Disillusioned Arab responds to U.S. election
Consistently second only to Ariel Sharon in terms of unpopularity among Arabs, US President George W. Bush's re-election victory was greeted in the Arab world with a sense of disillusionment and foreboding.
"Just like 9/11 became a watershed in American foreign policy, this election seems to me another watershed that might be much more ominous," said Samir Khalaf, professor of sociology at the American University of Beirut.
"I think it's unfortunate that he has been re-elected," said Patrick McGreavy, director for American Studies and Research at the American University of Beirut. "I think he has made some horrible blunders and I think the United States will be less safe because of this. I am amazed that the American people have voted this way."
Although the unfolding debacle in Iraq featured high in the election campaign, American voters refused to punish Bush, apparently more interested in the candidates' stands on domestic social issues such as gay marriage and abortion.
"Bush had fairly skillfully portrayed Iraq as part of the war on terrorism and so when the bad things happen, that's the terrorists doing bad things to America. There's a kind of patriotic response that we can't give in to these people," said William Quandt, professor of politics at the University of Virginia and former Middle East specialist at the National Security Council during the Carter administration.
As for the festering Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it barely surfaced at all during the campaign, yet it remains by far the most pressing issue of concern in the Mideast.
"Anyone who lives in the Middle East and policy experts all over the world realize that this is a burning issue which somebody at least needs to attempt to resolve," McGreavy said.
Bush's commitment to the Mideast peace process has been faltering at best. His main initiative was the much-vaunted "road map" unveiled in spring 2003 which outlined a path to peace between the Israelis and Palestinians by 2005. Despite the fanfare surrounding the scheme, the road map has been allowed to fall by the wayside as Sharon pursues his own unilateralist agenda - building a concrete barrier sealing off the West Bank from Israel and proposing to withdraw from Gaza next year.
"I would like to see a different US policy," said Khalil Shikaki, director of the Ramallah-based Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, "a more active search for a settlement, more focus on the permanent settlement ... and the articulation of a more detailed vision for the permanent status settlement, a vision based on the achievements of previous bi-lateral Palestinian-Israeli negotiations."
Syrian President Bashar Assad has indicated several times in the past year that he is willing to resume peace talks with Israel. But the Bush administration has shown no interest in encouraging Sharon to accept the offer, preferring instead to squeeze Damascus with sanctions and a United Nations Security Council resolution for its alleged lack of cooperation on Iraq and terrorism.
Optimists suggest that Bush will follow in the footsteps of his predecessor, Bill Clinton, in his second term and pay greater attention to resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict.
But others fear that Bush's near unquestioning support for the hard-line policies of the Sharon government stems from personal conviction rather than political expediency.
"It remains to be seen whether there will be a mellowing of his attitudes and policies," said Ghaith Armanazi, executive director of the British-Syrian Society and former Arab League ambassador to London. "But one can't have too many illusions because there seems to be some kind of ideological synergy between Bush, and the people surrounding Bush, and the extremist Likud politics followed in Israel."
John Kerry, Bush's challenger, was regarded in the region as someone who would have played a more active role in the Middle East peace process. Yet not all Arab officials relished the prospect of a Kerry victory. Given Kerry's criticism of the Bush's Iraq policy, there was a concern among some Iraqi officials that as president he would have been less inclined to commit to a long-term American military presence.
Mowaffaq al-Rubaie, the former national security advisor to the interim Iraqi government, said that another Bush term would give Iraq policy "some continuity."
"Bush's vision in Iraq is clear and his determination with liberal democracy is liked by most Iraqis," Rubaie said.
At present, a liberal democracy in Iraq seems little more than wishful thinking, given the inability of the Americans and their allies to quash the ever-worsening insurgency.
Abdullah al-Faqih, assistant professor of politics at Sanaa University in Yemen, said that he wants to see "the blood river" in Iraq brought to an end "and the genie President Bush released from the bottle either controlled or put back into the bottle before it spills over into neighboring countries."
