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.

 

Saudi Arabia vows to cover UN aid appeal for Yemen

'Differences' emerge in Libya peace talks

Israel pledges to transfer frozen taxes to Palestinian Authority

Unidentified gunman opens fire on pro-Kurdish party office in Turkey

Iraq PM's spokesman resigns over pro-Saddam song

Tunisia prevents departure of more than 12,000 would-be jihadists

Iraqi forces kill Hussein deputy in Salahuddin province

Iraq massacre site turns into memorial

Israeli coalition talks approaching deadline

Turkish PM condemns EU resolution on Armenian genocide

Tehran calls for immediate Yemen peace talks

Assad accuses Turkey of torpedoing UN Aleppo truce plan

New round of Libya rival talks in Morocco

EU urged to label Israeli West bank products

General Dempsey: Military option on Iran 'intact'

UN chief calls for immediate Yemen ceasefire

Abadi to Iran: We welcome your help as long as you respect Iraq sovereignty

Anger in Indonesia as Saudi Arabia executes second woman

France jihadist attacks fuel unprecedented rise in Islamophobia

Turkey mine chief: ‘I am not a murderer’

France sees progress in Rafale jet negotiations with UAE

Lebanese TV contempt trial opens at slain Hariri tribunal

Fresh round of Iran nuclear talks April 22-23 in Vienna

Yemen calls on renegade army units to drop support for Huthis

UN envoy condemns Libya air strike as 'unacceptable'

African migrants’ hope of reaching Europe dashed

Armenian senior advisor to Turkish PM retires

Egypt to demolish ousted Mubarak’s party HQ

Slow turnout in Sudan polls

UN peace envoy to Yemen quits

Reconquest of all of Anbar remains out of reach for now

Iran holds Obama 'accountable' for fate of nuclear agreement

Arab coalition mulls large-scale manoeuvre in preparation for ‘ground assault’

Libya appeals for Russia support over arms embargo

Turkey vows to brush off any EU genocide decision

Bashir heads toward widely expected victory with ‘empty ballot boxes’

Rebels in southern Syria reject all forms of cooperation with Qaeda affiliate

21 million children in MENA region at risk of having no education

Two military cadets killed in Egypt bombing

Egypt, Saudi consider holding joint military exercise

Kerry 'confident' US can reach Iran nuclear deal

Libya rival talks in Algiers 'great success'

World powers up pressure on Yemen rebels

HRW cites 'strong' evidence of Syria regime chemical attacks

UN Security Council blacklists Houthi leaders