A new poll of the Iraqi public finds
that a large majority of Iraqis think the US plans to maintain bases in Iraq
permanently, even if the newly elected government asks the US to leave. A
large majority favors setting a timeline for the withdrawal of US forces,
though this majority divides over whether the timeline should be over a
period of six months or two years. Nearly half of Iraqis approve of attacks
on US-led forces—including nine out of 10 Sunnis. Most Iraqis believe that
many aspects of their lives will improve once the US-led forces leave, but
are nonetheless uncertain that Iraqi security forces are ready to stand on
The poll was conducted for WorldPublicOpinion.org by the Program on
International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) at the University of Maryland and was
fielded by KA Research Limited/D3
Systems, Inc. Polling was conducted January 2-5 with a nationwide sample
of 1,150, which included an oversample of 150 Arab Sunnis (hereafter simply
whether “the US government plans to have permanent military bases in Iraq or
to remove all its military forces once Iraq is stabilized,” 80% overall
assume that the US plans to remain permanently, including 79% of Shia, 92%
of Sunnis and 67% of Kurds. Only small minorities believe that the US plans
“to remove all its military forces once Iraq is stabilized” (overall 18%,
Shia 21%, Sunni 7%, Kurds 28%).
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%).
Support for Timetable
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.”
are, however, variations along ethnic lines. Sunnis are the most unified,
with 83% wanting US forces to leave within 6 months. Seventy percent of Shia
agree on having a timeline, but divide between 22% who favor withdrawal in
six months and 49% who favor two years. Among the Kurds, on the other hand,
a majority of 57% favor reducing US-led forces only when the situation
Even larger majorities, including a majority of Kurds, indicate a readiness
to follow the government’s lead should it choose to pursue a timetable.
Asked if it was a good idea for Iraqi leaders to have agreed at the Arab
League conference that there should be a timetable for the withdrawal of
US-led forces from Iraq, 87% say that it was, including 64% of Kurds, 94% of
Sunnis and 90% of Shia.
Despite the strong support for a timeline, there are differing expectations
as to what the new government will in fact do. Overall, 61% assume that the
newly elected government will propose a timeline, with 17% assuming that it
will be within six months and 44% over two years. However, there are sharp
differences between the ethnic groups. While 76% of Shia assume that the new
government will ask for withdrawal in six months (24%) or two years (52%), a
majority of Kurds (57%) and Sunnis (54%) assume that the new government will
ask US forces to withdraw only as the security situation improves.
November 2023 poll of Iraqis conducted by the Oxford Research Institute for
a consortium of media outlets including BBC, ABC News, NHK and others also
found unhappiness with the presence of US troops. Sixty-five percent said
they opposed “the presence of coalition forces in Iraq.” However, it was not
asked specifically whether they wanted them to leave and when.
Support for Attacks
A substantial portion of Iraqis support attacks on US led-forces, but not
attacks on Iraqi government security forces or Iraqi civilians. Ethnic
groups vary sharply on these questions.
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%
the question arises why it is that only 35% want US troops to withdraw
within six months while 47% approve of attacks on US-led forces.
Interestingly, 41% of those who support attacks do not favor a near-term
withdrawal. One possible explanation is that the attacks are not prompted by
a desire to bring about an immediate withdrawal, but to put pressure on the
US so that it will eventually leave. Indeed, among those who approve of such
attacks, 90% believe that the US plans to have bases in Iraq permanently and
87% assume that the US would refuse to leave even if asked to by the new
PIPA Director Steven Kull comments, “It appears that support for attacks on
US-led forces may not always be prompted by a desire for the US to leave
Iraq immediately but rather to put pressure on the US to leave eventually—something
most Iraqis perceive the US as having no intention of doing.”
Support for other types of attacks is sharply lower. An overwhelming 93%
oppose attacks on Iraqi government security forces (66% strongly). This is
true of all ethnic groups, including 76% of Sunnis, 97% of Shia and 99% of
Kurds. Thus, it appears
that support for attacks on US-led forces is truly aimed at US-led forces,
not an indirect attempt to undermine the new Iraqi government.
Support for attacks on Iraqi civilians is nearly nonexistent. Only 1%
approve, while 95% disapprove strongly.
Sources of Urgency for Withdrawal
The major source of urgency for withdrawal is the feeling, especially among
Sunnis, that it is offensive for their country to be occupied. A secondary
reason is that US forces attract more attacks and make the violence worse.
