Washington: With the Middle East in turmoil, US President Barack Obama has said that he anticipated the Arab Spring would be a very difficult process.
"I think we anticipated this would be a really difficult process," Obama told the PBS News Hour refuting the suggestion that his administration had underestimated the repercussions of an Arab Spring, seeing what is currently unfolding in the Middle East.
Expressing no surprise at mayhem in the Middle East involving allies like Israel and Jordan; potential action in Syria and the collapse of the government in Egypt, he said, "I mean, you've got a region that, for decades, has basically been under autocratic rule.
And people have been suppressed, and there were no traditions of civil society. There were no traditions of political freedom," he said.
"And then suddenly, folks are allowed to express themselves, but a lot of their organising principles end up being around extremist agendas, in some cases; more moderate forces sometimes haven't got their act together.
So we anticipated that this was going to be a very difficult path. We're not surprised by that," he added.
Responding to a question suggesting the prospects of the US standing by the pre-Arab Spring governments defying the popular sentiments on the streets he said forces, he said, "I suspect you'd have a different set of questions for me."
Obama admitted that the the US does not have 'good options, great options, for the region'.
He also expressed the hope that despite limited choices the US would be 'better off' if it could ensure that it stands by its core values and its core interests; could ensure the safety and security of Israel; prevent terrorist attacks against the American homeland and ensure the flow of energy throughout the region.
"But it doesn’t mean that we're not going to have some very difficult problems in the meantime," Obama cautioned.