JAFFA, Israel – US President Barack Obama, currently on a visit to Saudi Arabia, received a tepid welcome – at least on social media.
A topic of much debate was King Salman’s decision not to greet Obama at the airport, sending the Governor of Mecca instead. Many wondered whether it was in response to the fact that upon his last visit to the United States, the King was greeted by Secretary of State John Kerry, and most agreed that the sour reception was Riyadh’s reaction to Washington’s refusal to stand by their Middle East escapades.
The hashtag #King_Salman_shuns_Obama was trending.
Abdul Rahman wrote: “I nearly cried when I learned about the King’s decision. It’s our right to give them a taste of their own medicine.”
جعلني ما أبكيك يأبو فهد يا تاج رأسي
المعاملة بالمثل حق …
— عبدالرحمن خطاب (@amakq1) April 21, 2016
“The King delivered two especially painful blows – one to Iran and the other to the West,” tweeted Dahtour. “Your Majesty, you’re the best.”
— دختور (@m_n_c_o) April 21, 2016
Doheim wrote: “Our Islamic education taught us good manners, but the lesson from the King’s cold shoulder is one: If you decide to become a Shi’ite slave, you should be taught a lesson.”
تربية ديننا واسلامنا يحث بالادب وحسن الخلق والمعاملة الحسنة
وتجاهل قائدنا طال عمره : لعبد الروافض تأديب
— أكسلنت (@doheim4) April 21, 2016
Angir6m responded by posting a picture of Obama with tears in his eyes, and writing ironically: “Since the King’s avoidance yesterday, Obama has been unable to stop crying and go to sleep.”
The Saudi regime and public opinion still bear grudges to Obama for what they saw as his excessive enthusiasm to reach last year’s nuclear deal with Iran. His low-key approach to the conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Yemen certainly didn’t help.
Saudi decision-makers were also outraged by an interview Obama gave to The Atlantic magazine last month in which he charged that Riyadh isn’t doing enough to quell terror.