British wary of Middle East intervention: poll
Published Wednesday, July 11, 2012
A new survey has raised questions about the desire of British people to engage in Middle Eastern conflicts, amid calls for deeper western intervention in Syria.
The study published on Wednesday by the Chatham House think-tank asked citizens whether the country should support uprisings such as those in Syria, Egypt, and Libya.
A plurality – 43 percent – said Britain should not involve itself at all in such uprisings, while 23 percent claimed the nation had a moral responsibility to support the popular revolts, and 20 percent voiced support only when the uprisings coincide with British interests.
If the uprisings were judged to favor British interests, then respondents would be equally divided, 43-43 percent, on whether to lend support.
Jane Kinninmont, senior research fellow at Chatham House's Middle East and North Africa Programme, said the results show that over a decade on from the invasion of Iraq, British people were still hesitant to back foreign invasions.
"The debate here is still entirely shaped by Iraq, and by fears that Syria could go the same way," Kinninmont told Al-Akhbar.
"I think that many people have doubts over how much good military intervention could do."
Kinninmont added that with the ongoing European economic crisis there was little desire for intervention in the Middle East.
"What is really looming very high in public consciousness in the UK is budget cuts and the Eurozone crisis," she said.