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Re: [casi] What Iraqis Really Think

Dear List and All,

better have a look yourself at the data of the Zogby-AEI-poll in Iraq.


Released: September 10, 2003

Zogby International Conducts 1st Scientific Survey of Iraq

Zogby International conducted interviews of 600 adults chosen at random
with consideration for ethnic background, gender, religion and social
class, throughout locations in Iraq. Interviews were conducted August
3-19, 2003 in Basra, Karkouk, Mousel and Al Ramadi.

The following ethnic groups - Arabs, Kurds, Turkoman, and Assyrians -
were interviewed, as well as the following religious groups - Shiaa,
Sunni and Christians. Interviewers traveled to public places (shopping
areas and coffee shops) chosen from different social neighborhoods. The
survey's margin of sampling error is +/- 4.1%.

Will Iraq be a better or worse country five years from now? Will it be
harder to rebuild Iraq economically or politically? Can Democracy Work
in Iraq? Should America and Britain make sure that fair government is
set up in Iraq?

These are just a few questions asked in Zogby International's first
scientific poll of current Iraqi public opinion. This groundbreaking
survey reaches directly to the Iraqi people and the results are astounding.

The survey reveals that 69.7% of Iraqis feel that their country will be
better five years from now. See the charts below for details.


Now, I know that some of you wouldn't even touch anything that comes
from the American Enterprise Institute, which is the client that
mandated Zogby International to conduct the survey in August. However, a
look at the results in detail indeed is like a cold shower on the
hysteria so often projected in the media reporting from Iraq and sadly
reflected by much of the clueless and directionless Iraqi diaspora and 
sometimes  on this list as well. Have a look yourself [usually Zogby is
charging quite large sums for such a closer look at its materials, -
here its for nothing] and draw your own conclusions which must not
necessarily be conform to the ones drawn by Karl Zinsmeister of the
American Enterprise Institute reproduced by as-ilas.

For the summary results in statistical table format (8 pages)

for cross-tabulations by demographic variable (27-pages)

I myself feel that it roughly reflects my own experiences and makes me
feel a bit more comfortable, though this still is an extremely
uncomfortable state of mind and existence.

Please note, that the poll did not include the self-ruled heartland of
Iraqi Kurdistan; if it had the results would have been much different
and definitely not reflecting the state of mind of the rest of Iraq.

Best regards
Alexander Sternberg

as-ilas schrieb:

