Poll: Egyptian Negativity Toward U.S. Surges, As U.S. Prepares to Send Egypt $1.5 Billion

By Susan Jones | March 23, 2012 | 6:23am EDT

Egyptian protesters wave national flags and chant anti-Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) slogans during a protest after Friday prayers in Tahrir Square, the focal point of Egyptian uprising, in Cairo, Egypt, Friday, Feb. 10, 2012. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

(CNSNews.com) - A 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, a Gallup poll says.

Egyptians are now more likely to favor closer ties with Turkey and Iran than with the United States, the poll found.

Only 28 percent of Egyptians said closer relations with the U.S. are a good thing.

The poll, released on Friday, comes as the Obama administration announced it will waive democracy requirements so it can send up to $1.5 billion in aid to Egypt, despite concerns that the country is backsliding on its commitments to democracy and the rule of law.

According to the Associated Press, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has decided that it is in the U.S. national interest to allow $1.3 billion in military assistance to flow to Egypt. She also certified that Egypt is meeting its obligations to the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty, which frees up an additional $200 million in economic aid.

Clinton is expected to sign the waiver on Friday.

A senior State Department official quoted by the AP said the decision "reflect(s) our overarching goal: to maintain our strategic partnership with an Egypt made stronger and more stable by a successful transition to democracy."

As Egypt sours on the U.S. -- despite all money we send -- both Turkey and Iran are seeking closer relations with post-Mubarak Egypt. The Gallup poll found that 60 percent of Egyptians said closer relations with Turkey were a good thing; and 41 percent favored closer relations with Iran.

Gallup also asked Egyptian adults about the "leadership" of the U.S., Turkey and Iran.

Sixty-five percent said they disapprove of the U.S. leadership, while 58 percent disapproved of Iran's leadership and 44 percent disapproved of Turkey's leadership.

The percentage of Egyptians who view their country's peace treaty with Israel as a good thing continues to exceed the percentage who say it is a bad thing. Nearly half of Egyptians (48%) surveyed in February said the Israel peace treaty is a good thing, compared with 42 percent who don't like it.

Gallup found that supporters of Islamist parties were no more likely than others to oppose the peace treaty with Israel.

The Gallup poll results are based on face-to-face interviews with 1,000 adults, aged 15 and older, contacted between Jan. 31 and Feb 7, 2012, in Egypt.

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