Home Muslim World News Mixed reaction appears in Mideast to Obama’s win in U.S. presidential election

Mixed reaction appears in Mideast to Obama’s win in U.S. presidential election

By Yu Zhongwen, Xinhua,

Cairo : The Middle East, a strategic stronghold of global geopolitics for the United States, has responded with a mixed mood of expectation, wait-and-see approach to U.S. president-elect Barack Obama’s Mideast policy, following his victory in Tuesday’s election.

Various countries and bodies of the region hailed the election of Obama, expecting a new U.S. administration will bring about a fresh drive to help settle the decade-long conflicts in the region.

Egypt, a key U.S. ally in the Middle East, voiced its expectation that Obama would help the restive region reach peace and stability.

On Wednesday, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak sent a greeting cable to Barack, congratulating him for his victory in the U.S. presidential election.

Mubarak voiced his hope in the message that Obama would help parties concerned in the Middle East to reach a just and comprehensive settlement and bring about peace and stability in the region, the official MENA news agency reported.

Regarding the Palestinian issue, Mubarak said “We are looking forward to your constructive contribution to resolve the Palestinian problem.”

U.S. Democratic candidate Barack Obama won a landslide victory in the presidential election Tuesday, which will make him the 44thpresident of the United States and the first African-American in U.S. history to sit in the Oval Office.

Abdel-Raouf el-Reidi, head of the Egyptian Council for Foreign Affairs (ECFA), said the Middle East is expecting Obama to adopt a “just and enlightened” policy in dealing with the regional issues.

Describing Obama’s victory in the election as a historic change for the United States and the world, el-Reidi said he is looking forward to changes in the U.S. Mideast policy.

The Mideast is waiting for “a new era to end the policies of George W. Bush that the whole world and not only the American people has been paying the price in the past eight years,” el-Reidi said in a statement on Wednesday.

“We do hope the power-driven policy would be replaced by dialogue,” said el-Reidi, adding that Obama “would have the power to change.”

The Cairo-based Arab League also welcomes Obama’s win with the hope that the United States would change its way of superpower in dealing with the Mideast issues.

Addressing the European parliament foreign relations committee in Brussels, AL Secretary General Amr Moussa urged the United States to change its Mideast policy.

“The superpower’s policy must be changed, especially as regards the Arab-Israeli conflict and the Palestinian issue,” Moussa was quoted by MENA as saying.

Noting that the Arab-Israeli conflict needs a U.S. policy of “good-intention,” the pan-Arab body chief said he hopes the U.S. administration to play an important role to resolve the Mideast conflict, which is among Obama’s priorities.

In war-torn Iraq, the government hailed on Wednesday the triumph of Obama in the U.S. presidential election.

Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh asserted the “true desire of his government in cooperation with the elected president in a way that would achieve the common interests of the two peoples.”

Earlier in the day, Iraq’s Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari congratulated Obama for his victory.

In an interview with Arabiyah television, Zebari said he does not see any immediate change in the U.S. policy toward Iraq with the new U.S. president.

Meanwhile, Iran, Syria and the Palestinian Hamas movement, three U.S. rivals in the Mideast, voiced their wait-and-see approach to Obama’s policy in the area and urged the United States to avert its “wrong policy” in the Middle East.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said Wednesday that the new U.S. government should recognize the Americans’ demand to distance itself from the wrong approaches of the current Bush administration.

Former Iranian Majlis (Parliament) Speaker Gholam Ali Haddad Adel welcomed Obama’s victory as the sign of triumph over the unpopular policies of Bush.

The Bush administration said it focused on diplomacy to try to resolve Iran’s disputed nuclear issue, but it insisted to take “no option off the table.”

On Wednesday, Syrian Information Minister Mohsen Bilal expressed hope that Obama would bring change in the big power’s foreign policy, saying Obama would “change the U.S. foreign policy from a policy of war and siege to one of diplomacy and dialogue.”

Syria has been blacklisted by Washington as a sponsor of terrorism and under continuous U.S. isolation.

The Syrian-U.S. ties witnessed a new low recently after U.S. military helicopters launched a cross-border raid ten days ago in a Syrian village, killing eight Syrian civilians.

Also on Wednesday, exiled Hamas politburo leader Khaled Meshaal said that his group is ready to deal with a new U.S. administration led by Obama.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said his movement will judge on Obama according to his political stances rather than his political agenda, calling on Obama to “rethink the American foreign policy towards the Palestinian cause and to stop the clear bias towards the (Israeli) occupation.”

The United States, like most Western nations, does not recognize Hamas, the militant group which vows to erase Israel from the Middle East map.

Obama has said that his country should not hold direct talks with Hamas unless the latter recognizes Israel and abide by peace deals.