How Do People in the Middle East Feel about America?
With the recent unrest and revolution in the Middle East still on everybody’s mind, many people are beginning to ask more questions about U.S. relations in the Middle East. Who is friendly to America? Who isn’t? What is the general feeling toward the United States in the Middle East and how does it differ from nation to nation?
If you’re looking for in-depth analyses and data on American interests in the Middle East, then you should definitely check out Gregg Roman, Director of Middle East Forum. However, here you’ll find some of the Middle Eastern countries in which anti-Americanism is most rampant.
Dislike of America has been steadily growing in Egypt, especially in the last 20 years. Although the United States and Egypt cooperate on many issues and participate in trade, over half of Egyptians have expressed negative feelings toward America in general. These feelings seem to center around relations between Egyptian and American leadership, as well as the U.S. approach to foreign policy.
American relations with Iran have been strained at best for a long while. Ever since American hostages were held by Iranian revolutionaries in Tehran in 1979, things have been close to boiling point between the two nations. The U.S. government has imposed certain sanctions to try to keep nuclear ability in Iran under control. This and other factors such as the United States’ protection of Israelis from Iranian extremists has only fueled the fire of anti-Americanism in Iran.
Ever since the U.S. intervened to divide up the countries we know as Israel and Palestine, Palestinian feeling towards America has been overwhelmingly negative. The long-continued occupation of Palestinian territories by the United States in order to protect Israelis from Palestinian terrorism symbolizes the hostility between Israel and America on the one hand and Palestine on the other. While America has consistently tried to remain as much of a mediator and peacemaker as possible throughout the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, it’s undeniable that the hostile portion of the Palestinian population doesn’t see it that way.
The history between Pakistan and America is complicated, to say the least. Never very friendly, relations were exacerbated in 2001 when the hunt for the al-Quaeda terrorist group went through Pakistan. Various factors have gone to contribute to the tension between Americans and Pakistanis, including dislike of U.S. foreign policies and methods of combating terrorist groups, as well as negative feelings towards American leadership. One of the most inflammatory events in this recent history of turbulent relations between America and Pakistan was the killing of Osama bin-Laden in Pakistan, as well as the accusations of hiding him against that nation from the U.S. The feelings of Pakistanis toward Americans, while not actually beyond control, are still more negative than most other countries even in the Middle East.
Here you have only a few details of the unfortunate and sometimes violent history between America and various Middle Eastern countries. It is to be hoped that diplomacy and a firm understanding of foreign affairs, as well as desire both for the interests of the Middle East and of America, will solve many of these disputes and initiate friendlier relations between individual Americans and Middle Eastern citizens.