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Unlike regime, Qataris seek compromise

Survey says 79% are opposed to Iran’s policies, while most support Turkey

Image Credit: Reuters
Qatar Emir Shaikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani receives Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif ahead of their meeting in Doha, Qatar.
Gulf News

Dubai: As many as 81 per cent of the Qataris want a “compromise, in which all the parties make some concessions to each other” in the dispute between the Arab quartet and Qatar, according to a wide-ranging survey.

With the Arab boycott entering its fourth month, the survey results, unsurprisingly, also showed that none of the respondents supported the boycott.

Conducted in August 2017 by a leading professional Arab market research firm, the poll also revealed that 79 per cent of Qataris are bitterly opposed to Iran’s policies in the region, with only 16 per cent viewing them favourably.

They were even more vehement in their opposition to Iran’s regional proxies, with 90 per cent taking a dim view of Lebanon’s Hezbollah, and the Al Houthis in Yemen.

Given the Doha regime’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood, one could assume that most Qataris, too, back the group. But findings indicate that this is not the case.

Despite the royal family’s ties to the group, 56 per cent of ordinary citizens view it with suspicion, while 41 per cent support their government’s stance towards the Brotherhood. Qatar’s continued backing of the group has been a major bone of contention in its standoff with the Arab quartet.

In its analysis of the findings, The Washington Institute said that to maintain his popularity, the emir should seek a “middle-ground exit from Qatar’s standoff with other Arab states”.

Unlike Iran, Turkey is really popular with Qataris, with 81 per cent of respondents backing the role played by Ankara in the region, and 90 per cent taking the view that Turkey’s ties with their country are of high importance.

Qataris also seemed to be proud of their TV station, Al Jazeera, with 74 per cent giving it the thumbs up.

The views of Qatari citizens on US role in the region were more complex. While only 11 per cent said they viewed US foreign policy favourably, 42 per cent noted that it was important for Doha to have good relations with Washington.