In what appears to be a concerted campaign out of Saudi Arabia, tens of thousands of Saudis are tweeting their support of U.S. President Donald Trump and his aggressive rhetoric against Iran, the other main power in the region that is challenging Riyadh for dominance.
Following Trump's tweets after Tehran tested a ballistic missile last week, the president's national security adviser Michael Flynn followed with a statement from the White House criticizing President Obama's administration for failing to "respond adequately to Tehran's malign actions," and warning that the new administration was putting Iran "on notice."
Last week, those words thrilled many Sunni Arabs in the region who fear Iran's return to the international community. But this week, Saudi propagandists appear to have engineered a Twitter campaign to boost support for Trump in an apparent attempt to influence the new president.
Vocativ found the hashtags
#TrumpStopsIranianTerrorism and #TrumpWarnsIranianTerrorism have appeared over 80,000 times since Saturday, and likely created in accounts of Saudi influencers who tweeted "Trump is the best leader in the world" and thanked Trump for his statements against the Iranian regime. Vocativ found that the vast majority of the tweets using these hashtags came from Saudi Arabia and that the most retweeted posts came from leading pro-Saudi accounts and influential journalists affiliated with the monarchy.
Tweets posted alongside the hashtags included portrayals of Trump as Captain America, James Bond or a knight in shining armor, standing atop a military tank. In one image Trump is carrying a bald eagle over his shoulder. "There is no Obama anymore," the caption read. Others show Trump standing beside King Salman and that the two leaders are trying "to protect the whole world."