Current Magazine

Americans Divided Over Syrian Conflict

Posted on the 16 August 2012 by Dan90017

A new CNN / ORC survey conducted between August 7 and August 8 shows that American voters are divided about the situation in Syria and the potential steps that could be taken to tackle the bloody unrest in the Arab republic. Until recently, the Obama administration favored a diplomatic approach and supported the peace plan proposed by Kofi Annan, the former secretary general of the United Nations. Mr. Annan resigned as peace envoy two weeks ago after accepting that his plan had failed.


To start with, the poll indicates that 43 percent of the respondents are somewhat concerned about Syria, while a further 29 percent are very concerned. Only 26 percent told the pollsters said they were not worried at all about the violence and atrocities which have plagued the country since March 2011. The civil war, which started following a government crackdown against demonstrators, has claimed the lives of between 17,000 and 20,000 Syrians according to various estimates.

A street in Aleppo following clashes between Free Syrian Army fighters and forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar Al-Assad. Photo: Zohra Bensemra / Reuters.

A street in Aleppo following clashes between Free Syrian Army fighters and forces loyal to President Bashar Al-Assad.
Photo: Zohra Bensemra / Reuters.

The respondents were also asked whether the Obama administration and other governments should use military aircraft and missiles to create areas within Syria where the anti-Assad forces could not be reached by government forces. Forty-nine percent (49%) said they were opposed to such action, while 46 percent were in favor.

An even greater proportion (64 percent) of Americans said they were against sending troops into the country to try and create these safe areas. Around a third (32 percent) would support the dispatch of ground personnel.

The respondents were evenly split over whether the West should supply weapons to Syrian rebels. Forty-eight percent (48%) of those questioned said they agreed with the idea, whereas 47 percent said they did not think the rebels should be armed by other nations.

Finally, 46 percent of the participants said they believed that toppling Bashar al-Assad‘s government was “somewhat important”, while an additional 19 percent viewed the removal of the Syrian president as “very important.” A third (33 percent) did not consider his ouster as critical.

The U.S. is still considering how far to go in order to help the Syrian opposition. President Obama‘s senior counter-terrorism advisor, John Brennan, confirmed last week that the White House was still looking at every avenue to assist the anti-al-Assad rebels.

“I don’t recall [President Obama] ever saying that anything was off the table,” he told the press.

Reuters reported two weeks ago that Mr. Obama had signed a covert directive which would allow the CIA and other agencies to provide greater covert assistance for the rebels, although the order did not allow for the provision of weapons.

A total of 1,010 adults were interviewed for this survey. Among them, 991 were registered voters.

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog