As US Election Night becomes Election Week, media impatience, jabs abound in Middle East

Bahrain Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, has seven stratified layers created by various occupants from 2300 BC

Bahrain Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, has seven stratified layers created by various occupants from 2300 BC

BAHRAIN: The Middle East, like the rest of the globe, has been closely following the drama of the U.S. presidential election with heightened interest, unsure how it will play out and when the final results will be announced.

The region has been largely in the dark over how the Middle East will be impacted in the next four years since foreign policy discussions were never really on the lists of the candidates or the voters.

Beyond the ferocious divisions in the US on the election and the determined resilience of most Americans, the media has generally confined their coverage to reports, figures and numbers, and have been cautious not to comment on chaotic situations and not to engage in any form of speculation as to the outcome.

Some newspapers did venture into speculating what will happen and how the Middle East will be affected if President Donald Trump remains for another four years at the White House or if Joe Biden moves to the White House as the new president.

Several columnists have expressed exasperation with the prolonged election and the non-announcement of the results, contrasting the way elections are managed in other democracies with what is happening in the US.

The US election results have tired us as much as they excited us in the beginning, one columnist wrote.

“We have to deal with counted voices, voices not counted, voices before the judiciary, states in red and states in blue,” Samir Atta wrote in Sharq Al Awsat.

Lebanese columnist Sawsan Al Abtah said that she was shocked by the way the US election was turning.

“This is not the electoral image of America coveted by the world, taking place on the beat of joyful music, enthusiastic patriotic songs, and the fluttering of flocks of American flags. The two candidates appear with their families, as if they were characters in a romantic movie in which there is nothing but family love and solidarity, and America’s love and dream,” she wrote.

“In today’s election, the heated debates about the core issues evaporated. The debates were dwarfed to the point that they seemed shameful, and the moderator was forced to turn off the microphone in order to forcibly silence the candidate. This is not the America we know!”

Swasan lamented the sharp polarization and divisions between the wealthy and the poor, whites and blacks, the elderly and youth, the educated and workers, urbanites and rural dwellers, women and men.

“All headlines are suitable for disagreement when the leaders do not provide means to obtain seats. This is a burden that has become part of the American game. Most Americans believe they are heading to worse situations. And they are right,” she wrote.

Countries that have issues with the US and have borne the brunt of U.S. criticism for years are taking jabs at the US election.

TV stations focus on the videos of election-related violence, crowds with guns, skirmishes near the White House, inflammatory claims, boarded storefronts, confrontations with the police, verbal attacks and fraud allegations.

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