WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Arab nations are acutely suspicious of the Bush administration's 'democracy' agenda in the Middle East and believe the U.S. invasion of Iraq has made the region less secure, said a poll released on Friday.Hey! We beat the Russians (I'm trying to see the glass as half-full here, but it's really only about an eighth full.
The poll, conducted in six Arab countries in October, found 78 percent of respondents thought there was more terrorism because of the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, with four out of five saying the war had brought less peace to the region.
Asked which countries posed the biggest threat to their nations, a majority chose Israel and the United States.
Rather than being a model to inspire Arab nations to adopt democratic goals, Telhami said respondents felt the opposite was true of the United States, whose image has been tarnished by scandals involving abuse by U.S. forces of detainees in Iraq, Afghanistan and at a U.S. base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
In the new poll, 69 percent of those surveyed doubted that spreading democracy was the real U.S. objective. Oil, protecting Israel, dominating the region and weakening the Muslim world were seen as U.S. goals.
"America's presence in Iraq is seen as a negative. It is scaring people about American intentions and having the opposite intended impact on Arab public opinion," Telhami said in an interview.
More than half -- 58 percent -- said Iraq was less democratic than before the war and three of four said Iraqis were worse off.
Asked from a list of countries which they would like to be the superpower, the first choice was France with 21 percent, followed by China with 13 percent, Pakistan and Germany tied with 10 percent, Britain with 7 percent, the United States with 6 percent and finally Russia with 5 percent.
Friday, December 02, 2005
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