US troops in Iraq a threat to peace: poll

June 14, 2006


WASHINGTON, June 13: People in many European and predominantly Muslim countries are more likely to cite the presence of US troops in Iraq than to mention Iran as a danger to Mideast stability and world peace, an international poll released on Tuesday found.

People in Britain, France, Germany, Spain and Russia rated the presence of troops in Iraq higher than the government in Iran as a threat, according to polling by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press.

Views of US troops in Iraq were even more negative in countries like Indonesia, Egypt, Jordan, Turkey and Pakistan.

The war in Iraq trumps the Iranian situation at a time the image of the United States and its war on terrorism continues to drop internationally.

America’s image rebounded in some countries last year after the US offered aid to tsunami victims, but those gains have disappeared, the Pew poll found.

The 15-nation poll also found:

— Overall support for the US-led war on terrorism has declined even among close allies.

— Favourable opinions of the United States continue to fall, with sharp declines in Spain, Turkey and India.

— People in the United States and European countries are far more likely than those in Muslim countries to view the victory of Hamas in the Palestinian elections as a negative development.

— Western European nations and predominantly Muslim nations have sharply different views on Iran, which the United States claims is developing nuclear weapons.—AP