US President Barack Obama's victory in the 2012 presidential elections was, naturally, front-page news across the globe, but none offered more ambivalent coverage than the Arab media. While some of the top Arab publications expressed hope that Obama's second term in the White House would bring change in the US' Mideast policies other remain highly skeptical.
Abdel Bari Atwan, the editor of the London-based newspaper Al-Quds Al-Arabi, published an op-ed following the elections' results titled "The Arab world's crises await Obama," claiming that "not once during his 25 minute victory speech did Obama mention either the Arab world or the crises it faces, be it Iran's nuclear aspirations or the Arab-Israeli conflict."
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He did, however, qualify some of his criticism, adding: "This does not mean he will continue ignoring these issues for much longer, especially in regards to the ongoing crisis in Syria."
Caricature of Netanyahu from Al-Mashhad
"Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states would have preferred a Romney victory, as Romney is copy of George W. Bush, who invaded Iraq and disposed of Saddam Hussein" Atwan continued. "Romney kept beating his war drums in Iran's direction while criticizing his opponent for not involving the military in the attempt to overthrow Bashar Assad".
The Israeli angleAtwan further wrote that Gulf states' disappointment stemmed form the fact that they now "paradoxically" find themselves in the same boat as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as both "put all their eggs in the Romney's basket, entering into an open conflict with Obama on the topic of a nuclear Iran," only to be met with a calm president. It is for this reason "Netanyahu ordered his ministers to keep quite on the outcome of the election."".
As for Israel, the op-ed added that Obama "granted Israel unprecedented military aid, exceeding that of any previous president, all while succumbing to Netanyahu's every demand and swallowing his insults one after the other for the last four years."
"One can assume that now that Obama has nothing to lose, he might try to relieve himself of the Jewish lobby and begin treating the Israeli administration in an alternative manner. However, Obama's ability to maneuver will still be limited thanks to Netanyahu's control of Congress which still consists of a Republican majority".
'Arab world's crises await Obama.' Al-Quds Al-Arabi
'Nothing new under the sun'
"Elaph," a daily newspaper published in Saudi Arabia, a Palestinian correspondent wrote: "The US has chosen the more experienced president, who seems more rational than his rival, Mitt Romney, who seemed to fantasize about rekindling the dream of an American empire... What is important to us as Arabs is Mideast foreign policy. In this regard there will be nothing new under the sun, we already have much experience with Obama and he has nothing new to offer us."
"Obama's policy will be a continuation of the last four years, and we should not wait for any major breakthrough in regards to the Palestinian issue, because most of those decisions do not take place within the White House, but rather in Israel," he wrote.
"As Arabs, we must not sit around and wait for the US to give us anything as the US is not a charity organization which gives donations free of charge. They help only when it is in their interest. And it seems that the American interests for supporting Israel trump those for supporting the Arabs," he continued.
'Nothing new under the sun'? Elaph
"We must not pin such high hopes on Obama, who has already broken his promises to solve the Palestine issue and has done much for Israeli and will continue to do even more," Saudi paper said.
Lebanon's Ad-diyar newspaper, which is informally affiliated with the Syrian regime, expressed opinions similar to those of the Saudi paper, saying it sees little-to-no change in the US' policy. "The US will not get militarily involved in world affairs. Quite the opposite, it will remove its forces from Afghanistan by 2014," the op-ed read.
The London based Al-Hayat published an editorial criticizing Obama's actions regarding Syria, titled: "Extending Obama's presidency is equal to extending the war in Syria"
'Reelection will prolong war in Syria.' Al-Hayat
Nevertheless, not all in the Arab media were of the same mindset. London's Al-Sharq Al-Awsat newspaper published a piece titled "Will Ahmadinejad and Assad celebrate Obama's victory?" in which the author wonders whether those supporting the Syrian people and "opposing the Iranian devil" were dealt a loss.
He answered: "I think not. In my opinion during his second term the fair skinned Obama will put an end to both the Assad regime and the dangers posed by the Iranian regime."
'Obama must erase hatred of Bush'
An editorial published in Egypt's official paper El-Gomhuriah stated: "We wish to remind President Obama of his promises from the beginning of his first term to be a president for the Muslim world – from Istanbul to Cairo. He promised relations based on cooperation, justice and equality, such that will erase the years of hatred and distrust characteristic of the George W. Bush years"
A knock out victory for Obama. Al Hayat.
The Egyptian newspaper continued its attack on the former Republican president claiming: "He became slave to global Zionism all the while announcing what he termed 'the war on terror against the Islamic world'. Obama seems to have forgotten his promises, possibly because of heavy Zionist influence during his first term.
"Let us hope that he will not neglect his commitments during his second term as well, thus becoming yet an other president to leave the White House acquiescent to the crimes perpetrated by Israel against the Arabs".
Obama getting ready to run the Palestinian track (Asharq Alawsat)
Israel the 51st state (A Saudi Newspaper)
Obama 'having' Romney for lunch (Al Ghad)
Will the US meddle in international affairs? (Al Ocaz)
Zionists taking Obama 'for a ride' (Al Baian, UAE)
Which Obama will we see in the second term? (As-Safir, Lebenon)
An editorial published by the official Jordanian paper Ad-Dustour claimed: "Obama's reelection puts him face to face with the truth. We mean that he will fulfill his promises and will act to create an independent Palestinian state, one that can flourish on Palestinian land with Jerusalem as its capital, while putting an end to the Zionist occupation which remains the biggest source of insecurity and instability in the area".
The paper added that "One can assume that during his second term the president will act independently of Zionist influence which torpedoed his attempts to quell settlement expansion.
"Obama's victory should be a source of optimism for the area. The question now is whether his willing to commit to writing the promises he made orally during his two famous speeches in Istanbul and Cairo.
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