Arab reaction to Obama victory: no champagne just yet but lesser of the two evils comes through

Published November 7th, 2012 - 08:33 GMT
Iraqis keep a close eye on the US elections
Iraqis keep a close eye on the US elections

Middle Easterners waited with baited breath for the announcement of Romney’s concession today. It was a hollow victory for many in the Arab world, who complained of drone attacks and civilian deaths under President Obama; but most believed the less of the two evils won. 

Egyptians were in their usual comedic spirits, having just lived through a much more momentous election in their own country. They took to their Facebook accounts to comment on how Obama took off his jacket during his victory speech - apparently to show he stood without bullet-proof vest!

Others joked that in most places in the Arab world, the Democrat’s stage would have been stormed by angry Republicans with AK47s and sticks. But on a more serious note, many Arabs worried about the new President’s stance on Israel, Syria and Muslims living in the US. 

Israeli president, Binyamin Netanyahu offered begrudging congratulations to Obama, saying he would continue working in collaboration with the US President to ensure his country’s “security interests”. Danny Ayalon, Israel’s deputy foreign minister, added his support: “President Obama will be an excellent President for Israel”, he wrote. 

Other members of the Israeli parliament made reference to the cracks in the Israel-US relationship under Obama, while Arabs sighed in resignation at the futility of the plight of Palestine.

Not exactly an Arab himself although currently roaming round the region, UK PM, David Cameron, said he was keen to get the work going already and wanted to talk to Obama about Syria first off. His recent stance on Syrian president Assad landed him few Arab fans, after he suggested that the dictator be allowed safe passage until the end of the war.

Arab activists were quick to point out how little things had changed for Muslim-Americans who, under Obama, continued to undergo racial profiling while traveling around their country.

“Despite Obama’s beautiful speech, if you are a religious (and bearded) Muslim youth in America today, you are very likely to come under the FBI’s radar”, wrote one tweep.

In the end, there was a sigh of relief throughout much of the Middle East, as netizens pointed to the numbers: so Obama might kill a few thousand in the region… it was less than Romney’s potential tens of thousands.


 What do you think Obama's victory means for the Middle East? Is he the lesser of two the two evils? Tell us what you think below.


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