Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Survey Finds Suspicion of US Pervasive in Islamic World

By Jim Lobe

"Six and a half years after U.S. President George W. Bush launched his "global war on terror," suspicion of U.S. motives remains pervasive throughout the Islamic world, according to a new and highly detailed survey of four countries [.pdf] released Tuesday.

An average of more than 75 percent of respondents across the four countries – Egypt, Morocco, and the world's two most populous Muslim nations, Indonesia and Pakistan – said they believed that dividing and weakening the Islamic world and maintaining control over Middle East oil were key goals of U.S. foreign policy, according to the survey by the University of Maryland (UM) and (WPO).

And an average of two out of three respondents named "expand[ing] the geographic borders of Israel" as a third major U.S. policy objective in the region.

By contrast, less than one in four agreed that Washington wanted to create "an independent and economically viable Palestinian state," despite Bush's explicit endorsement of that goal since before the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.......

Suspicion of U.S. goals was particularly high in Egypt, by far the largest recipient of U.S. aid in the Islamic world since it signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1978, and, to a somewhat lesser extent, in Morocco, another longtime U.S. ally.....

The survey, which was carried out between mid-December and mid-February, is the latest in a string of polls suggesting that Washington's image in the Islamic world, particularly in Arab countries, has fallen to all-time lows......."

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