By Fares Braizat, Mar 27,2022

If the volume of trade does not explain Jordanians’ attitudes toward the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, what does?

Trade with Russia amounted to about JD183 million in 2021 (of which JD181.4 million was for imports). The trade volume with Ukraine is significantly less (JD141 million), yet there is more support for Ukraine than for Russia among Jordanians. There is background to this: nearly 90 percent of Jordanians believe that it is unacceptable for any country to invade another, according to a new poll by NAMA Strategic Intelligence Solutions published Sunday.

It is not surprising to find the majority of Jordanians “neutral” on the raging conflict between Russia and Ukraine. When asked “who do you support in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine”, three quarters said “neither”, 13.6 percent support Ukraine, and 8 percent Russia. Jordanian public opinion remains consistent in its neutral position, similar to a 2021 NAMA Foreign Relations Survey which found that 80 percent and 79 percent of Jordanians chose neutrality when it came to the US-Russian and US-Chinese rivalries.

When asked which side they think the Jordanian government is supporting, about 45 percent said that the government is not supporting either of the parties whereas 16.5 percent believe that Jordan supports Ukraine, and 5.5 percent believe that the government supports Russia. 

Fifty-seven percent of Jordanians believe that Arab states should remain neutral in the conflict, about 22 percent think that Arab states should support Ukraine, and only 5.2 percent believe that they should be supporting Russia.

These attitudes, the survey shows, come from Jordanians’ perception that Ukraine is the victim and Russia the aggressor. Nearly 43 percent of Jordanians blame Russia for the war, compared to 12.3 percent who pinned blame on Ukraine; 33 percent were unsure and some 12 percent indicated other countries or entities, such as the US, NATO, and Israel. 

The magnitude of the war and the impact it could have on other parts of the world makes nearly 82 percent of Jordanians believe that this war will have a negative impact on Jordan as well. About 91.5 percent referred to some type of economic repercussions, such as price hikes, difficulty in importing goods, and scarcity of natural resources and food items.

In line with the reputation of Jordan as a sympathetic and welcoming place of refugees, the survey found a high level of sympathy for the refugees: 54 percent of Jordanians are very sympathetic toward Ukrainian refugees, 22 percent are somewhat sympathetic, and 14.1 percent are not at all sympathetic toward them. 

The survey found that 59.4 percent of Jordanians believe that European countries are doing enough to take care of Ukrainian refugees, compared to about 22 percent who think they are not doing enough. 

Regarding the international reaction to the conflict, 45 percent of Jordanians believe that sanctioning Russia is justified, compared to 29 percent who believe it is not justified. On the other hand, about 36.8 percent of Jordanians believe that NATO (US and allies) should intervene militarily to stop the war, while 43 percent are against this prospect. This shows a higher support for non-military intervention among Jordanians, even though support for sanctions was not unanimous.

The writer is the Chairman of NAMA Strategic Intelligence Solutions, H.E. Dr. Fares Braizat. 

This article was originally published in Jordan News on March 27, 2022. For the original article source, click here