DUBAI | Wed Nov 7, 2012
(Reuters) - 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."
U.S. embassy staff, Iraqi guests and ambassadors listen to a televised speech of U.S. re-elected President Barack Obama at the U.S. embassy in Baghdad November 7, 2012.
[Credit: Reuters/Khalid Mohammed/Pool]
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 program, 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.