First Published: 2006-12-16

 
Poll: Arab attitudes toward US worsen in 2006
 

Zogby International survey shows Iraq, Israeli-Palestinian conflicts have dampened Arab confidence in US.

 

Middle East Online

By Jocelyne Zablit - WASHINGTON

From bad to worse

Arab attitudes toward the United States worsened in 2006 largely because of the war in Iraq and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, according to a poll released Thursday.

The annual survey by Zogby International also showed that both conflicts have significantly dampened Arab confidence in prospects for economic development and political stability in the region.

The poll was conducted in mid-November in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco and Saudi Arabia.

"Our policies have not only had a worsening impact in terms of attitudes towards us but also in dampening confidence and in the prospects for development and political stability," said James Zogby, a senior analyst for the polling company and president of the Arab American Institute in Washington, which commissioned the poll along with the Arab Business Council.

Zogby said the poll results should serve as a reminder to the administration of US President George W. Bush as it reviews its Iraq policy that it needs to link the Israeli-Palestinian conflict when addressing the various crises in the Middle East, from Baghdad to Beirut.

"What the poll says to me is that Baker and Hamilton are right," Zogby told a news conference, referring to the recent report by the bipartisan Iraq Study Group headed by former Secretary of State James Baker and former Representative Lee Hamilton.

The report linked any resolution to the war in Iraq and other conflicts in the region to a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian issue. It also called for Washington to engage Iran and Syria to help achieve peace in the Middle East.

The report's recommendations have met with a cool response from the Bush administration.

According to the Zogby poll, a majority of people polled in the five countries have an unfavorable opinion of the United States - 90 percent in Jordan, 83 percent in Egypt and 82 percent in Saudi Arabia - and all, apart from Lebanon, say their opinion has worsened from last year.

Attitudes toward US values, people and culture also declined in 2006, the poll results showed.

The two greatest issues that contributed to the worsening opinion was the war in Iraq and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, according the poll.

"America needs to get right with God," Zogby said, in commenting about the results. "If we want to lead in the region, we have to be responsive to the needs of the people in the region and what people want from us is that we address the issues that our closest to home.

"They want us to address the Arab-Israeli conflict, they want us to work in partnership on Iraq," he added. "They don't want us going it alone and ignoring Palestine."

The poll has a plus or minus 3.7 percent margin of error in Saudi Arabia and Morocco, 3.5 percent in Egypt, 4.1 percent in Lebanon and 4.7 percent in Jordan.

It involved 750 people in both Saudi Arabia and Morocco, 600 in both Lebanon and Jordan and 800 in Egypt.

 

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