DUBAI, UAE, June 20, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Around two-thirds of young Arabs (60%) say that relations between Iran and Israel and the West will deteriorate into military conflict. Many expect the Iranian regime to become even more authoritarian in the future, with nearly a third saying Iran will experience more civil unrest and possibly a coup.
The findings this year also highlight the shifting geopolitical allegiances in the Arab world, with the region’s youth saying they view Turkey and China as stronger allies of their country than traditional powers such as the United States and Russia.
These are some of the key insights from the landmark 15th annual ASDA’A BCW Arab Youth Survey, unveiled today by ASDA’A BCW, the Middle East & North Africa’s leading communications consultancy. The survey is the largest study of its kind of MENA’s largest demographic, its 200 million plus youth. This year’s findings show young Arab men and women ‘Living a New Reality’, the overarching theme of the 2023 survey.
ASDA’A BCW commissioned SixthFactor Consulting, a leading research company, to conduct face-to-face interviews with 3,600 Arab citizens aged 18 to 24 in their home nations from March 27 to April 12, 2023. The largest sample in the survey’s history was equally divided between men and women in 53 cities across a total of 18 Arab states, including for the first time South Sudan.
The 75-year Palestinian-Israeli conflict won’t be resolved soon
Arab youth are pessimistic about the prospects for peace in the Palestinian Territories, with most surveyed saying the 75-year conflict between Palestinians and Israelis won’t be resolved within the next five years.
Moreover, nearly four in 10 (39%) young Arabs overall believe that with rising national priorities, the conflict does not receive adequate attention from the Arab world, rising to more than half (51%) in the Levant region, which includes the Palestinian Territories.
A divergence of views on closer ties with Israel
When young Arabs were asked whether they supported or would endorse their government’s decision to normalise diplomatic ties with Israel, three-quarters (75%) in the UAE, a signatory of the Abraham Accords, said they supported normalisation. A third in Bahrain, the first country to sign the agreement, said the same. In Sudan, however, the fourth Arab nation to establish full diplomatic ties with Israel, 94% oppose it.
Shifting geopolitical allegiances
Among non-Arab nations, 82% of Arab youth named Turkey as a ‘strong ally’ or ‘somewhat of an ally of their country’, followed by China (80%), the United Kingdom (79%), Germany (78%) and France (74%). The US ranked seventh, with 72% votes, just below India at 73%. Russia, a top-three ally in last year’s study, now ranks in ninth place, rated as an ally by 63% of respondents, below Pakistan (69%).
At the same time, they say the US continues to exert the most influence in the Arab world. However, most would like the US to be less involved in Middle Eastern affairs, with nearly two-thirds saying they ‘strongly or somewhat support’ US disengagement from the region.
Views on ‘model nations’
For the 12th consecutive year since young Arabs were asked to name the countries they consider ‘model nations’, they have said the UAE is the country they would most like to live in and the one they would most like their own to emulate.
Nearly one in four Arab youth (24%) named the UAE as the country they would most like to live in, followed by the US (19%), Canada (19%), Qatar (14%) and the UK (13%). The UAE was also named the country most Arab youth want their own to emulate, again for the 12th straight year. The UAE was identified by 22% of young Arab men and women overall, ahead of the US (19%), Canada (16%), Qatar (15%) and Saudi Arabia and the UK in joint fifth place (11%).
Sunil John, President, MENA, BCW and Founder of ASDA’A BCW, who has led the survey over the past 15 years, said: “The annual ASDA’A BCW Arab Youth Survey has proven to be an indispensable resource for global decision makers in government and business seeking a clearer understanding of a region that is increasingly influential in world affairs, yet still an enigma for many. Once again, the study sheds new light on the Arab world’s changing geopolitical landscape.”
In the coming weeks, ASDA’A BCW will publish insights under the other five themes covered in the study: My Politics, My Livelihood, My Identity, My Aspirations, and My Lifestyle. To know more about the findings, log on to arabyouthsurvey.com