News / Middle East

Arab Ire Directed at US Policy, Not Obama, Poll Shows

James Zogby, President of the Arab American Institute, Marwan al-Muasher of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and Barbara Slavin of the Atlantic Council in Washington D.C. on June 3,2014 (Photo taken by Mohammed Elshinnawi VOA)
James Zogby, President of the Arab American Institute, Marwan al-Muasher of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and Barbara Slavin of the Atlantic Council in Washington D.C. on June 3,2014 (Photo taken by Mohammed Elshinnawi VOA)
Mohamed Elshinnawi
“Despite the persistence of negative attitudes toward several U.S. polices in the Arab world,” there has been an increase in Arab support for U.S. President Obama, according to a recent Zogby poll.
 
Five years after President Obama’s address in Cairo to the Arab world , Zogby Research Services surveyed some 7,000 Arabs in six Arab countries: Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, United Arab Emirates, Jordan,  Lebanon - as well as the Palestinian territories.
 
The survey released in early June found U.S. favorable ratings in the Arab World remain well below the 50 percent level.
 
President Obama has a favorable rating in UAE of 26 percent , 22 percent in Egypt, 19 in Saudi Arabia and Jordan and 11 among Palestinians –better than the 9 percent support level that former President George W. Bush had during his last year in office, according to Zogby.
 
When President Obama took office in 2009, surveys show about 30 percent support in Egypt, with similar ratings in other Arab countries.
 
James Zogby, president of the Arab American Institute, commissioned the poll. He said “the softer footprint of the U.S. under Obama compared to the heavy interventionist approach that President Bush adopted in Iraq” is helping in keeping President Obama’s ratings at low levels in the Arab world.
 
Zogby said some drop in President Obama’s popularity in the Arab world over the past five years is primarily due to a sentiment among many Arabs that he has not met expectations as outlined in his Cairo speech on U.S. relations with the Arab world – especially concerning the Mideast peace process.
 
“When the president laid down the 1967 borders as a basis for resuming the Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations, he was humiliated by his own Congress who invited Israeli Prime Minister to come to Congress and reject the president’s initiative,” Zogby said.

“The president is facing a partisan block that is preventing him from making a difference, in solving the Arab-Israeli conflict,” he said.
 
The poll looks at the major issues driving Arab attitudes toward the United States, including U.S. policy on the Syrian conflict, Egypt's interim government, negotiations with Iran, the two-state Israeli-Palestinian solution, and U.S. commitments to improving ties with the Arab World.
 
According to the poll, Arabs believe the Obama Administration has been most effective “in ending the U.S. presence in Iraq and working to end Iran’s nuclear program” but least effective “in improving relations with the Arab and Muslim Worlds and in handling the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and the Arab Spring.”
 
Arabs in many countries believe that “the U.S. is not even-handed in its approach to Palestinian-Israeli peace-making and have very little confidence that the U.S. is committed to an independent Palestinian state,” surveyors said.
 
The poll suggests that across the board, resolving the Israeli-Palestinian issue is the most important factor that could improve Arab attitudes toward the U.S. –a relationship many respondents said they want see strengthened.
 
“The most striking figures were that strong majorities ranging between 60 to 83 percent say it is important for their Arab countries to have good relations with the U.S.,” Zogby said.
 
The survey showed strong support in the Arab world for a “negotiated solution” to the Syrian conflict, one led by the United States.
 
“Seventy-six percent in Egypt and close to 50 percent in most surveyed countries support the U.S. approach of pressing all Syrian parties to enter serious negotiations leading to a transitional government.” said Zogby.
 
Barbara Slavin, an analyst at the Atlantic Council, found that part of the survey surprising.
 
“The most striking outcome was the high percentage of Arabs who do not want the U.S. to get involved militarily in Syria and want it to stick to humanitarian assistance and pursuing a political solution,” said Slavin, who is also a paid Voice of America commentator.
 
As for U.S. policies in Egypt, many of those surveyed said the Obama administration was “too supportive” of ousted Egyptian President Mubarak and “not supportive enough” for his Islamist successor Mohamed Morsi, who was later ousted in a military coup.
 
Opinion was divided on whether the U.S. has shown too much or not enough support for the current interim government in Egypt.
 
Paul Salem, an analyst at the Middle East Institute, said President Obama’s Mideast policies reflect his goals.
 
“President Obama is not an idealist to try to achieve some dream of democracy or human rights like Jimmy Carter, but he is a foreign policy minimalist focusing on what directly impacts or threats the U.S., so democracy promotion is not his goal.” Salem said.
 
And the poll numbers reflect that, pollster Zogby said.
 
“There is a sharp decline in Arabs confidence that the U.S. is committed to democracy across the Middle East.” Zogby said.

You May Like

Photogallery Strong Words Start, May End, S. African Xenophobic Attacks

President Jacob Zuma publicly condemned rise in attacks on foreign nationals but critics say leadership has been less than welcoming to foreign residents More

Video Family Waits to Hear Charges Against Reporter Jailed in Iran

Reports in Iran say Jason Rezaian has been charged with espionage, but brother tells VOA indictment has not been made public More

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Action to Stabilize Libya

Amnesty International says multinational concerted humanitarian effort must be enacted to address crisis; decrepit boats continue to bring thousands of new arrivals daily More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: PermReader
June 07, 2014 1:42 PM
Arabs-islamists have understood at last who is Obama-the Islamists-collaborator1

by: Anthony Bellchambers from: London
June 05, 2014 10:18 PM
Netanyahu is turning Israel into a rogue state at a frightening rate. It is now all too clear to the international community that Netanyahu is not only a warmonger but a warmonger with a secret arsenal of nuclear weapons. There is now but little doubt that this is where WW3 will start.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?i
X
Steve Sandford
April 17, 2015 12:50 AM
Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Sierra Leone President Koroma Bemoans Ebola Impact on Economy

In an interview with VOA's Shaka Ssali on Wednesday, President Ernest Koroma said the outbreak undermined his government’s efforts to boost and restructure the economy after years of civil war.
Video

Video Protester Lands Gyrocopter on Capitol Lawn

A 61-year-old mailman from Florida landed a small aircraft on the Capitol lawn in Washington to bring attention to campaign finance reform and what he says is government corruption. Wednesday's incident was one in a string of security breaches on U.S. government property. Zlatica Hoke reports the gyrocopter landing violated a no-fly zone.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.
Video

Video Sidemen to Famous Blues Artists Record Their Own CD

Legendary blues singer BB King was briefly hospitalized last week and the 87-year-old “King of the Blues” may not be touring much anymore. But some of the musicians who have played with him and other blues legends have now released their own CD in an attempt to pass the torch to younger fans... and put their own talents out front as well. VOA’s Greg Flakus has followed this project over the past year and filed this report from Houston.
Video

Video Iran-Saudi Rivalry Is Stoking Conflict in Yemen

Iran has proposed a peace plan to end the conflict in Yemen, but the idea has received little support from regional rivals like Saudi Arabia. They accuse Tehran of backing the Houthi rebels, who have forced Yemen’s president to flee to Riyadh, and have taken over swaths of Yemen. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA, analysts say the conflict is being fueled by the Sunni-Shia rivalry between the two regional powers.

VOA Blogs