Categorized as: Reports and Articles

Among Assad’s opponents, moderation reigns

David Pollock is the Kaufman Senior Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and an adviser to Pechter Polls.

Reporting about violence in the Middle East often focuses on Islamic extremists, and this is increasingly true for much of the coverage of Syria’s uprising. But in the Syrian political opposition, Islamic extremism is truly the exception that proves the rule. The vast majority of Syrian opposition activists, according to a new, systematic survey of more than 1,000 of them, express relatively moderate views about Islamic issues. They also voice support for many key democratic values — and most look to the West and other democracies for inspiration and protection. These findings offer support for the view that mainstream Syrian opposition fighters merit the increased aid that would enable …

Groundbreaking research with Syrian opposition undertaken by Pechter Polls picked up by CNN

The following article was written by Jill Dougherty, foreign correspondent for CNN and based on ground breaking research we undertook at the request of IRI with members of the Syrian opposition.  We thank all those involved in helping us get these insights from Syria (your wouldn’t believe how tough it was to get and how many people helped…), particularly IRI for their commitment to advancing democracy even in the most challenging of places. 

Survey: Syrian Opposition Want ‘no-fly’ Zone

By Jill Dougherty (Link to CNN article)

Members of the Syrian opposition support international armed intervention in their country, including establishing a “no-fly” zone, humanitarian corridors and training Free Syrian Army fighters, but they do not support an international presence on the ground, a survey showed.

The survey of the …


Survey Of Syrian Opposition

Washington, DC – IRI today released a survey of Syrian opposition  (PDF) (Right click and save as to download) and its analysis (PDF) (Right click and save as to download), the second Syria-related survey the Institute has released in the past month  

Fieldwork was conducted from June 1 – July 2, 2012, and was undertaken in cooperation with international survey research firm Pechter Polls of Princeton, NJ. 

Given security considerations, the survey was conducted electronically using a referral, or “snowball” method, rather than through strictly random selection of respondents, as would be done in a public opinion poll.  To achieve broader representation, key individuals (or channels) were used to initiate the referral chain, ultimately reaching a sample of 1,168 opposition members, approximately 315 of whom were …

Survey: Syrian opposition want ‘no-fly’ zone

From’s Security Clearance blog by Jill Dougherty

Members of the Syrian opposition support international armed intervention in their country, including establishing a “no-fly” zone, humanitarian corridors and training Free Syrian Army fighters, but they do not support an international presence on the ground, a survey showed. 

The survey of the Syrian opposition was conducted by the International Republican Institute (IRI), a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that supports democracy around the world.

It is funded by the U.S. Congress, the State Department and private donations. A quarter of the respondents gave the umbrella opposition organization, the Syrian National Council (SNC), high ratings for legitimacy. But the survey also showed that the council is struggling to consolidate its appeal to a broad section of Syrians who support the opposition movement.

Asked which country …

The Case for Ramping Up EU Intervention in Syria

EU Intervention In Syri

If Europe wishes to effect true democracy in the wake of the Assad regime, it must stop playing into the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood and start aiding the rebels on the ground militarily.

Magnus Norell and David Pollock

It has been conventional wisdom that the Syrian opposition is deeply divided, making aid and support from the international community very difficult to send. The lack of “one address” with which to coordinate also makes any thoughts of a more robust military intervention even more unlikely. Add to that the continued refusal of Russia and China to support stronger UNSC resolutions and there is no wonder that the carnage in Syria has gone on for nearly 18 months with the world looking on and wringing its hands.

It may …

Syria has ‘chosen the path of war’, says U.N. (+video)

With the conflict in Syria escalating on a daily basis, we see a country slipping into the abyss of complete civil war. Where ever you are sitting when you read this, know that even if you are not in Syria, the conflict has wider implications than the human rights abuses and death we’ll experience via CNN breaking news bulletins. Whoever prevails in Syria will have an impact on the broader geographic theatre – especially as Iran and militant groups uses this instability to gain closer ties with different factions inside of Syria. This is not just a civil war, terrible as it will become for the families of Syria – there is more to follow…. What is your view?

Image source:…

Without a peace to monitor, U.N. peacekeepers …

What Does the Syrian Opposition Believe?

WALL STREET JOURNAL ARTICLE: By Pechter Polls Consultant

May 30, 2012, 6:03 p.m. ET

What Does the Syrian Opposition Believe?

A confidential survey of activists inside the country shows limited

support for Islamists but high admiration for the U.S. and Turkey


There are increasing calls for international intervention in Syria after this weekend’s massacre in Houla, where Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces murdered more than 100 civilians. Obstacles to intervention remain, however, especially concern that the opposition to Assad’s regime is dominated by religious fundamentalists. Until recently, for example, the Syrian National Council, a group of exiled opponents of the regime, was led by Burhan Ghalioun, whose unwillingness to counter the Muslim Brotherhood was widely viewed in the West as a troubling sign of Islamist influence.

But …

East Jerusalem Palestinians Say UN Move Would Hurt Them; Many Prefer Israeli Citizenship

By David Pollock Policy Alert, September 22, 2011

The PA’s demand for a UN declaration that names east Jerusalem as the capital of a new Palestinian state actually goes against the wishes of much of the city’s Palestinian population. A new and credible poll of east Jerusalem Palestinians shows that nearly half would prefer to become citizens of Israel rather than of a new Palestinian state — casting fresh doubts on the official Palestinian claim to the city. Only one-quarter (23 percent) of the city’s nearly 300,000 Palestinian residents said they would “definitely” prefer Palestinian citizenship, despite the recent surge in nationalist activity leading up to this week’s UN debate. Even more remarkably, 42 percent said they would actually move to a different neighborhood if necessary in order to remain …

The Real Issue Is Political Leadership

The Real Issue Is Political Leadership

By David Pollock, June 1, 2011

Around half of Israelis, Palestinians, and some other key Arab publics, according to various opinion polls taken in the past decade, support something like the Arab Peace Initiative of 2002, whose basic concept is peace and Arab recognition of Israel in exchange for Israel’s full withdrawal from the territories it captured in the 1967 war. Similarly, around half of each one of these publics would also support other analogous proposals focused more narrowly on “land for peace” in the Israeli-Palestinian arena, such as the unofficial Palestinian-Israeli Geneva initiative of 2003 or the Clinton parameters of December 2000. Given such statistics, is this glass half empty or half full? These results suggest that political leadership could move these …

June 7, 2010 Israeli Poll on aftermath of Ship Boarding: Top Line Results

Strong Israeli Support for Netanyahu, Ship Boarding and Gaza Blockade; Strong Israeli Dissatisfaction With American Reaction and President Obama

PRINCETON, N.J., June 8 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Pechter Middle East Polls (PMEP) releases data from a nationally representative telephone survey of 500 Israeli Jews conducted in Hebrew June 7, 2010. The margin of error is +/- 4%.

The poll was undertaken in the aftermath of the May 31, 2010 Israeli ship boarding in international waters off Gaza that left nine activists dead and several Israeli commandos injured.

Eighty five percent (85%) of the respondents indicated that Israel either did not use enough force (39%) or used the right amount of force (46%) regarding the recent ship boarding incident. Only eight percent (8%) felt the Israelis used too much force. Sixty one percent …