By IOL Staff
CAIRO — America’s so-called "war on terror" has failed to weaken its prime target, Al-Qaeda, or win hearts and minds in countries on the frontline of its seven-year campaign, a BBC global poll revealed on Monday, September 29.
"Despite its overwhelming military power, America’s war against Al-Qaeda is widely seen as having achieved nothing better than a stalemate," said Steven Kull, director of the University of Maryland’s Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) who helped conduct the poll.
"Many believe that it has even strengthened Al-Qaeda."
In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, US President George W. Bush unleashed what he describes as a global war against terrorism, including two preemptive wars against Afghanistan and then Iraq without a UN mandate.
Seven years later, most people across the world believe his56has utterly failed to achieve its goals.
The survey of 24,000 people across 23 countries, conducted for the BBC World Service by the international polling firm GlobeScan together with PIPA, showed that only 22 percent of people believe Al-Qaeda has been weakened.
Nearly 30 percent thought the war had no effect and another 30 percent believed it had actually made Al-Qaeda stronger.
The poll showed that the overall verdict across the world appeared to be that the56had produced no winner.
"Asked who is winning ‘the conflict between Al-Qaeda and the US,’ the predominant view of those polled is that neither the US nor Al-Qaeda is winning with 15 countries holding this view."
The results showed that even Americans are skeptical.
Fifty-nine percent believe the war has either had no effect (26%) or has made Al-Qaeda stronger (33%).
"Fifty-six percent believe neither side is winning the conflict."
Losing Hearts, Minds
The global poll shows dominant negative views of the56in countries known as American allies in the campaign like France, Britain and Australia.
It also found that in two countries seen as being on the frontline of the conflict — Egypt and Pakistan — a majority of those polled had a positive opinion of Al-Qaeda.
"When asked "overall would you say your feelings about Al-Qaeda are positive, negative or mixed", some 60% of Egyptians said they had either a positive or mixed view," said the study.
"In Pakistan, where much of the battle against Al-Qaeda is being fought, just 19% said they had a negative view of Osama Bin Laden’s organization."
Analysts believe the findings should be a worrying signal to the US.
"The fact that so many people in Egypt and Pakistan have mixed or even positive views of Al-Qaeda is yet another indicator that the US56is not winning hearts and minds," said Doug Miller, chairman of GlobeScan.
The poll is not the first to indicate the failure of America’s war on terror.
A survey by the US Foreign Policy Magazine has showed the majority of leading US experts and former officials believe Washington is losing the war.
Last year, a report by Britain’s reputable Oxford Research Group concluded that the56has been a disaster and has been fueling support for Al-Qaeda and other extremists groups.
In its latest studies, RAND Corporation, a leading US think-tank working with Pentagon, said that the US should stop using the "war on terror" label and shift its strategy from the heavy military might to greater use of intelligence work.
Click on the link below to view the poll:
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