Monday, August 28, 2006

Iraqi public opinion survey

Marc Lynch points to yet another survey of Iraqi public opinion indicating that (Quelle surprise!) many of them don't want the US in their country. Link here to US News article.

The unrelenting violence and chaos of Iraq have taken their toll on the people there, according to a new study of Iraqi public opinion. The study, based on two surveys of over 2,300 Iraqis in 2004 and 2006, found increased feelings of powerlessness, insecurity, xenophobia, and pessimism, along with a striking level of distrust of U.S. intentions. At the same time, the surveys found a surprising rise in support for secular politics and nationalism, even as sectarian militias may be pulling the country toward all-out civil war. Sponsored by the National Science Foundation, the project was done by Profs. Mansoor Moaddel of Eastern Michigan University and Ronald Inglehart and Mark Tessler of the University of Michigan.

The growing sense of insecurity affected all three of Iraq's major ethnic and religious groups. The number of Iraqis who "strongly agreed" that life is "unpredictable and dangerous" jumped from 41 percent to 48 percent of Shiites, from 67 percent to 79 percent of Sunnis and from 16 percent to 50 percent of Kurds. Xenophobia is also pervasive: Ninety percent of Iraqis would not like to have Americans or British as neighbors. Nor were fellow Muslims spared: Sixty-one percent of Iraqis preferred not to have Iranians or Jordanians living next door, while 71 percent hoped to avoid a Turkish neighbor.

There was more bad news for U.S. officials, who have worked hard to convince Iraqis that American intentions in Iraq are noble. The most recent survey, done in April this year, found almost no Iraqis who felt the United States had invaded to liberate their country from tyranny and build a democracy. Asked for "the three main reasons for the U.S. invasion of Iraq," fully 76 percent cited "to control Iraqi oil." That was followed by "to build military bases" (41 percent) and "to help Israel" (32 percent). Fewer than 2 percent chose "to bring democracy to Iraq" as their first choice.

The Aardvark's summary:

The bottom line: 91.7% of Iraqis oppose the presence of coalition troops in the country, up from 74.4% in 2004. 84.5% are "strongly opposed". Among Sunnis, opposition to the US presence went from 94.5% to 97.9% (97.2% "strongly opposed"). Among Shia, opposition to the US presence went from 81.2% to 94.6%, with "strongly opposed" going from 63.5% to 89.7%. Even among the Kurds, opposition went from 19.6% to 63.3%. In other words, it isn't just that Iraqis oppose the American presence - it's that their feelings are intense: only 7.2% "somewhat oppose" and 4.7% "somewhat support."

Maybe there are reasons for keeping American troops in Iraq, but "it's what the Iraqi people want" really doesn't seem to be one of them.

The longer I live the more I am amazed at how so many people can remain in denial about so dramatic a reality as a war.
Just to make sure I didn't fall asleep and miss something, I checked with Today in Iraq. Yesterday only.
I wish I hadn't.

No comments: