Arabs mostly give Obama negative 2014 report card
Zogby Research Services polled about 7,000 people across six nations as well as the Palestinian territories in May for its annual survey
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 resetting 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 U.S. 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 U.S. 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 U.S. 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 U.S. should "give greater attention to the humanitarian crisis of the Syrian refugees."
Despite the fierce debate in the U.S. about arming the rebels, there was a marked lack of support for U.S. intervention to help the rebels battling to oust President Bashar Assad, including giving weapons to the opposition or airstrikes against the Syrian military.
In Morocco and Lebanon, 70 percent of those polled believed the U.S. should "leave Syria alone, because it is none of the U.S. 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 U.S. administration had shown greater support for ousted strongman Hosni Mubarak than for his elected successor Mohammad Mursi 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 U.S. had not been supportive enough of the military-installed leadership that ousted Mursi.
But in a reflection of the deep political divisions in Egypt, some 51 percent of Egyptians believed the U.S. 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 U.S.-led negotiations to broker a nuclear deal with Iran, there was broad skepticism the talks would succeed in reining in Tehran's atomic ambitions.
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