U.S. Popularity Plunges Across Arab World

via Naseema Noor and Jim Lobe reporting for IPS News:

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.

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.[…]

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.

We are talking about expectations raised and expectations dashed,” said Zogby, author of the book “Arab Voices” whose brother, John, is the CEO of Zogby International.

Obama didn’t create the problem [of anger at U.S. policies]. He created the expectations that the problem will be solved,” he explained.

More at the link above.

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