to fly when it is raining.

Yasser Mahgoub   June 3rd, 2009 7:18 pm ET

I certainly hope that Obama's visit to the Middle East improves relationship between the US and the Muslim World for the benefit of the peoples of both worlds. It is a right step in the right direction.

Mohammed Burhan   June 3rd, 2009 8:21 pm ET

Dear Hala,

Just because of you I started wathing CNN.Now I am your fan and CNN.I wait for your news schedule.It is really very nice to see when you speak.After all i would like say i like you.


michael irene   June 3rd, 2009 8:39 pm ET

The road to change is marked with dangerous paths, thus, Obama must tread wisely.

Ursula   June 3rd, 2009 9:22 pm ET

The Middle East is a home to Muslim Arabs, Berbers etc. AND Jewish Israelis. Yet when most of us think of the Middle East, the Arab world springs to mind. If only we could see Israel as another Middle Eastern country, we might focus on what Muslims and Jews share, instead of how they differ.

Knowles Rodriguez   June 4th, 2009 10:05 am ET

relationships between the US and the muslim world can only be improved through concrete actions, not a speech by an eloquent and charismatic US president. the US needs to stop seeing itself as the world superpower and must start treating other countries with humility and mutual respect; that is the only way forward.

Wisdom   June 4th, 2009 10:41 am ET

I wander seing america being so colse to egipt with the sufreing of the people under dictetorship.

Gil Israel Davis   June 4th, 2009 11:05 am ET

Purely and simply a question, please.

Why does USA under the leadership of an in-expereinced President, Hussein have to be the Policeman of the World?

Why preach to the world wonderful words of what he thinks should be when in your own back garden you have so many thorns to deal with, like your crumbling economy and violence.

Why can you preach when you have full of thorns in your garden?

Hafez Amin   June 4th, 2009 11:19 am ET

I've just watched Obama's speech to the Muslim world and as a Muslim, he has delivered a wonderful speech and has managed to touch the hearts of us all. He is a great man.

M Ariely   June 4th, 2009 11:37 am ET

Only ME people can solve the problems-Obama NO
The ME many conflicts,the Islamists doctrine,denying people’s rights-are not West,Israel responsibility
ME leaders use West&Israel to divert people from their problems to imaginary enemies
No parties in ME offer changes to the issues
ME conflicts:Kurds,Shia-Suna,Iran-Arabs,ME christian exodus,Islamists against all,Afghanistan,in Pakistan,Pakistan-India,Lebanon internal divition, Darfur, Somalia
Those conflicts are longer with score of casualties higher compared to Arab Israel conflict

Claudia Schulz   June 4th, 2009 2:47 pm ET

I just read Obama's speech and it made me cry four or five times. It's a great speech and gives us young people a lot of hope for the future. I am happy that he is coming to my region, Saxony, today.

Arik   June 4th, 2009 4:29 pm ET

Hey Hala, I just wanted to note that it was hilarious to see your weathermen trying to pronounce the German word "Schafskälte". I know it's difficult, I would have been surprised if anyone would have pronounced it correctly, but I had to laugh anyway. 🙂
Apart from that I have to say that I'm really glad I recently stumbled upon your show, it's a great way to improve my English and to know what's going on in the world at the same time. Keep it up! 😀
Best wishes from Germany
Arik, 16

Nhlanhla Ndlovu, South Africa   June 4th, 2009 7:34 pm ET


Those who can't pronounce Schafskalte's name must try mine! It's so easy! "Nhlanhla Ndlovu". See!?

Obama's speech is moving. Mixed reactions are expected by he will have a breakthrough eventually. He has started an open dialogue on Islam and people are going to engage in it. Steady, but surely, there will be change!

rajdeep   June 4th, 2009 7:53 pm ET

hala...two things 1st..lets not expect wonders..few more killings or few more blasts will wash away this speech thing..2nd..lets just wait for mr.putin and party to visit iran or some other middle east country..people in middle east want candid action ..they dont want middle east to be a public relations lab.

Norah Hatlan   June 4th, 2009 7:56 pm ET

I read the speech twice. I loved it! Obama is really a great speaker. Here in the Arab world, however, we have seen many broken US promises, espcieally when it comes to a peacful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian issue. I feel desperate that the US will be able to force a solution upon the hardliners in the Israeli government.

The Bush era has really made us doubt every intention the US shows. I hope Obama can at least restor our trust in the US as an honost party in the resolution

Ahmed Zakzouk   June 4th, 2009 8:02 pm ET

I believe Obama’s speech shows a great courage and will.
I believe that there were more reality than policy in his words and i hope the people around the globe take his words as they are cuz twisting them is easy and will get us to nowhere.
I believe its enough that he had the courage to talk openly about this topic and to open his hand to solutions.
He didn’t claim its easy or will be over the night. But to me
He is thanked to have taken the first step ... and that will always count for him in history

Pier-Lorenzo Caruso   June 4th, 2009 8:03 pm ET

I was fascinated by the speech of Barack Obama. Although these words must be followed with deeds, just compare president Obama's speech today with the policies of Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld only 6 years ago...

