Britons are increasingly pessimistic about the Middle East and most want to see democratic governments in the region, even if they are unfriendly to the West
Yesterday Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood released a statement pledging to continue to protest the removal by the military of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi, one day after arrest warrants were issued for some of the group’s senior leaders. Morsi’s supporters took to the streets last weekend to protest the military coup, but demonstrations quickly turned violent and on Monday 50 pro-Morsi protesters were killed in clashes with Egyptian security forces. New YouGov research reveals that the British people are increasingly pessimistic about the future of the Middle East in light of recent events in Egypt.
57% of the British public say what has been happening in Egypt recently makes them more pessimistic about the future of the Middle East, compared to only 22% who say it makes no difference and even fewer – 9% – who say it makes them more optimistic. British adults are more pessimistic about the Middle East following this summer’s events in Egypt than they were in February 2011, when 51% said recent events made them more pessimistic and 14% said they were more optimistic.
The February 2011 survey was conducted two days after dictator Honsi Mubarak announced that he wanted to stay in power until September; ten days after the announcement he resigned amid continued protests.
The July 2013 survey also found that Britons appear to put democratic values over British national interestswhen it comes to foreign policy in the Middle East. 56% of British people say they would prefer to see democratically elected governments in the Middle East, even if they are sometimes hostile towards Britain or the west; only 19% would prefer to see friendly, non-democratic governments.
Mohamed Morsi became Egypt’s first democratically elected president just over one year ago, taking 52% of the vote. On June 30 mass protests against Morsi erupted across Egypt amid frustration with economic troubles facing the country and claims that the president was becoming increasingly authoritarian.