This House believes that after Gaza, Arab unity is dead and buried

Sunday February 15 2009
MOTION PASSED by 77% to 23%

Opinion poll

Doha, Qatar March 17, 2009: A majority of Arabs believe that Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt were wrong to boycott a summit on Gaza, hosted by Qatar last January and many say a new “Cold War” has broken out in the region, according to the latest opinion poll commissioned by The Doha Debates.

Fifty-five percent of those questioned across the Arab world said the three countries should have attended the Doha meeting. In Qatar 87% called the decision "incorrect".

Jordanians also joined in the criticism – with 59% of them opposing their own government's decision to stay away.

The poll, carried out by YouGovSiraj between February 25th and March 1st, was commissioned by The Doha Debates following their latest session which examined the issue of Arab unity after Gaza.  A total of 1,959 people in 19 Arab countries in North Africa, the Gulf and Levant took part in the survey.

The idea of an Arab cold war was supported most strongly in Qatar. Sixty-nine per cent of Qataris felt that the description fitted their current relations with Saudi Arabia – with only 40% of Saudis sharing the view, 30% disagreeing and 30% who said they didn’t know.

Across the Arab world, 43%  agreed that a  “Cold War” had broken out, 30% disagreed and 27% didn’t know.

Other key findings:

•     A majority (58% overall; 66% in the Levant) are convinced that some Arab states have used the Gaza conflict to further their own political causes.

•     Most believe Egypt was the main offender – that it most used the conflict for its own political advantage.

•     Those in the GCC believe Saudi Arabia (47%) and Qatar (22%) have been doing the most in recent years to promote Arab unity. 67% of Qataris think their country has been doing the most; 66% of Saudis think it has been their country that has been more active.

•     55% of those polled believe Arab unity existed in the past, with most thinking it peaked during the 1973 Arab-Israeli war.

•     A majority 46% believe the disunity among Arab states after Gaza is largely a result of outside factors such as US support for Israel.

•    More than half (59%) of those polled are still opposed to the idea of recognizing Israel.

Polling dates: 25th February - 1st March 2009

Download the polling data [PDF]

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