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Don’t let us down, Mr. President
Linda Heard, an Arab News journalist, comments on the eagerly awaited inauguration of Barack Obama, the 44th US President, and the first African-American to rule the United States.
January 20, 2009 3:08 by Linda Heard
Commentators in the Middle East have prematurely cut short the Obama love fest. Many feel disappointed by his Cabinet choices, more tired old guard than sparkling new lights. Heading the State Department will be Hillary Clinton, an avowed supporter of Israel. Other familiar pro-Israel faces to join the Obama administration include Dennis Ross, Daniel Kurtzer and Martin Indyk.
We should also not forget his Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, whose 81-year-old Israeli father was formerly a member of the Irgun, a terrorist organization. When asked about his son’s affiliations, he was quoted as saying, “Obviously, he will influence the president to be pro-Israel. Why shouldn’t he do it? What is he, an Arab? He’s not going to clean the floor of the White House”.
Obama has further been criticized here for watering down such previously stated goals as holding direct unconditional talks with Iran, immediate withdrawal of US troops from Iraq and closing Guantanamo, which we now learn may take more than 100 days to effect.
In the case of Guantanamo, which he apparently finds abhorrent, what’s stopping him airlifting remaining detainees to a secure facility within the US before putting them through the American justice system? Those found guilty could be imprisoned like any other criminal while the innocent should be sent back to their countries. Those afraid to return home, fearing persecution or worse, could be offered asylum in Western countries responsible for their illegal incarceration.