November 03, 2008
New-ish Month Open Thread
You know the drill. Try to be as penetrating.
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There was an FT article a week or so ago, which, IIRC, said that the MENA region was mostly fairly indifferent to the US election, but with Obama being very popular in Saudi Arabia.
Does this strike our 'Aqoul wothies as being right?
Posted by: Charles Stewart at November 3, 2008 09:38 AM
From my highly anecdotal evidence, I'd say Obama is popular with people everywhere in the Middle East, in so far as either of them is popular at all. Candidate #3, "they're all the same and nothing ever changes", seems to be in the lead.
With people in government, it might be another matter, depending on state interests and such.
Posted by: alle at November 3, 2008 04:38 PM
One suspects the Leb maronites hate hate hate him.
Posted by: Tom Scudder at November 4, 2008 08:35 AM
exactly why is he so popular there? what's being reported about him? after ralph nader's scathing indictment of him here, i can't see why anyone would be excited about him in the arab world.
Posted by: chemaatah at November 5, 2008 08:18 PM
I suspect he's popular there for the same reason he is here: a giant middle finger directed at George Bush and his fellows, and the change of direction implied from leading an opposition party.
Posted by: matthew hogan at November 9, 2008 01:33 PM
after ralph nader's scathing indictment of him here, i can't see why anyone would be excited about him in the arab world.
Surely, you jest. No one pays the slightest attention to Ralph Nader in the U.S. Does he have some weird cult following in MENA of which I am unaware? He certainly shares the region's penchant for magical thinking so I suppose he might strike a cord there.
He also has a flare for tortured prose the incomprehensibility of which resonates among people struggling with English as a second language everywhere.
Yet there is an asymmetry between those objectives and your political character that succumbs to contrary centers of power that want not "hope and change" but the continuation of the power-entrenched status quo.
I confess I stopped reading here rather than wade through the next 3000 words of Mr. Nader's letter.
Posted by: Anonymous at November 10, 2008 06:00 PM
you are of course right that nader would never be the messenger there. what i was trying (vainly) to get at is that i was a bit surprised that the points he made were not more widely known already in the arab world, before nader piped up. i would have thought the details of obama's trip to the area last summer, his support of an "undivided jerusalem", opposition to negotiations with the palestinian elected government, and other aipac hardliner positions would have struck a bigger chord there. clearly, i was mistaken.
Posted by: chemaatah at November 11, 2008 07:27 PM
Perception/Satisfaction is a function of expectations.
Expectations in MENA when it comes to Israel-related US policy are anywhere between zero and zero. Can't beat them on the downside.
I'd love to see Lounsbury's comments on Green Book Man's ostensible plans to abolish most ministries and dole out money to his people to buy services. I will be disappointed if the terms 'panache' and 'whanker' do not show up at least three times each.
Interesting. Would like to hear, myself.
Posted by: matthew hogan at November 14, 2008 06:04 PM
Posted by: dubaiwalla at November 14, 2008 06:16 PM
He's been doing it since the 80s at least. So what's new? (did he suspend the distribution at some point?).
apropo of nothing, and despite whatever crises may be drawing your attention, has anyone read AbdurRahman Munif's "Cities of Sand"?
I'm just getting into this novel, a fictionalized version of Saudi Arabian history, told through the fiction of an Arabian village that adapts to the arrival of Americans, with corruption and conflict following...
a bit heavy, the english version is reasonably translated by Paul Theroux (anyone who's read the arabic, how is the original?)
AbdurRahman Munif was previously a Saudi oil minister, and lost his citizenship for writing this...
Posted by: dawud at November 27, 2008 06:38 AM
(Passing through and not familiar with the book but but on an additional tanget can I get any positive show of hands for a mortaorium on titling any book dealing with MidEast affairs with the following words:
b - mirage
c - veil
Posted by: matthew hogan at November 27, 2008 12:19 PM
yeah, matthew, I would vote required 'reimagining'/'unbranding' sessions for all Harpers & associate publishers along the Atlantic coast, for all subjects to do with the academic milieu now termed "Area Studies"; Rafael Patai's book can be used as an object lesson in how far one can go wrong by staring at one's collective navel instead of, you know, talking *with* arabs, and Arabs (not to mention 'arabs) ;)
mind you, poor AbdulRahman Munif actually titled his book "Mudun al-Milh"; and for a former socialist oil engineer, passed away as a social critic a novelist in Syria...
Posted by: dawud at November 27, 2008 07:01 PM