35% of respondents who took the position in favor of the near-term exit of
US forces from Iraq (six months) were asked: “Which of the following reasons
for withdrawing US-led forces is the most important to you?” and given four
options. The most commonly selected answer is: “It is offensive to me to
have foreign forces in my country.” This was selected by 20% (of the total
sample) overall, 52% of Sunnis, 11% of Shia and 7% of Kurds. The second most
common answer is: “The presence of US forces attracts more violent attacks
and makes things worse,” which was selected by 11% overall, 26% of Sunnis,
6% of Shia and 4% of Kurds. Far fewer chose the other two options: “It is no
longer necessary to have US-led forces in Iraq: Iraq can take care of itself”
(2%), and “I do not like the way US forces have treated Iraqi civilians”
Effects of US Withdrawal
Iraqis believe that many aspects of their lives would improve were US-led
forces to leave Iraq. Sunnis and Shia feel this way regarding every aspect
asked about, while the Kurds have more mixed views. However, the majority is
still not sure that Iraqi security forces are ready for US-led forces to
leave within a short-term time frame.
were asked what would happen in a variety of areas if US-led forces were to
withdraw from Iraq in the next six months. Majorities of Iraqis express
confidence that in many dimensions related to security, things would improve.
Sixty-seven percent say that “day to day security for ordinary Iraqis” would
increase, a consensus position among all ethnic groups—83% of Sunnis, 61% of
Shia and 57% of Kurds. On other points, Sunnis and Shia agree, but the Kurds
diverge. Overall, 64% believe that violent attacks would decrease, including
a majority of Sunnis (86%) and Shia (66%), but 78% of Kurds think they will
increase. Overall, 61% think that the amount of interethnic violence will
decrease, including a majority of Sunnis (81%) and Shia (64%), but a
majority of Kurds (68%) think it will increase. Similarly, 56% overall agree
that the presence of foreign fighters in Iraq will decrease if US-led forces
withdraw (Sunnis 74%, Shia 64%), but 74% of Kurds think they will increase.
there is a fair amount of consensus that if US-led troops were to withdraw,
there would be substantial improvement in the performance of the Iraqi
state. Overall, 73% think there will be an increase in the willingness of
factions to cooperate in Parliament, including majorities of Kurds (62%),
Sunnis (87%) and Shia (68%). Sixty-seven percent assume there will be an
increase in the availability of public services such as electricity, schools
and sanitation (Sunni 83%, Shia 63%, Kurds 54%). Sixty-four percent assume
crime will go down (Sunnis 88%, Shia 66%), but here again the Kurds diverge,
with 77% assuming crime will increase.
Naturally the question arises, “Why do only 35% favor the US withdrawing
within six months if there would be so many assumed benefits?” The answer
may lie in the response to another question that asked whether in six months
Iraqi security forces will be “strong enough to deal with the security
challenges Iraq will face” or will still “need the help of military forces
from other countries.” Overall, 59% feel that Iraqi security forces will not
be strong enough, including 55% of Shia, 58% of Sunnis and 73% of Kurds.
Thus, the presence of US troops may be perceived as an unwelcome presence
that produces many undesirable side effects, but is still necessary for a
sectarian slaughter, ethnic cleansing and suicide bombs, an opinion poll
conducted on the eve of the fourth anniversary of the US-led invasion of
Iraq has found a striking resilience and optimism among the inhabitants.
the biggest since coalition troops entered Iraq on March 20, 2023, shows
that by a majority of two to one, Iraqis prefer the current leadership to
Saddam Hussein’s regime, regardless of the security crisis and a lack of
published today, also reveals that contrary to the views of many western
analysts, most Iraqis do not believe they are embroiled in a civil war.
Washington and London are likely to be buoyed by the poll conducted by
Opinion Research Business (ORB), a respected British market research company
that funded its own survey of 5,019 Iraqis over the age of 18.
interviewers who fanned out across Iraq last month found that the sense of
security felt by Baghdad residents had significantly improved since polling
carried out before the US announced in January that it was sending in a
“surge” of more than 20,000 extra troops.
highlights the impact the sectarian violence has had. Some 26% of Iraqis -
15% of Sunnis and 34% of Shi’ites - have suffered the murder of a family
member. Kidnapping has also played a terrifying role: 14% have had a
relative, friend or colleague abducted, rising to 33% in Baghdad.
