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People Really Aren't Happy With Obama's Version Of Middle Eastern History

The idea that the Middle East's troubles are "rooted in conflicts that date back millennia" didn't go over too well on Twitter.

Posted on January 12, 2016, at 10:19 p.m. ET

In his final State of the Union address, President Barack Obama spent most of his time discussing his time in office and what the future holds for the United States.

Evan Vucci / AP

"The Middle East is going through a transformation that will play out for a generation, rooted in conflicts that date back millennia," Obama said during the foreign policy section of his speech.

J. Scott Applewhite / AP

That line...didn't go over very well on Twitter.

Millennia old conflicts line an embarrassment #SOTU

Like, at all.

Conflicts that date back millennia? Islam itself is not thousands of years old so what do you mean? #potus #SOTU

No, millennia-old conflicts are deployed on behalf of modern political disputes.

Obama didn't do his history homework saying that conflicts in the Middle East date back to millennia. Utter nonsense.

Warner Bros.

About time someone called out Nebuchadnezzar for starting these conflicts, lo, so many millennia ago.

Uh, says who? "...rooted in conflicts that date back millennia." #HistoryFactCheckPlease? #SCOTUS

Dear whoever @WhiteHouse thinks wars happen because groups have hated each other forever, pls read @monkeycageblog:


Middle East crises "rooted in conflicts that date back a millennia" -- what is this, Balkan Ghosts 2.0?

First half: true. Second half: cynical, self serving and wrong. US should not echo such essentialist errors.

That millennia-old conflicts line has united both left and right on my Twitter feed in opposition like nothing else I've ever seen.

Obama is as ignorant of Mideast history as was George W Bush. His talk of millenia-old conflicts is the smoking gun.

Paramount Pictures

Weakest moment of the speech is the claim that the Middle East is embroiled in conflicts that date back millennia. No. #SOTU

Still sort of in awe that Obama used the "millennia"-old conflicts line to justify his policies. @Faysalitani said it best: "obscene."

Kinda weird to say the Middle East violence is "rooted in conflicts that date back millennia." 100 years, ok.

"The Middle East is going through a transformation rooted in conflicts that date back millennia." Orientalism 101 at #SOTU #yikes

When he uses the "rooted in conflicts that date back millennia" line.

TL;DR: When it comes to most conflicts, like, say, Saudi Arabia and Iran, it's about the geopolitics, not the millennia-old anything.


A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.