APRIL 2003

• Immigration and Naturalization Service

• The New York City Mayor's Office Of Immigrant Affairs and Language Services

• Citizenship NYC

• New York Immigration Hotline

• National Immigration Forum

• Genealogical Resources in the New York Metropolitan Area

• America Immigration Lawyers Association and the American Immigration Law Foundation

• Lesbian and Gay Immigration Rights Task Force

• Glossary

Local: General

• Archdiocese of New York Immigrant and Refugee Services

• Citizens Committee For New York City

• Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society

Local: Specific

• Asian Americans for Equality

• Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund

• CARECEN-N.Y.

• Chinese Progressive Association

• Emerald Isle Immigration Center of New York

• Korean Community Services of Metropolitan New York

• National Association of Korean Americans

• National Coalition for Haitian Rights

 

 

Arab Public Opinion Of US At All Time Low
From the Arab Voice
March 24, 2003

Across the Arab world, public opinion of the United States has reached a dangerous level, according to a new survey by The Arab American Institute and Zogby International.

The March 2003 survey was based on interviews with 2,600 persons in different Arab countries, some of them the United States’ strongest allies in the Middle East: Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

An earlier poll released by the same institutions in March 2002 showed that favorable ratings of the U.S. were very low and that the factor that drove these negative opinions was the unbalanced U.S. policy toward the Palestinians. It appears that this year's poll results have been affected as well by the American unilateral approach toward Iraq.

The most significant drops in opinion about the United States occurred in Morocco and Jordan. In 2002, for example, 34 percent of Jordanians had a positive view of the United States, as compared to 61 percent who had a negative view. In 2003, only 10 percent of Jordanians, now hold a positive view of the United States, while 81 percent hold a negative one. Similarly, in Morocco, the favorable/unfavorable ratings towards the United States in 2002 were 38 percent to 61 percent. Today they are 9 percent favorable and 88 percent unfavorable.

The U.S. favorable/unfavorable ratings were already quite low in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. They have remained low.

In 2002, the ratings in Egypt were 15 percent favorable to 76 percent unfavorable. In 2003, Egyptians' ratings of the United States are 13 percent favorable and 80 percent unfavorable.

In Saudi Arabia, 12 percent viewed the United States favorably and 87 percent unfavorably in 2002. Today, 3 percent see it favorably and 97 percent unfavorably.

In the United Arab Emirates, the ratio showed almost no change from an 11 percent favorable/87 percent unfavorable in 2002 to 11 percent favorable and 85 percent unfavorable in 2003.

In all five countries, US policy toward Iraq received only single digit favorable ratings, while nine respondents out of ten oppose current US policy toward Iraq. These numbers do not mean that these countries support the Iraqi regime since the majorities in three of the five countries indicated that they wanted to see the regime in Baghdad disarmed of all weapons of mass destruction.

An answer to the question “do you agree or disagree that the government of Iraq should fully comply with UN weapons inspectors?” Fifty-two percent of all people in the Arab Emirates agreed, while only 34 percent disagreed. In Egypt, 51 percent agreed while 41 percent disagreed. A majority of Moroccans agreed that Baghdad should cooperate. And only in Jordan and Saudi Arabia did slightly less than one in four agree, while two-thirds disagreed.

It is important to note that Arabs in all of these countries do not support the United States' acting independently to disarm Iraq. When asked, “If Iraq does not comply with UN inspectors, or if the UN finds that Iraq has been hiding weapons of mass destruction, would you support or oppose United States independent military action to make Iraq comply?” the number of those responding positively were quite low: 14 percent in Egypt, 9 percent in UAE, 8 percent in Jordan, 3 percent in Saudi Arabia, and 1 percent in Morocco.

However, when asked if they would approve of a UN-endorsed effort to disarm Iraq, should the regime fail to comply, the percentages increased: 32 percent in UAE, 29 percent in Egypt, 18 percent in Saudi Arabia, 16 percent in Morocco, and 10 percent in Jordan.

What should be most disturbing to U.S. policy makers is the lack of confidence in and goodwill toward U.S. policy that this survey demonstrated. For example, the 2002 poll included a number of what are called “experimental” questions. For example: “If the U.S. were to apply pressure to ensure the creation of an independent Palestinian state, would that make you more favorable, less favorable or make no difference in your attitude towards\ the United States?” In almost all cases, in 2002, about 80 percent of all Arab respondents indicated that this change in policy would make them more favorably inclined towards the United States. However, the current survey did not show such a response. Only in the United Arab Emirates did a majority indicate that their attitude toward the United States would improve if “the US were to apply pressure to guarantee the creation of a Palestinian state.” In Jordan, only 31 percent said their attitude would improve, and in Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Morocco those said that their attitudes toward the US would improve were 27 percent, 26 percent and 15 percent respectively. Almost 7 out of 10 in those countries indicated that their attitude would not improve.

It is not clear from the survey why this theoretical change in U.S. policy now would not create a change in attitudes toward the United States. One could suggest several possibilities: Simply, Arab public opinion may no longer trust the U.S. to act in an even manner to end the Arab-Israeli conflict. After failing to act to end the crisis of last March and April and siding with Israel's Ariel Sharon, Arab opinion may have concluded that the United States simply will not act to bring justice to Palestinians.

The conflict has gone on so long without any positive U.S. action that even if there were a change in policy, it might be too late to win Arab support. Finally, it may also be due to the fact that the U.S. independent approach toward Iraq has done such damage that even a theoretical change in policy is not enough to refill the tank of goodwill toward the United States that once existed. In any case, the American Arab Institute/Zogby International 2003 survey proves that the United States is walking on dangerous ground in the Arab world today. It is a fact that has been the subject of much discussion. But now we have real numbers to support a widely held view.

Translated from Arabic by Elias Saber

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