Pew: U.S. image largely unimproved in Middle East after 'Arab Spring'
President Barack Obama is scheduled to make a major address Thursday on U.S. policy toward the "Arab Spring" uprisings.
May 17th, 2011
09:37 PM ET

Pew: U.S. image largely unimproved in Middle East after 'Arab Spring'

The United States' image in four Middle Eastern nations and the Palestinian territories largely doesn't appear to have improved during anti-government uprisings that have shaken regimes in the region, a survey from the Pew Research Center's Global Attitudes Project found.

Fewer people in Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon view the United States favorably now than in 2010, while small gains were seen in Egypt - where an uprising toppled longtime leader Hosni Mubarak earlier this year - and the Palestinian territories, according to the survey.

Pew said America's image also dipped in the two other predominantly Muslim nations that were surveyed: Pakistan and Indonesia.

The results of the survey, which was taken between March 21 and April 26, come as U.S. President Barack Obama prepares to deliver on Thursday a highly anticipated address on U.S. policy toward the "Arab Spring" uprisings that have shaken autocratic regimes across North Africa and the Middle East.

It also comes as Obama is urging Israel and the Palestinians to restart negotiations on a two-state solution to their decades-long conflict.

"Many of the concerns that have driven animosity toward the U.S. in recent years are still present - a perception that the U.S. acts unilaterally, opposition to the war on terror, and fears of America as a military threat," a Pew report on the survey said.

Thirteen percent of those surveyed in Jordan had a favorable view of the United States, down from 21% last year. U.S. favorability in Turkey (10%, down from 17%), Pakistan (11%, down from 17%), Indonesia (54%, down from 59%) and Lebanon (49%, down from 52%) also saw dips.

U.S. favorability rose in Egypt (20%, up from 17%) and the Palestinian territories (18%, up from 15% in 2009, the last time a survey was done there).

The percentage of people expressing at least some confidence in Obama was up slightly in Egypt, Pakistan and Turkey, but of the nations surveyed, only Indonesia (62%) - where Obama spent some time as a child - had a majority doing so, Pew said.

And majorities in each surveyed nation, expect for Indonesia and Pakistan, said they disapproved how Obama handled calling for political change in the Middle East.

Other findings, according to Pew:

- Most of those surveyed said democracy was preferable to any other kind of government (including more than 70% in Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt). The only nation where a majority didn't agree was in Pakistan, where 46% said democracy was preferable.

- Majorities in each surveyed country and territory – except for Egypt, where the questions weren't asked - said economic prosperity, political stability, religious freedom, free elections, free speech and gender equality are very important in a democracy.

- Majorities in Pakistan, Jordan and Egypt believe laws should be based strictly on the teachings of the Quran. This was a minority view in Turkey, Lebanon, Indonesia and the Palestinian territories.

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Filed under: Egypt • Indonesia • Jordan • Lebanon • Pakistan • Palestinians • Politics • Turkey
soundoff (260 Responses)
  1. Frank

    We hijacked their revolution and we're bombing them in Libya, and you're surprised they still hate us?

    We give lip service to democracy but we're supporting dictators in Palestine, Bahrain, Yemen to name a few and you think they're too stupid to realize the contradiction?

    Now in Libya the whole world sees what a "No fly zone" means to the most violent societies on earth.

    The Arab league trusted the West and they got burned...literally

    May 17, 2011 at 11:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Obama Kills Osama..............

      They always hated us in that part of the world and always will. Let them slaughter each other till the last one of them.

      May 17, 2011 at 11:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Edwin

      They didn't hate us 75 years ago. They didn't hate us before we set up puppet governments in their countries (Shah of Iran, Saddam in Iraq, Mubarak in Egypt, etc.). Afghanistan loved us in the early part of the 1900's.

      They hate us now as much as we hated England around 1800. Maybe in a hundred years or so things will change.

      May 18, 2011 at 2:53 am | Report abuse |
  2. chaos 1946 is a pvssy

    That's why you need to release the Osama bin Laden pictures. If the diaperheads are going to hate us anyway, we may as well get to see the pictures. It may even be a deterrent if we were to release the pictures with the words "who's next" on the picture.

    May 17, 2011 at 11:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sheridan

      C'mon you're smarter than that. Do you actually believe they shot him only once? His body is probably ridled with bullet holes. Releasing the picture exposes The US to legal liabilities, especially in light of the fact that Bin Laden was unarmed and didn't offer resistance. I'm not defending the terrorist in any way bur this was clearly an extra-judicial killing, it's best to turn the page and move on quickly. If Bin laden is a terrorist for killing purposely killing unarmed people, and we're doing the same thing, what makes us different from that coward?

