Two new polls, conducted separately in 2005 and 2006, show that anti-American feeling in Arab nations is at an all-time high.
The surveys, carried out by Zogby International and the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies, show that it's not just that feelings are running against the US, it's that Arabs and Muslims are "giving up on [the US] – on our ability to make good decisions, to solve problems, to play the role of honest broker."
David Ignatius, of The Washington Post, writes that as bad as you think it may be from watching TV, "it's actually worse." In his column, Mr. Ignatius refers to a poll presented by Shibley Telhami – a University of Maryland professor and a fellow of the Saban Center at the Brookings Institution – at a conference on America's relations with the Muslim world held in Doha, Qatar this past weekend. The survey, by Zogby International, was done in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
In these six "friendly" countries, only 12 percent of those surveyed expressed favorable attitudes toward the United States. America's leaders have surpassed Israel's as objects of anger. Asked which foreign leader they disliked most, 38 percent named George Bush; Ariel Sharon was a distant second at 11 percent; and Ehud Olmert was third with 7 percent.
The poll data show a deep suspicion of American motives: 65 percent of those surveyed said they didn't think democracy was a real US objective in the Middle East. Asked to name two countries that had the most freedom and democracy, only 14 percent said America, putting it far behind France and Germany.
The Gulf Times of Qatar reports that 84 percent of those surveyed in the Zogby poll believe that the war in Iraq has created more, not fewer, terrorists, while 86 percent believe that there has been "less peace" in the region since the removal of Saddam Hussein.
The Cybercast News Service reports that Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa told the conference that most Arabs do not hate the United States but oppose its double standards.