At various protests, including the one pictured above in Jakarta, President elect Obama was treated as if he were outgoing President Bush. The battles in Gaza seem to have shortened the honeymoon for the incoming administration. And it is hard to see any presidential meetings with Iran, such as those suggested by President elect Obama, considering that the Iranians are backing Hamas, and are up to shenanigans like these:
the mullahs have organized raucous demonstrations in front of numerous embassies, including those of Egypt (with chants of “Death to Mubarak”), Jordan, Turkey, Great Britain, Germany and today (imagine!) France. These demonstrations were not mere gestures;
the regime’s seriousness was underlined on Sunday, the 4th, when it offered a million-dollar reward to anyone who killed Mubarak (the Iranians called it a “revolutionary execution”). Significantly, the announcement came at a rally of the Basij, the most radical security force in the country, at which the Revolutionary Guards official Forooz Rejaii spoke. The Egyptians take it seriously; they have been on alert of late, looking for the possibility of a Mumbai-type operation in Cairo or elsewhere.
At the same time, the regime intensified its murderous assault against its own people, most notably hanging nine people on Christmas Eve, and assaulting the headquarters of Nobel Prize Winner Shirin Ebadi.
In light of the harsh realities of the world the new President is entering, it is astonishing to continue to read fatuous statements like this from American commentators: “For a brief period, America’s new president will bask in universal goodwill. The Arab world, Muslims generally, and Palestinians in particular, have unprecedented reason to believe they will be heard….Israel must cease fire, respect Palestinian rights, and keep agreements; Palestinians must halt rockets, repudiate terror, and empower moderates toward a new unity. Obama must draw the line with both.” And if the Iranian backed Hamas refuses to respond to the mellifluous tones of our new leader, then what? As someone once said: welcome to the party, pal.