The president-elects contradictory statements mean many people in the region watch him as a blank canvas, a strongman and an accelerant of US decline
Despite Donald Trumps anti-Muslim rhetoric, talk of banning Muslims from America, and open resentment towards Syrian refugees, he has some advocates in the Countries of the middle east. Authoritarian governments see him as a strongman figure who will induce deals with other strongmen like themselves.
Some of the Gulf elites said he hoped that, as a tough-talking Republican, he will be harder on Iran than Barack Obama. Trump called the bargain struck by Obama on Irans nuclear programme a disaster and the worst bargain ever negotiated.
Conversely, the revolutionary establishment in Tehran greets Trumps election because it thinks this will accelerate what it sees as inevitable US decline. For many others probably the majority of Middle Easterners there is simply a sense that neither nominee had much to offer the region, and that US leaders are all largely the same.
Trumps differed and contradictory statements on Countries of the middle east policy, lack of a policy or military track record, and very limited squad of foreign policy advisers have left a blank canvas on to which these various commentators can project their own wishful thinking.
Had Hillary Clinton won, her foreign policy stances would have been unusually predictable, given her extensive track record and an advisory squad full of familiar faces. By contrast, Trumps foreign policy stances on many issues are uncertain, and have been underanalysed, as so much of the professional foreign policy analysis world has, incorrectly, judged him to be stupid, mad and incapable of winning.
Some conclusions can be drawn, however. Trump has repeatedly conveyed his respect for strongmen, saying that even bad guys such as Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi could is helpful in fighting terrorism. In past interviews he praised China for the Tiananmen Square crackdown while criticising Mikhail Gorbachev for losing control of the Soviet Union.