Americans stew over loss of influence in Middle East

May 29, 2018

More than two-thirds of Americans are alarmed that the United States is losing influence in the Middle East, according to findings of a study conducted by the Harvard Center for American Political Studies/Harris Poll and released exclusively to The Hill on May 24.

Fully 69% of the 1,347 U.S. registered voters who responded to the online poll said they believe that America is ceding influence in the region to such countries as Russia, Iran and China.

Tempers in the region have flared since President Donald Trump withdrew from the Iran pact and moved the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, both this month.

Fifty-four percent of respondents told the researchers that America should have attempted to renegotiate the Iran deal instead of withdrawing, while 46% said that they agreed with the administration’s decision.

But there was consensus that Iran has violated its end of the bargain, the Hill reported: 65% believe that Iran isn’t sticking to the terms of the agreement, which rolled back sanctions in exchange for Iran ramping down its development of nuclear weapons.

While a majority of respondents polled didn’t back Trump’s decision in Iran, there’s far stronger support for his decision to move the U.S. Embassy. Forty percent of respondents approved, while 31 percent believed it should only have been moved in exchange for a major concession from Israel.

A near-majority of Americans also put the blame for the violence that occurred during protests in Gaza in the days surrounding the announcement on Hamas, the Palestinian terrorist group.

Research contact: @bkamisar

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