The Meedan Blog Archive

Obama in the Arab Press - the view from Syria

Whither America’s Stances? – Al-Thawra, 22/1/2009, by Ghalib Hasan Muhammad

So many have fallen in Gaza but Obama said nothing, with the excuse that there is “one current president,” meaning of course that Bush is still the leader of monstrousness and neo-Nazism in the White House. No one should be surprised by Obama’s stance, despite the high hopes that he will stop American bias towards Israel. It seems that the liberal elite that is coming to power will constitute a huge hindrance for the struggle for peace and justice in Palestine, and will not differ much from the Bush administration and its neo-conservative backers.

The Arabs between Bush’s criminality and Obama’s promises – Tishreen, 22/1/2009, by Muhyi al-Din al-Muhammad

As Bush departs, all eyes are on the coming of Obama with cautious optimism, especially since his speech contained many promises for the peoples of the world that fundamental change will happen to American policy. Perhaps the most important of what he promised was withdrawal from Iraq and leaving it to its people, and achieving peace in Afghanistan. Yet enacting a withdrawal from Iraq could contain a number of messages, perhaps among them that the Obama administration would deny the mistakes and crimes committed by the Bush administration against the rights of Iraqis, Arabs and American. This administration knows well that remaining in Iraq is not in America’s interest. Among Obama’s promises was his assertion that America was victorious over Fascism and Communism by means of dialogue, not tanks and planes, a promise which offers hope to the peoples of the world that America has surpassed the strategy of preemptive war, and that American will play the role of a powerful country that achieves its interests, without annihilating or marginalizing others. But Obama’s promises should not push the Arabs to relax, but rather to try even harder to achieve their rights and interests to make Obama’s promises come true. We will not get anything from the Obama administration except for disappointments if the Arabs continue to beg for others’ policies and remain as they are, split apart and ragged.

What do Syrians want from Obama? – al-Watan, 21/1/2009, by Rami Mansour

With the beginning of the age of Obama as the president of the USA, our eyes as Syrians look to the new president that he will be better than his predecessor Bush. We are used to hanging our hopes on all that is new, based on the fact that tomorrow will be better than today because no day could come that is worse than the day we are living now, so it is upon us to stop and consider what we want from the new American president. Because we are rational, we must judge that Obama will not erase what is called the state of Israel from the map, he will not bring to life the martyrs of Gaza, he will not heal her wounded sons, nor will he return Baghdad to its previous secure era, nor will he erase from the memory of Syrians how his American army killed civilians in Albukmal, because, in all simplicity, he is Barack Obama and not the Awaited Mahdi nor Jesus the savior son of Mary.

What Syrians hope from Obama is that he abandons a few crucial points, most importantly that he does not interfere in the details of our social, economic, political, cultural, athletic and military daily life, nor in what we eat or drink, who we pray to, who protects us, and what Satan whispers to us.

In conclusion, O president of the strongest nation in the world, we ask for confirmation that we will be safe, and not only that but also that we live with our minds at peace. Know that you and your country are beautiful, but only when you interact with us on the basis of mutual respect, shared interests, and what serves both countries. We do not want you (pl.) to be like the sun, whose warmth and light we enjoy, and that doesn’t get so close as to distress our peace of mind with its very high temperature.

Reading the acceptance speech: The concept of “smart power” according to Obama – Al-Watan, 22/1/2009, by Dr. Marwan Qablan

The age of Obama promises the use of a foreign policy based on “smart power” in a way that will be wholly different from George W. Bush and promises better relations with the world and Syria. Yet it is not clear how much Obama’s “soft power” will differ from that of the former President Clinton (who did not refrain from intervening around the world), nor is it clear how much attention will be given to foreign policy in the midst of the economic crisis.

President Assad in a welcome message to Obama: Syria looks forward to productive dialogue with the USA on the basis of shared interests and mutual respect. Al-Watan, 22/1/2009, SANA, news agencies.

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2009-01-28 00:25:05 -0800
[...] I’m on an Obama kick, I might as well get it all out there. Here are are some translation/summaries of articles about Obama’s inauguration in the Syrian press [...]