Mixed reactions to Obama's reelection

08 November 2012
Doha: Barack Obama's re-election as the US President against his Republican rival has evoked mixed reactions in Qatar.

Some Arabs felt that Obama was a better choice than Mitt Romney, especially in the context of US foreign policy. They said they were surprised at the level of happiness expressed by many Arabs and Muslims after the US elections.

Others, however, felt that with the US being a major role player in world politics, it is natural to be concerned.   

"I think it's normal to feel happy because he is the American President nearest to our culture," said a Qatari, while comparing Obama to Muhammad Ali Clay.

Some Americans here also said that although the re-election of Obama was a huge win for US domestic policy, he still needs to work on the foreign policy.

An American woman based here said that voting for Obama was like choosing the lesser evil of the two. 

"As an American, I am overjoyed that Obama won rather than Romney. For the domestic policy I think it was a huge win. The social policy was really divisive in this election, and Obama is much more progressive in terms of women's rights and many other social reforms," said Maria Hardman, a student of Gulf Studies at Qatar University.

She, however, expressed surprise at Obama not taking a more active role on critical issues like Syria or Bahrain.

"I think he needs to be held accountable for his actions - or lack thereof. I think Obama has a tremendous amount of ground to make up in terms of his foreign policy, especially in the Middle East region," said Hardman.

"The US foreign policy during Obama's first term also received criticism over the 'increased use of drones in Afghanistan and Pakistan, including Yemen most recently," she added.  

Meanwhile, many also marked Obama's victory with celebrations here. "Obama, yes we can - yes we did it again!" said an excited Junaid Yar Khalid. 

The social media was also abuzz with congratulations to Obama from Qatar. 

"Just went through the lobby of my hotel and told workers that Obama won re-election. Much happiness and smiles around," said a tweet.

© The Peninsula 2012


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