By Ali Alarabi
Hillary is being considered for the top job at the State Department? Well, what does that mean for American politics and more, what does it mean for the Middle East?
Whether it will be Hillary Clinton or Bill Richardson at the State Department it matters very little from a larger perspective. On the outset, and at any event it looks like we are heading for a third Bill Clinton term. President-Elect Obama is filling his administration with Clintonites from Rham Emanuel for the White House Chief of Staff, to Obama’s fellow Chicago’s affluent Hide Park neighborhood as his senior advisor, to Robert Reich who is on Obama team of economic advisors and formerly Clinton’s labor secretary, and soon we will hear the name of Dennis Ross to be handed over the Middle East file to pick up where he himself left it during the Clinton era.
What does Hillary as secretary for state mean for the Middle East? Well, it means a lot, not that things will change drastically for the Palestinians who seemed to be doomed in American politics no matter who or what party is in power in Washington.
As for the Iraqis, they are worried that Obama, might use the Lebanese model and leave them to blow each other apart before letting Iran occupy them to restore some kind of order only to discover, the Iraqis that is, shockingly, that it costs less lives and less oil to learn to live with each other in one country called Iraq.
The Syrians, in the meantime, are breathing a sigh of relief that they dodged the Republican bullet. Thanks to the Iraqi resistance and violence that kept the American military busy chasing Abu Musab and the on and off Muqtada and his street armies.
The Iranians are content with the unfolding events, but afraid to be too content because the gun is still pointed at their head and they might or might not survive the bullet, which might be an American or Israeli or both.
The Israelis, however, are the biggest winners no matter who is in the White House. George Bush said he had a “ Vision” of two state solutions, and said he had a “ Road Map” to solve the conflict and also said he wants to see two states in historical Palestine. Of course, none of that happened. Israel went to on to build more illegal Jewish settlements and built a massive Berlin-like wall on Palestinian land. George Bush forgot that he uttered the words “vision” or “ Road Map” instead he went on saying that Israel is for the Jews only, meaning that Christians and Muslim Arabs who are citizens of the state of Israel and also happened to have been living there prior to the establishing the state of Israel by just about several thousand years have no business to be in this “Jewish only state”
Will Obama be any different? Yes, but not by much.
Barack Obama just hired Rham Emanuel whose own mother and father, who live in Israel essentially said that he would be the voice of the state of Israel in the White House. Great! And we also have David Axelrod, the former Chicago Tribune reporter, as his top senior advisor who also happens to be Jewish-American, not that it matters really, although David’s politics and his Jewish heritage that I very mush respect, is by no mean comparable to the Neoconic Militarist Elliot Abrams and Douglas Fieth who along with others brought this country to its financial knees on top of two unpopular lost wars.
Hillary, in her days as first lady, was much more moderate and one might say even “Nicer” or “ Sweeter” than Hilary the Senator from New York. On the Middle East, Hillary went as far saying the almost taboo words of supporting the Palestinian people’s right in a state they call their own on their occupied territory before she was slammed with a barrage of attacks by the vociferous pro-Israeli lobby.
Then what happened? Well, Hillary decided to run for the New York senate seat of then retiring Senator Daniel Patrick Monyahan where Jewish Americans maintain an a hyper-organized presence.
So what did Hillary do to win that seat? Since in America all politics are local even when they are international, she simply became “mean” and more pro-Israel than the Hasidic Jews in the Upper East Side. Hilary did not transform herself, however, to be an average Bible-Belt type supporter of Israel, but rather miraculously changed her skin to be become a zealous supporter of Israel, and an anti-Arab, to the delight of her constituency. Of course
The question is, how will Obama behave as a president as far as the Middle East: will he be like George Bush who simply handed it over to Dick Cheney who handed it over to Elliot Abrams who in turn handed it over to Ariel Sharon?
I don’t know Obama’s Middle East politics but I know the politics of the men he hired to deal with it and it does not look encouraging!
The Arabs watched the US election and cheered for Obama and even cried when he won as if Barack Obama was running as an Arab Nationalist or a Nasserist or even a modern day liberator of Jerusalem Salah Aldeen who through the hand of God will bring them deliverance. The American people did not elect Barack Obama to solve the problems the Arabs have in their countries!
Obama might end up becoming another George Bush or Bill Clinton who have disrespected, insulted, and humiliated 300 million Arabs for 16 years. The Arab people need to learn that “ Change” yes the same Change Barack Obama the candidate kept hammering us with, can only be brought by none other than themselves and that they can convince President Barack Obama to take their legitimate rights and interests more seriously and not through the prism of interests of the state Israel.
-Ali Alarabi is an Arab-American writer and journalist and member of Arab writers group syndicate. He can be reached at: email@example.com.
By Ali Alarabi