Young Arabs strongly favor women driving — but Saudis say more should be done on female empowerment

Arab youth is overwhelmingly supportive of the Saudi Arabian government’s decision to allow women to drive. (Shutterstock)
Updated 09 May 2018
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Young Arabs strongly favor women driving — but Saudis say more should be done on female empowerment

  • The belief that female empowerment needs to be taken further was especially strong among Saudi men
  • Safety, security and wider career opportunities were seen as the UAE’s most attractive qualities

DUBAI: Arab youth is overwhelmingly supportive of the Saudi Arabian government’s decision to allow women to drive, according to the Arab Youth Survey.
Some 88 percent of all respondents agreed with the decision, which comes into force next month, with 90 percent of women and 85 percent of men in favor of the historic policy change.
However, a strong majority of young people — 80 percent — also agreed with the proposition that “Arab leaders should do more to improve the personal rights and freedoms of women.”
The belief that female empowerment needs to be taken further was especially strong among Saudi men, of whom 90 percent supported the call for more reforms to allow greater participation by women in economic, social and cultural life.
The survey also showed that the UAE remains the top role model for young Arabs, and the most popular country to live in, for the seventh year running. Some 35 percent chose the UAE, followed by the US and Canada on 18 percent.
Safety, security and wider career opportunities were seen as the UAE’s most attractive qualities.
Facebook was the most widely accessed medium for news, with 49 percent saying they get their news on the social media site daily, up from 35 percent last year.
CNN was the most trusted TV channel in the region, with 75 percent of respondents approving its credibility. Al Jazeera was the least trusted, with 43 percent calling it untrustworthy.
Technology was the sector most young Arabs would like to work or set up a business. Some 28 percent want to be involved in high-tech, nearly twice as many as in retail and real estate, previous favorites.
More than half of all respondent across the region said they shop online, but nearly 70 percent of respondents in North Africa say they have never shopped online.


Iraq offers to mediate in crisis between US and Iran

Updated 27 May 2019
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Iraq offers to mediate in crisis between US and Iran

  • ‘We are trying to help and to be mediators’
  • The crisis takes root in President Donald Trump’s withdrawal last year of the US from the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers

BAGHDAD: Iraq offered to mediate in the crisis between its two key allies, the United States and Iran, amid escalating Middle East tensions and as Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers steadily unravels.
Iraqi foreign minister, Mohammed Al-Hakim, made the offer Sunday during a joint news conference in Baghdad with visiting Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif.
“We are trying to help and to be mediators,” said Al-Hakim, adding that Baghdad “will work to reach a satisfactory solution” while stressing that Iraq stands against unilateral steps taken by Washington.
In recent weeks, tensions between Washington and Tehran soared over America deploying an aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers to the Arabian Gulf over a still-unexplained threat it perceives from Tehran.
The crisis takes root in President Donald Trump’s withdrawal last year of the US from the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers that capped Iran’s uranium enrichment activities in return to lifting sanctions. Washington subsequently re-imposed sanctions on Iran, sending its economy into freefall.
Trump has argued that the deal failed to sufficiently curb Iran’s ability to develop nuclear weapons or halt its support for militias throughout the Middle East that the US says destabilize the region, as well as address the issue of Tehran’s missiles, which can reach both US regional bases and Israel.
Zarif, who was been on a whirlwind diplomatic offensive to preserve the rest of the accord, insisted that Iran “did not violate the nuclear deal” and urged European nations to exert efforts to preserve the deal following the US pullout.
Speaking about the rising tensions with the US, Zarif said Iran will be able to “face the war, whether it is economic or military through steadfastness and its forces.” He also urged for a non-aggression agreement between Iran and Arab countries in the Gulf.
The mediation offer by Al-Hakim, Iraq’s foreign minister, echoed one made Saturday by Mohamad Al-Halbousi, the Iraqi parliament speaker. Al-Hakim also expressed concern for Iran’s spiraling economy.
“The sanctions against sisterly Iran are ineffective and we stand by its side,” Al-Hakim said.