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In Mideast, Obama faces tough crowd: Here's what they want to hear

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"Actions please, not words. I am tired of rhetoric," says Nagwan Al Guneid, an employee of the French oil company Total in Sanaa, Yemen. "This ever-promised change of Obama's should be solid and clear in his foreign policy."

According to a recently released Arab public opinion poll by Middle East expert Shibley Telhami, of the University of Maryland, and polling firm Zogby International, 77 percent of Arabs have an unfavorable attitude toward the US, which they rank second after Israel as the world's biggest threat.

Overall, only 45 percent had a favorable view of Obama. Still, an average of 51 percent in the six Arab countries polled expressed hopefulness about US Middle East policy.

"This is not a love affair," said Dr. Telhami during a discussion of the findings at the Washington-based Brookings Institution. "This is, 'We're interested. We think we like this guy. We're prepared to listen.'"

A separate poll by the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) at the University of Maryland showed particular skepticism among Egyptians, 81 percent of whom thought Obama's goals "probably" or "definitely" included imposing American culture on Muslim society. Seventy percent said he aimed to weaken and divide the Islamic world.

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