A new poll shows a sharp decline in support of President Obama's policies in the Middle East.
The poll, which was conducted by the Arab American Institute in six Middle Eastern countries, shows Obama’s ratings at 10% or less, and reflects negative sentiments toward American policies in the region.
According to the poll, 88% of Moroccans think that the president has not met the expectations laid out in his 2009 ‘Cairo speech’, while 90% of Egyptians said they are dissatisfied with his policies. Disappointment was highest in Lebanon, where 99% disapprove of Obama’s policies, as opposed to Saudi Arabia, where 77% felt let down.
The poll also shows that both the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and US interference in the region are seen as the biggest obstacle to peace and stability. Many also noted that the America’s role in establishing a no-fly zone over Libya, and the killing of Osama bin Laden as the other major factors contributing to their disapproval.
According to AAI President, Dr. James Zogby, President Obama did not create the problems, but rather created the expectations that the problems will be solved. Zogby said that when confronted with the possibility of low approval ratings, the administration “was not surprised”.
Zogby said he understands Obama is strained by domestic policy issues, but that in order to stay relevant, he should be more attentive to the attitudes of the people. “We are operating in the region as if everybody loves us – and they don’t. You can’t be cheating on your own principles and expect people to say: you are great.”
Most telling is the fact that approval ratings of U.S. policies are now lower than those published during the end of George W. Bush's second term, and that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s policies are perceived more positively than those of Obama’s in every country polled except for Saudi Arabia.
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