A coalition of 60 countries led by the United States began air strikes against the group known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). The contributions made by each country differ: while some countries are providing direct military aid, others are participating in the coalition through the provision of equipment, training, intelligence, while a further group contributes humanitarian aid. The primary force behind the formation of this coalition was US President Barack Obama’s Administration which
Emphasized through the statements of both President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry that its aim was to “degrade and ultimately destroy” ISIL. Thus far, the coalition’s strategy has rested on the use of air strikes against ISIL sites in both Iraq and Syria, and enhanced support for the Iraqi ground forces who are fighting the group. The possibility of deploying ground troops remains open.
The public’s interest in ISIL—both in the Arab region and globally—has been sharpened in recent months, following the group’s capture of towns and cities in Iraq’s Al Anbar province, such as Falluja and Ramadi at the beginning of 2014. This was capped by the expansion of Iraqi territory controlled by ISIL during the month of June, when it took command of cities like Mosul and Tikrit.
With these developments in mind, the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies (ACRPS) carried out a public opinion survey on attitudes towards the airstrikes being carried out by the international coalition against the group known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Survey respondents took part by telephone and were asked questions designed to determine their attitudes towards both the international coalition’s aim in carrying out the airstrikes against the group in both Iraq and Syria, as well as respondents’ attitude towards ISIL.
This survey is the largest public opinion poll conducted in the Arab region with a sample made up of 600 respondents in each of seven countries: Tunisia, Egypt, Palestine, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Iraq. In addition, a further sample of 900 Syrian refugees was drawn in equal proportion between groups in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey. In the aggregated result, each of the population groups is given equal weight so that the total for “Arab Public Opinion” given in the report below has equal weightings for each country/population group. This method prevents the domination of overall “Arab Public Opinion” by the citizens of more populous countries.
Samples for each country/population group were selected randomly, and drawn from the respondent database kept by the Arab Opinion Index, the ACRPS’ public opinion project. The sampling for the original database was done through a multi-stage, stratified clustered approach, allowing for a geographical distribution of sample respondents within each country that reflects that country’s population as a whole. The confidence interval within each sample is 95%, with the final results having a margin of error of ±4%.
The Arab Opinion Project—the Unit within the ACRPS responsible for public opinion surveys—is responsible for commissioning and overseeing an annual survey of Arab public opinion covering a variety of questions of public concern and a number of social and political matters. Its flagship project, the Arab Opinion Index, is the largest survey of its kind, and focuses on the Arab public’s attitudes towards questions of citizenship, democracy and political participation, as well as their views of their home countries’ state institutions and respondents’ financial and social circumstances.