Posted by on October 25, 2011 in Blog
This morning, AAI released a new poll on Arab attitudes towards Syria, comprised of data from six Arab nations and over four thousand respondents. AAI President Jim Zogby began the release by recalling a 2008 poll AAI had conducted in the Arab world for the BBC. The data from this 2008 poll reveals that Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad was among the most highly respected and widely supported leaders in the Arab World. Now, a mere three years later, new AAI polling data shows Bashar to be virtually isolated in the Arab world.
Each country polled showed overwhelming support for the demonstrators over the Assad Regime. Morocco showed the highest remaining support for Assad with a mere 15 percent. Even in neighboring Lebanon support for the demonstrators is at 98 percent. Jim noted a seeming contradiction in Lebanon’s lack of support for Assad, as Lebanese respondents also expressed a positive view of Hezbollah’s role in Syria, an organization that has been supporting the Assad regime. Jim explained that Hezbollah still maintains broad support in Lebanon, though these numbers reveal that Hezbollah’s favorability could be affected by its continued support for the Assad regime.
The poll delivered equally negative results from across the Arab world on the role of the United States in Syria. Jim argued that these numbers should be a cautionary note that there is no tolerance in the region for hostile or even active role by the United States.
Jim then proceeded to take question from both the audience and those submitted via AAI’s livestream channel. A question was posed about the implications of recent violence and executions perpetrated by the Libyan rebels for Syria. Jim responded that this has the potential to make the Syrian regime’s propaganda more believable, that chaos would be the result of the Assad regime falling. Another audience member asked about the implications of the various military options that have been proposed, from a no fly zone to outright military action. Jim argued that these poll numbers show that military action from the U.S. would be unwelcome across the region, and even those who simply suggest we “do more” are misguided.
Finally, Jim was asked about his thoughts on the particularly striking numbers from Jordan, where 100 percent of respondents sided with the demonstrators. Jim noted that usually such unanimity, even below 100 percent, calls into question the validity of the poll. Yet the results are matched across the region. Thus, the latest AAI poll on Arab attitudes toward Syria shows that Arabs, whether reform minded or not, are universally disgusted with the actions of the Assad regime.
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