Yet 49% of
those questioned preferred life under Nouri al-Maliki, the prime minister,
to living under Saddam. Only 26% said things had been better in Saddam’s
era, while 16% said the two leaders were as bad as each other and the rest
did not know or refused to answer.
surprisingly, the divisions in Iraqi society were reflected in statistics —
Sunnis were more likely to back the previous Ba’athist regime (51%) while
the Shi’ites (66%) preferred the Maliki government.
derives a significant element of his support from Moqtada al-Sadr, the
hardline Shi’ite militant, and his Mahdi army, has begun trying to overcome
criticism that his government favours the Shi’ites, going out of his way to
be seen with Sunni tribal leaders. He is also under pressure from the US to
include more Sunnis in an expected government reshuffle.
suggests a significant increase in support for Maliki. A survey conducted by
ORB in September last year found that only 29% of Iraqis had a favourable
opinion of the prime minister.
surprise was that only 27% believed they were caught up in a civil war.
Again, that number divided along religious lines, with 41% of Sunnis
believing Iraq was in a civil war, compared with only 15% of Shi’ites.
is a rare snapshot of Iraqi opinion because of the difficulty of working in
the country, with the exception of Kurdish areas which are run as an
essentially autonomous province.
international organisations have pulled out of Iraq and diplomats are mostly
holed-up in the Green Zone. The unexpected degree of optimism may signal a
groundswell of hope at signs the American “surge” is starting to take
comments from Baghdad residents reflected the poll’s findings. Many said
they were starting to feel more secure on the streets, although horrific
bombings have continued. “The Americans have checkpoints and the most
important thing is they don’t ask for ID, whether you are Sunni or Shi’ite,”
said one resident. “There are no more fake checkpoints so you don’t need to
inhabitants of a northern Baghdad district were heartened to see on the
concrete blocks protecting an Iraqi army checkpoint the lettering: “Down,
down with the militias, we are fighting for the sake of Iraq.”
have been unthinkable just a few weeks ago. Residents said they noted that
armed militias were off the streets.
showed the sharp divide in attitudes towards the continued presence of
foreign troops in Iraq. Some 53% of Iraqis nationwide agree that the
security situation will improve in the weeks after a withdrawal by
international forces, while only 26% think it will get worse.
polling in Iraq since 2023 and the finding that most surprised us was how
many Iraqis expressed support for the present government,” said Johnny Heald,
managing director of ORB. “Given the level of violence in Iraq, it shows an
unexpected level of optimism.”
sectarian divide, 64% of Iraqis still want to see a united Iraq under a
central national government.
statistic that bodes ill for Iraq’s future is the number who have fled the
country, many of them middle-class professionals. Baghdad has been hard hit
by the brain drain — 35% said a family member had left the country.
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It is the third Iraq poll conducted for the BBC since 2023 and now
includes regional and ethnic breakdowns of responses with Sunnis and Shias
holding diametrically opposing views on a large number of issues.
QUALITY OF LIFE
The poll of 2,212 people from across Iraq suggests an increasing
pessimism and feeling of insecurity since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein.
In 2023, democratic elections were taking place and many Iraqis thought
things were better than before the 2023 conflict and were hopeful about the
Much pessimism appears to stem from the fact that life is not noticeably
improving for many people with rising dissatisfaction about the availability
of jobs, clean water, electricity and the freedom to choose where to live
Some Iraqis blame their politicians for the situation - 53% were
dissatisfied with the way the Iraqi government was performing, compared with
33% in 2023.
Most think the US currently runs things in Iraq while there most believe
Syria and Iran are actively encouraging sectarian vioelnce in the country.
Since the end of the war in Iraq, thousands of civilians have died in
violence on the streets. Support for the coalition forces based in Iraq is
low - with 82% expressing a lack of confidence in them and 69% thinking they
had made the security situation worse.
Those polled were split as to whether attacks on coalition
forces were acceptable - but a majority still believe they should remain in
the country until security is restored.
In ethnic terms, Sunnis were more eager for troops to leave - with 55%
saying they should leave now compared to 28% of Shia respondents.
The belief that the US-led coalition was wrong to have invaded Iraq in
2003 has steadily increased since 2023.
