First Published: 2014-06-03

2014 poll reveals Obama unpopular among Arabs
Arabs believe Obama administration has little commitment to a Palestinian state, should not intervene militarily in Syria, mostly failed to support Egypt's interim leaders.
Middle East Online

Support below an average of 50 percent

WASHINGTON - Arabs believe the Obama administration has little commitment to a Palestinian state, should not intervene militarily in Syria and mostly failed to support Egypt's interim leaders, a new poll released Tuesday showed.

Five years after President Barack Obama's landmark speech in Cairo aimed at re-setting ties with the Arab world, the poll revealed that while support for Obama, which had fallen in recent years, is on the rise again among most Arabs it still remains below an average of 50 percent.

Zogby Research Services polled about 7,000 people across six nations as well as the Palestinian territories in May for its annual survey, focusing on some of the most pressing issues facing the Arab world in 2014, including the negotiations to rein in Iran's nuclear program, which most broadly supported.

"In most Arab countries, attitudes toward the US are back to where they were in 2009, and are higher than the Bush-era lows," the poll says, referring to the unpopularity of former president George W. Bush.

Just weeks after the latest US effort to broker a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians collapsed, the poll found most Arabs "believe that the United States is not even-handed in its approach to Israeli-Palestinian peace-making."

And even though they cite continued Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories as one of the biggest obstacles to peace and stability in the Arab world, most "have very little confidence that the United States is committed to an independent Palestinian state."

In Jordan, one of America's closest allies in the Middle East, some 95 percent of those polled said they were "not confident" the US wanted to see the creation of a Palestinian state.

Three years into the war of Syria, people in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and the Palestinian territories broadly supported America's bid to find a negotiated solution to end the fighting which has left more than 162,000 dead.

The overwhelming majority also believed that the US should "give greater attention to the humanitarian crisis of the Syrian refugees."

- Leave Syria alone -

Despite the fierce debate in the US about arming the rebels, there was a marked lack of support for US intervention to help the rebels battling to oust President Bashar al-Assad, including giving weapons to the opposition or air strikes against the Syrian military.

In Morocco and Lebanon, 70 percent of those polled believed the US should "leave Syria alone, because it is none of the US business."

"Between one-third and one-half of all respondents also say the United States should reject providing more advanced weapons to the Syrian opposition," the poll says.

Amid the political upheavals in Egypt -- the world's largest Arab nation of 80 million people -- many felt the US administration had shown greater support for ousted strongman Hosni Mubarak than for his elected successor Islamist Mohammed Morsi or for the interim military-led government.

In Saudi Arabia -- which has openly clashed with the Obama administration over its muddled Egypt policy -- some 53 percent believed the US had not been supportive enough of the military-installed leadership which ousted Morsi.

But in a reflection of the deep political divisions in Egypt, some 51 percent of Egyptians believed the US had been too supportive of the military leadership, even as last week ex-army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi scored a crushing victory in presidential elections.

While most of those polled backed US-led negotiations to broker a nuclear deal with Iran, there was broad skepticism the talks would succeed in reining in Tehran's atomic ambitions.

 

Yemen warring parties 'closer' to agreement

Palestinian PM dismisses Netanyahu proposal

Major assaults target IS jihadists in Iraq, Syria

New Afghan Taliban leader named

Abu Dhabi oil giant cuts thousands of jobs

Syrian base used by Russia damaged in IS attack

Kurdish, Arab forces announce anti-IS offensive north of Syria's Raqa

Israel PM's travel expenses under scrutiny

EgyptAir victims' relatives give samples for DNA tests

Iran sends new delegation to Saudi for hajj talks

Hardline cleric elected head of Iran's Assembly of Experts

Civilians trapped as Fallujah siege tightens

Iraq's Fallujah offensive draws attention from embattled PM

Turkey incoming PM unveils cabinet

US, Russia scramble to save Syria truce

Libyan coastguards intercept 550 bound for Europe

Campus bomb kills two in Yemen's Sanaa

Saudi soldier killed in landmine blast on Yemen border

Over 148 killed in IS bombings in Syria regime heartland

Iraq forces battle IS jihadists to retake Fallujah

Erdogan advisor says Turkey could suspend EU deals

Iraq launches military operation to retake Fallujah

Oil prices dip as Iran says no to output freeze

Skepticism ahead of Istanbul humanitarian summit

Sudan steps up pressure for exit of Darfur peacekeepers

UN Palestinian agency says half its schools hit by conflict

Bombs kill more than 120 in Syria regime strongholds

Netanyahu rejects French peace initiative

Gunmen kill 8 worshipers in Darfur

India in deal to turn Iran port into trade hub

Turkey's incoming PM working on new cabinet

Israel lifts ban on Gaza cement deliveries

Yemen warring parties meet after long pause

Egypt enlists submersible to search for EgyptAir crash clues

Tunisia's Ennahda reelects Ghannouchi as party chief

At least 20 dead in Yemen suicide bombing

Syria rebels give truce brokers 48 hours to end regime offensive

Deadly bombings rock northeast Syria as US commander visits

Ex- government minister dies in Libya ISIS clashes

Green Zone breach may set stage for more violence in Iraq

‘Last chance’ to save Yemen peace talks

Egypt deploys submarine in search for clues in plane crash

Erdogan loyalist set to be Turkey PM

Attempt to disperse protesters turns deadly in Iraq

EgyptAir crash fuels theories