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Arab youth ‘trust Russia and China more than UK and US’, 78% think China an ally

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Arab youth ‘trust Russia and China more than UK and US’, 78% think China an ally​

By Megha Merani
September 21, 2022

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There were 3,400 face-to-face interviews conducted across 50 cities in 17 Arab states of country nationals aged between 18-24 years old

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Arab youth see the United States and the United Kingdom as bigger enemies than Russia and China, with the majority blaming the US and NATO for the war in Ukraine, a new survey has said.

Close to three quarters (72 percent) of young Arabs describe Russia as either a strong ally or somewhat of an ally of their country, according to the findings of the 14th Annual ASDA’A BCW Arab Youth Survey, which explores the views of 3,400 young Arabs aged 18 to 24 in 50 cities across 17 states in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).

Nearly four out of five (78 percent) said they view China as an ally.

The UK and France were ranked joint fourth in the study on 70 percent, followed by the US, which was rated an ally by two thirds (63 percent) of those interviewed.

Mohammed Sinan Siyech, non-resident associate fellow in the Strategic Studies Programme at the Observer Research Foundation (ORF) in New Delhi, said the “historic baggage of the US coming into the Middle East to spread democracy, as they claim to do”, ultimately exacerbated problems in the region.

“This baggage remains in the minds of the Middle Eastern youth,” he said.

“Also keep in mind, after Trump became President, with all his Islamaphobic narratives and general rhetoric towards Muslims, the number of people who started disliking the US almost doubled in Gulf nations.”

US-based Giorgio Cafiero, CEO and founder at Gulf State Analytics, told AGBI there is widespread opposition to American and British foreign policies in the Arab world.

“Western military interventions in Iraq and Libya have been extremely disastrous from the perspective of many Arab citizens as well as government officials,” Cafiero said.

“Consequently, there has been significant support for a more multipolar world in which Arab countries can pursue more options and diversify their relations beyond Western powers.”

Echoing other experts, Merissa Khurma, director – Middle East Program at The Wilson Center in Washington DC, added: “Many young people see the United States through its military entanglements in the Middle East, so it’s viewed through its foreign policy positions vis-a-vis the region.

“China has not been, and is not, militarily involved in the region and most people see it as an impressive economic great power, so that helps explain why China is seen more favourably than the United States and the UK. The same applies to Russia to a certain extent.”



 

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