US viewed as main enemy by Young Arabs
Young Arabs still look dark on the future. They think the United States is the main enemy and trusts more in Vladimir Putin than at Donald Trump.
Almost every other Arab in the ages of 18 to 24, 45 percent, also believes that the development in their own country is going in the wrong direction, shows the annual survey PSB Research makes for the PR company Burson-Marsteller in 16 countries. Last year, the share was 31 percent.
Asking about the concerns of young people in the Middle East and North Africa, 35 per cent are worried about unemployment which is equivalent to 36 per cent last year.
Just as many, believe that the emergence of the extreme Islamist group ISIL gives the greatest cause for concern. this is far less than a year ago when 50 percent were most concerned about ISIL.
34 percent believe the terrorist threat poses the greatest concern in their home country, compared to 38 percent last year.
Confidence in the United States is falling among young Arabs, something that the election of Donald Trump has obviously contributed to.
One half of the respondents now looks at the United States as an enemy, against one in three a year ago.
In half of the 16 countries participating in the survey, a majority of the respondents said that the United States is an enemy, twice as many countries as last year.
– After the so-called Arab spring in 2011, the civil war in Syria and the emergence of ISIL contributed to major regional insecurity, including among young people.
Arab authoritarian regimes under pressure have been able to assert that civil war and turmoil were a result of demands for democracy and political reform, says Middle East researcher at the University of Oslo, Dag Henrik Tuastad to NTB.
– When uncertainty now diminishes, with signs of victory for Assad and setbacks for ISIL, the survey suggests that young people’s eyes turn against internal abuse. Requirements for political reforms can again be on the agenda, he believes.
Trusts Russia the most
64 percent say they look at Trump with concern, fear or anger. 70 percent says he is anti-Muslim, and 83 percent say they dislike him.
52 percent of those asked disliked Barack Obama as president as a comparison.
Asking who they look upon as the home country’s foremost allies outside the region, the US peaked last year’s list by 25 percent. Following the election of Trump, the share has fallen to 17 percent.
Several now see Russia as the country’s most important ally outside the region, 21 per cent, compared with only 9 per cent last year.
– The vision of the United States is a result of youth particularly perceiving Trump’s attempt to introduce a ban on entry into the United States as racist. Many also look at American and Western Syria politics as naive. They share Putin’s version of the fact that the choice in Syria in the short term is between Assad or ISIL, says Tuastad.
Although eight out of ten responded to Arabic language as an important part of their identity, more and more say that they speak English more often than Arabic.
The proportion most often speaks English has increased from 36 percent two years ago, to 54 percent now. Six out of ten believe at the same time that Arabic language is about to lose its value, the survey shows.
Three out of ten say they read online newspapers to follow the news, but more – 35 percent – reports Facebook as their main source of news.
Source: NTB scanpix / Norway Today