Only 20% believe US can defeat ISIL permanently: poll

Americans consider the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant as the biggest dangerous threat in the Middle East

Baku. 10 January. REPORT.AZ/ Only 20 percent of Americans believe the U.S. can permanently defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, a new poll revealed.

Report informs referring to the Anadolu Agency, Brookings Institute’s Dr. Shibley Telhami conducted the poll with 1,008 adults on American public attitudes toward the rise of ISIL and the U.S. campaign against the terrorist group in Syria.

According to the poll, 70 percent of Americans believed the terrorist group was the most dangerous threat for U.S. interests in the Middle East; 13 percent believed Palestinian-Israeli violence threatened the U.S. most, followed by 12 percent who saw Iranian behaviors as most dangerous.

The poll, conducted between Nov. 14 through 19, 2014, showed that only 41 percent were in favor of the idea that the U.S. should send ground troops if airstrikes weren’t enough to stop ISIL; there were differences among political party supporters as 53 percent Republicans supported sending ground forces compared with only 36 percent Democrats and 31 percent Independents.

E.J. Dionne, JR. a senior fellow at the institute, said "if you look at military interventions, Republicans are more in favor, but there are a lot of other questions, they are not different between party supporters."

Also, 43 percent of Americans, among those who were in favor of the U.S.’s possible use of American ground forces, justified their stance given that they believed ISIL was linked to al-Qaeda. Seven percent argued that the ISIL threatened the U.S.’s allies in the region, therefore, they need to be dealt with.

Helle C. Dale, a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation, argued that ISIL videos of journalists’ executions, James Foley and Steven Sotloffand, also affected American support for military action against the terrorist group.

The poll showed that 22 percent believed that the U.S. was unlikely to defeat ISIL, and 56 percent say that even if the group was defeated, it would return, and only 20 percent believed that the U.S. could permanently defeat the terrorist organization.

Also, 14 percent of Americans believed that Muslims around the world supported ISIL, while 40 percent were opposed to such a suggestion and 44 percent thought that Muslim views were evenly balanced.

Meanwhile, eight percent of Americans believe that significant number of Americans would join ISIL in the Middle East; many Americans also said they were very worried that such people might carry out attacks in the U.S.

Also, only 30 percent of Americans believed that if the U.S. expended enough resources to train and arm the moderate Syrian opposition, it could stand up to both ISIL and the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad regime, while 65 percent believed that the opposition was too weak and divided, and even if the U.S. supported them, it would not be able to match the challenge they face.

University of California’s Hatem Bazian, who works on Islamophobia, argued that "the survey reflects the uncertain direction American policy makers had toward ISIS and Syria over the past three years. It is clear from the survey that the American public, despite wanting to defeat ISIS, is for sure not supportive of sending ground troops into Iraq considering the failure and loss of life the last time around."

About dealing with Assad, 70 percent believed the argument that Assad was as bad as ISIL and that the Syrian civil war could not be solved with him, while 60 percent were convinced that the U.S. should not fight Assad’s army and should allow regime forces to fight ISIL instead.

However, the poll showed that Americans strongly opposed military operations against Assad’s army in Syria, with 72 percent opposing and 25 percent supporting such operations, which was similarly divided between political party supporters.

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