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Page last updated at 02:05 GMT, Tuesday, 15 April 2008 03:05 UK

Poll shows Arabs' dislike for US

By Kim Ghattas
BBC News, Washington

Demonstrators burn a US flag during a rally against the Iraq war in Istanbul, Turkey, 15 March, 2008
Most Arabs feel Iraqis would be able to bridge their differences if US troops left

Eight out of 10 people in the Arab world have a negative view of the US, according to a new poll.

By extension, governments supported by the US are unpopular, found the survey, which was released in Washington.

A recent BBC World Service survey found views of the US had started to improve by 4% globally, although they remained negative in the Arab world.

Only 6% of Arabs believe the US troop surge in Iraq has worked, according to the latest poll.

It was carried out by the University of Maryland and Zogby International.

A majority of Arabs believe that if US troops withdraw from Iraq, Iraqis would be able to bridge their differences, the survey found.

In contrast, an ABC/BBC poll conducted in Iraq and released in March, appeared to show a 20% increase in the number of Iraqis who felt the surge was succeeding and described the security situation as good.

Nasrallah's popularity

While the Western-backed Lebanese government has reasonable appeal in its own country, the latest survey indicates it has barely any support in the Arab world.

While Sunni rulers in the region worry about Shia Iran's growing influence, ordinary Arabs don't seem to view Iran as a threat

Some 30% of Arabs sympathise with the Lebanese opposition, led by Hezbollah, which is backed by Syria and Iran.

Across the Arab world, Hezbollah's leader, Hassan Nasrallah, is also the most popular leader, followed by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The three leaders are seen as the only ones standing up against US influence in the region.

And while Sunni rulers in the region worry about Shia Iran's growing influence, ordinary Arabs don't seem to view Iran as a threat.

Almost half of Arabs believe that if Tehran acquires nuclear weapons the outcome for the region would be more positive than negative.


SEE ALSO
World views US 'more positively'
02 Apr 08 |  Americas
Poll sees hope in West-Islam ties
19 Feb 07 |  Special Reports
Iran 'has negative role in world'
03 Feb 06 |  Special Reports

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