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.

 

Libya cannot take more than 10 ministers

France ready to provide ‘aerial support’ in Iraq

Bahrain slams Qatar for offering citizenship to Sunni nationals

UN brokers Israeli-Palestinian deal on Gaza reconstruction

Scottish independence campaigners find support in Palestinian bagpipers

US accuses Assad of breaking pact on chemical weapons

‘Concerned’ US urges Iran to cooperate in UN nuclear probe

Syrian children given anaesthesia not measles vaccination

Tunisia denies existence of plot to assassinate Beji Caid Essebsi

Majority of Americans believe Obama mishandled terror threats

‘Islamic State’ releases video of captive British journalist

France approves bill to crack down on jihadists

Assassination of Libya ex-air force chief in Benghazi

14 Bahraini Shiites sentenced to life in prison for bombing

IS jihadists close in on Syria third largest Kurdish town

Yemen rebels clash with Sunni Islamists

New Turkish safety law costs 5,000 coal miners jobs

Libya PM presents new cabinet in Tobruk

US House gives green light to plan to arm Syria rebels

Davutoglu denounces ruling against Turkey’s religion courses

South Sudan to revoke expulsion of foreign workers

Algeria to tighten grip on imam training

Libya Islamists unleash another offensive on Benghazi airport

Iraqi bishop: Operations against IS in Iraq came very late

French parliament approves new anti-terror bill

World Bank calls for sweeping reforms in Tunisia

Obama to meet with generals planning IS assault

Iraq parliament votes down PM's security nominees

Qaeda branches urge jihadists to unite against US

Despite war, South Sudan replaces foreign workers with locals

IS jihadists shoot down Syria warplane

Renegade former general claims air raid on Libya militia position

Six Egypt policemen in Sinai bomb attack

Erdogan: Turkey would welcome exiled Brotherhood leaders

US warplanes carry out first strikes on IS near Baghdad

UEFA urged not to award 2020 European Championship to Israel

Israel sees future war with Hezbollah

Germany tries first 'Islamic State jihadist'

Egypt court bails top 2011 revolt activist

Iran rejected US request to cooperate against IS

Iran ridicules anti-jihadist international conference

Egypt textile factory collapse kills six

Mali separatists agree to speak with one voice

Qatar starts to curb Brotherhood’s activities

Coalition meets in Paris to plan fight against IS