What regular Middle Easterners think of Donald Trump

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What regular Middle Easterners think of Donald Trump

President Donald Trump waves as he boards Air Force One prior to departing from Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland.
Saul Loeb | AFP | Getty Images

Donald Trump is embarking on his first trip abroad, and the people of the Middle East have surprisingly diverse views about the U.S. president.

The president visits Saudi Arabia and Israel before moving on to Europe. The tour marks the president's first step on the world stage and will include talks with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz and his deputy crown prince on a $100 billion arms deal, as well as discussions on fighting in Iraq, Syria and Yemen.

Trump is also expected to deliver a major speech addressing radical Islamic terrorism. He will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem and the Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem.

In anticipation of the trip, Reuters photographers captured viewpoints from people across the Middle East regarding the president and his policies. What follows is a sampling of their views:

—CNBC's Adam Jeffery contributed to this report

  • Djamel Bouktech, 66, merchant in Algiers, Algeria

    "I think it's just a simple courtesy visit, because the Arabs of the Middle East are and will always be friends and strong allies of the USA. They have common interests also. This will have a positive effect for the allies of the USA and negative for the others in the Middle East in the long term because of the fragility of the region."

    Djamel Bouktech, 66, sells dates at his shop in the old city of Algiers, Algeria. "I think it's just a simple courtesy visit because the Arabs of the Middle East are and will always be friends and strong allies of the USA. They have common interests also," Bouktech said. "This will have a positive effect for the allies of the USA and negative for the others in the Middle East in the long term because of the fragility of the region."
    Ramzi Boudina | Reuters
  • Abdulwali Ahmed Qadhi of Sanaa, Yemen

    "What Trump is doing in the Middle East is terrorizing, just terrorizing. An idiot with no policy but terrorizing. He wants countries to recognize Israel."

    Sanaa resident Abdulwali Ahmed Qadhi, on a bridge in the old city of Sanaa, Yemen. "What Trump is doing in the Middle East is terrorizing, just terrorizing. An idiot with no policy but terrorizing. He wants countries to recognize Israel," Qadhi said.
    Khaled Abdullah | Reuters
  • Somar Hazim, 35, pub operator in Old Damascus, Syria

    "The change is his Syria policy based on interests, in the sense that there's no clear methodology. As for the issue of arming the Kurds, I do not oppose this as long as the goal is fighting a common enemy for the Syrian state, which is Daesh" — another name for ISIS — "provided that these weapons are not exploited to create a partitioned idea of Syria."

    Somar Hazim, 35, inside his pub in Old Damascus, Syria. "The change is his Syria policy based on interests, in the sense that there's no clear methodology," Hazim said. "As for the issue of arming the Kurds, I do not oppose this as long as the goal is fighting a common enemy for the Syrian state, which is Daesh, provided that these weapons are not exploited to create a partitioned idea of Syria."
    Omar Sanadiki | Reuters
  • Ali Bassem, 26, Iraqi Emergency Response Division, Mosul, Iraq

    "He is a hero. He got Daesh out of Iraq. He is cooperative with the Iraqi people and we and the Americans are one nation. We are brothers."

    Ali Bassem, 26, a member of Iraqi Emergency Response Division force, at a front line during clashes with Islamic State fighters in western Mosul, Iraq.
    Danish Siddiqui | Reuters
  • Artist Charbel Fares, near Sidon, Lebanon

    "Trump's policies will lead us either to a world war with the Middle East as its center stage or towards a compromise between all the conflicting powers based on dividing our countries and changing the boundaries determined by the Sykes-Picot agreement" that was drawn up by Imperial Britain and France in 1916.

    Artist Charbel Fares near his sculptures at his house near Sidon, southern Lebanon. "Trump's policies will lead us either to a world war with the Middle East as its center stage or towards a compromise between all the conflicting powers based on dividing our countries and changing the boundaries determined by the Sykes-Picot agreement (between Britain and France in 1916),"
    Ali Hashisho | Reuters
  • Sherine Haji, 23, Kurdish fighter with the People's Protection Units (YPG) in Qamishli city, Syria

    "The plan to arm the YPG is a decision taken late. We have experienced many heavy battles. If this support was happening in the first place, the advances would have been quicker. We would not have to sacrifice many lives. Now I'm wounded, I've lost two legs, but rather than aching because of my pain, I'm worried for my people. This must end, no one else should be in pain. There must be free and peaceful life in this country."

    Sherine Haji, 23, a Kurdish female fighter from the People's Protection Units (YPG), rests in a hospital in Qamishli city, Syria. "The plan to arm the YPG is a decision taken late. We have experienced many heavy battles. If this support was happening in the first place, the advances would have been quicker. We would not have to sacrifice many lives," Haji said. "Now I'm wounded, I've lost two legs, but rather than aching because of my pain, I'm worried for my people. This must end, no one else should be in pain. There must be free and peaceful life in this country."
    Rodi Said | Reuters
  • Nayef al-Hayzan, 28, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

    "I expect that Trump's visit will have a positive impact on the Saudi economy, and discussions are expected to tackle the problems in Syria and [energy giant] Aramco's privatization in international markets and U.S. markets in particular."

    Nayef al-Hayzan, 28, at a cafe in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. "I expect that Trump's visit will have a positive impact on the Saudi economy, and discussions are expected to tackle the problems in Syria and (energy giant) Aramco's privatization in international markets and U.S. markets in particular," al-Hayzan said.
    Faisal Al Nasser | Reuter
  • Crafts salesman Hidaya Muhyiddin, 35, in Erbil, Iraq (Kurdistan)

    "Trump should take speedy decisions, and for Kurds, they are oppressed and America has the right to arm them and support them militarily and financially. America must help Kurds not only in Syria but in all Kurdish areas."

