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[casi] International Crisis Group report: "Voices from the Iraqi Street"

Dear list members,

The International Crisis Group, a political consultancy NGO, released a
report entitled, "Voices from the Iraqi Street" last week.  To write it,
they interviewed "dozens of Iraqis" in south/centre Iraq, largely from
Baghdad and Mosul.  Thus, while they recognise that their sample is neither
large, nor representative, they have assembled what I think is unique view
on Iraqi public opinion.  The interviewers were surprised at the willingness
of Iraqis to talk to them.

They collect some of their conclusions under six headings:

1. An overwhelming aspiration to normalcy: "Perhaps the most widespread wish
expressed ... was that Iraq finally turn the page".

2. A reliance on the outside: many Iraqis believe that "returning to
normalcy today requires yielding to a foreign power".

3. An expectant attitude towards a U.S.-led war: including "imaginary
scenarios" whereby "mysterious bombs ... anaesthetise their soldiers without
causing any human or material damage".

4. Anticipation of manageable internal conflict in post-Saddam Iraq: there
is a belief that tribal structures and widespread complicity will limit

5. Hostility toward the opposition in exile: a distinction is often drawn
between the "historical" and the "phoney" opposition parties.

6. A lack of interest in Iraq's future political make-up: the theoretical
and grand discussions occuring outside Iraq are not echoed inside, where
Iraqis are more concerned with improving their daily lives.

The report can be read at

Colin Rowat

work | Room 406, Department of Economics | The University of Birmingham |
Birmingham, B15 2TT, UK | | (+44/0) 121 414 3754 |
(+44/0) 121 414 7377 (fax) |

personal | (+44/0) 7768 056 984 (mobile) | (+44/0) 7092 378 517 (fax) |
(707) 221 3672 (US fax) |

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