Fostering democracy in the Arab world has been a key element of the Bush administration's foreign policy, pushed principally by the neoconservatives. The ousting of Saddam Hussein was supposed to set in motion a domino effect in which Arab dictatorships would tumble and be replaced with budding democracies. But the neocons' democratic experiment in Iraq is foundering due to a violent resistance feeding and growing on inadequate post-invasion policies. The reality of the situation in Iraq may have dampened enthusiasm for democracy in the Arab world in favor of a more traditional tolerance for benign autocrats.
"You can now sense that even the most enthusiastic neocons would settle for a Pinochet-like outcome in Iraq," Quandt said, referring to the dictatorial but US-friendly former Chilean president Augusto Pinochet.
Faqih said: "We do not want another American administration that publicly denounces dictatorships in the Middle East and sleeps with dictators every night."
Indeed, the next Bush administration needs to re-engage more thoroughly with the Arab world, rather than treating the region as part nexus of terrorism and part convenient gas station, analysts say.
Yahya Sadowski, professor of politics at the American University of Beirut, said the US needs to invest seriously in programs that improve the lives of average citizens in the Arab world, such as literacy and child healthcare.
"For a fraction of what the US is spending to demolish Iraq it could win a great deal of goodwill," he said.
Ammar Abdulhamid, a Syrian social analyst and visiting fellow at the Saban Center for Middle East policy at the Washington-based Brookings Institute, said he would like to see "a more serious policy of active engagement with regimes and civil society actors alike."
"I believe that such policy can produce the kind of win-win solutions that we so desperately need in the region," he said.
A continued failure to engage Arab hearts and minds would be a "disaster," said Shafeeq Gha-bra, president of the American University of Kuwait and a political analyst. "If it doesn't happen it will mean further radicalization and further terrorism and four years from now the Americans will not be better off and neither will the Arabs."
Source: The Daily Star
I actually did not know about the city of Apples, but it's interesting all the conversations we've had, they have been about the area of the Caucasus Mountains region - from Dhul Qarn'ain, Gog Magog, Khidr...interesting interesting! And now when I did some research I actually found out where "The City of Apples" is. It is a city called "KUBA", in the North-Eastern slope of the Caucasus, somewhere in Azerbaijan i'm guessing... and is 2000 feet high! It's known to be famous for it's beautiful carpets and bazaars. There is also a Zoroastrian temple there (fire-worshipping temple). From what I've read it's supposed to be quite beautiful, with a 30-metre waterfall, and the "Canyon of Tengy" which is 250 metres deep. There's a starting point for you. :-) Wassalaam.
I hope this helped. I am in the thinking of writing local(Canadian) stories about my community(Islamic) and their struggle to maintain their innocence in an accusing society of wasps. Fortunately, in the township I live Muslims are in majority and the wasps are trying to copy the hiphop trend, ridiculous I would say, they even try to claim blackness to their genes!
In our latest election the Liberals were elected to a minority government. This meant that they did not win enough seats to win a majority government and in order to establish a ruling government they must ally themselves with another party with which they must cooperate in all matters. Imagine if such a possibility existed in the US and the Republicans were elected to a minority government and had to work with the Democrats in order to rule. I'd be feeling a lot safer right now.
I too was extremely disappointed with the results of the US election. I am terrified at what the next four years will bring with that simpleton Bush in the White House. He does not have a real understanding of the issues and certainly does not possess the diplomatic skills necessary to handle the delicate foreign issues which he will be facing this year.
One day while crossing the border into the US shortly after 9/11, while the American border guard was looking over my ID he commented, "Try to remember you're entering a foreign country". This is a fact that is becoming more and more apparent to me with each passing year.
Everybody else: I don't blame you if you don't like the current administration, but remember, not all Americans voted for it or agree with it.
I think that a very real cause for concern is the show of power given by the Christian Fundamentalists (and they scare me, man).
