WASHINGTON — A majority of people living in Jordan, Morocco, Pakistan and Turkey believe the United States is conducting its campaign against terror to control oil in the Middle East and to dominate the world, according to an international poll released Tuesday.
The governments in all four Muslim-majority countries have strong ties with the U.S. government.
A sizable number of people in France, Germany and Russia also have such suspicions about the campaign against terror, according to the Pew Global Attitudes Project.
The polls were taken in February, before the train bombings last week in Spain that killed at least 201 people.
When people in the nine countries — including Britain and the United States — were asked whether they thought the campaign against terrorism was a sincere effort to reduce international terrorism, majorities in France, Germany and the four Muslim-majority countries said no. Almost half in Russia also felt it was not, while majorities in Britain and the United States said they believed the campaign was a sincere effort to fight terrorism.
The surveys found considerable cynicism and anger among the Muslim-majority countries a year after the U.S. invasion of Iraq. And they found a growing desire among European countries for a balance of power between the European Union and the United States.
“Europeans want to check our power,” said Andrew Kohut, director of the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. “There’s considerable support for making the European Union as powerful as the United States.”
Europeans in those countries are eager to set up security arrangements independent from the United States.
Backing for bin Laden
People in the surveyed Muslim countries remain angry about U.S. policies and even supportive of Osama bin Laden, the Saudi terrorist who took credit for the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the United States.
Almost two-thirds of the people in Pakistan said they viewed bin Laden favorably, a significant finding because U.S. troops are trying to find bin Laden in the mountainous region on the border of Pakistan and Afghanistan. More than half of those polled in Jordan and almost half of those in Morocco had a favorable view of bin Laden.
Anger toward the United States in these Muslim-majority countries remains very high, Kohut said, although the intensity has dropped a bit since last May.
While 7 in 10 in the United States said their country took into account the interests of other countries when making international policy decisions, few in the other countries shared that view.
Majorities in all the countries except Pakistan — and almost half there — said the United States did not make much of an effort to consider the interests of other countries in its policy decisions.
At least two-thirds of those polled in France, Germany, Russia and Turkey thought it would be a good thing if the European Union became as powerful as the United States. Turkey and Russia are not members of the European Union.
A majority of those in Britain, France, Germany, Russia and Turkey said Western Europe should take a more independent approach to security and diplomatic matters.
In other significant results:
- While support for the war on terrorism has dropped in many of those countries, it has increased in Russia, where 73 percent approve, and is almost as strong there as in the United States.
- About half in Pakistan said suicide bombings carried out by Palestinians against Israelis and against U.S. troops in Iraq could be justified. Two-thirds or more in Jordan and Morocco said they could be justified in both situations.
- A majority of the people in Pakistan and Jordan said Iraq would be worse off now that President Saddam Hussein had been removed from power.
- A solid majority of those in France, Germany, Russia, Pakistan and Jordan believe President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair lied about the weapons of mass destruction they claimed were in Iraq.
- Ratings for the United Nations were relatively high in European countries and low in the Muslim countries. Just more than half in the United States, 55 percent, gave a favorable rating.
“In America, the ratings of the U.N. are much lower than elsewhere,” said Kohut, referring to the European countries. “Historically, we’re at a low point.”
The polls were conducted from Feb. 19 to March 3. They reported margins of sampling error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points in Jordan, Morocco, Pakistan, Russia, Turkey and the United States. Polls in Britain, France and Germany reported a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percentage points.
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