As Americans celebrated Obama's victory in Chicago's Grant Park, Arabs, Israelis, and Iranians were sipping their morning coffee, watching live coverage of Barack Obama's victory speech. Some of them were even reading newspapers that carried the headlines, "Obama Victorious." Several newspapers took the gamble and predicted the outcome.
Barack Obama has become the first African-American president of the United States after a decisive victory saw him take the key battleground states of Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
To tens of thousands of supporters carrying slogans of "Change in America," the President-Elect declared:
"If there's anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, tonight is your answer."
For almost two years, people living in the Middle East have followed the U.S. presidential elections from afar, yet ever so close, thanks to more than 400 satellite television networks operating in the region. Coverage of the U.S. presidential elections on major Arab networks rivaled American cable networks with Al Jazeera leading the pack. Beginning with the primaries and ending with wall- to- wall coverage on Election Day, Arab analysts and commentators struggled to explain the complexity of the U.S. presidential elections to their audiences. They even resorted to familiar graphics and gimmicks, such as the electronic map made famous by John King of CNN, in an attempt to give their viewers a crash course on American civics.
In today's papers, most editorials hailed Barack Obama's election victory. Several commentators on television said that his victory ushers in a new beginning for change in American attitudes toward the Middle East. But several others remain skeptical; many analysts believe that Obama will certainly be a breath of fresh air, but they doubt that there will be a significant change in U.S. policies towards the region. What I found most interesting was which topics most networks in the Middle East decided to cover on Election Day: discussions about the U.S. election's outcome and its effects on the Middle East economy, the fascination with Michelle Obama, Iranians simultaneously celebrating the 29th Anniversary of the storming of the U.S. Embassy and praising Obama, and Israelis questioning whether Obama is good for Israel.
The topic of race was also prominent throughout the elections.
"Will America elect a president whose father is black and Muslim?" asked many commentators throughout the campaign.
On an Egyptian morning show, a presenter beamed when he declared Obama victorious," This proves that Americans are not racists," he boasted.
Jamal Dajani produces the Mosaic Intelligence Report on Link TV