Over 90 pct of Saudi youth see US as a strong ally of their nation: Survey

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More than nine in ten young Saudis, who form about two-thirds of Saudi Arabia’s population, see the US as an ally of their nation, a survey revealed ahead of US President Joe Biden’s high-profile visit to the Kingdom.

This finding from the 13th edition of the annual ASDA’A BCW Arab Youth Survey was announced on Friday ahead of the historic visit where Biden will hold meetings with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, along with other government officials, and which is expected to enhance the historic and strategic partnership between the two nations.

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According to the survey, the perception that the US is an ally of Saudi Arabia is at its highest level in five years.

In 2020, 87 percent of Saudi youth viewed the US as a ‘strong ally’ or ‘somewhat of an ally,’ an increase in favorability over 2019 when 70 percent of Saudi youth viewed the US as an ally.

In 2018, 50 percent of Saudi youth viewed the US as an ally.

The symbolism of Biden’s arrival in the Kingdom, following his first official visit to Israel, will not be lost on young Saudis, three-quarters (75 percent) of whom believe addressing the ‘Palestinian-Israeli conflict’ should be a top priority for the Arab world.

Despite the broadly positive perception of Biden, young Saudi men and women believe he has work to do on the Palestine-Israel question, with 93 percent insisting his administration “should have a played a more active and unbiased role in resolving the conflict.” A majority of young Saudis (73 percent) are confident that the conflict is ‘very likely’ to ‘somewhat likely’ to be resolved in the next five years.

Sunil John, the founder of ASDA’A BCW, said: “The findings from our survey reflect the optimism surrounding Biden’s first visit to the Kingdom as the US president. The generally warm feelings young people have towards US, and their eagerness for peace across the region, especially in resolving the Palestinian conflict, show the value to be had from a reset of US-Saudi relations to achieve a more stable and stronger Middle East geopolitical order.”

Underlining the strategic role of the US in the region, over one-third (36 percent) of young Saudis believe the US has the most influence in the Arab world among non-Arab nations, compared with 43 percent of Saudi youth who say their own country is the most influential among Arab nations in the region.

Over two-thirds of young Saudis (63 percent) are also confident that their country’s relations with the US will improve under Biden, while the rest (37 percent) believe relations between the two countries will remain the same.

Almost all young Saudis (97 percent) are confident that their country is going in the right direction; 82 percent agreed with the statement that ‘our best days are ahead of us.’

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