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Key allies believe Iraq war hiked terror threat


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WASHINGTON (AP) -- More than two-thirds of the people living in Australia, Britain and Italy -- three countries allied with the United States in the Iraq war -- believe the war has increased the threat of terrorism.

Leaders of those countries -- prime ministers Tony Blair of Britain, John Howard of Australia and Silvio Berlusconi of Italy -- all get low marks from their people for their handling of the war on terrorism, an Associated Press-Ipsos poll shows.

More than half of those in the United States, 52 percent, believe the Iraq war has increased the threat of terrorism, while three in 10 in the United States think it has decreased the threat -- a view promoted by President Bush.

"In the context of the presidential campaign in the United States, this is undeniably a blow for George W. Bush, since it shows that a majority of Americans don't agree with the main justification for his policy in Iraq," said Gilles Corman, research director at Ipsos-Inra of Belgium, who studies public opinion trends across Europe.

In Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Spain, a majority thought last winter that the Iraq war was increasing the threat of terrorism. That number has increased in each of the countries. Australians were not polled in the AP-Ipsos project last winter.

In Australia and each of five European countries polled, only about one in 20 believe the Iraq war decreased the terror threat.

Leaders of several countries that opposed the Iraq war get strong ratings from their citizens on how they are handling terrorism.

Political leaders in the Iraq war coalition have faced domestic political pressure because of their stance on Iraq.

Howard won re-election Saturday despite criticism in Australia of his support for the Iraq war. The public was evenly divided on Howard's handling of terrorism, with only 44 percent approving, but he apparently was helped by Australia's strong economy.

Bush faces the voters again in early November in a campaign that is increasingly focused on Iraq, with public doubts about the impact of the Iraq war on the terrorism fight.

In Britain, the poll found only one-third approve of Blair's handling of the war on terror. Friday's announcement of the beheading in Iraq of British hostage Kenneth Bigley is likely to increase pressure on Blair.

Berlusconi has seen Italians' fears of terrorism increase sharply since last winter -- from seven in 10 worried about terrorism in February to almost nine in 10 now. Only about one-third of Italians approve of Berlusconi's handling of terrorism. Two Italian women taken hostage in Iraq were freed last month, and an Iraqi who lived in Italy was executed by kidnappers in Iraq early this month. Berlusconi has pledged to lead the country until the end of his term in 2006.

In contrast, the leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Mexico and Spain all get high marks for their handling of terrorism, with a majority in each country saying they approve, according to polls conducted for the AP by Ipsos, an international polling firm.

French President Jacques Chirac, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, Mexican President Vicente Fox and Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero have all publicly opposed the U.S.-led war in Iraq. Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin has been less outspoken in his criticism of the war than some of the European leaders, but Canada didn't send troops to Iraq.

The leaders position on the Iraq war is only one of many factors that could affect public perception of their handling of terrorism.

Heightened feeling of insecurity

"The proportion of people worried by the terrorist threat has increased in most of the countries ... since February," said Corman of Ipsos in Belgium. "People feel more and more insecure."

Fears of terrorism increased in seven of the eight countries polled last winter and again this fall.

Only in Germany did those worries ease this year. Terrorism fears were high early this year after the killing of 14 German tourists in 2002 at a Tunisian resort and the revelation that some September 11 hijackers were part of a terror cell in Hamburg.

But public debate in Germany this year has focused on reforms of the social system, labor regulations and the health-care system, moving discussion of terrorism out of the spotlight, said Christian Holst, director of public affairs for Ipsos-Germany.

Overall, terrorism and the war in Iraq are likely to stay at the center of public debate in most of the European countries in coming months, said Pierre Giacometti, chief executive and co-director of Ipsos.

The AP-Ipsos telephone polls of about 1,000 adults in each of the eight countries except Mexico were taken between September 23 and October 2 and have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. The poll in Mexico of 1,030 adults was taken face-to-face from September 23-26 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

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Key allies believe Iraq war hiked terror threat

noooo, your kidding me rolleyes.gif

The lawlessness in Iraq has just turned it into a breeding ground for terrorism. We've removed a one evil B*stard who killed his own people, but also terrorists who posed a threat to his power, and replaced him with many b*stards... who still kill their own people and are terrorists. They might have been scum, but to secure the country we should have brockered a deal with the Iraq military and police for them to continue under the new leaders, rather than leave this power vacum which left the military/police we refused to hire take up arms to put someone in power that will, and allowed foreign terrorists to flood into the unguarded borders.

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Gee whiz, we hear this here every day. rolleyes.gif Bush is got the terrorist war centered in Iraq_good plan. wink2.gifthumbsup.gif

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Unless you happen to live in Iraq tongue.gif

And anyway, he hasn't "centered" the terrorist threat at all..he's inflamed it.

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Gee whiz, we hear this here every day.  Bush is got the terrorist war centered in Iraq_good plan. 

And what about all the other terror attacks that happen to be going on all over the planet Babs?

What about all those sleeper cells laying in wait, just for the right moment to strike at the heart of your country and many others?

I think you will find that terrorism is not centered in Iraq...but breading in Iraq.

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Gee whiz, we hear this here every day.  Bush is got the terrorist war centered in Iraq_good plan.


just think about the consequences of your ideals.

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Wun, you realise you're mistake, right? You used "think" in that sentance tongue.gif

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I know how can she make such a comment and not realise about the humanitarian disaster occuring that shes lauding.

Jese babs you said that 9/11 was "the worst diaster ever "in another thread.

Exact words.

Well THREE BLOODY times that amount of innocents are dead in Iraq from our bullits and missiles ALONE.

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