Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Arab distrust of US growing at alarming rate

People in Arab nations believe the Iraq war has brought less peace, more terrorism and contrary to Washington's claims, will result in less democracy, a new poll indicates.

The survey of six Arab countries, also found a plurality of respondents got their news from Aljazeera, currently at the centre of a storm over an alleged US idea to bomb its headquarters.

When asked which country was the biggest threat to them, most respondents chose Israel or the United States, while France was nominated as the country most respondents would like to be a superpower.

The University of Maryland/Zogby International poll published on Friday was conducted in Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in October.

Eighty-one per cent of respondents said the Iraq war had brought "less peace" to the Middle East, while only 6% believed it had enhanced peace.

Seventy-eight per cent of people questioned believed the Iraq war had resulted in more terrorism than before, while 58% said it brought less democracy, with only 9% believing it enhanced democratic development.

While the administration of President George Bush frequently argues that it has liberated Iraqis from Saddam Hussein, only 6% of those surveyed believed that the Iraqi people were better off after the war. Seventy-seven per cent thought they were worse off.

"In addition to the Arab-Israeli issue, which has been the prism of how Arabs have looked at the US, there is an added new prism, and that is Iraq," said Shibley Telhami, Anwar Sadat Professor for Peace and Development at the University of Maryland.

Only 6% thought spreading democracy was an objective in the war in Iraq, while 76% thought control of oilfields was important, and 68% believed support for Israel was the key motivating factor.

"The American presence itself is something they fear ... the perception of threat is there, because it does mean that in general people are rooting against the US in Iraq," said Telhami.

The survey makes unwelcome reading for US diplomats, who have repeatedly tried to improve US standing in the Middle East.

Undersecretary for Public Diplomacy Karen Hughes confronted some of the hostility during a regional visit in September.

The poll also asked, in a world with one superpower, which c country respondents would like to fulfil that role.

Twenty-one per cent said France, 13% said China and 10% said Pakistan. Only 6% voted for the United States, which came in just behind Britain, at 7%.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's hardly surprising that what remains of American credibility is going down the pan in Arab countries. The administration clearly do not know how to spin outside their own narrow arena and theatre viz. the American public and media. On the other hand there seems to be a sizeable idiotic minority in the U.S. who willingly drink in the spin and the dross. The real yardstick of American civilisation is how long it takes for the rump who still believe Bush/Rice/Rumsfelt/Cheney to shrink to 25%.

December 06, 2005 10:13 pm  
Blogger _H_ said...

thanks for visiting Anonymous

You said "there seems to be a sizeable idiotic minority in the U.S. who willingly drink in the spin and the dross."

and dont I know , I deal with them everyday

It does please me that this Minority is shrinking , but in my view it is vital to world peace and security that no part of the Neocon agenda gains control of the US in 2008

And on that point there is still much work to be done

December 06, 2005 10:56 pm  

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