Monday, February 06, 2006

POLL of Iraqis: like election, hate occupation

A premise of occupation of Iraq is that the people are backward and need to be brought up to speed with how democracy works, but this poll shows they can already accurately detect political realities. Three-fourths believe the US would not withdraw if the new Iraqi government asked and that we plan to have permanent bases there.

70% of Iraqis would like us to withdraw within six months to two years. When asked why, the most popular response was it is offensive to be occupied. The second most popular answer was the presence of our troops is causing violence.

A little less than half approve of attacks on US forces, but 80% of Sunnis do. Not incidentally, the Sunni region has little oil, and under the system the Bushies are setting up, the oil producing provinces in the Shia and Kurd regions don't have to share much of their oil income with the central government or Sunnis. The bulk of the insurgency is going on in the Sunni region. These polls square pretty well with other research that shows most of the resistance is Iraq not foreign fighters or even less the elusive al Qaeda.

On a positive note, about three fourths believe ethnic violence would decrease and security would increase if our troops withdrew, so if we left or reduced our in-your-face presence there, we may not necessarily leave a hostile government behind.

You can see more at the companion poll of Iraqis on their elections:

The link to this occupation/withdrawal poll has cool graphs that make the whole story digestible in under a minute:


New WPO Poll: Iraqi Public Wants Timetable for US Withdrawal, But Thinks US Plans Permanent Bases in Iraq

Half of Iraqis Approve of Attacks on US Forces, Including 9 Out of 10 Sunnis

Iraqis of all ethnic groups also agree that the US is unlikely to take direction from the Iraqi government. Asked what they think the US would do if the new government were to ask the US to withdraw its forces within six months, 76% overall assume that the US would refuse to do so (Shia 67%, Sunni 94%, Kurds 77%).

Asked what they would like the newly elected Iraqi government to ask the US-led forces to do, 70% of Iraqis favor setting a timeline for the withdrawal of US forces. This number divides evenly between 35% who favor a short time frame of “within six months” and 35% who favor a gradual reduction over two years. Just 29% say it should “only reduce US-led forces as the security situation improves in Iraq.”

Overall, 47% say they approve of “attacks on US-led forces” (23% strongly). There are huge differences between ethnic groups. An extraordinary 88% of Sunnis approve, with 77% approving strongly. Forty-one percent of Shia approve as well, but just 9% strongly. Even 16% of Kurds approve (8% strongly).


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