September 3rd, 2008
12:56 PM ET

Arabs eye RNC

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/09/03/art.rncconvention.jpg]

Octavia Nasr |
CNN senior editor for Arab affairs

Arab media focused on the Republican National Convention with the same intense interest it gave the Democrats a week earlier...

On the Dubai-based channel Al-Arabiya, the coverage began on a positive note highlighting the choice and timing of John McCain's running mate announcement - the day after Obama’s acceptance speech in a packed Denver stadium.

Hisham Melhem is Al-Arabiya’s US Affairs analyst. He said, "McCain surprised everyone by taking an historic step and nominating Sarah Palin to his ticket. This strategy forced the media to focus on his pick at the expense of Obama's speech at the conclusion of the DNC."

Arab media compared and contrasted both tickets on various shows and in opinion editorials. In the London-based Al-Hayat newspaper, Jihad el-Khazen wrote, "US voters can now choose between two equal tickets: A young candidate with an old running mate or an elderly candidate with a very young running mate."

Throughout the week, the attention shifted at times from the Republican Convention to developments of Hurricane Gustav and Senator McCain’s efforts to assist the victims. Anchor Abdel Rahim Fuqaraa’ of Al-Jazeera wondered whether "Gustav, at the end, will be a blessing or a nemesis for Senator McCain." In his editorial in the Saudi-owned Asharq Al-Awssat, Hussein Shobokshi offered his opinion that, "Even nature is siding with Obama as Hurricane Gustav forced the cancellation of many events at the Republican Convention."

In addition to Gustav, the anti-war demonstrations at the Republican Convention got a lot of coverage on Arab media. As Al-Arabiya's correspondent Pierre Ghanem concluded, "The convention floor was loud with Republican supporters. Outside, the noise from Gustav and the anti-war demonstrators was louder."

Filed under: Global 360° • Octavia Nasr • Raw Politics
soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Larry

    I'm surprised that the obama camp is not all over this and saying that obama was taken out of context, etc.

    September 3, 2008 at 3:40 pm |
  2. cvantrim

    The USA can do with out Arab Oil, We did it from 1942 to 1946
    It was WW2 then. We were all American's first . Our familys ,God and partys came in last. All of us working as Americans can do it now.

    September 3, 2008 at 3:04 pm |
  3. Cindy

    I am very sure that the Arabs are extremely interested in who wins this election. But as far as oil goes and the US not getting any from them anymore they all had a good laugh at that.

    After Obama's speech last week at the DNC the Arabs all laughed and said taking the US off of Arab oil in 10 years is next to impossible and easier said than done. That even with "greener" alternatives the US doesn't pump enough of it's own oil to not buy any at all from any one else. That is a misnomer told by Obama. Per The Saudi Gazette...

    The US uses about 21 million barrels of oil products a day. Even if it cuts oil demand by about 10 percent, equivalent to Gulf oil imports, it is likely to continue to rely on oil imports and make no distinction as to where it is pumped, energy experts say.

    Farkhanda Syed Bukhari, a professor at the AMA International University in Bahrain, found it hard to believe Obama's statement. "It is a big statement," Bukhari said. "It has not been done in the past, and it will not work now."

    Kamil Hassan, a Saudi government engineer, said the alternative energy sources envisioned would "never be sufficient to compensate for America's huge appetite for oil for a long, long time simply because imported oil is an all-so-essential commodity supporting the US economy."

    "It would take at least 50 years to implement, Hassan said. "It has not been done in the past, and will not work now."


    September 3, 2008 at 1:19 pm |