Waiting for Obama

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Hassan Hanizadeh

Election day has finally arrived in the United States and people in the Middle East are wondering what to expect if Barack Obama becomes president.

The Middle East has suffered greatly over the past eight years due to the Bush administration’s unbalanced and illogical policy.

Palestine, Iraq, Lebanon, and Afghanistan faced withering attacks by the U.S. and Israeli armies.

The Palestine issue is still unresolved and it is still not clear when U.S. forces will withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Though Obama appears poised for a historic victory, he will inherit the evil legacy of his predecessor, George W. Bush.

Thus, he will have to approach the people of the Middle East in a logical manner and make efforts to build confidence.

During the eight years Bush has been in office, the people of the Middle East witnessed more injustice and totally lost faith in U.S. officials, whose status has fallen to an all-time low in the region.

And the lost trust cannot be restored by a few slogans. Obama must put the Middle East conflict on the top of his foreign policy agenda and make serious efforts to find a just solution for the interminable crisis.

The next U.S. president must establish effective interaction with all influential countries in the region because it will not be possible to resolve the Middle East conflict without help from the major players.

Middle Eastern people’s view of U.S. policy will not be changed by a victory for Barack Obama or John McCain. Rather, they want to see practical steps by the next president, whoever he is, to end the current crises.

Iraq is currently the most important problem for the U.S., and its people must be given the opportunity to determine their own destiny without the presence of occupation forces. If U.S. forces cause more trouble for Iraqis, it will only exacerbate the situation.

Afghanistan is in a similar situation. Without an immediate withdrawal of foreign forces, there will be no peace. The longer Western forces remain in the country, the bolder the hardliners will become.

The Palestine issue will be the most serious challenge for the next U.S. president. If an independent Palestinian state with Beit-ul-Moqaddas (Jerusalem) as its capital is not established, the situation in the region will definitely deteriorate.

Lebanon also needs lasting peace and security, but this will not be possible if the Zionist regime is allowed to continue to threaten the country.

In light of all this, it is clear that whoever becomes the next U.S. president will have his work cut out for him.


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