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[casi-analysis] Major poll: No power, no safety, no respect. Please leave.

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USAToday, CNN, and Gallup have released results of a nationwide survey of
"nearly 3,500 Iraqis of every religious and ethnic group".  The poll was
completed in early April, *before* the current hostilities in Falluja and Najaf.

Key findings:
- "Only a third of the Iraqi people now believe that the American-led occupation
of their country is doing more good than harm"

- "a solid majority support an immediate military pullout even though they fear
that could put them in greater danger"

- "Asked whether they view the U.S.-led coalition as 'liberators' or
'occupiers,' 71% of all respondents say 'occupiers.'

- "53% say they would feel less secure without the coalition in Iraq, but 57%
say the foreign troops should leave anyway"

- "Half say they and their families are better off than they were under Saddam.
And a strong majority say they are more free to worship and to speak"

- "Nearly half of Iraqis still report long, frequent power blackouts"

- "Nearly a third lack clean drinking water much of the time"

- "Almost everywhere except in the Kurdish north, most people are afraid to
leave their homes at night"

While the poll results are generally negative, Iraqi attitudes are likely far
more negative now.  The survey was completed before the April 9 attack on
Falluja, which caused widespread outrage against American forces and the
occupation.  As Gallup's analysts note on the frontpiece (emphasis theirs):


CNN has the full report here:

USAToday's summaries are here:

Drew Hamre
Golden Valley, MN USA

Page 1A

Poll: Iraqis losing patience Many say Saddam's fall benefited them, but most
want U.S. troops to leave now
By CÚsar G. Soriano
and Steven Komarow
April 29, 2004

BAGHDAD -- Only a third of the Iraqi people now believe that the American-led
occupation of their country is doing more good than harm, and a solid majority
support an immediate military pullout even though they fear that could put them
in greater danger, according to a new USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll.

The nationwide survey, the most comprehensive look at Iraqi attitudes toward the
occupation, was conducted in late March and early April. It reached nearly 3,500
Iraqis of every religious and ethnic group.

The poll shows that most continue to say the hardships suffered to depose Saddam
Hussein were worth it. Half say they and their families are better off than they
were under Saddam. And a strong majority say they are more free to worship and
to speak.

But while they acknowledge benefits from dumping Saddam a year ago, Iraqis no
longer see the presence of the American-led military as a plus. Asked whether
they view the U.S.-led coalition as ''liberators'' or ''occupiers,'' 71% of all
respondents say ''occupiers.''

That figure reaches 81% if the separatist, pro-U.S. Kurdish minority in northern
Iraq is not included. The negative characterization is just as high among the
Shiite Muslims who were oppressed for decades by Saddam as it is among the Sunni
Muslims who embraced him.

The growing negative attitude toward the Americans is also reflected in two
related survey questions: 53% say they would feel less secure without the
coalition in Iraq, but 57% say the foreign troops should leave anyway. Those
answers were given before the current showdowns in Fallujah and Najaf between
U.S. troops and guerrilla fighters.

The findings come as the U.S. administration is struggling to quell the
insurgency and turn over limited sovereignty to an interim Iraqi government by
the end of June. Interviews this week in Baghdad underscored the findings.

''I'm not ungrateful that they took away Saddam Hussein,'' says Salam Ahmed, 30,
a Shiite businessman. ''But the job is done. Thank you very much. See you later.

'I would shoot . . . right now'

Bearing the brunt of Iraqis' ill feeling: U.S. troops. The most visible symbol
of the occupation, they are viewed by many Iraqis as uncaring, dangerous and
lacking in respect for the country's people, religion and traditions.

The insurgents, by contrast, seem to be gaining broad acceptance, if not
outright support. If the Kurds, who make up about 13% of the poll, are taken out
of the equation, more than half of Iraqis say killing U.S. troops can be
justified in at least some cases. But attacks against Iraqi police officers, who
are U.S.-trained, are strongly condemned by the Iraqi people.

The Bush administration has contended that the growing resistance, which has
killed at least 115 Americans this month, is the work of isolated cells of
former regime members or religious fanatics, often from outside Iraq.

Iraqis interviewed in Baghdad say ordinary people have lost patience with the
U.S. effort to crush the insurgency and rebuild Iraq.

''I would shoot at the Americans right now if I had the chance,'' says Abbas
Kadhum Muia, 24, who owns a bicycle shop in Sadr City, a Shiite slum of 2
million people in Baghdad that was strongly anti-Saddam and once friendly to the
Americans. ''At the beginning . . . there were no problems, but gradually they
started to show disrespect (and) encroach on our rights, arresting people.''

Sabah Yeldo, a Christian who owns a liquor store across town, says American
failures have left the capital with higher crime and less-reliable services,
including electricity. That is ''making everybody look back and seriously
consider having Saddam back again instead of the Americans.''

In the multiethnic Baghdad area, where a Gallup Poll last summer of 1,178
residents permits a valid comparison, only 13% of the people now say the
invasion of Iraq was morally justifiable. In the 2003 poll, more than twice that
number saw it as the right thing to do.

Americans regard their men and women in uniform as liberators who are trying to
help Iraq. But the Iraqis now see them as a threat and focus their anger on them.

''When they pass by on the street, we are curious, so we go out to look and they
immediately point their gun at you,'' says Muia, the bicycle shop owner.