>What Iraqis Really Think
>We asked them. What they told us is largely reassuring.
>Wednesday, September 10, 2003 12:01 a.m. EDT
>America, some say, is hobbled in its policies toward Iraq by not knowing
>much about what Iraqis really think. Are they on the side of radical
>Islamists? What kind of government would they like? What is their attitude
>toward the U.S.? Do the Shiites hate us? Could Iraq become another Iran
>under the ayatollahs? Are the people in the Sunni triangle the real problem?
>Up to now we've only been able to guess. We've relied on anecdotal
>temperature-takings of the Iraqi public, and have been at the mercy of
>images presented to us by the press. We all know that journalists have a
>bad-news bias: 10,000 schools being rehabbed isn't news; one school blowing
>up is a weeklong feeding frenzy. And some of us who have spent time recently
>in Iraq--I was an embedded reporter during the war--have been puzzled by the
>postwar news and media imagery, which is much more negative than what many
>individuals involved in reconstructing Iraq have been telling us. Well,
>finally we have some evidence of where the truth may lie. Working with Zogby
>International survey researchers, The American Enterprise magazine has
>conducted the first scientific poll of the Iraqi public. Given the state of
>the country, this was not easy. Security problems delayed our intrepid
>fieldworkers several times. We labored at careful translations, regional
>samplings and survey methods to make sure our results would accurately
>reflect the views of Iraq's multifarious, long-suffering people. We
>consulted Eastern European pollsters about the best way to elicit honest
>answers from those conditioned to repress their true sentiments.
>Conducted in August, our survey was necessarily limited in scope, but it
>reflects a nationally representative sample of Iraqi views, as captured in
>four disparate cities: Basra (Iraq's second largest, home to 1.7 million
>people, in the far south), Mosul (third largest, far north), Kirkuk
>(Kurdish-influenced oil city, fourth largest) and Ramadi (a resistance
>hotbed in the Sunni triangle). The results show that the Iraqi public is
>more sensible, stable and moderate than commonly portrayed, and that Iraq is
>not so fanatical, or resentful of the U.S., after all. . Iraqis are
>optimistic. Seven out of 10 say they expect their country and their personal
>lives will be better five years from now. On both fronts, 32% say things
>will become much better. . The toughest part of reconstructing their nation,
>Iraqis say by 3 to 1, will be politics, not economics. They are nervous
>about democracy. Asked which is closer to their own view--"Democracy can
>work well in Iraq," or "Democracy is a Western way of doing things"--five
>out of 10 said democracy is Western and won't work in Iraq. One in 10 wasn't
>sure. And four out of 10 said democracy can work in Iraq. There were
>interesting divergences. Sunnis were negative on democracy by more than 2 to
>1; but, critically, the majority Shiites were as likely to say democracy
>would work for Iraqis as not. People age 18-29 are much more rosy about
>democracy than other Iraqis, and women are significantly more positive than
>men. . Asked to name one country they would most like Iraq to model its new
>government on from five possibilities--neighboring, Baathist Syria; neighbor
>and Islamic monarchy Saudi Arabia; neighbor and Islamist republic Iran; Arab
>lodestar Egypt; or the U.S.--the most popular model by far was the U.S. The
>U.S. was preferred as a model by 37% of Iraqis selecting from those
>five--more than Syria, Iran and Egypt put together. Saudi Arabia was in
>second place at 28%. Again, there were important demographic splits. Younger
>adults are especially favorable toward the U.S., and Shiites are more
>admiring than Sunnis. Interestingly, Iraqi Shiites, coreligionists with
>Iranians, do not admire Iran's Islamist government; the U.S. is six times as
>popular with them as a model for governance. . Our interviewers inquired
>whether Iraq should have an Islamic government, or instead let all people
>practice their own religion. Only 33% want an Islamic government; a solid
>60% say no. A vital detail: Shiites (whom Western reporters frequently
>portray as self-flagellating maniacs) are least receptive to the idea of an
>Islamic government, saying no by 66% to 27%. It is only among the minority
>Sunnis that there is interest in a religious state, and they are split
>evenly on the question. . Perhaps the strongest indication that an Islamic
>government won't be part of Iraq's future: The nation is thoroughly
>secularized. We asked how often our respondents had attended the Friday
>prayer over the previous month. Fully 43% said "never." It's time to scratch
>"Khomeini II" from the list of morbid fears. . You can also cross out "Osama
>II": 57% of Iraqis with an opinion have an unfavorable view of Osama bin
>Laden, with 41% of those saying it is a very unfavorable view. (Women are
>especially down on him.) Except in the Sunni triangle (where the limited
>support that exists for bin Laden is heavily concentrated), negative views
>of the al Qaeda supremo are actually quite lopsided in all parts of the
>country. And those opinions were collected before Iraqi police announced it
>was al Qaeda members who killed worshipers with a truck bomb in Najaf. . And
>you can write off the possibility of a Baath revival. We asked "Should Baath
>Party leaders who committed crimes in the past be punished, or should past
>actions be put behind us?" A thoroughly unforgiving Iraqi public stated by
>74% to 18% that Saddam's henchmen should be punished. This new evidence on
>Iraqi opinion suggests the country is manageable. If the small number of
>militants conducting sabotage and murder inside the country can gradually be
>eliminated by American troops (this is already happening), then the mass of
>citizens living along the Tigris-Euphrates Valley are likely to make
>reasonably sensible use of their new freedom. "We will not forget it was the
>U.S. soldiers who liberated us from Saddam," said Abid Ali, an auto repair
>shop owner in Sadr City last month--and our research shows that he's not
>None of this is to suggest that the task ahead will be simple. Inchoate
>anxiety toward the U.S. showed up when we asked Iraqis if they thought the
>U.S. would help or hurt Iraq over a five-year period. By 50% to 36% they
>chose hurt over help. This is fairly understandable; Iraqis have just lived
>through a war in which Americans were (necessarily) flinging most of the
>ammunition. These experiences may explain why women (who are more
>antimilitary in all cultures) show up in our data as especially wary of the
>U.S. right now. War is never pleasant, though U.S. forces made heroic
>efforts to spare innocents in this one, as I illustrate with firsthand
>examples in my book about the battles. Evidence of the comparative
>gentleness of this war can be seen in our poll. Less than 30% of our sample
>of Iraqis knew or heard of anyone killed in the spring fighting. Meanwhile,
>fully half knew some family member, neighbor or friend who had been killed
>by Iraqi security forces during the years Saddam held power. Perhaps the
>ultimate indication of how comfortable Iraqis are with America's aims in
>their region came when we asked how long they would like to see American and
>British forces remain in their country: Six months? One year? Two years or
>more? Two thirds of those with an opinion urged that the coalition troops
>should stick around for at least another year. We're making headway in a
>benighted part of the world. Hang in there, America. Mr. Zinsmeister, editor
>in chief of The American Enterprise magazine and holder of the J.B. Fuqua
>chair at the American Enterprise Institute, is the author of "Boots on the
>Ground: A Month With the 82nd Airborne in the Battle for Iraq," just out
>from St. Martin's Press.
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