...and why the Mid-East is doing a U-turn -- from ecstasy in Barack Obama's election to unease and depression when the President-elect named Rahm Emanuel as his chief of staff.
Here's from "The Middle East" Blog.
Barack Obama chose Rahm Emanuel to be his chief of staff not for his Middle East policy expertise but his Beltway experience and savvy. Nicknamed Rahmbo, Emanuel was Bill Clinton's scrappy White House political director--he taught that president the Hebrew word for balls, baytzim--and has served three terms in congress.
Yet, news of Emanuel's appointment is causing a stir in the Middle East. It's being met with some elation in Israel, a country that has been notably uneasy about an Obama presidency, and some despair in the Arab world, which had largely embraced Obama.
An Oxford-educated Arab friend called Thursday night to ask me in a tone of deep disappointment, "Did you notice how in the span of 24 hours Egyptians went from being ecstatic to being depressed about Obama?"
The Arab News in Jeddah, whose editorials are a good reflection of the Arab mainstream, did an astounding somersault on Friday. Just the previous day, the paper hailed the "symbol of hope and change" in the U.S., saying Obama's historic election "threatens the cosy Washington consensus. We are, therefore, embarking on exciting times.
" After hearing of Emanuel's appointment, the paper headlined its next editorial "Don't pin much hope on Obama." Arab expectations, the paper warned, "are likely to be dashed, generating a great deal of pain and resentment...The new team may turn out to be as pro-Israeli as the one it is replacing."