Poll finds change in Middle East welcome

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 30, 2011

By David Vitrano


LAPLACE – The current time of revolution and social unrest in the Middle East has come to be known as the Arab Spring.

While it has produced social upheaval in many Middle Eastern nations, so far regime change has happened in only two. Egypt was first, having deposed 30-year dictator Hosni Mubarak earlier this year. Recently, Libya followed suit, taking control of the capital, Tripoli, last week. Although former dictator Muammar el-Qaddafi remains at large, his rule is effectively over.

In recognition of this historic event, last week L’Observateur asked visitors to its website what they thought about the current situation in the Middle East.

Nearly one quarter of respondents thought the revolutions were a good thing, believing the spread of democracy is beneficial to the world at large.

Nearly 10 percent of voters felt it depended on the situation and the country involved. Some countries may be more prepared than others for life after regime change. What’s more, some of those regimes are friendlier to the U.S. than others.

Only 6 percent of respondents worried the upheaval might lead to more terrorism coming out of the region.

By far the most popular choice was “Other/none of the above,” which garnered nearly two-thirds of the vote.

Unsurprisingly, no one thought the U.S. should play a more active role in guiding these fledgling democracies.

A full breakdown of results follows:

• 23 percent of respondents chose “I think any time a nation moves toward democracy, it is a good thing.”

• 6 percent of respondents chose “I think any further destabilization in the region could lead to increased terrorism.”

• 9 percent of respondents chose “I think it depends on the situation and the country involved.”

• 62 percent of respondents chose “Other/ none of the above.”