Verdict on a tumultuous decade: optimistic Gulf versus gloomy Levant, says Arab Youth Survey

Among Arab Spring economies, a majority of Egyptian youth said the events of 2011 and their aftermath were “negative.” (AFP)
Updated 09 May 2018
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Verdict on a tumultuous decade: optimistic Gulf versus gloomy Levant, says Arab Youth Survey

  • Young people in the Levant has turned increasingly pessimistic over the past two years, the survey reveals
  • Young Arabs increasingly believe that Daesh and its ideology are getting weaker

DUBAI: Young Arabs are sharply divided on their assessment of the big changes in the region over the past 10 years, the Arab Youth Survey reveals, with the biggest contrast between youth in the Levant and those in the Arabian Gulf.
Some 85 percent of young Arabs living in the Levant thought that things had gone in the “wrong direction” over the past 10 years, while in the Gulf only 34 percent said things had deteriorated. In North Africa, opinion was roughly split down the middle.
The rise of Daesh was seen as the most negative event affecting their outlook, with 85 percent viewing it unfavorably, while the Arab Spring was seen as a negative development by 56 percent.
Young people in the Levant has turned increasingly pessimistic over the past two years, the survey reveals, with 72 percent of those polled in 2018 agreeing with the statement “our best days are behind us.” In 2016, 64 percent were optimistic about the future.
In the Arabian Gulf, 82 percent of respondents said they were optimistic about the future.
Even among the so-called Arab Spring countries, opinions are polarized. In Yemen (50 percent) and in Egypt (52 percent) majorities of young people said the events of 2011 and their aftermath were “negative”, while in Libya (42 percent positive) and Tunisia (50 percent positive) the assessment was more favorable.
On what measures should be taken to improve economic and social conditions among young people in the region, defeating terrorist organizations (34 percent) was seen as the most important, but “creating new, well-paying jobs”, modernizing the education system, and “cracking down on government corruption”, were also identified as priorities.
Only 14 percent thought that “granting more personal freedom to citizens” was important.
There was strong support across the region for the anti-corruption campaign of the Saudi Arabian government. Some 86 percent of young Arabs region-wide welcomed the initiative, rising to 94 percent support in the Kingdom.
Among young Saudi men and women there were high levels of optimism for the Vision 2030 strategy of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Some 94 percent of women and 91 percent of men were confident that the strategy would be a success.
Across the region, and especially in the Gulf, the crown prince was identified as the leader who would have a bigger impact than any other Arab leader over the next decade.
Young Arabs increasingly believe that Daesh and its ideology are getting weaker, with 78 percent agreeing with that proposition, and 68 percent confident in their government’s ability to deal with the terrorist organization.


Sudan protesters plan march on parliament, more demos

Updated 19 January 2019
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Sudan protesters plan march on parliament, more demos

KHARTOUM: A group that is spearheading anti-government protests across Sudan on Saturday said it plans to launch more nationwide rallies over the next few days, including a march on parliament.
Protests have rocked Sudan since December 19, when the government raised the price of bread, and since then have escalated into rallies against President Omar Al-Bashir’s three-decade rule.
The Sudanese Professionals Association, an umbrella group of trade unions, in a statement called for a march on parliament Sunday to submit to lawmakers a memorandum calling for Bashir to step aside.
“We are calling for a march to parliament in Omdurman on Sunday,” it said referring to Khartoum’s twin city where parliament is located.
“The protesters will submit to parliament a memorandum calling on President Bashir to step down,” added the association, which represents the unions of doctors, teachers and engineers.
Over the past month, protesters have staged several demonstrations in Omdurman, on the west bank of the Nile.
Officials say at least 26 people, including two security personnel, have died during a month of protests, while rights group Amnesty International last week put the death toll at more than 40.
The group spearheading the protests said there will also be rallies in Khartoum on Sunday, to be followed by night-time demonstrations on Tuesday in the capital and in Omdurman.
“And on Thursday there will be rallies across all towns and cities of Sudan,” the statement added.
On Friday, hundreds of mourners leaving the funeral of a protester had staged a spontaneous demonstration in the capital’s Burri district, while crowds of Muslim worshippers had launched another rally in a mosque in Omdurman, witnesses said.
Protesters chanting “freedom, peace, justice” have been confronted by riot police with tear gas at several rallies since the first protest erupted in the eastern town of Atbara on December 19 after the rise of bread price.
The government’s tough response has sparked international criticism, while Bashir has blamed the violence on unidentified “conspirators.”
Analysts say the protests have emerged as the biggest challenge to the veteran leader’s rule who swept to power in 1989 in an Islamist-backed coup.
The protests come as Sudan suffers from an economic crisis driven by an acute shortage of foreign currency and soaring inflation that has more than doubled the price of food and medicines.