Thursday, September 14, 2006

US Image in the world

I think the poll below reflects the general attitude in Indonesia toward American policies in Middle East Conflict, and the attitudes is actually not permanent, depending on how American government deal with the conflict; if the Indonesians see that the U.S. show a double standard, or support Israel, not the other side, then Indonesians would think that the U.S. does badly in their goodwill to solving the conflict. Not many Indonesians know very well of American diversity regarding Middle East problems; what they know is that if Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not resolved peacefully and justly, Iraq conflict is not dealt effectively and quickly, then they put the blame on the U.S. because they see how the U.S. had intervered.

The perception gap between the US and the Muslim world is still wide, and everyone should take part in bridging it.


Poll finds distrust of U.S. over Lebanon

Abdul Khalik, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

A majority of Indonesians believe the United States was directly or indirectly involved in the recent conflict in Lebanon, according to a survey by a global polling group.

The poll by Gallup International Association, which groups market research companies in some 60 countries, involved 403 Jakartans from across the economic spectrum.

Seventy-three percent of respondents believed the U.S. was involved in the war. Only 3 percent thought Iran or Islamic extremists had something to do with the conflict, according to the poll results released Wednesday.

Globally, only a third of all people surveyed thought the U.S. was involved in the conflict in Lebanon.

The poll, conducted between Aug. 11-13, was part of a survey of almost 25,000 respondents in 33 countries to determine global opinion on the war in Lebanon.

Of the Indonesian respondents, 85 percent thought Israel had gone too far in its military action.
"Opinions are clear as to who initiated the conflict," a report on the poll results said. "In 24 countries included in the survey, more people mention Israel than Hizbollah. Of those interviewed in Indonesia, four out of five echoed this same opinion."

"The results are predictable," Hariyadi Wirawan, an international relations expert, told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday.

"The poll results are just an accumulation of anti-American sentiment here, resulting from U.S. support for Israel in Lebanon and Palestine."

He said the negative views of the U.S. were reinforced by a recent visit to Indonesian by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who is admired here for his fiery rhetoric.

"Whatever the facts, most Indonesians will think that it was all the work of the U.S. Worse, when it comes to Israel, the U.S. doesn't care to improve its image," Hariyadi said.
Around 1,100 people in Lebanon and 156 Israelis died in the conflict, which began after Hizbollah captured two Israeli soldiers in a cross-border raid on July 12. Only after the UN Security Council issued Resolution 1701, which took effect in mid-August, did the 34-day conflict end.

The United Nations is trying to assemble a multinational force of 15,000 soldiers to help keep the peace in southern Lebanon. Indonesia will send some 850 soldiers to Lebanon by the end of this month as part of the peacekeeping force.

Ninety-six percent of Indonesian respondents in the poll agreed the country should send peacekeeping troops to Lebanon.

Globally, the majority of respondents believe there can be no peace in the region without the settlement of the Israel-Palestine issue, and that the U.S. should not interfere in the conflict. These two sentiments were echoed by those interviewed in Indonesia, the poll report said.
Some 95 percent of Indonesian respondents were also of the opinion that the war in Israel and Lebanon would likely expand and come to involve other countries.

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