News / Middle East

Arabs Have Negative View of United States

Recent poll shows most Arabs hold strongly unfavorable views of US policy in Middle East

A new poll of the Mideast finds that 63 percent of respondents hold unfavorable views of the United States.
A new poll of the Mideast finds that 63 percent of respondents hold unfavorable views of the United States.

Multimedia

Audio
Mohamed Elshinnawi

A recent poll of public opinion in the Middle East shows that most Arabs hold strongly negative attitudes toward the United States and U.S. policies in the Middle East.

The annual opinion poll, conducted during July by the University of Maryland and Zogby International, surveyed about 4,000 respondents living in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Jordan, Morocco and the United Arab Emirates.

Negatives views

It found that 63 percent of respondents hold unfavorable views of the United States.

University of Maryland professor Shibley Telhami, the principle investigator for the survey, notes that just one year ago, more than half of the respondents in a similar Zogby poll were hopeful about American policy in the Middle East.  
This year's survey indicates that only 15 percent of Arab citizens are hopeful. Telhami says the survey also reveals that President Barack Obama's disapproval rating among Arabs shot up from 23 percent in 2009 to 62 percent last month.

"They are frustrated because the settlement issue which the president raised early resulted only in a partial settlement freeze, not a full settlement freeze," says Telhami. "They are frustrated because so far the negotiations have been not really tackling the core final status issues in the way that the public expected, and I think that if an agreement is reached, public opinion will completely be transformed."

Public opinion of President Obama has dropped in the Arab world.
Public opinion of President Obama has dropped in the Arab world.

Disappointment

The Zogby International poll found 61 percent of the Arab public consider the Israeli-Palestinian conflict their greatest disappointment, while 27 percent cite Iraq.  

Despite Arab pessimism about an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement, 86 percent of those surveyed said they are prepared to accept a two-state solution based on 1967 borders. But the number of Arabs who believe that Israel will never accept such a solution has increased from 45 percent in 2009 to 56 percent this year.

Kenneth Pollack, director of the Saban Center for Middle East policy at the Brookings Institution, believes growing Arab mistrust of the U.S. and of President Obama is due to the gap between his promises over the past year and his actual handling of the Palestinian - Israeli conflict.

"One of the obvious things that the president could do is to make a much bigger effort to try to mediate between Israelis and Palestinians, to try to bring them together, to try to push on both sides, to try to find ways to bridge differences and get a real peace process moving," says Pollack.

He believes the incremental approach Mr. Obama has pursued over the past year is not moving the peace process forward as quickly as Arabs in the region would like.

Nuclear Iran

Another significant change in this year's Mideast opinion survey is that 77 percent of Arabs now believe Iran should have the right to develop its nuclear capabilities and should not be pressured to stop its program.

"They do not see Iran as the biggest threat and they are more worried about Israel and about American foreign policy when you ask them to name the two countries that are the most threatening to you," says Telhami. "So Iran is evaluated in the context of the two bigger threats. When they are optimistic about our American foreign policy they are much tougher on Iran."

Telhami says 20 percent of the Arabs surveyed identify U.S. attitudes toward Islam as the issue about which they are most pleased.

Asked to name which world leader they admire most, respondents for the first time favored Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan.

"Because of his positions supporting Palestinians in Gaza war and after the incident of Gaza flotilla," says Telhami. "For that reason he rises to the top, so all these choices are really a function of who is playing the biggest role on the issues they care most about."

President Obama's name didn't even show up on this year's most-admired leaders list.

More Web use

The University of Maryland/Zogby International poll also looked at media consumption trends among Arabs. The survey found the use of the Internet continues to rise across the region. Forty percent of respondents say they use the web several times a week but the vast majority - 73 percent - visit mainly Arab websites.

The Qatar-based Aljazeera TV channel continues to lead viewers' preferences in the Arab world as the main source for reliable news.

Pollack of the Brookings Institution notes that ever since the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001, American policy makers have paid much closer attention to the undercurrents in the Arab world. He believes they understand that the anger and frustration captured in this new poll can have a very real and significant impact on American national security.

But Pollack believes Arab public opinion is just one piece of a complex mix of factors U.S. officials must weigh in formulating America's policy in the region.

You May Like

UN: 1 Million Somalis at Risk of Hunger

Group warns region is in dire need of humanitarian aid, with at least 200,000 children under age of five acutely malnourished as drought hits southern, central part of nation More

Human Rights Groups Allege Supression of Freedoms in Thailand

Thailand’s military, police have suppressed release of independent report assessing human rights in kingdom during first 100 days of latest coup More

Jennifer Lawrence Contacts FBI After Nude Photos Hacked

'Silver Linings Playbook' actress' photos were posted on image-sharing forum 4chan; Federal Bureau of Investigations is looking into matter More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forcesi
X
September 02, 2014 12:58 PM
A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Internet, Technology Offer New Tools for Journalists

The Internet and rapidly evolving technology is quickly changing how people receive news and how journalists deliver it. There are now more ways to tell a story than ever before. One school in Los Angeles is teaching the next generation of journalists with the help of a state-of-the-art newsroom. Elizabeth Lee has this report.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

AppleAndroid