Britons against military adventurism in Mideast: Poll

Britons against military adventurism in Mideast: Poll
Tue Sep 3, 2013 13:06:53

The Iraq War has turned the British public against any military intervention in the Middle East, a poll shows.

By a margin of two-to-one, the British people oppose President Barack Obama’s plan for military strikes against the Syrian government and say that the UK should keep out of all conflicts in the region for the foreseeable future, according to the survey conducted by ComRes for The Independent newpaper.

It found that only 29 percent of people agree that the US, without Britain, should launch air strikes against the Syrian government in the future, while 57 percent disagree.

Four out of five people (80 percent) believe that any military strikes against Syria should first be sanctioned by the United Nations, while 15 percent disagree with this statement.

David Cameron and Nick Clegg rejected growing all-party pressure from MPs and peers for another Commons vote on whether British forces should join air strikes in Syria, only four days after MPs rejected the Prime Minister’s plan to take part.

Opinion at Westminster appears to be shifting in favor of action as the Obama administration produces more alleged documents about the horrific chemical weapons attack on a suburb near Damascus.

But Cameron shows no signs of risking a second humiliating Commons defeat. Labor will not propose a second vote unless there is a “very significant” change, such as al-Qaeda obtaining chemical weapons in Syria.

The ComRes survey suggests that MPs were right, at least according to public opinion, to veto air strikes by Britain last Thursday.

Asked whether the experience of the 2003 Iraq war means that Britain should keep out of military conflicts in the Middle East for the foreseeable future, 62 percent agree and 31 percent disagree.

Older people are more likely to agree with this principle than younger people. Almost three in four (73 percent) of those aged 65 and over believe the UK should “keep out”, while among 18 to 34-year-olds, the figure is 57 percent.

After his Commons rebuff, a majority of people (54 percent) agree that David Cameron showed he is “out of touch with Britain” in his handling of the Syria crisis, while 34 per cent disagree. Worryingly for the Prime Minister, a third of current Tory supporters (33 percent) and almost half of voters overall (42 percent) believe Cameron showed he is out of touch, as do 76 percent of UK Independence Party (Ukip) supporters.


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