Democracy Arsenal

« Not Telling the Truth | Main | Is the State Department Ready for the Job? »

February 07, 2006

What Iraqis Are Thinking
Posted by Heather Hurlburt

Last week’s release of a World Public Opinion/PIPA poll of Iraqis was overshadowed by the State of the Union and associated commentary.  Most of the coverage there was focused on the 47 percent of Iraqis who approved of attacks on US forces – though only 1 percent approved of attacks on civilians.  But the poll, which had good and bad news for all ideological tendencies here in the US, merits a longer look.  Here are my top 5 underreported results:

  1. Increase in positive attitudes about the future.  (67 percent overall, compared to 49 percent in an International Republican Institute poll last fall; for ethnic breakdown, though, see below.)
  2. Belief, across ethnic lines, that Iraqi institutions would function better with troops gone. (67 percent say day-to-day security would improve, 67 percent say public services would be more available, and 73 percent say factions would cooperate better.)
  3. Split on when the US should go that mirrors the split in US public opinion.  (overall, 35 percent want a withdrawal in 6 months, 35 percent in two years, and 29 percent “only as the security situation improves.”  Again, look below for ethnic breakout.)

  4. Zero progress in getting Sunnis to feel more optimistic and included.  (More than 90 percent say the elections and the new government are not legitimate; 83 percent want the US out within 6 months.  93 percent say the country is going in the wrong direction.)  At the same time, Ken Pollack looked at t he data and for him it underlined another problem – that we are not paying enough attention to the Shiites, who responded with high degrees of hostility to questions about US non-military assistance. 
  5. Across-the-board interest, including from Sunnis, in internationalization of the foreign presence in Iraq, both military and civilian.  (Even 57 percent of Sunnis said Iraqwould need help from “foreign military forces” for a year or more.)

What conclusions should we draw?

I've got three.

Well, if I were the Bush Administration, I'd be waving these numbers all over Turtle Bay, Brussels and every Arab capital trying to get the UN, Arab League, EU and NATO to step up and take on big chunks of the civilian reconstruction that we are busily "wrapping up."  If I were feeling especially confident, I might try to put somebody up to sponsoring a big international conference that didn't look and feel American, to try a different tack to bring Sunnis on board.

And speaking of Sunnis, seems as if we might need to declare the elections-as-opener-to-Sunnis strategy a qualified failure and start thinking about what else might help.

Lastly, both Ken Pollack and Shibley Telhami commented on how opaque the Bush Administration's intentions are to most Iraqis, even as many are willing to say that getting rid of Saddam was worth it, foreign troops are needed for some period of time, and reconstruction assistance would be welcome.  If you read all the way through the transcript of the poll's presentation at Brookings, you will find former Congressman Steve Solarz proposing that President Bush travel to Iraq and announce there that the US has no intention of leaving permanent bases in Iraq.  Darn good idea.  I'd add to that a commitment to make troop drawdowns as transparent to Iraqi civilians (the insurgents will know anyway) as they are to the American civilians at whom they are aimed.  Then Iraqis can be encouraged to start holding their own authorities responsible for failures and successes alike.


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference What Iraqis Are Thinking:


I've blogged about this post, with links and a few comments, here.

There are certain things in life related to smoking that simply cannot :)
parça kontör
parça kontör bayiliği
parça kontör bayilik

There is a lot of aion online gold in the game,if you want to have them you can come to play the game. Ilike to earn the aion money,because if i have them i can go to buy equipment and i also can go to buy aion gold. if you want to play it, please cheap aion gold and join us. Please do not hesitate to play the game,i believe you will like it too.

It is the silkroad gold which make me very happy these days, my brother says sro gold is his favorite games gold he likes, he usually buy some silkroad online gold to start his game and most of the time he will win the silk road gold back.

If you have Atlantica online Gold, you can get more. If you gave Atlantica Gold to me, I still have my idea to achieve.

Once I played kung fu, I did not know how to get strong, someone told me that you must have World of Kung fu Gold. That he gave me some WoKf gold.

You can play it silkroad online gold, you can buy the cheap silk road gold.

when you do not have wonderland online Gold, you must borrow wonderland money from friends,

thanks for sharing Sohbet many people are pay more attention to one's swearing than before, especially a watch.Muhabbet.
Perhaps when you went to some place far away Sohbet you must borrow it from friends you can get everything you want in this game Chat money to invest in other industry which will return you good profit. Sohbet when you look at Chat
the surface of the watches viaload great any cool Exsohbet from the city you live in and thought you knew nobody there Egitim Fourth, there were various signs of political conflict among shia. If they split 3 ways or 4 ways, the sunnis and the kurds could often be the Sohbet swing votes in the politics. If they felt they had political clout out of proportion to their numbers, they could settle in Sohbet and do politics and not feel oppressed.

complex 41 kullanıcı yorumlarıorjin krem

Post a comment

If you have a TypeKey or TypePad account, please Sign In.

Guest Contributors
Sign-up to receive a weekly digest of the latest posts from Democracy Arsenal.
Powered by TypePad


The opinions voiced on Democracy Arsenal are those of the individual authors and do not represent the views of any other organization or institution with which any author may be affiliated.
Read Terms of Use