Arab World Yawns at Obama Win

Relief Not Exuberance Greets News of Reelection

By Reuers

Published November 07, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

A tweet from one of Saudi Arabia’s most influential clerics summed up the Middle East’s response to Barack Obama’s re-election:

“Obama isn’t good,” tweeted Salman al-Oudah, “But he is the lesser evil.”

After four years during which he largely kept Washington on the sidelines while the Arab Spring transformed the Middle East, Obama’s re-election was met more with relief than joy in a region that welcomed him in 2008 and still has bitter memories of his Republican predecessor George W. Bush.

There was cautious hope that he could reach a deal with Iran to defuse tension over its nuclear programme, and prod Israel and the Palestinians closer to reviving their frozen peace talks. Above all, people said Obama was less likely than his Republican opponent Mitt Romney to start another war.

“Obama was the better choice,” said Cairo schoolboy Mohammed Gamal. “At least no war had happened in his four-year term.”

Amin, a Tehran filmmaker, told Reuters by telephone: “We hate the policies of the U.S. and Israel, but Obama’s policies are wiser. The only chance we have for the situation not to get worse was an Obama victory.”

Mira, a 32-year-old dissident Iranian journalist reached by telephone, said: “Romney seemed willing to take U.S. foreign policy back to its Bush-era belligerent xenophobic milieu.”

The Middle East is hardly a region where any U.S. president can expect effusive praise, but surveys have shown that most there wanted Obama to win, if only because of bitter memories of Bush and the widely resented war in Iraq.

“An Obama win was expected and he is the best at this stage,” said Cairo doctor Mohamed el-Sanusy. “Let us not forget that Romney is a little Bush.”


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • When is a legume not necessarily a legume? Philologos has the answer.
  • "Sometime in my childhood, I realized that the Exodus wasn’t as remote or as faceless as I thought it was, because I knew a former slave. His name was Hersh Nemes, and he was my grandfather." Share this moving Passover essay!
  • Getting ready for Seder? Chag Sameach! http://jd.fo/q3LO2
  • "We are not so far removed from the tragedies of the past, and as Jews sit down to the Seder meal, this event is a teachable moment of how the hatred of Jews-as-Other is still alive and well. It is not realistic to be complacent."
  • Aperitif Cocktail, Tequila Shot, Tom Collins or Vodka Soda — Which son do you relate to?
  • Elvis craved bacon on tour. Michael Jackson craved matzo ball soup. We've got the recipe.
  • This is the face of hatred.
  • What could be wrong with a bunch of guys kicking back with a steak and a couple of beers and talking about the Seder? Try everything. #ManSeder
  • BREAKING: Smirking killer singled out Jews for death in suburban Kansas City rampage. 3 die in bloody rampage at JCC and retirement home.
  • Real exodus? For Mimi Minsky, it's screaming kids and demanding hubby on way down to Miami, not matzo in the desert.
  • The real heroines of Passover prep aren't even Jewish. But the holiday couldn't happen without them.
  • Is Handel’s ‘Messiah’ an anti-Semitic screed?
  • Meet the Master of the Matzo Ball.
  • Pierre Dulaine wants to do in his hometown of Jaffa what he did for kids in Manhattan: teach them to dance.
  • "The first time I met Mick Jagger, I said, 'Those are the tackiest shoes I’ve ever seen.'” Jewish music journalist Lisa Robinson remembers the glory days of rock in her new book, "There Goes Gravity."
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.