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Friday, March 23, 2012

Majority of Egyptians see closer relations with U.S. as bad thing, prefer Turkey & Iran

LOS ANGELES -- The majority of Egyptians (56%) now see closer relations with the U.S. as a bad thing for their country, up sharply from 40% in December 2011. Slightly more than one-quarter (28%) say closer relations are a good thing, fewer than say the same thing about Turkey (60%) and Iran (41%).

The surge in Egyptian negativity documented by Gallup surveys coincides with a difficult period in U.S.-Egyptian relations. At about the same time as the Jan. 31-Feb. 7, 2012, survey, the Supreme
Council of the Armed Forces closed a series of high-profile American and Egyptian non-governmental organizations (NGOs). In a recent opinion column, former Egyptian Ambassador to the U.S. Nabil Fahmy chastised the U.S. and Egyptian governments for their actions in the crisis. Fahmy pointed the finger at the U.S. for illegally operating NGOs after a 2005 agreement that called for licenses and at the Egyptian government for doing business with these same NGOs since 2005. Despite a temporary and controversial resolution, many analysts see this flare-up as the most recent source of tension in the U.S.-Egyptian relationship.

Egyptians are now more likely to see promise in closer ties with Turkey and Iran than with the U.S. A solid majority of Egyptians (60%) say closer relations with Turkey would be a good thing for Egypt, while 19% say it would be a bad thing. Forty-one percent of Egyptians say closer ties with Iran would be a good thing and 38% say they would be a bad thing. (Continues here)

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