Waynedale Political Commentaries


The election of Barak Hussein Obama was the first major event in America for some time that brought not protests but elation across the Muslim world. Many Muslims celebrated the election victory of the first African-American with an Islamic name by offering “Korban” or animal sacrifices. For millions of Arabs, Turks, and other Muslim nations, Obama’s election victory represented the end to a perceived war on Islam waged by the West for the last eight years. Even the global economic crisis failed to overshadow this historically huge event.

Just as the clouds of the bad feelings from the Iraq war and tension with Iran had started to break, Israel stepped back onto stage center of global attention by unleashing one of the deadliest attacks on Gaza in many years.  Preceding Israeli air strikes, Palestinian militia had fired dozens of mid-range rockets into Israel, resulting in Israel’s escalating the conflict with lethal force.

As with almost any conflict involving Israel and the Palestinians, the response in the Middle Eastern press loudly and clearly places the blame not only on Israel, but squarely upon the United States. The fact is that most Middle Easterners and Muslims view Israel as an extension of the United States, if not vice versa. If Israel attacks Gaza, the buck stops in the Oval Office.

No one can dispute the close alliance of the US and Israel. As the only democracy in the Middle East, with a strong history of support from the US since its inception, it seems unlikely that Israel could undertake such a major military offensive without some tacit approval from the US administration. Since this latest excursion into Gaza happened on George W. Bush’s watch, albeit, during literally his last hours as president, the full displeasure and disapproval issuing forth from the Middle East has not been directed at President Elect Obama. But given some of Obama’s recent picks for his administration, like Rahm Immanuel, Muslims who just recently thought Obama’s election was the dawn of a new age, have started casting a worried glance in his direction.

Before Obama even sits down at his personally chosen desk in the Oval Office, a huge portion of the human race watches closely to see whose side he will take. Whether inadvertently or not, by invading Gaza with such a dramatic “shock and awe” attack in the last week of Bush’s administration, Israel has thrown down the gauntlet for Obama, forcing him to come out within hours of his new presidency showing where his sympathies lie. Unlike his senate days when he often just cast a “present” vote, his best attempts to appear neutral in the black and white world of the Middle East will not work. If he fails to strongly condemn Israel and defend the honor of the Muslim world, the joyful feelings of the last few weeks will quickly turn cold. It will be a short honeymoon.


Editors Note: Ron Coody is a missionary and writer who has moved his family from Waynedale to Istanbul, Turkey.

The Waynedale News Staff

Ron Coody, Istanbul, Turkey

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