Anyway, Akbar, how is it with you? Doing well, I hope. I am writing a book and in it there are some Muslim characters that are heroes. I was wondering if you could tell me how to say "The City of the Apple" in Arabic. The source is an old Arabian legend of an Islamic city in Europe, which was called "The City of the Apple." Many travellers wrote that they saw it in the course of thier journeys. In fact, if anyone can tell me it would be greatly appreciated.
God bless you all.
I don't know how anyone on this earth can think that,maybe it's caused by the same disorder as in Israel where the majority thinks that Sharon represents those exact same things.
If Bush goes expands his 'war of terror' to other arab countries,it's likely that the citizens in middle east can't be controlled any more.The situation there is already quite flamable, reforms are expected around Red sea,if they are not delivered,who knows what will happen.New wars and the governments 'allowance' of Bush/USA army to run around like a mad cows,might open the eyes of the most moderate muslims to the new reality.I would have like to seen a peace process (that Kerry could have started)now I'm afraid I'll witness the WWIII;that Bush will probably start by continuing the Human right abuses, disregarding the Int.laws, using language that makes christians in Europe to have chills in their spine.
I don't understand why the majority of citizens in USA didn't see straight.They were busy with 'moral values' (that actually opposes individuality and freedom) rather than WORLD PEACE?! Quality of AIR to breath for the next 50-100 years?! I understand those values are important,and people can use them as guidelines for their PRIVATE LIFE,but to make the most biggest issue in the election in which the wrong decision will cause thousands of lives of innocent people (though probably across the atlantic and pacific)is disturbing to say the least.
In Finland there was a advertisement campaign to see how finnish people would have voted and 87% voted for Kerry...
Bush is only digging himself a deeper grave, sinking into the abyss of lying and crookedness, his leadership and those under his leadership are mis-leading by introducing a system that is dirty and ugly, but covered up with tar, it is therefore dajjala, like smearing tar over a camel's wound. But remember everyone, even Firaun (Pharoah) during the time of Moses was allowed to exercise injustice throughout the land against Al-Yahud, and created a slave labour system. But Allah Ta'ala sent Musa (as) into Firaun's own HOUSE and RUINED HIM!
The rape of Iraq with over 100000 dead by you terrorists nullifys anything you have to say. Bin Laden was trained by your government so blame yourselves for what he did. But as USUAL, facts and figures are irrelevent to redneck trailer park armadenonist trash.
I would urge you to join the human race, but I dont think the rest of us humans would approve of murderous beasts in our midst. I'm glad you re-selected the village idiot to be your fuhrer...it proves without a doubt that you Americans are complicit in his crimes. May those who've taken the lives of innocent Afghan and Iraqi men, woman and children and continue to do so without remorse never know peace and burn in hell.
Peace be unto you. Perhaps consider avoiding negative assumption. Perhaps consider avoiding cursing until the Last Day.
My reward would be this: to have amplified our Lord's glory. May our Lord have mercy on our companions as well as on us.
(And all is as and if our Lord pleases.)
I think we have made a huge mistake in the election of GW for another 4 long years, and I am afraid for my country. BUT...
1. I didn't vote for him, and I am proud to say that.
2. 49% of the country didn't vote for him either. That means that when you all talk about Americans, remember, 49% actually had their head on straight.
3. There are no riots, the national guard wasn't called, there will be no civil war, unlike many other countries that have had elections this close. The concept of loyal opposition is understood by us. We will continue to work against the current administration, because it is the way of things. I think we can contain the worst of it, and clean up next time.
Democracy does work, but we don't always get what we want in this world. This is one of those times.
While reading through these comments, I noticed that alot of people outside of the US were posing. That tells alot about how that US and Americans are viewed throughout the world. Some comments were just plain idiotic, and show the ignorance of most Americans. It's true what alot of people said, I live here in the Bible Belt and I have firsthand experience of "American Fundamentalists" and it's so sad that I am ashamed of being an American sometimes b/c eventhough we Americans preach democracy it's rarely truly practiced. Oh, and I believe that the election was fixed as the last one.
