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.


Turkish court rejects Australia’s request to extradite Daesh recruiter

A Turkish soldier is seen in an armoured personnel carrier at a check point near the Turkish-Syrian border in Kilis province, Turkey. (REUTERS)
Updated 20 July 2018
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Turkish court rejects Australia’s request to extradite Daesh recruiter

  • Ties between Turkey and its allies fighting Daesh, particularly the United States, have been frayed by Washington’s support for the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia
  • Australia had been pressing Turkey to extradite Prakash since he was first detained

SYDNEY: A Turkish court rejected an Australian request to extradite a citizen it believes is a top recruiter for the Daesh group, Australia’s foreign minister said on Friday, in a setback for Canberra’s efforts to prosecute him at home.
Melbourne-born Neil Prakash has been linked to several Australia-based attack plans and has appeared in Daesh videos and magazines. Australia has alleged that he actively recruited Australian men, women and children and encouraged acts of militancy.
“We are disappointed that the Kilis Criminal Court in Turkey has rejected the request to extradite Neil Prakash to Australia,” Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said in a statement.
“We will continue to engage with Turkish authorities as they consider whether to appeal the extradition decision,” she said.
Australia had been pressing Turkey to extradite Prakash since he was first detained there nearly two years ago.
Australia’s Daily Telegraph newspaper reported from Kilis that Prakash was initially ordered to be freed but was later charged under Turkish law with being a Daesh member.
A spokesman at Turkey’s foreign ministry in Istanbul had no immediate comment and the Turkish embassy in Australia did not respond immediately to a request for comment.
Ties between Turkey and its allies fighting Daesh, particularly the United States, have been frayed by Washington’s support for the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia, which Ankara regards as a militant group.
Canberra announced financial sanctions against Prakash in 2015, including anyone giving him financial assistance, with punishment of up to 10 years in jail.
The Australian government wrongly reported in 2016, based on US intelligence, that Prakash had been killed in an air strike in Mosul, Iraq. It later confirmed that Prakash was detained in Turkey.
Australia raised its national terror threat level to “high” for the first time in 2015, citing the likelihood of attacks by Australians radicalized in Iraq or Syria.
A staunch ally of the United States and its actions against Daesh in Syria and Iraq, Australia believes more than 100 of its citizens were fighting in the region.