Monday, 17 March 2008

What do Iraqis think five years on?

There has been a lot of repetition of fixed opinions in the British press over the last few days as they look back at what went wrong after the overthrow of Saddam. So, it is worth looking at what Iraqis themselves think. Here's what the BBC pollsters found (to the profound disappointment, one senses, of John Simpson and his colleagues). 55% of Iraqis are happy with their lives, including 62% of Shias and 73% of Kurds; 50% more people than last year say security is good in their areas; and 50% of people have confidence in their government (rather more than say the same in their own countries about many Western governments). Yes, utilities remain erratic; and as many Iraqis want the Americans to go as want them to stay. But this is hardly the picture of a country of hopelessness, as portrayed in the anniversary pullouts.

3 comments:

James Schneider said...

By my quick maths that means that only a third of Sunnis are happy. This is not a good outcome because they are far fewer in number than the shia, don't have a contiguous geography like the Kurd, haven't been effectively handed a new state with 5billion dollars a year in FDI like the Kurds, and don't have easy access to oil like the other two sects. Shia have the national government, the Kurds have their regional government, the Sunnis have sweet FA.

TONY said...

It's interesting that these figures, which seem highly dubious, portray a surprising number of Iraqi optimists. Presumably the 2 million or so Iraqis who have left the country as refugees and didn't participate in the poll would be among the pessimists.

donpaskini said...

The polling does a lot to challenge the conventional wisdom (you could also have mentioned that only 38% want troops out now). Also more Iraqis think that the British withdrawal from Basra has made the situation worse than think it has led to improvements.

But there's also a challenge to the reports that we've heard so much that the Surge has worked, with a majority of Iraqis think it has actually made the situation worse (53% compared to 36% better - the Channel 4 poll also found this), and as you say, confidence in the Americans is very low indeed.