Arab-American voters are shifting
from Republican to Democrat [GALLO/GETTY]
Abu Saoud's frustration with the Republican party seems to reflect a wider trend among Arab-American voters who traditionally voted Republican until the 2004 US presidential election.
According to a September poll by Zogby International for the Arab-American Institute, Barack Obama holds a substantial 21-point lead over McCain among Arab-American voters.
The poll also notes that in 2000 the Democrat-Republican split between them was 40 to 38 percent respectively, but is now 46 to 20.
Mohammed Iyech, another Damascus-based businessman, also said he was leaning towards Obama.
'We need to inject new blood into the system,' said Iyech, who has studied in the US and voted for Texas billionaire Ross Perot in 1992.
'I think Obama is ready to bring change. He picked Biden, an expert on foreign policy. I think this combination will do something. I don't have a problem if he's black or white.'
But not all Syrians voting in this US presidential election can put aside Obama's background, the first African-American candidate who lived in a Muslim country (Indonesia) while growing up and who has Muslim relatives in Kenya.
'Obama doesn't have deep roots in America,' says Samir Yacco, an Assyrian Christian from eastern Syria now living in Damascus.
"He lived in Indonesia ... he has Muslim family in Kenya. His loyalty and affiliation with American culture is weak."
Yacco, who is a Baptist pastor by profession, shares similar political leanings with his American counterparts, as Baptist pastors are predominantly conservative and Republican.
He has always voted Republican and is unequivocally for McCain.
"McCain is more logical and more experienced. He won't be like Bush," believes Yacco.
"On 9/11 Bush had to be tough. I will never blame Bush for that period. Bush was the right man in the right place at the right time."
But another Syrian-American has decided to back Obama.
Sam Farra, a university professor who has been a US citizen since 1990, says: "I'm a Democrat.
"I plan on voting for a Democrat, that's for sure. If Obama is the only one, then I'll vote for him. But no way am I voting for a Republican!"
Sam Farra also hopes that, whichever candidate is elected, the next US president will do a better job of engaging his home country of Syria.
"The next US president is not going to be as hostile towards Syria as Bush was," he says.
"Bush took things to an extreme. Syria is and can be a friendly nation - why make it an enemy?
"We don't have to become 'super-duper' friends with Syria, but cutting off diplomatic relations, pulling out the US ambassador and this embargo ... where are the benefits of any of that?"
"Syria is an important, if not strategic, country and could be an ally, or sort of," Sam Farra says.
"Any issue relating to Lebanon, Iraq, Palestine and Jordan has to go through Syria - one way or another."