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Obama loses a great deal of his charm

By-Samar Ali Ezzat | 5 October 2009

“THE US woke up a few days ago to find that their 'black superman 'whom they thought capable of convincing any gathering of what he proposes has failed the test of the Olympic committee vote ”,wrote Mohamed Moustafa Sherdi of Al-Wafd opposition newspaper,yesterday.Obama and his wife backed the bid of his hometown Chicago to host the 2016 Olympic Games.But the US came out of the vote from the first round. Sherdi highlighted the attack of the Republicans on Obama

,considering that it would have been much more important for the President to focus on a home problem than to attend the vote in person.The columnist believes that the loss would affect the image of Obama in his country.“Obama received a blow from outside his major court,that is politics.So while Pele, whose country [Brazil ] has the pleasure of hosting the Olympics was dancing in jubilation,Obama returned home to reconsider his accounts now that he has lost a great deal of his charm.”Makram Mohamed Ahmed of Al-Ahram semi-official newspaper wrote on the same issue comparing what happened to Farouq Hosni,the Egyptian candidate for the UNESCO chief 's post,to what happened with the US.Despite the emotional address,which US First Lady Michelle Obama delivered on behalf of her husband in Copenhagen,where the vote was taking pace,and the preparations taken four years ago for the event plus the $50 million campaign, Chicago was excluded at a very early stage of the voting,noted Ahmed.“Obama is today being criticised for taking the chance of going to the Danish capital without really having sufficient signals for the probable win of the US,hence he has embarrassed himself and his position,” he added.“Just as Hosni complained of the political shadows that engulfed the voting process,the Americans,too,are complaining for the same reasons.” Strategic regional moves Shifting from the interaction of sports and politics to pure politics,Wahid Abdel- Meguid of Al-Wafd believes that tensions between Damascus and Baghdad in the wake of the August blasts in Iraq can be defused despite the unproclaimed failure of Turkish mediation.“The crisis is not an extension of the traditional three-decade long conflict between the two countries.”Abdel-Meguid argued yesterday that the relations between the two countries had not had in the past the effect it has today on regional interaction and the future of the Middle East.“For this reason,the conflict in the past suited the Arab system well.But again that was perhaps because Syria constituted one side of a triangle that included Cairo and Riyadh,” he suggested..The writer added that Syria,however,had adopted today another direction by entering into alliance with Iran and by looking forward to a regional role that takes this alliance as a springboard.In his view,the suggestion put forth by the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad while in Tehran two months ago to establish a union of the quartet:Syria,Iran,Turkey and Iraq is but an expression of the aforementioned new Syrian orientation.Abdel-Meguid believes then that the current Syrian-Iraqi crisis could be solved should Syria reconsider certain aspects of its regional policies. Meanwhile Mohamed el-Shama ',writingin Al-Akhbar semi-official daily,lashed out at Syria,which he believes has been trying to polarise the Iraqi file in co-ordination with Iran,ever since President Obama announced his country 's intention to pull out of Iraq.“Iran finds that the withdrawal of the US from Iraq would mean focussing on theIranian nuclear programme.For this reason,Iran wishes to keep the US engaged in theIraqi quagmire for the longest possible time.Tehran realised that the evacuation of 120,000 American soldiers from Iraq could increase the chances for a military operation against Iran.A similar threat faces Syria the'hostile-friend 'of Iraq,who has always competed over regional power,” he wrote..El-Shama 'continued that unless Syria contains the situation and responds to theArab League resolutions against the evidence submitted by the Iraqis holding Syria responsible for the blasts and assassinations in Iraq,the Arabs would be facing a serious crisis.In the aftermathAbbass el-Tarabili of Al-Wafd does not approve the Central Bank of Egypt 's policy whereby the interest rates of local and foreign currency deposits have been cut several times in a year.He explained yesterday:“The measure apparently targets the national interest,but it is against the interest of depositors.The reduction has prompted money investment scams that have taken advantage of the people 's need for the value of the interest to lead a decent life.”The bank experts might have believed thatthe cuts in the interest rates would encourage investment in small projects,argued the writer.“But the fact is that many depositors prefer to save their money in banks to avoid market fluctuations and tax problems. Moreover,a large segment of pensioners have opted to deposit their money in banks to live on the returns.”El-Tarabili maintained that the decision is a faulty one because depositors will be obliged to withdraw part of the deposits for consumption purposes,which will increase inflation.Escalating property tax 'necessary 'In the meantime,Soliman Gouda ,who contributes a daily column to Al-Masry Al- Youm independent newspaper,regarded the controversial property tax to be effective next January in Egypt,as a kind of the escalating tax,which Mahmoud Abdel-Aziz the former Chairman of the National Bank has strongly called for.“He is still convinced in the necessity of levying an escalating tax for a limited period on the rich for the sake of the poor,” the writer said. Gouda quoted an expert as saying that 96.5 per cent of Egyptians would not fall under the real estate tax,which many citizensoppose,since their housing units are valued at less than the minimum segment of the tax.Gouda claimed that if Egyptians were to judge the policy of Minister of Finance Youssef Boutros Ghali with their minds not hearts they would applaud him for what he is doing.The best of neighbours againOn the back page of Al-Messa evening daily yesterday,Mohamed Fouda commented on the decision of the Libyan authorities to cancel the new measures it imposed on Egyptians seeking work in Libya,only 24 hours only after they were applied.The measures,whereby Egyptians were required to have a work visa and $l000 before entering the country,caused much confusion in the Egyptian airport. Fouda lauded the Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi for his keen interest in the welfare of Egyptians in his country and on preserving the stability of relations with Egypt his next-door neighbour.“Vision and policies may differ from one country and other.But Gaddafi has always sought to preserve strong relations between the Egyptian and Libyan peoples.”Ministry of 'Ventilation ' Wael Qandil of Al-Shorouq independent newspaper,meanwhile,accused the Government ministers,who are responsible for the swine flu file,of bringing the entire country into a vicious circle of phobic fear of the virus at the start of the school year.“The ultimate aim of Minister of Education Youssri el-Gamal has come down to encouraging students to go to their schools regardless of the quality of education offered,” Qandil wrote..“Minister el-Gamal has become so concerned with soap and disinfectants that he has turned his back on the problems of the educational process.It is as if he were running a hygiene test,” the journalist claimed.He sarcastically suggested changing the name of the Ministry of Education to that of Ventilation!
 

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