As Biden visits, more than 90% of Saudi youths see US as a strong ally

Findings from the Arab Youth Survey reflect the younger generation's strong impression of Washington in regional politics

Saudi youth sit in a coffee shop at Abha High City,  Abha, Saudi Arabia. Reuters
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The majority of Saudi youths view the US as an ally of their country, the latest Arab Youth Survey has found.

Before the visit by US President Joe Biden to Saudi Arabia on Friday, the survey found that 92 per cent of young Saudis, who make up almost two thirds of the kingdom's population, said they see Washington as a strong ally of the Gulf country, while 33 per cent called America somewhat of an ally.

The annual report, which has been running since 2008, found 63 per cent of Saudi youths have the opinion that their country's relations with the US will improve under the leadership of Mr Biden, while the rest believe nothing will change.

Young people also shared their political views on the Israel-Palestine conflict and Mr Biden's role, with 93 per cent saying that his administration “should have played a more active and unbiased role in resolving the conflict.”

However many remained optimistic, as 73 per cent said they were confident that the conflict would be resolved over the next five years.

This year’s Arab Youth Survey, based on face-to-face interviews with 3,400 people aged 18-24, also found that the US is considered to have the greatest influence in the region, followed by Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Thirty-six per cent of Saudi youths see the US as having the most influence in the Arab world among non-Arab countries, while 43 per cent said their country is the most influential Arab nation in the region.

The perception of the US as Saudi Arabia's ally is at its highest level in five years, said ASDA'A, which carried out the survey, while in 2020 and 2018, the rate stood at 87 and 50 per cent respectively.

The 13th edition of the ASDA’A BCW Arab Youth Survey, released in October last year, included 3,400 face-to-face interviews in 50 cities and territories in 17 Arab states across the Middle East and North Africa, conducted in June.

The sample was split evenly between men and women aged 18 to 24.

Updated: July 15, 2022, 8:22 AM