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New Survey: Iraqis Want a Speedy U.S. Exit -- and Back Attacks on Our Forces


By Editor and Publisher

NEW YORK Past surveys have hinted at this result, but a new poll in Iraq makes it more stark than ever: the Iraqi people want the U.S. to exit their country. And most Iraqis now approve of attacks on U.S. forces, even though 94% express disapproval of al-Qaeda.

At one time, this was primarily a call by the Sunni minority, but now the Shiites have also come around to this view. The survey by much-respected World Public Opinion (WPO), taken in September, found that 74% of Shiites and 91% of Sunnis in Iraq want us to leave within a year. The number of Shiites making this call in Baghdad, where the U.S. may send more troops to bring order, is even higher (80%). In contrast, earlier this year, 57% of this same group backed an "open-ended" U.S. stay.

By a wide margin, both groups believe U.S. forces are provoking more violence than they're preventing -- and that day-to-day security would improve if we left.

Support for attacks on U.S. forces now commands majority support among both Shiites and Sunnis. The report states: "Support for attacks on U.S.-led forces has grown to a majority position—now six in ten. Support appears to be related to widespread perception, held by all ethnic groups, that the U.S. government plans to have permanent military bases in Iraq and would not withdraw its forces from Iraq even if the Iraqi government asked it to. If the U.S. were to commit to withdraw, more than half of those who approve of attacks on US troops say that their support for attacks would diminish."

The backing for attacks on our forces has jumped to 61% from 47% in January.

Among Iraqis overall, 77% percent prefer that a strong government get rid of militias, including 100% of the Sunnis polled and 82% of Kurds.
But "the Shia population in Baghdad is more skeptical than elsewhere about the wisdom of disarming the militias," a report by WPO states. In Baghdad, Shias say they want militias to continue to protect their security (59%).

The national survey reached 1,150 Iraqis. It was conducted by the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) at the University of Maryland.

Nearly every opinion poll in the U.S. has shown that roughly 6 in 10 Americans also back a withdrawal within a year.

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