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    Sunday, November 9, 2008

    President Obama: the Middle East press responds

    Here's a quick look at how the press in the Middle East — arguably the region likely to be most affected by yesterday's U.S. election — interpreted the news that Barrack Obama is on his way to the White House:

    “No declaration of support and no promising statements can diminish the fear many Israelis' have of U.S president-elect Barak Obama … . [Some Israelis] identify Obama, black and bearing Hussein as a middle name, as a supporter of the oppressed in Third World countries, and fear that he will automatically side with the Palestinians.” — Aluf Benn, columnist in Israel's Haaretz newspaper.

    “Exit polls: 78 per cent of Jews voted for Obama” — headline in the Jerusalem Post.

    “[President-elect Obama's] political charisma, eloquence, and sharp intuitive intelligence would not have been the sole factors that led to his victory, and to him becoming the leader of the world's strongest power — in fact, the leader of the entire world. In fact, his victory will have been the outcome of the crushing defeat the Arabs and Muslims have inflicted on the former U.S. administration, stirring hatred against it from its own citizens first, but from the entire world as well” — Abdelbari Atwan, writing in the pan-Arab al-Quds al-Arabi.

    “Black Kennedy to White House” — headline in Lebanon's al-Akhbar newspaper, which is considered pro-Hezbollah

    “Public opinion in Iran and the Middle East believes that Obama and McCain are two faces of the same coin. The victory of either won't have the least impact on the situation of these countries. In other words a yellow dog is a jackal's brother [Iranian proverb meaning cut from the same cloth].” — editorial in Iran's hardline Hezbollah newspaper

    “Why did the Obama wave explode? Because he represents what is ‘new.' Because he captures the ‘spirit of the times.' Because he provides hope for ‘change.' Because he captures the imagination of ‘youth.' Because he can be trusted as a leader. We hope that Barack Obama will make history in the White House, and will not disappoint our hopes for change and ‘revolution.'” — Hasan Cemal, writing in Turkey's centrist Milliyet newspaper.

    “No matter who wins US vote, hope remains for peace” — headline in the Jordan Times.

    “Everyone knows that the period of U.S. foolishness is over” — headline in Syria's state-run Tishreen newspaper.

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