Obama, US Less Popular in Arab World


The Brookings Institution and Zogby have released a poll investigating Arab attitudes towards the United States and President Obama and the results aren't encouraging. The survey was taken in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Jordan, Lebanon, and the United Arab Emirates and was not differentiated by country. Just one year after 51% described themselves as hopeful about Obama's policy toward the Middle East and 15% as discouraged, those numbers have reversed to 16% and 63% respectively. Arabs see the United States and Israel as threats, and perhaps because of this increasingly believe a nuclear armed Iran would be good for the region as a whole (by 57/21 up from 44/29 in 2008 29/46 in the heady days last year).

While the media have mostly worriedly searched for the causes of the discontent (eg. this story from Voice of America), Will Inboden from Foreign Policy distrusts opinion polls in countries where freedom of expression is constrained and notes that more Arabs are more likely to travel to the United States and buy American products and less likely to hold anti-American demonstrations.
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