Speed Reads

the arab world

Young adults in the Middle East, North Africa see Russia as the Arab world's best friend

Opinion of the United States has dropped among young adults in the Middle East and North Africa, the 2017 Arab Youth Survey has found. Polling men and women between the ages of 18 and 24 in 16 different Arab countries, the survey found that 49 percent of respondents believe the U.S. is "somewhat of an enemy" or a "strong enemy" of their country.

"A majority in eight countries said that the U.S. is an enemy — double the number of countries where a majority of respondents said so in 2016," BuzzFeed News reports.

Apparently, a lot of the swing comes down to President Trump. While former President George W. Bush was not well-liked in the Middle East, having been viewed favorably by 19 percent of the young adults, Trump is even more disliked, earning an approval rating of just 11 percent. Seventy percent of respondents said Trump is "anti-Muslim" and 49 percent believe his travel ban makes it easier for terrorist groups to recruit and radicalize young Muslims.

As a result, young Arabs consider Russia to be the Arab world's closest non-Arab ally now, rather than America. By comparison, in 2016 just 9 percent of respondents said Russia was their country's top ally, while 21 percent said so this year. Just 17 percent answered the United States in 2017, down from 25 percent last year.

The researchers conducted 3,500 face-to-face interviews with youth in Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, and Yemen; Syria was excluded due to the war. The gender divide was fifty-fifty and the margin of error is plus or minus 1.65 percent. Explore the full results here.