The excerpts below are from an op-ed by Hussain Abdul-Hussain recently published in Lebanon's The Daily Star entitled "Wake up Arabs, Obama may be a Menance."
A widespread impression increasingly evident in the Middle East is that the election of the Democratic candidate Barack Obama in the American presidential election will serve the Arabs' best interests. This is false. Any US president will have to tackle three main issues in the region. According to American priorities, these are Iraq, a nuclear Iran and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
The Daily Star dismantles Obama on three platforms, starting with Iraq:
On Iraq, Obama has so far promoted one idea, popular among Americans, though not necessarily wise: He plans to withdraw US troops from the country according to a predetermined timetable, regardless of realities on the ground. Americans have become exhausted with losing lives and treasure. Many Iraqis place "national honor" above anything else. Yet only a few on either the American or the Iraqi side actually support Obama's rigid withdrawal plan.
A majority of Iraqis, their elected Parliament and Cabinet also oppose a hasty American withdrawal. Realizing the dangerous consequences of a vacuum, Iraqis don't seem in a hurry to demand an American withdrawal, even if they are not enthusiastic about the US presence in their country.
Attacks continue on Obama's Iran plans:
On Iran, Obama has made it clear that he would reverse the current administration's policies by sending American officials to negotiate with Tehran over its nuclear program. But then what?
President George W. Bush's administration, despite its often aggressive foreign policy approach, has so far taken a backseat in dealing with Iran, restricting its pressure to diplomacy and sanctions coordinated with the Europeans, Russia and China. Just as it has been unproductive for the US to go to war alone, it would similarly be counterproductive for it to circumvent its partners through unilateral diplomacy.
If Obama talks to Iran alone, he might well end up handing it leverage to turn the international community against each other. As such, Iran's ayatollahs could inch closer to producing a nuclear weapon, the mere thought of which has so far terrified the Gulf states and their peoples.
In the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the Arab rationale favoring Obama's election has it that since Obama has expressed his willingness to engage in peace talks from his first day in office, this signals good times ahead. Where Obama stands on the issue of borders, on Jerusalem and Palestinian refugees is still unknown and probably undetermined, which makes all Palestinian arguments favoring his election as yet unfounded.
In sum, its a clear warning to the Arab world:
Arabs should look further than Obama's second name of Hussein or his family's Muslim roots. They should beware of his lack of experience in a region where even experts often fail to anticipate what comes next.