      May 17, 2011 at 11:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • jesse

      f them!!! why do we help any of them. let them live in poverty.

      May 17, 2011 at 11:46 pm | Report abuse |
  3. sam

    Would like to see the same survey taken in Israel

    May 17, 2011 at 11:13 pm | Report abuse |
  4. matt

    maybe if these people could take care of themselves for a a change they wouldn't have these problems.. Whenever they have a problem they come to us.. Screw them stop sending money to third world dbags who hate us.. Especially to terrorist countries like Pakistan.. Anyone surprised that pedo Bin Laden as there? I figured that's where they would find him.

    May 17, 2011 at 11:14 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Harv Weinstein


    May 17, 2011 at 11:17 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Cesar

    @Cesar Troll 10:25/10:30: You are a worthless POS and an idiot. Your mother is also a POS.

    May 17, 2011 at 11:17 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Ellis from Panama

    They don't like us? So? We hate them!!

    May 17, 2011 at 11:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gandhafi

      And the cycle of hate continues...

      May 18, 2011 at 12:19 am | Report abuse |
  8. cricket

    Why don't you just shut your mouth Frank. You are not the real Frank anyway.

    May 17, 2011 at 11:27 pm | Report abuse |
  9. apease the haters

    Oh Obama's gonna have to tell them they can build victory mosques on the Pentagon and in Shanksville Pennslyvania too!

    May 17, 2011 at 11:30 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Amit-Atlanta-USa

    Wonder what Mr. FAREED ZAKARIA has to say now. He has been tirelessly parroting sugar coated stories of democracy ushering in the ME with "moderate"(!!) forces like the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas participating in the democratic process. We are already seeing ample evidence of what's unfolding there, incl.:
    a) Majority of Egyptians now want the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty abrogated (in line with Mr. ZAKARIA's mischevous & shameless assertion that the peace treaty was between two regimes and NOT its peoples).
    b) Jordananians call for abrogating peace treaty with Israel.
    c) Egyptian extremists blow up gas pipeline to Israel (twice in a month).
    d) Fatah and Hamas sign peace deal to enable Hamas to piggy back on the peace process to INITIALLY get all the Israeli concessions incl. occupied lands, declare a Palestinian state, and then to start the next phase of its stated goal of destruction of Israel.

    The result of all this the US still remains the enemy of most Muslims in the ME (& the World too!), and Arab nations ganging up to once again destroy Israel.

    And, Mr. Zakaria wants just that!


    May 17, 2011 at 11:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • John Gets

      Hey Amit, here's your "great" motherland at work. Read the headline below. Bunch of losers.

      NEW DELHI: A man whose name features prominently among 50 alleged terrorists India wants from Pakistan is living in Mumbai and regularly reports to a court that gave him bail, The Times of India reported on Tuesday.

      May 18, 2011 at 12:19 am | Report abuse |
  11. Pl

    Muslims suck dick

    May 17, 2011 at 11:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • zzzzzz

      Too bad u don't have one. They'd probably chop it off.

      May 17, 2011 at 11:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Magnum

      That's not going to get the rise you expected out of them. If you really want to aggravate them, draw a cartoon of muhamed sucking pig dick!

      May 17, 2011 at 11:59 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Marie

    All people deserve the freedom that Almighty God gives them. As the only superpower, we should support freedom of speech, assembly, and the right to choose leadership for the country. Everyone deserves justice. Backing corrupt dictators resulted in the negative impression some Muslims have. Now we should support the rights of these people. We would not tolerate dictators or power passed by birth in America, why should we expect anyone else to live with it.

    May 17, 2011 at 11:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • zzzzzz

      How dare you talk about the rights of other people. Only Americans have rights and the right to live in peace while they screw everyone else especially Muslims. Go and wash your mouth for spewing such dirt.

      May 17, 2011 at 11:58 pm | Report abuse |
  13. DrManic

    Smores taste best when the marshmellow's have been cooked over burning korans.

    May 18, 2011 at 12:04 am | Report abuse |
  14. Kidkoala

    Since when do people use survey results as facts?

    May 18, 2011 at 12:07 am | Report abuse |
  15. jihadwatchdotorg

    Who cares how they feel about us? May they all join allah soon.

    May 18, 2011 at 12:12 am | Report abuse |
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