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Drone attacks widely opposed, finds poll

Published Jun 14, 2012 02:10am

WASHINGTON/NEW YORK, June 13: In 17 of 20 countries surveyed by Pew Global, more than half respondents disapproved of US drone attacks targeting extremist leaders and groups in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.

But the unmanned aerial strikes are popular in the country that matters the most for US policy-makers, the United States of America.

Sixty-two per cent of Americans approve of the drone campaign, with Republicans taking a clear lead.

As many as 74pc Republicans support the drones. Sixty per cent independents and 58pc Democrats also back the strikes.

Outside the United States, India is the only country where drone supporters outnumber those who oppose it. Thirty-two per cent of Indians surveyed said they supported the strikes. Twenty-one per cent said they were against it. Others expressed no opinion.

The highest support for drones outside the US is in Britain where 44pc approve the strikes. But a majority — 47pc — opposes it. The strongest opposition to drone strikes came from Greece where an overwhelming majority — 90pc — says the attacks should stop. Only five per cent say the strikes should continue.

Egypt is close second with 89pc opposing the drones and only 6pc supporting it.

Eighty-five per cent respondents in Jordan and 81pc in Turkey also oppose the drones.

In Spain, which is also a victim of terrorism, 76pc respondents oppose the drones while 21pc approve them.

Seventy-six per cent people in Brazil also oppose the drones.

In Russia, 68pc oppose the drones while 17pc approve them.

Pew also conducted a separate survey of drone strikes in Pakistan which will be released later.

The survey also shows a widespread perception that the US acts unilaterally and does not consider the interests of other countries.

In predominantly Muslim nations, American anti-terrorism efforts are still widely unpopular.

Just 7pc of Pakistanis have a positive view of President Obama, the same percentage that voiced confidence in President George W. Bush during the final year of his administration.