Foreign influence in the Middle East: changes in perceptions and expectations

epa04576288 British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond (L) with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abad (C) and US Secretary of State John Kerry (R) during a press conference in London, Britain, 22 January 2015. British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond and United States Secretary of State John Kerry are hosting a meeting for members of the coalition against the Islamic State (IS), (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant also known as Islamic State, Da?esh or ISIS). EPA/ANDY RAIN / POOL © EPA

Has Western involvement in the Arab Spring generated more scepticism in North Africa and the Middle East about foreign influence?  This study compares public opinion about foreign influence across five MENA countries: Iraq, Libya, Egypt, Yemen, and Tunisia. Using data sets from the second and third waves of the Arab Barometer, the study compares the periods pre- and post-2011.

Results show that, since the Arab Spring, the Middle East populations place greater emphasis on domestic issues; are increasingly doubtful about the benefits of foreign influence; and desire better economic ties with the US and others.

The views represented in this paper are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Arab Reform Initiative, its staff, or its board.