Poll: Jordanians return to hard-line stance towards USA due to its regional policy
A recent study conducted by a Jordanian firm, a copy of which obtained by Albawaba.com, showed that the Jordanian society has become more inclined to take a hard-line stance towards the US. This has come in view of the biased American policy towards the region, particularly its unlimited support for Israel and the mounting threat to use force against Iraq.
The study, conducted by West Asia Center for Media and Strategic Studies, a Jordanian center specializing in public polls and various media studies, indicated that out of 1854 persons involved in the poll, many considered the relations between Jordan and the USA as “good” and should be developed. However, 27% supported the assassination of the US top diplomat, Laurence Foley in Amman last year, Tareq Tarawneh who supervised the poll said.
In his statement to Albawaba.com, Tarawneh conveyed that 50% of those who participated in the study condemned the assassination, depicting that Jordanians do not accept terrorism. Nevertheless, he added, the 27% ratio advocating the assassination act was expected in view of the American policy toward Afghanistan, Palestine and Iraq.
The survey, performed randomly in 12 Jordanian governorates, excluding Ma’an, is the first of its kind to size up the popular support among Jordanians towards the relation between their country and the United State of America.
A consulting committee comprised of staff from various Jordanian universities, political analysts, journalists, and statistical experts participated in the study. Its supervisors excluded Ma’an from the poll out of their concern that views in that city might be too fundamental and not representing the public opinion on the issues addressed.
The poll also showed that 19% of the respondents said the Jordanian American relations are excellent; 31% said they are very good and 36% said they are good. On the contrast, 9% believed that the relations between the two countries are bad, while 5% of the participants did not mention their opinion about this issue.
While the poll indicated that 86% of the respondents consider the political and economic ties between Jordan and the US are good in general, 59% thought the Jordanian executive and legislative powers together with the civil society establishments should develop these ties. 20% of these strongly believe there is a need for bolstering these ties, while 39% expressed some support for such an orientation.
As for the ratio of those participants, who oppose this orientation, it reached 34% while 7% said they were not sure whether Jordan should do more to improve its relation with the US or not.
According to the poll, 64% of the respondents said the good Jordanian American relations have contributed to the American economic and political support for Jordan over the past years. This result, as the study showed, is nearly compatible with the ratio of the participants who want an improvement in the relations between the two countries (59%). The ratio of those who saw that the relations between the two countries has not contributed to attracting political and economic support for Jordan reached 26% which is close to the ratio of the participants who do not want an improvement in the Jordanian American relations (34%). The remaining 10% of the participants took a neutral stance towards the issue.
In general the poll showed that Jordanians see the economic cooperation, development and investment are the best means for the improvement of the Jordanian American relations.
When the interviewed were asked to show their opinion about how Jordan can develop its political and economic relations with the United States, 13% saw this can be accomplished through absolute cooperation in all aspects, including the economic, political and military fields. Meanwhile, 10% said this could be accomplished through the optimal utilization of the free trade agreement between the two countries.
While 19% of the respondents supported the need for increasing American investments in Jordan, 14% said they do not know and 11% did not say anything.
The majority of the respondents (76%) described the American policy towards the Arab and Islamic nations, including its direct influence on the UN resolutions, as unjust in general. 25% said the American policy is unjust; 52% said it is oppressive, while 20% said it is fair (2% said it is very fair; 18% said it is somewhat fair) and 3% were neutral.
The vast majority of the respondents (73%) believed that the US has the power to find a solution for the Arab Israeli conflict, particularly the Palestinian issue. 37% stressed the capability of the US on solving the conflict, while 36% said they believe the US can, to some extent, find a solution to the conflict. 21% were against this opinion and the remaining 6% said they do not know.
The researchers believe that those who see the US unable to solve the conflict are convinced that Israel has a direct influence on the US policy in the region. These persons believe that solving the Arab Israeli conflict depends on Israel rather than the United States, the poll suggested.
Moreover, some respondents believe that Israel leads the United States, while others believe the latter uses Israel to achieve its own interests. These contradicting results put people in dilemma when they assess the power of the US and its ability to find a solution for the Arab Israeli conflict.
The survey outlined that 59% of the respondents believe that if the US can find a solution for the Arab Israeli conflict and the Palestinian issue in particular, all its disputes with both the Arab and Islamic states will terminate. 20% of those who were surveyed strongly advocate this opinion; 39% agreed to it to some extent; 23% do not agree at all, while 8% took a neutral stance. The study noted that the ratio of the interviewees who do not agree with this notion is nearly the same as the ratio, which was against the development of the Jordanian American relations and advocating the assassination of Foley.
About fifty percent of the poll participants said Israel cannot live peacefully with all the Arab and Muslim people even if it implements all the UN resolutions regarding the Arab nations, including Palestine, while some believed in the possibility. 47% said Israel couldn’t live peacefully with its neighbors even if it implements the international resolutions, while 41% said it could (15% strongly agreed; 26% agreed to some extent) and the remaining 12% said they did not know.
The 47% of the interviewees, opposing the likelihood of living peacefully with Israel even after the implementation of the UN resolutions, do not constitute a new finding. The opposition to the peace process which prevails among some classes in the society has been due to the failure of this process to bring comfort to the nations which signed peace agreements. This has consolidated the belief that Israel is not concerned with agreements and that its compliance with the implementation of the international agreements is impossible.
The poll concluded that 65% of the participants believe the US has the tools necessary to lead the world to peace, economic development and equality.
About the West Asia Center for Strategic and Media Studies
The West Asia Center for Strategic and Media Studies (WAC) is a Jordan-based firm that offers a diverse range of consulting services. Among other services, WAC specializes in conducting opinion polls, market surveys, strategic studies, and the various types of media services. WAC can be thought of as a non-biased entity that conducts opinion polls in Jordan to arrive at clearer depictions of the local view(s) on such issues, and help convey such findings to decision makers and policy analysts in the region. (Albawaba.com)