I am a very peaceful person by nature.
That changed on sept 11th, 2001.
WE were made to believe by the dem party in this country that 911 was not radical muslims but Jews.
Bin Laden's admission certainly squashed that conspiracy rumor.
What happened in Russia to those school children will never happen in this country.
Not as long as Geo W Bush is president.
I have spoken to many muslims overseas, and they seem to think, or feel that bin laden is the defender of Islam.
Who is brainwashed?????
AGain, muslims are killing muslims, insurgents are trying to sway the iraqi public,
they are killing innocent civilians..
That is OK?????
It is time for the arab world to wake up and join the human race.
Infidels are not the enemy. INfidels as you folks call them, simply choose another God to worship.
Here in america, one can go to any city and see many different churches, mosques and synogogues on the same street corner.
That is what we call tolerance.
Our govt officials have a tough job to do.
Not everyone in america believes what the politicians do or say...
That is the difference here in this country.
WE are tolerant, open-minded and compassionate toward all life.....
And, WE can think for ourselves..
Freedom is a basic human need, want and desire.
Once we experience it, it cannot be forgotten.
The people of Iraq will soon be free.
and the world will be a better place.
For the most difficult war is the war against a clever and trickish unbeliever who will never let his hate for Islam is in the open like that of Kerry. As for Bush we all know that he is not of us and all that need to be done is for all Muslim to beware of him. Unlike Kerry who will secretly use American might to undermine Islam.
I think the end of America is near, that is why Bush won.
HIS REELECTION RATHER THAN CALL FOR DISILLUSIONMENT SHOULD BE A THING OF JOY. FOR ALLAH HAS SAID WHATEVER GOOD WE REQUEST FROM HIM, HE SHALL GRANT US. IF ALLAH GAVE BUSH VICTORY INSPITE OF OUR PRAYER, IT ONLY MEAN THAT HIS RE-ELECTION IS BEST FOR US AND ISLAM IN GENERAL.
SO BROTHERS CRY NO MORE FOR THE END IS NEAR.
I love my country as you love yours, and it hurts me deeply that the Arab world condems ALL americans as wanting this president in office.
Please do not count me as one of them. I want change....I want our children to come home from Irag...I care about the envionment that George Bush thumbs his nose at...I want peace, and I want the world to see our country has humility.
As for what your storm troopers are doing in Iraq, its nothing short of terrorism, pure and simple. Nobody with an iota of intelligence buys that you're liberating Iraqis. You people blood on your hands and may the Almighty punish you for your crimes.
I for one, have no sympathy for theives and marauders, so to hell with you all.
May Allah forgive me and protect my Muslim Brothers and Sisters in the US.
May Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala (i.e., God Almighty) preserve the people of Falluja and guide the Coalition to do right by those people. May the people of Iraq figure out the right thing to do with foreigners willing to die for the sake of Iraqis but with nowhere else to go. Ameen.
(God willing) Peace!
I believe Mr.Newton is 100 % correct about these morons and killers. And I mean killers folks, next time any of these cretins talks about 911 and 3000 dead Americans, remind them of the 100000 dead in Iraq alone. But these people dont consider Iraqis human now do they ?
And Bob, little man get over the ultimatums...the entire world is against you so stay in that rabid little trailer of yours unless ofcourse you care to be a volunteer conscript in Bush's terror war.
Bottom line folks ? A corrupt immoral murderous leader for a corrupt immoral society of failures.
Moreover no Muslim country that you invaded ever asked to be invaded. It is your bullying and criminal behaviour on the strength of the Nukes you and your buddies the Israelis have which allows you to do so with impunity. Neither are Muslim nor South American countries interested in your aid, except for the poor Mexicans whom your corporations abuse to no end and have left Mexicos economy in shambles, its country side and rivers polluted with carcinogens and a whole host of toxins, its people working for a pittance and even its poor impoverished senioritas pregnant, all for a few dollars from the American gringos. You Americans truly are are parasites - thre is not one bit of decency or good in you.