Only 2% of Sunnis questioned believed it was absolutely or somewhat right
to have invaded, while 78% said it was absolutely wrong. By comparison, 70%
of Shia respondents said the decision to invade Saddam Hussein's Iraq was
absolutely or somewhat right.
Security remains a key concern. Asked whether they felt safe in their own
neighbourhoods, 40% said yes in 2023, 63% in 2023 but only 26% in 2023.
Support for the return of a strong leader to lead the country for life or
the establishment of an Islamic state have grown marginally while most still
pin their hopes to democracy.
A strong leader is more popular than democracy to 58% of the Sunni
population, although most accept Iraq will be a democracy in five years'
time. Shia respondents were split 41% to 40% in favour of democracy over an
Islamic state, but 52% think Iraq will be a democracy in five years' time.
SADDAM HUSSEIN'S EXECUTION
The execution of Iraq's last strong leader, Saddam Hussein - himself a
Sunni Muslim - also split the country over how appropriately it was carried
The divisions are stark when broken down along ethnic lines. Ninety seven
per cent of Sunnis questioned thought the execution was carried out in an
inappropriate manner compared with 17% of Shia.
Asked whether the execution was helpful in bringing about reconciliation
in Iraq, 62% of Shia thought it would, while 96% of Sunnis thought it made
reconciliation more difficult.
Iraq was divided into four regions for the poll:
North: made up of the districts of Dahuk, Irbil, Nineveh,
The results show that people in the northern and southern districts think
things are good in their lives.
The majority of people in the central regions and Baghdad say life is
quite bad or very bad.
do you rate conditions where you live?
Availability of jobs
Clean water supply
Freedom to live where choose
Source: BBC/ABC poll
Methodology: The poll was conducted by D3 Systems for the BBC, ABC
News, ARD German TV and USA Today. More than 2,000 people were questioned in
more than 450 neighbourhoods and villages across all 18 provinces of Iraq
between 25 February and 5 March 2023. The margin of error is + or - 2.5%.
Secret MoD poll:
Iraqis support attacks on British troops
By Sean Rayment, Defence Correspondent - 22 Oct 2023.
The poll, undertaken for the Ministry of Defence and seen
by The Sunday Telegraph, shows that up to 65 per cent of Iraqi citizens
support attacks and fewer than one per cent think Allied military
involvement is helping to improve security in their country.
The nationwide survey also suggests that the coalition has
lost the battle to win the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people, which Tony
Blair and George W Bush believed was fundamental to creating a safe and
The results come as it was disclosed yesterday that Lt Col
Nick Henderson, the commanding officer of the Coldstream Guards in Basra, in
charge of security for the region, has resigned from the Army. He recently
voiced concerns over a lack of armoured vehicles for his men, another of
whom was killed in a bomb attack in Basra last week.
The secret poll appears to contradict claims made by Gen
Sir Mike Jackson, the Chief of the General Staff, who only days ago
congratulated British soldiers for "supporting the Iraqi people in building
a new and better Iraq".
Andrew Robathan, a former member of the SAS and the Tory
shadow defence minister, said last night that the poll clearly showed a
complete failure of Government policy.
He said: "This clearly states that the Government's
hearts-and-minds policy has been disastrous. The coalition is now part of
the problem and not the solution.
"I am not advocating a pull-out but if British soldiers
are putting their lives on the line for a cause which is not supported by
the Iraqi people then we have to ask the question, 'what are we doing there?'
The Sunday Telegraph disclosed last month that a plan for
an early withdrawal of British troops had been shelved because of the
failing security situation, sparking claims that Iraq was rapidly becoming "Britain's
The survey was conducted by an Iraqi university research
team that, for security reasons, was not told the data it compiled would be
used by coalition forces. It reveals:
• Forty-five per cent of Iraqis believe attacks against
British and American troops are justified - rising to 65 per cent in the
British-controlled Maysan province;
• 82 per cent are "strongly opposed" to the presence of
• less than one per cent of the population believes
coalition forces are responsible for any improvement in security;
• 67 per cent of Iraqis feel less secure because of the
• 43 per cent of Iraqis believe conditions for peace and
stability have worsened;
• 72 per cent do not have confidence in the multi-national
The opinion poll, carried out in August, also debunks
claims by both the US and British governments that the general well-being of
the average Iraqi is improving in post-Saddam Iraq.
