This House believes Britain's role in the Middle East is in terminal decline

Monday November 26 2007
Cambridge Union Society, Cambridge, UK

MOTION REJECTED by 32% to 68%

Opinion poll

Doha Debates-YouGov Poll reveals Britain’s decline in the Middle East – disagrees with vote at recent debate

DOHA, QATAR 29th December 2007: Six out of 10 Arabs no longer feel Britain has sufficient credibility to be a major player in the Middle East, according to a YouGov poll commissioned by The Doha Debates. In addition, most blamed the UK’s declining influence on its involvement in Iraq.

The poll comes in sharp contrast to the vote at a session of The Doha Debates, recorded on November 27th at the Cambridge Union, where the audience rejected by 68% to 32% the notion that Britain’s role in the Middle East was in terminal decline.

In the YouGov survey, an online panel of 790 adults, across the GCC, Iraq, the Levant and North Africa submitted answers to a questionnaire designed to expand on the main issues identified at The Doha Debates.

The poll indicated that many people in the Middle East give greater value to current events than historical grievances. Over 50% found British involvement in Iraq to be the biggest cause for its declining role. Around 20% cited the Israel-Palestine conflict as the major factor. Nearly a third of those polled in the GCC had no opinion.

As for Britain’s alliance with America, the majority felt that was also a cause of its diminishing influence along with US hegemony in the region.

However, Britain’s record is not uniformly viewed across the region: in general GCC countries held the UK in higher regard than their counterparts in North Africa and the Levant.

Saudi Arabia and Kuwait are among the top three Arab nations perceived to be the most influenced by Britain.

In general young people were more positive about Britain’s role in the Middle East than their parents.  In their eyes the UK remained most influential in the fields of diplomacy and education.

Polling dates: 9 - 16 December 2007

Download the polling data [PDF]

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