Has Obama won the Arab heart and mind?
Even hurricane Sandy and its storms intervened at the level of Barack Obama's chances in the presidential elections. Indeed, it did not constitute good news to his opponent, Republican Candidate Mitt Romney, whose blunders and drowning in general talk about the United States' economic relief did not help him come ahead in the polls. Within five days, the majority of the Americans will choose the new-old president or Romney, who can barely outbid Obama's policy to strengthen the ties with the number one ally, i.e. Israel.
For their part, the Arabs who are preoccupied in containing the repercussions of their spring and are watching with a tragic silence the greater massacre in Syria, are unable to recollect what was erased from the memory by the developments of the uprisings and revolutions which took Obama's administration off-guard, and caused it to try to catch the train to protect Washington's interests. Some of those who belong to the rejectionist team went too far in wagering on transformation in American foreign policy during the term of the president of African origins. But there really was such transformation, carried out in silence, if one were to compare his performance to the promises he made during his speech at the Cairo University.
Under his term, the peace process was killed early on and was no longer mentioned, in parallel to the intensification of the American-Israeli strategic cooperation agreements, the Judaization of Jerusalem and the spread of the cancerous settlements which Obama did not oppose, except in brief and reserved statements. At this level, it would not be unfair to deduce that the Democratic president succumbed to the Israeli blackmail mastered by Netanyahu, either by blowing the fear over the arrival of the Islamists to power in the states of the Arab spring out of proportion, or by exaggerating the concerns over the emergence of an Iranian nuclear empire. Nonetheless, one should closely look into the facts on the ground, as they refute the deafening slogans of defiance and accusations:
1-The Democratic administration in the United States never intended to engage in military confrontation with Iran, at a time when Obama took pride in the completion of the withdrawal of the American troops from Iraq and the setting of a date for a similar pullout from Afghanistan. As to what was dubbed the Pacific Ocean Strategy, it turned out - throughout months - to fall in the context of Washington's policy to end direct intervention in the Middle East conflict and move to a stage of conflict-management from afar. Some even consider that the Syrian predicament is one example for that.From the outside, Obama keeps reiterating that the days of the Syrian regime are numbered, at a time when his administration is not adopting one measure that could affect the balance of powers or allow one party to prevail over the other. In reality, the prolongation of the conflict that has completed its twentieth month does not bother the Americans, despite their announced feelings towards the "brutality" that is being witnessed. Moreover, it does not bother the Israelis, as long as it is continuing to destroy Syria, its economy and society.
2-Despite all the Israeli threats, Washington is keeping the negotiations channels with Iran open in regard to the nuclear file, and even wagering on good intentions. And by increasing the sanctions, it appears to be trying to gain the votes of the Jewish lobby in America in favor of Obama, rather than show its insistence on suffocating Iran's economy to force to discontinue its Uranium enrichment activities.
3-Obama's administration is abstaining from questioning Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's ability to control his country's policy and security, despite the consecutive crises that are obstructing dialogue with the man dubbed by his oppositionists "Iran's man" who rules on its behalf in the Land of the Two Rivers. And despite the fears surrounding Al-Maliki's dictatorship and the fact that he is revolving in the Iranian space, Washington is not hesitating to sign massive arms deals with him, while abstaining from opposing Iraq's transformation into a vital space for the Shiite Crescent which Iran wishes to impose.
4-Despite the controversy surrounding the interpretation of America's insistence on avoiding governmental vacuum in Lebanon, Washington has dealt and is still dealing with a government composed for the most part of Hezbollah's team and its allies which sympathize with Iranian rejectionism in the region. Iran for its part is holding on to Lebanon more than ever, as it fears losing Syria like it lost the Palestinian card (Gaza).
5-The concerns over the so-called political Islam is unifying the Iranian and American interests which intersect with Israel's calculations, at a time when the latter is spreading scenarios about the threat posed by the Islamists and exceeding the toppling of the peace accords with Egypt and Jordan. Hence, Washington is linking its aid to the newborn democracies to the same conditions which extended the life span of the pre-spring dictatorships.
Clearly, Obama's support to Libya's revolutionaries is an accomplishment at the level of his foreign policy. But assuming he had good intentions and has postponed the settlement of the nuclear file until after the elections, this settlement might fall in the context of the separation of the Syrian and Iranian tracks, without it requiring a strike against the Iranian facilities. As for the bloody volcano in Syria, it is continuing to cast its lava, while the eyes of both the Democrats and the Republicans in America are on the chemical weapons and Israel's security, rather than on the victims who did not cost Netanyahu and the gangs of Jewish extremism one bullet. For all those reasons, Obama has failed to win the minds and hearts of the Arabs.
What do you think? Is the Arab vote with Obama or Romney?