Election 2012: The Middle East

Obama seen as 'lesser of two evils'

The U.S. presidential election naturally received heavy coverage around the globe, with broadcasters in most nations devoting plenty of airtime to live coverage, even if time zones worked against them. The global news media across all outlets weighed in with hope, concern and sometimes, biting satire.

Just as in the U.S., people in the Middle East took to Twitter and the Internet to voice their response to President Obama’s re-election.

A parody Twitter account, @ArabicObama, which has more than 250,000 followers, may have been most active, according to Dubai-based Gulf News.

In a mock address to the Arab world it said: “Don’t go to work today. … Stay up with us, the American people. I will call your governments to get you a day off.”

More seriously, Mideast reactions were mixed — showing relief, and modest hope at best, that the U.S. president will be able to find America’s footing in the troubled region.

“Obama isn’t good. But he is the lesser evil,” tweeted influential Saudi cleric Salman al-Oudah, director of the Arabic edition of the website Islam Today, as reported by Reuters.

An editorial in Abu Dhabi-based daily the National took a similar, though a bit more upbeat, tack: “Given two terms — and two wars — of his predecessor, simply not doing more harm is a welcome departure.”

A pre-result poll on the website of independent Iraqi satcaster Al Sumaria, asking if a new president would change U.S. policy in Iraq, showed only 32.7% respondents choosing “yes” and 67.3% clicking “no.”

Satcaster Al Jazeera, which has the widest reach in the Middle East, gave the Obama re-election story big play on its English-language website. Significantly, a video stream of its “Inside Story” segment titled, “Is a nuclear free Middle East possible?” also played prominently.

Election 2012: The world view
France | U.K. | Germany | Russia | Mexico | The Middle East | Israel | Latin America | China

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