Except for the Kurds, such feelings are widely held. For example:

* Two-thirds say soldiers in the U.S.-led coalition make no attempt to keep
ordinary Iraqis from being killed or wounded during exchanges of gunfire.

* 58% say the soldiers conduct themselves badly or very badly.

* 60% say the troops show disrespect for Iraqi people in searches of their
homes, and 42% say U.S. forces have shown disrespect toward mosques.

* 46% say the soldiers show a lack of respect for Iraqi women.

* Only 11% of Iraqis say coalition forces are trying hard to restore basic
services such as electricity and clean drinking water.

The Defense Department, which was shown the survey results Wednesday, said it
doesn't respond to polls. But in a statement, it noted that Iraqis say their
lives are getting better and said that the fact the poll could be taken
indicated increased freedom in Iraq.

Secondhand information

That negative opinion of the behavior of the troops rarely is based on direct
contact. Iraq is a country the size of California with a population of 25
million. Many areas are sparsely patrolled. Only 7% in the poll say they based
their opinions on personal experience.

Instead, Iraqis get their information from others. For about a third, it's
pan-Arabic television such as the Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya satellite news
channels. The networks frequently show scenes of U.S. forces shooting into Iraqi
neighborhoods in hot spots such as Fallujah, an anti-American stronghold in the
center of the country.

Although most Iraqis watch the local, U.S.-sponsored broadcast television
station, which doesn't require a satellite dish, Iraqis in the poll say the Arab
satellite networks are the most trusted and break the hottest stories. Few
Iraqis trust Western networks such as CNN and the BBC.

More news is spread through that oldest delivery system: marketplace chatter. In
the rumor mill, interviews indicate, every confrontation between Americans and
Iraqis is portrayed as an assault on the Iraqi people, not on just a few lawless

Jalal Abbas, 20, a student in Baghdad, says it's widely believed ''that when
soldiers search houses, they steal gold and money. And in our houses, people are
taking special (precautions) to hide their money and gold for fear of them being
stolen by U.S. soldiers.''

Najem Aboud Debib, 37, like many Shiites, says he feels deep disappointment now.
The Shiites opposed Saddam, whose regime was dominated by Sunnis. A year ago,
they welcomed the Americans and the freedom to exercise their brand of Islam
without repression. Now, Aboud Debib says, ''I'm sure they have no morals. . . .
They are something like Saddam Hussein. We are suffering under the same

He'd welcome an American withdrawal but says he's sure U.S. troops will remain
in Iraq for a long time. ''The trouble is they (U.S. forces) cannot leave now
and leave the job undone. They must go and complete the job and try to win the
people again.''

The negative opinion of the occupation does not mean most Iraqis want to see
Saddam back in power. He is in U.S. custody, and four out of five Iraqis view
him negatively, according to the poll. A little more than half have a negative
view of President Bush.

Marines patrolling around Fallujah this week say they can feel the Iraqi anger
every day, even when the two sides aren't shooting.

Marine Lance Cpl. Wes Monks, 23, of Springfield, Ore., says that as he drives
around the restive, mostly Sunni city, he sees Iraqis with a knowing,
''sarcastic smile. You see it every day. . . . We're always the last one to find
out when we run over a mine.''

''I can see their point of view,'' says Marine Lance Cpl. Mathew Leifi, 20, of
Orange, Calif. ''If anyone rolled up on my street, I'd be pissed, too.''

Kurds, the ethnic minority most closely allied with the United States, show
strong support for Americans in the poll. About 97% say the invasion did more
good than harm. And their pro-U.S. stance is obvious on other issues.

Everywhere else in Iraq, it's a different story. Not surprisingly, the Sunni
strongholds that benefited most from Saddam's regime are the most negative in
their opinion of the new Iraq. Fewer than 20% of people in those areas call the
war's outcome positive.

Iraqis expected huge improvements in all aspects of their economy within weeks
of Saddam's overthrow, and most say there have been at least some improvements.
But a year after Bush declared major hostilities in Iraq over, the poll shows:

* Nearly half of Iraqis still report long, frequent power blackouts.

* Nearly a third lack clean drinking water much of the time.

* Almost everywhere except in the Kurdish north, most people are afraid to leave
their homes at night.

'You can't buy love'

In Baghdad, which has seen the most change -- good and bad -- since the war,
residents say they can feel the boost to the economy that has come from foreign
aid and the opening of the country's borders. While many say that they are
earning far more than they did before the invasion, they yearn for the safety
and stability of the past.

''The freedoms they gave us are satellite television, Thurayas (satellite
telephones) and mobile telephones. And you can drive a car without a license,''
says Resha Namir, 20, a computer science major at Baghdad University. But ''I
can't even go out because I'm afraid that any minute we will die. The war was
not worth it.''

Some are more positive. Lauran Waliyah, 46, a restaurant manager and Christian
who supported Saddam, says her experience with the Americans has been good.
Once, when a madman with a knife entered her business, soldiers came to help,
she says.

''It is unfair to ask for the departure of the U.S. troops,'' she says.

But the hostility reflected in the poll is a message that the troops understand,
says Monks, the Marine lance corporal. ''They don't want us here,'' he says.
''They want to rebuild their own country. We're trying to Americanize their
life. You can't buy love.''

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