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Arabs relieved by Obama return

Analysts say Obama’s hands will be free to take more courageous steps in many foreign policy issues

  • By Jumana Al Tamimi, Associate Editor
  • Published: 17:18 November 7, 2012
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: AP
  • Democratic supporters celebrate after Obama was projected the winner of the presidential election in the Harlem neighbourhood of New York yesterday.

Dubai: US President Barack Obama’s re-election was expected by many Arab analysts, and when officially announced was welcomed by the people. Why?

He is the “lesser of the two evils” than the republican candidate Mitt Romney, anaylsts explained.

But, also, Obama’s hands will be freer to take more “courageous” steps in many foreign policy issues, especially those related to the Arab region. The Palestinian question tops these issues, they added.

“Arabs became more mature from the media” said Egyptian political analyst Abdel Monem Saeed.

“They know that the choice in politics is not always between the good and bad, the active and inactive. Sometimes, the choice is between the worse and worst,” added Saeed, Director of the Cairo-based regional Centre r for Strategic Studies, in an interview with Gulf News.

The majority of Arabs feel disappointment from Obama’s failure in the past four years to meet their high expectations of a breakthrough in their main problems, including the Palestinian question. Yet, many strongly believe Obama is more capable of taking “courageous” moves in his second term, unlike Romney who felt the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is unsolvable.

“The outcome of the US election came as a disappointment to (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu and those who are with him and support his policies,” said Hunaida Ghanem, Director of West Bank-based Palestinian forum for Israeli Studies Madar.

“Practically, the US presidential election will have an impact on the local Israeli elections and its candidates,” she told Gulf News, explaining that some figures from the Labour party have not announced their plans to run for elections waiting for the results of the elections in the US.

The Israeli elections will be held next January and head of the right-wing Likud party Netanyahu is among the main runners.

Apart from the Palestinian issue, many Arab anaLYsts expect Washington to continue its diplomatic approach in dealing with the Iranian issue and the concerns over Tehran’s controversial nuclear programME. Some political experts don’t rule out the possibility of a “possible generous deal” between Iran and the US to solve the issue, before resorting to a military solution.

“You have a president who received four years of training,” said Khalid Al-Yahya, Director of Governance and Public Policy at Dubai School of Government, of Obama.

If Romney won, he needs more time to understand all the different issues and “will start receiving training. Also the pressure of lobbies and interest groups on him will be heavier than in the case of Obama,” added Al Yahya in an interview with Gulf News.

In the American system, Arab anaylsts believe, the first term in US presidency is more of “campaign to the second term.”

“Courageous moves” are usually taken during the second term, they added. This view explains the anticipation of more American “decisive steps” in dealing with the nearly two years of bloody developments in Syria between the supporters and opponents of president Bashar al Assad.

“The relieving factor is that when the US president is re-elected, he won’t be worried about a third term and will have more margin of freedom” in handling the issue, said Jordanian political analyst Hassan Barari.

Comments (2)

  1. Added 13:06 November 8, 2012

    I think Arabs must not expect anything from any US president because he is elected by and for the American people and not for the Arabs or other people. Some Arab analysts write what they want to see just like the mainstream of the Arab societies. But the real life does show quite the contrary. That’s why they are always disappointed Now it is finally high time for us to learn to make our history ourselves and not always to hope and to wait for someone else who could change our situation. It’s really stupid to believe that the West would do anything for us or to make our existence better.

    Ahmad Nouira, Vienna, Austria

  2. Added 10:29 November 8, 2012

    I hope he will be more helpefull to Arabs & be on their side because they have suffered enough and for a long time.

    Muaed, Abu Dhabi, Iraq

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