Public Opinion in Iraq

PUBLIC OPINION IN IRAQ….So what do Iraqis think of the surge? Marc Lynch summarizes a recent poll of 2,000 residents:

The BBC/ABC/ NHK survey, conducted in all 19 provinces during August, finds that 70% of Iraqis believe that security has deteriorated in the areas covered by the US “surge”, and 11% say it has had no effect. Only 11% say that security in the country as a whole has improved in the last six months. And 70% say that the conditions for political dialogue have gotten worse in the last six months. Bottom line: Iraqis overall, and especially Sunnis, are more opposed to the American presence than ever, do not think the surge has accomplished either its military or its political goals, and have dwindling confidence in the US forces.

Now, polls should always be taken with a grain of salt, but even so, Marc notes the astonishing fact that only 1% of Sunnis support the American presence in Iraq and only 1% of Sunnis say that security has improved in Iraq as a whole in the last 6 months. And that’s after the Anbar Awakening.

Elsewhere in the poll, 47% of Iraqis say they want us to leave immediately, up from 35% before the surge. And what happens if we do? Only 35% think that an American withdrawal will make civil war more likely, while 46% say civil war would be less likely.

Technical issues aside, the surge can’t work if this is how the Iraqi public views the U.S. presence. It’s time to face facts.