On the 6th of November, Obama won his famous second term in office. And the world reckoned and revelled. And celebrated. Well at least most of it.
But what does the Middle East think of Obama’s re-election? For one we know that Saudi Arabia and Jordan, the two countries the US is staunch allies with, have largely not reacted especially positively to his re-election. Elaph, the daily newspaper in Saudi Arabia, wrote: “The US has chosen the more experienced president, who seems more rational than his rival Mitt Romney, who seemed to fantasize about rekindling the dream of an American empire…What is important to us as Arabs is Middle Eastern foreign policy. In this regard, there will be nothing new under the sun, we already have much experience with Obama and he has nothing new to offer us,” wrote a Palestinian correspondent.
The Prime Minister of Lebanon, Najib Miqati, seemed optimistic though, saying four more years may give rise to a new momentum. But Iran and Syria, two countries which the US are not particularly on good terms with, have also not expressed particularly warm emotions. One Aleppo commander said: “We were hoping for Romney. At least he said he would do something different. With Obama it had all been words.”
Similarly, Kayhan, a publication that speaks for the Iranian regime wrote “Barack Obama is weak, unable to solve challenges and has the same ‘serial’ crimes as the predecessor from whom he inherited the White House: George W. Bush.
To further emphasise the point, Mohammad Shtayyed, the aide to Palestinain President Mahmoud Abbas said “President Obama has spent four years in office, unfortunately he hasn’t done much for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.” However, he added, “We have seen Romney making statements that are really not helpful at all in the peace process, very biased toward the issue of Israel. In the debate on foreign policy, Israel was mentioned 32 times; there was no mention whatsoever of the Palestinian-Israeli peace process, so it seems to us really we have to choose between the bad and the worst.”
Election translation services have made it possible to understand Obama’s message and have given the people of the Middle East the opportunity to determine whether or not they like his policies. As a result, it seems most of the Middle East have been a bit luke warm about the President’s election, but have instead been focusing greatly on tensions and relations between Israel and Palestine. Perhaps the only way Obama could become a true political star and icon in the Middle East is if he indeed makes it his priority to resolve the Arab-Israeli issue, a bloody crisis that dates back to 1948.
Source: The Guardian