Arab youth see Saudi Arabia as their country’s biggest ally for fifth consecutive year

April 12, 2016

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Findings From 8th Annual ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller Arab Youth Survey Released

  • Support for Kingdom highest among youth in the Gulf states
  • Arab youth split over whether US is ally or enemy
  • Iran’s influence is on the rise in Levant and Yemen

For the fifth consecutive year, Arab youth consider Saudi Arabia to their country’s biggest ally, highlighting their continued trust in the Kingdom as regional tensions peak, according to the findings of the 8th Annual ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller Arab Youth Survey, released today.
When asked to think about their country’s biggest ally, Arab youth cite Saudi Arabia (31 per cent), followed by the UAE (28 per cent), and the United States (25 per cent). The Kingdom is viewed particularly strongly by youth in the other Gulf states, where 93 per cent consider it an ally. Young Arabs in the Levant and Yemen have the least favourable view of the kingdom, with only 45 per cent viewing it as an ally. Overall, 70 per cent of young Arabs see Saudi Arabia as an ally.
Commenting on the survey findings, Sunil John, CEO of ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller, said: “The ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller Arab Youth Survey provides a unique insight into the hearts and minds of the region’s largest demographic – its 200 million youth. This year’s survey reveals once again that young people are acutely aware of the changing political realities in the region.
“Saudi Arabia has long been a powerful player in the region, and young people throughout the Arab world recognise the key role the Kingdom plays in trying to ensure stability and security not just within its own borders but throughout the Middle East and North Africa.”
The UAE is also seen favourably by the majority of Arab youth, with 72 per cent viewing it as an ally and 28 per cent saying it is their top ally. Again, support for the UAE is particularly high in the neighbouring Gulf states, where 93 per cent of youth see it as an ally.
Arab youth are increasingly polarised in their views of the US. While two-thirds (63 per cent) of young Arabs view the country as an ally, a third of youth see the country as an enemy, especially in Iraq (93 per cent), Yemen (82 per cent) and Palestine (81 per cent).
A small majority of Arab youth (52 per cent) view regional rival Iran as an enemy, although, 38 per cent of young Arabs see it as an ally and, for the first time, a small number (13 per cent) see Iran as their country’s biggest ally in the region.
International polling firm Penn Schoen Berland (PSB) conducted 3,500 face-to-face interviews with exclusively Arab national men and women aged 18-24 in the six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries of the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain; Iraq, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Palestine, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria and Yemen. The interviews were conducted from January 11 to February 22, 2016.
In-depth results from the 8th Annual ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller Arab Youth Survey, including survey highlights and a white paper in Arabic and English, are available on


About ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller:
Established in 2000, ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller is the region’s leading public relations consultancy, with 11 fully-owned offices and 10 affiliates across the Middle East and North Africa. A WPP company within the global Burson-Marsteller network, the agency provides services to governments, multinational businesses and regional corporate clients through its seven practices in the sectors of Technology, Finance, Healthcare, Energy & Environment as well as Consumer Marketing, Corporate Communications and Public Affairs. The firm’s services include reputation management, digital communications, media relation, media monitoring & analysis, design services and event management. For more information visit
About Penn Schoen Berland:
Penn Schoen Berland (PSB), a member of Young & Rubicam Group and the WPP Group, is a global research-based consultancy that specialises in messaging and communications strategy for blue-chip corporate, political and entertainment clients. PSB’s operations include over 200 consultants and a sophisticated in-house market research infrastructure with the capability to conduct work in over 90 countries. The company operates offices around the world, including in Washington D.C., New York, Seattle, Los Angeles, Denver, London, Hamburg, Madrid and Dubai, which are supported by in-house field capabilities and fully equipped to provide the complete creative solutions PSB clients need. More at
For further information, please contact:
Sunil John/ Bashar Al Kadhi
ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller
Dubai, UAE
T: 971 4 4507600