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.

 

Islamic State ‘share in US weapons’ embarrasses Pentagon

Hundreds protest in Iran after horrendous acid attacks

Libya army scores small victory in Benghazi

Masdar to build first large-scale wind farm in GCC

Kasserine reaps bitter harvest from Tunisia revolution: Poverty and terrorism

Turkish woman arrested for stepping on Koran

Erdogan criticises US for airdrops on Kobane

Iraq schools provide shelter but late to open for classes

Syria air force shoots down two of three 'IS warplanes'

Egypt court rules on ‘Nasr City terror cell’

Fire from Egypt wounds two Israeli soldiers near border

By hook or by crook, settlers notch up property gains in East Jerusalem

Turkey envoy meets leader of parallel government in Libya

Israel arrests seven Palestinian fishermen off northern Gaza

Khamenei to Abadi: Iraq can beat 'Islamic State' without foreign troops

Saudi special court rules in cases of riots and terrorism

Only in Libya: Government calls for civil disobedience

Iraq Kurds set to vote on deployment of Peshmerga forces to Syria

Alderton: Morocco unrivalled business gateway to sub-Saharan Africa

Protests over IS turn Istanbul University into war zone

Turkey eyes stricter punishment against lawbreakers at protests

For Sudan President: Promises are something and re-election is something else

Iran returns Abadi to ‘house of obedience’

From traditional military to counterinsurgency force: Syria army grows more capable

South Sudan rivals accept 'responsibility' for civil war

British drones in Iraq also used for Syria surveillance

Turkey launches new wave of wire-tapping arrests

Rise of Shiite militias challenges government authority in Iraq

Syria Kurds show impressive resistance to ‘Islamic State’ in Kobane

Vote or boycott: Grim record of self-serving politicians puts off voters in Tunisia

Egypt universities tighten security to avoid new Islamist violence

Iran forces inside Iraq as Abadi rules out foreign ground intervention!

South Sudan rivals meet in new bid to end civil war

From Morocco into Spain: Crowd of African migrants charges to border fence

Deadly suicide attack targets Shiite mosque in central Baghdad

Turkey gives Iraq Peshmerga forces passage to Kobane

Israel to supply Egypt with natural gas despite sabotage

Kerry seeks help of Southeast Asia in anti-Islamic State push

Qaeda inflicts heavy losses on Huthi rebels in central Yemen

US carries out first weapon airdrops to Kurd fighters near Kobane

Benghazi violence kills 75 people in five days

Morocco accuses Algeria of firing on civilians across border

Australia finalises deal for deployment of Special Forces to Iraq

Tunisia calls on Libya authorities to locate missing journalists

Turkey rejects calls to arm ‘terrorist’ Kurdish party in Syria