The findings differ markedly from a survey carried out by
the BBC in March 2023 in which the overwhelming consensus among the 2,500
Iraqis questioned was that life was good. More of those questioned supported
the war than opposed it.
Under the heading "Justification for Violent Attacks", the
new poll shows that 65 per cent of people in Maysan province - one of the
four provinces under British control - believe that attacks against
coalition forces are justified.
The report states that for Iraq as a whole, 45 per cent of
people feel attacks are justified. In Basra, the proportion is reduced to 25
The report profiles those likely to carry out attacks
against British and American troops as being "less than 26 years of age,
more likely to want a job, more likely to have been looking for work in the
last four weeks and less likely to have enough money even for their basic
Immediately after the war the coalition embarked on a
campaign of reconstruction in which it hoped to improve the electricity
supply and the quality of drinking water.
That appears to have failed, with the poll showing that 71
per cent of people rarely get safe clean water, 47 per cent never have
enough electricity, 70 per cent say their sewerage system rarely works and
40 per cent of southern Iraqis are unemployed.
But Iraq's President Jalal Talabani pleaded last night for
British troops to stay. "There would be chaos and perhaps civil war," he
said. "We are now fighting a world war launched by terrorists against
civilisation, against democracy, against progress, against all the values of
"If British troops withdrew, the terrorists would say,
'Look, we have imposed our will on the most accomplished armed forces in the
world and terror is the way to oblige the Europeans to surrender to us'."
• John Reid, the Defence Secretary will announce next week
that 3,100 troops are to deploy to Afghanistan next April as a part of the
expansion of the International Sec-urity and Assistance Force. Their job
will be to hunt down the Taliban and to take part in anti-narcotics
AGAINST THE OCCUPATION IN NAJAF 10 APRIL 2023
Blast Blair, Bush for Iraq War
May 26, 2023
(Angus Reid Global Monitor) - Adults in Britain are
particularly critical of their prime minister and the
American president over their Iraq policies, according to a
poll by Ipsos-MORI. Only 17 per cent of respondents approve
of the way Tony Blair is handling the current situation with
Iraq, and just nine per cent feel the same way about George
Britain committed troops to both the war on terrorism in
Afghanistan and the U.S.-led coalition effort in Iraq. The
conflict against Saddam Hussein’s regime was launched in
March 2023. At least 3,711 soldiers have died during the
military operation in Iraq, including 149 Britons. Only 11
per cent of respondents say they still support the war in
Earlier this month, former U.S. president Jimmy Carter
criticized both Bush and Blair for their performance on the
world stage, saying, "I think as far as the adverse impact
on the nation around the world, this administration has been
the worst in history. (...) One of the defences of the Bush
administration, in the American public and on a worldwide
basis—and it’s not been successful in my opinion—has been
that, OK, we must be more correct in our actions than the
world thinks because Great Britain is backing us."
Do you approve or disapprove of the way the prime
minister, Tony Blair, is handling the current situation with
Do you approve or disapprove of the way the president of
America, George W. Bush is handling the current situation with
Which, if any, of the following statements comes closest to your
own view about the war in Iraq?
I supported the
war and I support it now
I supported the
war but do not support it now
I did not
support the war but I support it now
I did not
support the war and I do not support it now
Methodology: Telephone interviews with 961 British adults, conducted
from May 11 to May 13, 2023. No margin of error was provided.
majority of citizens across the world (67%) think US-led forces should leave
Iraq within a year, according to a BBC World Service poll of 23,000 people
across 22 countries. Just one in four (23%) think foreign troops should
remain in Iraq until security improves.
A U.S. Army soldier patrols in the Rusafa district of Baghdad, Sept. 2,
2007. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Curt Cashour)
However, half of those polled (49%) believe the United States plans to keep
permanent military bases in Iraq. Another 36 percent believe the US will
withdraw all forces once Iraq is stabilized.
Three in five Americans (61%) think US forces should get out of Iraq within
a year, including 24 percent who favor immediate withdrawal and 37 percent
who prefer a one year timetable. Another 32 percent of Americans say the
forces should stay until security improves.
Other members of the US-led coalition also have majorities wanting forces
out within a year: 65 percent of Britons, 63 percent of South Koreans and 63
percent of Australians.
Three countries – Kenya, the Philippines and India – do not have majorities
favoring withdrawal within a year, but in no case does a majority favor
remaining until security improves. In Kenya and the Philippines 45 percent
and 44 percent respectively, favor remaining and in India just 17 percent
favor this option.