    Crafts salesman Hidaya Muhyiddin, 35, in Erbil, Iraq. "Trump should take speedy decisions, and for Kurds, they are oppressed and America has the right to arm them and support them militarily and financially. America must help Kurds not only in Syria but in all Kurdish areas," Muhyiddin said.
    Azad Lashkari | Reuters
  • Ovad Chen, falafel shop proprietor, Jerusalem

    "I see myself as a very simple person, and I believe that at the end of the day, God controls everything. Therefore, it doesn't really matter what Trump is saying or doing in the Middle East or anywhere else. Even if we might think people are in any sort of control or power, this is all an illusion. God is the real king."

    Ovad Chen at his falafel shop in Jerusalem. "I see myself as a very simple person and I believe that at the end of the day, God controls everything. Therefore, it doesn't really matter what Trump is saying or doing in the Middle East or anywhere else," Chen said. "Even if we might think people are in any sort of control or power, this is all an illusion. God is the real king."
    Nir Elias | Reuters
  • Fine arts graduate Marla Awad, Old Damascus, Syria

    "What matters to me was one very negative decision — his refusal to allow the Syrians to immigrate to America in a racist way, because traveling to it was a dream for me to fulfill my ambitions to study and work."

    Fine arts graduate Marla Awad, who works at an import and export company, outside a pub in Old Damascus, Syria. "What matters to me was one very negative decision - his refusal to allow the Syrians to immigrate to America in a racist way, because travelling to it was a dream for me to fulfil my ambitions to study and work," Awad said.
    Omar Sanadiki | Reuters
  • George Gharib, accessories shop proprietor, Beirut, Lebanon

    "I do not expect any change in American policies toward the region, especially since President Trump is committed to moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, and there is no intention to pressure Israel. He will be like all previous presidents who came before him with bias and abiding by Israeli interests."

    George Gharib at his accessories shop in Beirut, Lebanon. "I do not expect any change in American policies towards the region, especially since President Trump is committed to moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem and there is no intention to pressure Israel," Gharib said. "He will be like all previous presidents who came before him with bias and abiding by Israeli interests."
    Aziz Taher | Reuters
  • Anonymous female fighter from the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), Gaza Strip

    "Trump is a man of war, he works on spreading war, chaos and killing among people. Like other presidents who came before him, I do not see he will bring about peace or any good to the Palestinian people. I see that there is another war coming."

    Anonymous female fighter from the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) at a training camp in the southern Gaza Strip. "Trump is a man of war, he works on spreading war, chaos and killing among people. Like other presidents who came before him, I do not see he will bring about peace or any good to the Palestinian people," she said. "I see that there is another war coming."
    Ibraheem Abu Mustafa | Reuters
  • Sattar Muhsin Ali, 60, stationery store owner, Baghdad, Iraq

    "I think the core policy of Trump is focusing on eliminating terrorism and drying out its financial sources in the world and curbing the terror-supporting states, especially those neighboring Iraq. The impact of Trump's policy on the future of the Middle East will hold positive elements. For example, Iraq suffered a lot from the policy of the former American administrations which led to the spread of chaos and finally to the emergence of Daesh."

    Sattar Muhsin Ali, 60, a stationary store owner in Baghdad, Iraq. "I think the core policy of Trump is focusing on eliminating terrorism and drying out its financial sources in the world and curbing the terror-supporting states, especially those neighboring Iraq," Ali said. "The impact of Trump's policy on the future of the Middle East will hold positive elements. For example, Iraq suffered a lot from the policy of the former American administrations which led to the spread of chaos and finally to the emergence of Daesh."
    Thaier Al-Sudani | Reuters
  • Lara Shahin, 35, Syrian refugee in Amman, Jordan

    "Trump's decision to strike at the air base was a surprise move that raised my hopes the U.S. president will take bolder decisions in the future that would end President Bashar al-Assad's rule and allow me to return home to a democratic country."

    Lara Shahin, 35, a Syrian refugee, at a workshop run under Jasmine, a project which hires and trains Syrian refugee women to create handicrafts, in Amman, Jordan. "Trump's decision to strike at the air base was a surprise move that raised my hopes the U.S. president will take bolder decisions in future that would end President Bashar al-Assad's rule and allow me to return home to a democratic country," Shahin said.
    Muhammad Hamed | Reuters
  • Mubarak Mashali, 20, student in Cairo, Egypt

    "I think Trump is going to ruin things and make them worse than they already are throughout the whole Middle East."

    Mubarak Mashali, 20, a student at Cairo University, speaks during an interview with Reuters in Cairo, Egypt. "I think Trump is going to ruin things and make them worse than they already are throughout the whole Middle East," Mashali said.
    Mohamed Abd El Ghany | Reuters
  • Banker and blogger Mohammed Ateeq in Manama, Bahrain

    "President Trump has promised to dramatically change America's stance in the Middle East, most notably by scrapping the Iran nuclear agreement, getting involved to eradicate terrorists in ISIS ... and to negotiate a peace agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians. All of these are common promises and rhetoric outlined by most U.S. candidates and previous presidents. However, this is all easier said than done."

    Banker and blogger Mohammed Ateeq in Manama, Bahrain. "President Trump has promised to dramatically change America's stance in the Middle East most notably by scrapping the Iran nuclear agreement, getting involved to eradicate terrorists in ISIS ... and to negotiate a peace agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians," Ateeq said. "All of these are common promises and rhetoric outlined by most U.S. candidates and previous presidents.
    Hamad I Mohammed | Reuters