“You are the instruments that God is going to use to bring about universal change, and that is why Barack has captured the youth. And he has involved young people in a political process that they didn’t care anything about. That’s a sign. When the Messiah speaks, the youth will hear, and the Messiah is absolutely speaking. Brothers and sisters, Barack Obama to me, is a herald of the Messiah. Barack Obama is like the trumpet that alerts you something new, something better is on the way. A black man with a white mother became a savior to us. A black man with a white mother could turn out to be one who can lift America from her fall.” – Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan
“If Obama was going to take a stand he would have said something. When he wants to say something, he can.” Walid Kazziha, a professor at the American University in Cairo
“ANALYSIS – Obama silence on Gaza confirms low Arab expectations”
CAIRO, Dec 30 (Reuters) – Arab expectations that foreign policy changes will come small and slow when Barack Obama moves into the White House next month have been confirmed by his silence over Israel’s attacks in Gaza.
“BEST FRIENDS OF ISRAEL”
(Obama’s) choice of a foreign policy team, especially Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State and Rahm Emanuel as chief of staff, have raised doubts that much will change.
Mustapha el-Sayed of Cairo University said: “I am really pessimistic … because when I see the kind of people who surround President-elect Obama I find they are the best friends of Israel who do not dare to distance themselves from the positions of the Israeli government.”
The main Arab expectation from Obama is that he will at least take more interest in Middle East peace than his predecessor, who began to give it priority only in the latter stages of his presidency .
“Certainly having an Obama who will urge the players to talk, as opposed to a Bush who did not, makes a difference,” said Paul Salem, director of the Carnegie Institute’s Middle East Centre in Beirut.
“But Obama will not force Israel (into concessions). Politically he will not put large amounts of pressure on the Israelis,” Salem added.
Walid Kazziha, a professor at the American University in Cairo, said Obama would have to take bold steps if he wants to restore U.S. influence in the Middle East, widely seen as having greatly declined during eight years of Bush.
But the first signs do not suggest Obama will do that, he added. “If he was going to take a stand he would have said something. When he wants to say something, he can,” he said.
Sayed said he expected a tug of war between Obama advisers in favour of the status quo, closely allied with Israel, and between those who think differently.
“My impression is that the good friends of Israel will prevail at the end and this will contribute to a further erosion of U.S. influence in the area,” he added.
“Iran issues religious decree for Muslims to defend Hamas terrorists”
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