Arab leaders congratulated Joe Biden on his election victory, but some people in the Middle East expressed cynicism over U.S. policy even if he pursues diplomacy rather than President Donald Trump’s blunt approach to the region’s myriad problems.
“I was positive that Trump will not make it to a second term. He was too hostile almost towards everybody. He is (more) fit to be a mafia leader than a president of the United States,” said Adel Salman, 40, a high school English teacher in Baghdad.
“Let’s wait and see with the Biden presidency. And I’m saying to all Iraqis don’t count your chickens before they hatch. Is Biden better for Iraq? Let’s wait and see his acts.”
Biden may face some of his most complex foreign policy challenges in the region: from wars in Libya and Yemen to reassuring the United States’ Gulf Arab allies that Washington can protect them from enemy Iran, even though he has said he would return to the international nuclear deal with Tehran.
“Trump was our friend, he loved Saudi Arabia and protected it from enemies. He handcuffed Iran. Biden will let Iran free again and this will hurt us and the whole region,” said Mohamed Al Anaizy, a Saudi Uber driver.
While Trump had cozy relationships with what critics say are increasingly authoritarian leaders in countries such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Turkey, Biden has promised to take a tough line on human rights.