Tony   June 4th, 2009 8:56 pm ET

If change does not come, may God help us all. I have my doubts and here is why and I am sorry to think this way.

Israel has to change this is our "homeland" mindset. With their friends in the US, there may be trouble brewing for the first black President who dare to take a new look on the situation.

I do not think the cabal is that stupid to will risk a back lash from American blacks.

The people he should keep and eye however, are the Prime Minister of Israel, Dick Cheney in particular.

Let us all hope nothing happens to the President because some people do not want change and it is time to take the blinders of.

After Gaza, seeing all the blown to bit bodies and parts of bodies of all those poor and innocent Palestinians, we all know change had to come.

If you are not a believer start praying that God saves us all if peace does not come.

Prem Nizar Hameed   June 5th, 2009 8:54 am ET

Optimism is the essence of his speech
But actions should gradually over take
All the pleasing words he delivered;
My hope is that: all the long standing conflicts
Are in the funeral queue with an epitaph

Prem Nizar Hameed   June 5th, 2009 8:57 am ET

Optimism is the essence of his speech
But actions should gradually over take
All the pleasing words he delivered;
My hope is that: all the long standing conflicts
Are in the funeral queue with an epitaph

(First letters of each line make " OBAMA ")

Prem Nizar Hameed   June 5th, 2009 10:57 am ET

If the past offers some inspirations to move forward or some lessons to learn, we should take them with us for the present and the future. Otherwise leave them behind. Obama might have gone through this. And he seems to be in the White House to remove some black spots from the minds of people at home and abroad. Optimism is the essence of his speech. But actions should gradually take over all the pleasing words he had delivered.
Abraham Lincoln once told he had destroyed his enemies by making them friends. What an insight! In politics, political opportunism is dangerous. Even if he and his like minded are sincerely on the move towards peace and tranquility, the hardliners from every part of the world await for chances of their wrong steps. Religious interferences some times deviate the process of a good proposal or come as stumbling blocks. President Obama has to brave and take up all such challenges, if he really wants to translate his vision. So, let us, the peace loving citizens of the world, hope that all the long standing conflicts will come one by one in the funeral queue with an epitaph.

Z Tchad   June 6th, 2009 9:51 pm ET

The American economy is in deep recession, people losing jobs, salary cuts yet President Obama promises billion of dollars to re-build Pakistan, Afghanistan where he money is going into fake companies. Open your eyes uncle Sam.

Valentine Cole   June 10th, 2009 5:53 pm ET

Just to commend you for anchoring one of the best Programs on TV. I live in Switzerland and watch your program everyday. You simply represent one of the best talents in this generation. Congratulations.

Suheil   June 15th, 2009 7:47 pm ET

I really get a good laugh when i watch the news and see how all these people are protesting against the election results in Iran. Most of the people protesting outside the Middle East are the descendants of the Shah and hate the Iranian government after the Islamic Revolution. Secondly, the reason why the government is cracking down on protesters is because they are getting violent and disturbing the piece. Finally, if someone who was favored by the West won the election no one would say anything. I am not a Supporter of Ahmedinajad or anyone in the region, but you gotta take things into perspective.

Valentine Cole   June 17th, 2009 1:55 pm ET

It is true that electoral wishes should be respected and I am a firm believer that Justice must be pursued and achieved in this Iranian electoral debacle. But then, the claim that Ahmedinejad has not won the elections could only be verified through a recount of the votes and not through a total annulment of the election. The insistence on the annulment of this election is a sign that Mr Mousavi is not ready to accept defeat with humility. He is ready to bring down the country he claims he so much loved. Why cant people learn from America's Hilary Clinton and John Macain? These are the true icons of Democracy who believe that the love of the country comes before personal ambitions. They lost elections but then carried on in their service of mankind. It is in situation like this, that we come to see how heroic they are and that America still has a lot to teach the world on Democratic principles and ethos.

Bill   June 24th, 2009 9:55 pm ET

Z TChad – Respoding to your concern: When we bomb countries for whatever reason, causing civillian casulties and homelessness, then it is our reponsibility to rebuild and correct what was destroyed. . . . that's the price to pay...otherwise do not venture into it.

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International Desk brings viewers into the heart of the largest news gathering operation in the world. Viewers don't come here to watch the news; they come here to be immersed in it. To feel the rush of being the first to know what's happening as stories break, and to leave knowing they've gotten the best and latest information available. The show airs Mon-Fri at 1900 CET.

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