Wednesday, June 14, 2006

World sees US in Iraq bigger danger than Iran-poll

The world increasingly fears Iran's suspected pursuit of a nuclear bomb but believes the U.S. military in Iraq remains a greater danger to Middle East stability, a survey showed on Tuesday.



As Washington campaigns to highlight the threat it sees from Tehran, the good news for the United States in a Pew Research Centre poll of 17,000 people in 15 countries is that publics, particularly in the West, are worrying more about Iran.

The bad news is people worldwide think the U.S. presence in Iraq is an even bigger threat and support in most countries for President George W. Bush's war on terrorism is either flat or falling.

And after some signs anti-Americanism had been abating, in part because of goodwill generated by U.S. aid for victims of a late-2004 tsunami in Asia, favourable opinions of the United States have since fallen back in most countries.

Widespread concern over U.S. detainee treatment in Iraq and places such as Guantanamo, is a key drag on America's overall image, according to the survey.

Bush himself received the lowest marks for international leadership compared with his counterparts in Britain, Germany, France and Russia, and confidence in him has slipped in most countries -- to as low as three percent in Turkey.

The survey of global attitudes by the respected research group was conducted from March 31 to May 14 in Britain, France, Germany, Spain, Russia, Indonesia, Egypt, Pakistan, Jordan, Turkey, Nigeria, Japan, India, China and the United States.

With a margin of error ranging from two percent to six percent depending on the country, the poll made comparisons to similar surveys it had conducted in the last few years.

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