10 Jan. — The sociological research company YouGov published the results of a survey on which countries are seen by British citizens as friends or enemies. The top three hostile states were Syria, Iran and Saudi Arabia. Russia was in fourth place.
The research was conducted primarily in connection with the discussion in the UK over the relationship with Saudi Arabia. Many politicians and public figures have called for the re-evaluation of cooperation with Riyadh after the early-January execution of 47 people convicted of various crimes.
According to the survey, 57% of respondents think that Syria is an enemy; 48% think Iran is; and 39% – Saudi Arabia. 38% named Russia as an enemy. At the same time, they indicated the United States (87%), France (83%) and Germany (82%) as major allies. China was fourth place among the friendly countries at 63%.
The research also makes it possible to evaluate attitudes towards various countries on the basis of respondents’ party affiliation. The majority of those in favour of considering Russia an ally are found in the Labour Party – 45%. (The number of undecided is 18%.) The percentage of respondents who perceive Russia as an enemy is nearly equal among the four leading parties and ranges from 37% (Labour) to 41% (Liberal Democrats).
It is also interesting that attitudes towards the Islamic State were analysed in the survey. Among those surveyed, 2% considered it an ally, 89% – an enemy, and 9% had difficulty answering.
Finally, respondents also answered the question of who presents the greatest threat to Great Britain. The leading answers are here presented in descending order: Islamic State (86%), Syria (26%), Russia (24%), Iran (19%) and Saudi Arabia (10%).
The survey was conducted on 5-6 January 2016. 1,779 UK residents participated.