NAT 191003 Chatham House - Panel-1570101097280
From left: Sunil John, Dr Simon Mabon, Sara Masry and Dr Sanam Vakil during a panel discussion at Chatham House. Image Credit:

DUBAI: Two-thirds of young Arabs view Iran as an enemy, according to the 2019 ASDA’A BCW Arab Youth Survey.

Conducted in January, the survey, revealed that 67 per cent of young Arabs view Iran as a foe while 32 per cent view it as an ally.

Perceptions vary according to region. In the GCC for instance, 87 per cent consider Iran as an enemy compared to 51 per cent in Levant and 64 per cent in North Africa.

The findings of the survey were debated at a special event held at the London think tank Chatham House last week.

Attended by academics, journalists, policymakers and diplomats, the event, “2019 Arab Youth Survey: Pragmatism, Frustration and Optimism,” featured a presentation of key findings about young Arabs’ attitudes towards European nations.

It showed that most young Arabs consider European nations as strong allies with France topping the list (75 per cent) of those surveyed, closely followed by Germany (73 per cent) and the UK at 68 per cent.

The survey showed that 59 per cent of the youth consider the US as their enemy. Closer home, 93 per cent of young Arabs consider he UAE as their strongest ally followed by Saudi Arabia (80 per cent).

Another highlight of the event was a panel discussion, chaired by Dr Sanam Vakil, Senior Research Fellow, Middle East and North Africa Programme, Chatham House.

Participating in the panel Sunil John, Founder, ASDA’A BCW, and President, Middle East, BCW said, “We’re moving from the power hubs of Baghdad and Cairo to those of Riyadh and Abu Dhabi.”

Dr Simon Mabon, Senior Lecturer in Politics, Philosophy and Religion, University of Lancaster; and Sara Masry, an independent consultant also spoke on the occasion

The Arab Youth Survey, now in its 11th edition is the largest study of its kind into the region’s largest demographic: its youth.

The full survey data is available at