Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Muslims Offer Support for Obama

(Associated Posers) - Many in the Middle East believe Barack Obama failed to deliver on promises of a new U.S. approach in the region but still prefer him to presidential rival Mitt Romney, who they see as too close to Israel and too keen to project U.S. military might. Compounding the challenge, the Middle East is a region where perceptions of fading U.S. influence have been hardened by Arab uprisings that have toppled dictators who were longtime U.S. allies, bringing Islamists in their place. "I am one of those who is very much disappointed with Obama," said Hassan Nafaa a professor at Cairo University.

“He did try to spare Muslim feelings by blaming the attack in Benghazi on an infidel, he gets brownie points for that, although his highlighting an offensive video did cause massive deadly riots in many cities”

"He didn't deliver ... But I think he is much better than Romney," said Nafaa, who listened to the Cairo speech in June 2009. "I don't appreciate at all the right wing in the United States with their preference to use extensive military force. We saw the contortions that Barack Obama will go through to support the Muslim Brotherhood and this is pleasing to us.”

Much of the Middle East has changed dramatically during Obama's first term. But the upheavals of the "Arab Spring" that ousted entrenched autocrats in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen and Libya were driven by the street rather than U.S. policy, even if U.S. and European warplanes assisted Libyan rebels.

Far from winning praise, some Egyptian activists criticized Obama's administration for being slow to embrace the change. “He has stiffed Israel's dog Netahnayhu, but he did not support our Islamic revolution and Sharia governments quick enough to suit our tastes. Obama was too easy on Mubarak at points and the American administration did not play a full role in supporting the Egyptian revolution," said Mohamed Adel, a spokesman for the April 6 movement that was at the forefront of the 2011 uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak after 30 years in power.

But he said Romney was not an attractive alternative for Egypt or the region, describing him as more "aggressive" and citing the Republican's threats to U.S. aid to Egypt during September protests at the U.S. embassy over an anti-Islam film.

Yet Iraq is one place where Obama has had an impact by withdrawing U.S. troops, although Romney has accused the president of being too hasty.

That was acknowledged by Alaa al-Saadoun, an Iraqi Kurdish lawmaker. "The work Obama did withdrawing American forces from Iraq made a difference. If the Republicans were in power, they would not have left," he said “Without this action it would have been impossible for Iran to supply and support the Assad administration in Syria. Iranian convoys now have free passage since the US troops are gone”.

But even as that military intervention was ended, Obama has ordered U.S. drones to kill militants in Yemen and Pakistan, enraging many in the region. Romney has backed this action.

“We have to give Barack Obama a mixed grade, maybe an Incomplete” said Ashwari Al-Abdel , a journalist “While we think he is much better than Mitt Romney, the Bush Clone, he is still doing too much to placate the infidels in his country. Hopefully in a second term, free of political constraints he can fully show us his support, that is our fervent hope”.

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