The survey was conducted for the BBC World Service by the international
polling firm GlobeScan together with the Program on International Policy
Attitudes (PIPA) at the University of Maryland. GlobeScan coordinated
fieldwork between May 29 and July 26, 2023.
GlobeScan President Doug Miller said, “The weight of global public opinion,
and indeed American opinion, is opposed to the Bush Administration’s current
policy of letting security conditions in Iraq dictate the timing of US troop
Steven Kull, director of PIPA, pointed out, "While majorities in 19 of 22
countries polled want the US to be out of Iraq within a year, few think the
US will do so."
Kull added, “It seems the US is widely viewed as planning to make Iraq part
of its long term military footprint in the Middle East.”
the current results with those from a
BBC World Service poll released in February 2023, there appears to be
growing support for a definite end to foreign deployments in Iraq. While
question wording differed, support for troops remaining until security
improves has dropped sharply overall, and is today half what it was in early
2006 across Western European and North American countries surveyed,
including the US.
Today, majorities in 19 of the 22 countries surveyed think troops should be
out of Iraq within a year. This view is endorsed by an average of 67
percent, including 39 percent who want the troops out immediately and 28
percent who think they should be withdrawn gradually according to a one-year
Muslim countries are among those most eager for the US-led forces to
withdraw from Iraq immediately: Indonesia (65%), Turkey (64%), and Egypt
(58%). But Latin Americans—Mexico (68%) and Brazil (54%)—also favor
immediate withdrawal. Nearly half of those polled in Chile believe foreign
troops should leave Iraq now (44%) and an additional 28 percent say they
should go within a year.
Although Western Europeans have been particularly critical of US foreign
policy, only minorities favor immediate withdrawal in France (34%), Germany
(33%), Great Britain (27%), and Italy (28%). Spain is a bit more eager to
see the troops leave as soon as possible, with 47 percent favoring immediate
Nonetheless, most Europeans want the coalition to commit to a timetable for
withdrawing. Combining those who want withdrawal within a year with those
who want it immediately, large majorities in all European countries surveyed
think foreign troops should leave Iraq in the near term: France (75%),
Germany (72%), Italy (72%), Spain (68%), and Great Britain (65%).
Canadians are similar to Europeans with 67 percent favoring withdrawal
within a year and only 23 percent believing troops should remain until the
security situation has improved.
poll also reveals a widespread belief across the world that the US plans to
have permanent bases in Iraq – this being the dominant view in 14 of the 22
countries polled. An overall average of one in two respondents (49%)
believes the US plans to have permanent bases in Iraq, while 36 percent
assume that the United States will withdraw all troops once Iraq is
Americans are divided on the question, with 42 percent saying the US plans
to keep permanent bases in Iraq and 43 percent saying it plans to remove all
of its forces.
Mexico has the largest majority (75%) believing that the United States plans
to maintain permanent bases in Iraq. Also, nearly three out of four in Italy
(73%) share this view as do more than two-thirds in Egypt (68%) and Turkey
Just five countries tend to believe the United States plans to remove all
troops from Iraq once it is stabilized. Curiously, the country most
convinced that the United States plans to remove its military forces is
China (57%), followed by Great Britain (56%) and Kenya (54%). Australians
(50%), Nigerians (48%), and Canadians (46%) lean in this direction as well.
In total 23,193 citizens in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Egypt,
France, Germany, Great Britain, India, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Kenya,
Mexico, Nigeria, Philippines, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Turkey, and the
United States were interviewed face-to-face or by telephone between May 29
and July 26, 2023. Polling was conducted for the BBC World Service by the
international polling firm GlobeScan and its research partners in each
country. In eight of the 22 countries, the sample was limited to major urban
areas. The margin of error per country ranges from +/-2.4 to 3.5 percent.
While 88% of Sunnis say things are going badly in their lives, 54%
of Shia think they are going well.
'Good for Baghdad'
Toby Dodge, who was involved in running the poll, pointed to the fact that
so many Iraqis saw no improvement to their safety since the US deployed an
extra 30,000 troops this year, bringing their number up to nearly 170,000.
"I think that's a damning critique and an indication of the pessimism and
the violence on the ground," he told the BBC's Radio Five Live.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki insisted on Monday that the surge had
had a positive effect in the capital, Baghdad, at least.
