Anti-Assad Syrian protesters outside Cairo embassy 390 R.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
WASHINGTON – Overwhelming majorities in the Arab countries surrounding Syria
want to see President Bashar Assad step down, according to a new Pew Research
The only neighboring country surveyed that did not strongly
endorse Assad’s departure was Lebanon, where the public was split sharply along
Israel was not included in the
Eighty-nine percent of Jordanians and Egyptians, 88% of Tunisians
and 67% of Turks want Assad to go, as do 53% of Lebanese. But while only small
minorities in every country except Lebanon want him to stay, 97% of Shi’ite
In contrast, only 20% of Sunnis and 28% of Christians
The numbers track closely with unfavorable views of Assad personally,
which represents a dramatic shift. In a 2008 survey of Arab public opinion
released by the Brookings Institution, Assad was the second most admired leader
in the world, trailing only Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah.
even in places with huge majorities in favor of Assad’s relinquishing power,
there is division about how that should be accomplished.
Only in Tunisia
– with 63% and 61% support, respectively – do the majority of those surveyed
want to see more sanctions applied or Arab military force used against
And while there is some support in Jordan, Egypt and Turkey for
Arab-led action – 28%, 47% and 29%, respectively – backing for Western-led
intervention is barely in the double digits (10% and 11% for the first two) and
only somewhat higher (24%) in Turkey.
The survey was conducted between
mid-March and mid-April, before the most devastating civilian massacres were
reported. The margins of error ranged between +/- 3.8% to +/-5.2% in the various