JUST UNDER THE EAST AND ONE STOP AWAY.

Here's a piece analyzing some writing by Arab journalists disappointed by the supposed adjustments to Barack Obama's Middle East policy. While the senator could improve America's image in the region with his Muslim background and his opposition to the Iraq war, Arab intellectuals are still concerned about his outreach to AIPAC and Israel.

I get the sense that some of these Arab writers aren't being fair to Obama (just like their American counterparts who are trying to argue that there is no difference between the two presidential candidates' Iraq policies). Despite his need to make grand gestures towards Israel, Obama's foreign policy instincts are much, much more balanced than either GWB's or McCain's. 

Seeking more clarity, I e-mailed Marc Lynch, an expert on Arab media, who confirms the backlash but suggests that Arab media are confused by both candidates' positions on Iraq. One potentially telling fact: Lynch breaks down the op-eds he tracks into "roughly 75% Obama-focused, 25% equally focused on Obama and McCain, and 0% focused exclusively on McCain." That suggests that, whatever their opinions of the candidates, these writers find Obama much more dynamic than McCain. That should be an asset if he does become president. 

--Tim Fernholz

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