Thursday, 1 October 2009

Israel, Lebanon's worst enemy: Poll


Results of a recent survey show that the Lebanese people deem Qatar as their country's closest ally while Israel is considered as their foremost enemy.

An opinion poll conducted on August 11-15 among people from different religious communities in Lebanon shows more than 86 percent of Lebanese favor Qatar.

Syria and Iran rank as Lebanon's second and third friend nations with 72 and 68 percent respectively, with Tehran enjoying the most votes among the country's Shia community.

This is while a sweeping 92 percent majority considers Israel as their leading enemy with Washington following with 64 percent as Tel Aviv's closest ally.

The results from the survey mark an 11 percent fall in the US popularity with the Lebanese from 37 percent in a June 2008 poll.

Egypt, one of the few Arab states that have normalized ties with Israel, has climbed down as much as 17 percent from 63 percent last year while Saudi Arabia ended up seven percent higher than its 53 percent in 2008.

The survey also found a low popularity for the United Nations in Lebanon as almost half of the 995 people who participated in the poll said they did not consider the international body as their friend.

On the most serious threats, 48 percent of the Lebanese expressed their deepest concerns over the prospects of another Israeli attack, while 12 percent said they remained concerned with the issue of Palestinian refugees. Economic recession and sectarian violence were to follow with almost 10 percent each.

While Israel and its Western allies are increasingly uncomfortable with Hezbollah's armed resistance, the Islamic group does not seem to provoke much fear at home as a meager 5 percent said they disliked an armed Hezbollah.

The vote sought views about Lebanon's 'friends and foes' among a mix of Shia and Sunni Muslims, Druze and Maronite communities as well as other religious minorities.

The poll was conducted with an error margin of 3.1 percent.


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