The Arab world has apparently not understood Obama’s grand pronouncements about America’s always benevolent intentions. More likely that they are realizing what most of us in America have as well, that despite a change in administration the usual hierarchy remains firmly in control. –WG
Via IPS News
By Naseema Noor and Jim Lobe*
WASHINGTON, Jul 13, 2011 (IPS) – The United States’ popularity in the Arab world has plummeted to levels lower than the last year of the George W. Bush administration, according to a new survey of public opinion in six Arab countries released here Wednesday. — Congratulations on the new low President O. 🙂
The “Arab Attitudes” survey found that favourable ratings of the United States have fallen by nine percent or more in Morocco, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) over the past two years.
In Egypt, they fell from 30 percent to a meagre five percent. Only in Lebanon did positive views of the U.S. (23 percent) remain consistent.
Consisting of 4,000 face-to-face-interviews conducted by the Zogby International firm between mid-May and mid-June, the survey also found that 10 percent or less of Arabs in all the countries polled approve of President Barack Obama’s policies.
Obama’s favourable ratings were the lowest by far among the five national leaders covered in the survey. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Saudi King Abdullah ibn Abdul Aziz were the most highly regarded of the five, who also included Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and French President Nicholas Sarkozy.
The decline in the ratings for both the U.S. and Obama stems primarily from disappointment in the failure to meet the high expectations created by Obama’s election in 2008, according to James Zogby, the president of the Arab American Institute (AAI), which sponsored the annual survey.
Those expectations appeared to rise further after Obama’s June 2009 speech in Cairo, where he pledged to “seek a new beginning” between the U.S. and the Muslim world and expressed particular sympathy for the plight of the Palestinians.