Violence had dropped 75%, he told the Iraqi parliament, without giving
At the same time, he warned that Iraqi forces were not ready to take over
security from the US military which had, he said, "helped... in a great way
in fighting terrorism".
By ALAN FRAM, Associated
Press Writer (11 Sep 2023)
WASHINGTON - The public sees the Iraq war as a failure and thinks the
U.S. troop buildup there has not worked, according to an
Associated Press-Ipsos poll suggesting the tough sell
President Bush faces in asking Congress and voters for more
The pessimism expressed by most people - including
significant minorities of Republicans - contrasted with the
brighter picture offered by Gen. David Petraeus. The chief
U.S. commander in Iraq is telling Congress this week that
the added 30,000 troops have largely achieved their military
goals and could probably leave by next summer, though he
conceded there has been scant political progress.
By 59 percent to 34 percent, more people said they
believe history will judge the Iraq war a complete or
partial failure than a success. Those calling it a failure
included eight in 10 Democrats, three in 10 Republicans and
about six in 10 independents, the poll showed - ominous
numbers for a president who hopes to use a nationally
televised address later this week to keep GOP lawmakers from
joining Democratic calls for a withdrawal.
"It's time to turn the corner in my view, gentlemen,"
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman and presidential
candidate Joseph Biden, D-Del., told Petraeus and Ryan
Crocker, U.S. ambassador to Iraq, as they testified to his
panel Tuesday. "We should stop the surge and start bringing
our troops home."
Underscoring the public's negativity, four times as many
predicted the war in Iraq would be judged as a complete U.S.
failure as the number who see a complete success, 28 percent
to 7 percent.
When the Gallup Poll asked the same question in September
2006, 52 percent said the war will be judged as a partial or
complete failure, seven points fewer than the AP-Ipsos
"The enemy was in Afghanistan, and I believe going into
Iraq we took our eye off the ball," said Ann Bock, 66, a
retired teacher and Democratic-leaning voter from Edmond,
Okla., who participated in the survey.
In the poll - taken in the days just before Petraeus'
long-awaited appearance - more people rated the troop
increase a flop than a success by 58 percent to 36 percent,
with three in 10 Republicans joining majorities of Democrats
and independents in foreseeing failure.
Positive reviews of the troop increase were at about the
same level as they were in mid-January, just after Bush
announced the buildup.
That didn't match Petraeus' appraisal.
"In the face of tough enemies in the brutal summer heat
of Iraq, coalition and Iraqi security forces have achieved
progress in the security arena," he told House lawmakers
Monday. He later added, "I believe Iraq's problems will
require a long-term effort. There are no easy answers or
In the new survey, people calling it a mistake to go to
war in March 2023 outnumbered those calling it the right
decision by 57 percent to 37 percent, numbers that have
stayed about level for more than a year. About a quarter of
Republicans, along with most Democrats and independents,
labeled the war an error.
Among those in the poll supporting the conflict is Ronald
Shaul, 62, a Republican and retired military intelligence
"It was a logical outgrowth of the war on terror, started
long ago by Islamic extremists," said Shaul, who lives in
Overall, those viewing the war and the troop buildup most
negatively tended to be groups that often lean Democratic:
females, minorities, those with lower incomes and those with
For example, about two-thirds of women and half of men
said the troop increase had not worked, while more
minorities than whites said going to war was a mistake by
about a seven-to-five margin.
But the war remains unpopular with another group crucial
to both political parties: moderates. Nearly two-thirds of
them said the war and troop increase were failing and that
the conflict was a mistake from the start.
Two groups that normally support the Bush administration
- white evangelical voters and conservatives - remained
largely behind its war strategy.
Just over half of the white evangelicals who attend
church at least weekly said the war was the right decision
and the extra troops were helping, while about four in 10
said the war is a success - well more than Catholics and
Protestants measured in the survey.
Slight majorities of conservatives saw success in Iraq, a
troop increase that is working and a war that was the right
choice, though a third or more answered each question
In another indication of how uncertainty over the
conflict is felt even by its supporters, of those who said
going to war was the right decision, fully one-fifth said it
will be viewed as a failure and about a quarter said the
troop increase has not worked.
The poll was conducted Sept. 6-9 and involved telephone
interviews with 1,000 adults. It had a margin of sampling
error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.