BBC NEWS | Programmes | From Our Own Correspondent | Obama's Middle East peace quest: "He seems intent on reaching out to a sceptical, disillusioned Arab world.
His first foreign television interview after taking office was with an Arab satellite channel and his long-awaited address to the Muslim world will be delivered in Cairo in a couple of weeks time.
In another break with tradition that has Israelis wondering, Mr Obama's visit to the Middle East will not include a trip to Jerusalem.
But his Middle East envoy, George Mitchell, has already visited the region three times.
With his soft-spoken, easy manner and intriguing mix of Irish and Lebanese blood, Mr Mitchell is not a bit like patrician James Baker, but I think I can hear those Middle Eastern heads being knocked together already."