We believe all candidates should be examined by measuring their policies against the complete range of spiritual ethics and values.
We admonish both parties and candidates to avoid the exploitation of religion or our congregations for partisan political purposes.
We, the undersigned, believe that sincere Christians and other people of faith can choose to vote for President Bush or Senator Kerry - for reasons deeply rooted in their faith.
We will measure the candidates by whether they enhance human life, human dignity, and human rights; whether they strengthen family life and protect children; whether they promote racial reconciliation and support gender equality; whether they serve peace and social justice; and whether they advance the common good rather than only individual, national, and special interests.
We call all people of faith to a more thoughtful involvement in this election, rather than claiming God's endorsement of any candidate.
This is the meaning of responsible citizenship.
Nicole - you call Bush a good Christian. Tell that to the over 100,000 innocent women, children, the aged and the sick he massacred. But you people have a history of massacring the innocent. From the Red Indian, to Blacks, to the Japanese, to Koreans, Afghans, Panamanians, the list goes on. You expect Iraqis to come over to the US to help build your towers ? are you mad. ? You utterly destroy their country and they come back to help you build yours ? Why You still don't get it do you Nicole. The Iraqis did not blow up your stupid towers, Ossie Bin Laden did, and your Ape president was quite complicit. You really do not know your facts do you Nicole, but then again neither do a big majority of Americans. A dumb nation led like sheep by a dumb president led like a donkey by an Evil Israel. You can have your president - in 4 years you'll be wishing you had actually elected a donkey instead.
Megan Brannon & Vlad: -I salute your courageous remarks! Cheers!!!
Nicole & bob- You disgust me...do you really believe that you are safer now with four more wars to come. You fools, are giving Muslims the same options Saddam gave his poeple; you are no different because your statement proves to the World that you are not tolerant. How can you be; you are too ignorant to be tolerant.It is people like you who voted for Bush; for promting hate crimes that target Muslims.Smart Muslims have made their choice & decided to be agaisnt you. Fools, brace yourselves for four years of Yankee Hunters overseas. How can you feel safe, when 1.6 billion Muslims hate you bcs you turn 9/11 sympathisers into radical Muslims. From this week on, Muslims overseas will hunt down those Americans that pretend to be Canadians. You will pay dearly for voting for terror & fighting freedom & Liberal Islam.
I feel bad for the Democrat voters although their party is very corrupt but still are the least of the two evils & are led by a wimp that is a soldier but not a warrior. I feel worse for Ralph Nader's supporters; smart university students that have to deal with what looks like the dark ages crap coming from "Christian" morrons, high school drop outs, Armagaddonits & Church freaks. You know what I mean the Neo-Cons & those with one worldview that see the world with one eye: If you are too slow to read my lips: I mean the Blind ones, stupid?
Mark my words Nicole & Bob,
America will be less secure &
Muslims "extremists" & may be moderates too will
go Yankee hunting in Muslim lands!!!
They will make you regret the day you voted for
the master of terror & tyranny.
Why is it surprising that we re-elected Bush?
Americans feel safe with Bush. Clinton did nothing during his watch. There were 6 attacks by radical muslims in 7 yrs.
We as americans have had enough of this threat.
We as americans cannot believe that the arab world supports the terrorists, or simply turn their backs on their behavior.
It is time to join the human race.
Either you are with us, or against us.
We have not been attacked since 911.....and it is felt strongly because the terrorists are pre-occupied in Iraq.
Our actions do not breed terrorism. It is on a wreckless course.
We are trying to be too politcally correct in this war in Iraq.
And it seems that some want to blame the innocent civilians dying in Iraq.
How many did saddam kill and torture in his reign of terror...............HOW MANY ARE THE INSURGENTS KILLING....?????????/
They seem to want to blow everything up over there.
Muslims are killing muslims. They are setting off bombs and killing iraqi's at an alarming rate.
In the war on terrorism......the global war on terrorism...........Either you are with us, or aginst us...
It is your choice