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.


Assad accused of ‘using urban development law to carry out ethnic cleansing’

Pro-government forces stand in the destroyed Thalateen Street in the Yarmuk Palestinian refugee camp on the southern outskirts of the capital Damascus on May 24, 2018, as civilians return to see their homes after the regime seized the camp and adjacent neighborhoods of Tadamun and Hajar al-Aswad earlier in the week from the Daesh group. (AFP / LOUAI BESHARA)
Updated 27 May 2018
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Assad accused of ‘using urban development law to carry out ethnic cleansing’

  • he so-called “Law 10” allows the regime to acquire previously private property in which to create zoned developments, and to compensate the owners with shares in the new projects.
  • Many of the displaced have lost the necessary paperwork, are struggling financially or may not learn of the legal requirements in time.

JEDDAH: The Assad regime in Syria was accused on Saturday of using a new law on urban development to carry out and rid the country of all political opposition.

The so-called “Law 10” allows the regime to acquire previously private property in which to create zoned developments, and to compensate the owners with shares in the new projects.

However, after a seven-year war that has created more than 5 million refugees and 6 million internally displaced people, property rights are in a state of confusion. Many of the displaced have lost the necessary paperwork, are struggling financially or may not learn of the legal requirements in time.

The Assad regime is using the confusion to create a suitable environment for demographic change, Syrian opposition spokesman Yahya Al-Aridi told Arab News. 

“The regime has a two-fold goal,” he said. “First, terrorize the opposition and supporters of the Syrian revolution so that they lose the right to their properties.

“Second, there is talk of reconstruction in Syria now. This law sends out a message to investors that their interests lie with the regime. It is an attempt to tempt companies and business people to support the regime, because the regime is the only party that approves bids and gives grants and contracts. All this merely adds to the Syrians’ plight and misery.”

Al-Aridi said the attempted land grab was being resisted by European countries, especially France and Germany. “The Syrian Negotiating Committee is also exerting a very important effort so that such an evil act will not happen,” he said. 

Also on Saturday, the US warned Damascus it would take “firm action” if the regime violates a cease-fire deal, after Syrian aircraft dropped leaflets on a southern province in advance of an expected offensive.

Al-Aridi said any such offensive would be a breach of agreements between Russia and the US on de-escalation zones, and he warned the regime and Iran against “playing games” with the US. “Such threats are part of a response to the two unanswered Israeli attacks on Iran’s military positions in Syria,” he said.

“They area also meant to divert attention from the American-Israeli intent to kick Iranian militias and forces out of Syria.”

He said the regime and Iran could do nothing without Russian support. “We don’t think the Russians are willing to provide such support, or to mess with the US or Israel. Parallel to such threats, Assad is trying to make certain reconciliation agreements with what they call ‘Syrians in liberated areas.’ We believe that they cannot do anything of the sort.”