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Sunday, December 03, 2006

Zogby poll: 'Divide' between Lebanon's Shiites and the rest of the country

As Hezbullah's encampment around Prime Minister Fouad Siniora's office attempts to bring down the Lebanese government, a new Zogby poll is out in the US that indicates that Lebanese Shiites differ radically from their Sunni, Druze and Christian counterparts, particularly when it comes to Israel:
A wide gap exists between Lebanon's Shiite and other communities in their opinion on a number of issues including the outcome of the recent war with Israel and the situation in Iraq and Iran, according to a survey released in Washington Friday.

The survey, conducted November 11-16 by Zogby International polling firm on behalf of the University of Maryland's Sadat Chair for Peace and Development, shows that more than 70 percent of the country's Shiites believe that Israel was the biggest loser in the war with Hizbullah this summer. That's in contrast to Sunnis, Christians and Druze in the country who overwhelmingly believe that the Lebanese people were the biggest losers.

Nearly 50 percent of Shiites questioned also believe Arabs should continue to fight Israel even if the Jewish state returns all territories occupied in the 1967 war as opposed to Sunnis, Christians and Druze who believe otherwise, according to the poll.

On Iraq, more than 50 percent of Sunnis, Christians and Druze believe civil war in that country will expand rapidly if the U.S. quickly withdraws its forces as opposed to nearly 50 percent of Shiite who believe that Iraqis will find a way to bridge their differences if U.S. forces pull out.

More than 90 percent of Shiites also believe that Iran has the right to its nuclear program as opposed to a majority who feel otherwise in the three other communities.

The four religious communities agree on a number of issues when it comes to the United States, including their belief that their view of America would improve if it brokered a comprehensive Middle East peace settlement that would lead to a Palestinian state.

All four communities also believe that the Democratic Party's recent victory in the U.S. elections will not make a difference as far as U.S. policy in the Middle East.

As to confidence in the U.S., more than 50 percent of Shiites and Sunnis said they have none as opposed to more than 40 percent of Christians and Druze who say they have some confidence.

More than 60 percent of all those surveyed believe that democracy is not a real U.S. objective in the Middle East.

When asked which countries they preferred as a superpower, France came in first among Sunnis, Christians and Druze while Russia topped the list among Shiites. [Curious that it's not Iran. CiJ]

French President Jacques Chirac was the most admired world leader among Sunnis, Druze and Christians while Shiites favored Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez. [I find it very curious that the Shiites don't favor Ahmedinadinnerjacket. Hmm... CiJ]

When asked to name two countries that pose the biggest threat, the majority of Shiites and Sunnis identified the United States and Israel as opposed to Christians and Druze who said Israel and Syria. [It never ceases to amaze me how the Christians and Druze - especially the Christians - fail to see that they have a common interest with Israel. CiJ]

"There were a number of things striking in this survey, on issues related to Syria, the role of Hizbullah and Iran," Shibley Telhami, a professor at the University of Maryland who coordinated the survey, told AFP. "The line-up on these issues appears to be Shiite and non-Shiite, more than Muslim and Christian."

The survey involved 600 respondents and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.1 percent.


At 9:58 AM, Blogger Michael said...

Sounds to me like Shiites are a problem.


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