Monday, August 28, 2006

What the Iraqi people want

Marc Lynch discusses the latest opinion poll from Iraq. Almost 92% of Iraqis now want the US occupying forces to leave their country.

But what is absolutely devastating for the US's claim of the moral high-ground is that that opinion is now held virtually across the entire country, by all the major ethnic groups: the presense of occupying troops is "strongly opposed" by 97.2% of Sunni, 89.7% of Shiite, and even amongst the US's strongest allies, the Kurds, 63.3% now oppose the US presence. In total, 84.5% of Iraqis want the US to leave.

Just a few months ago the situation in the north, Kurdistan, was relatively stable. But things seem to have changed: the number of Kurds who "strongly agreed" that life is "unpredictable and dangerous" increased from 16% in the last survey to 50%.

That was before Turkey's week-long attacks on Kurdish "terrorists" (or, if you prefer, freedom fighters). Civil war between Sunni and Shiites, British troops being driven out of towns, Americans committing atrocities, both Iran ("the bad guys") and Turkey ("our friends the good guys") taking a leaf from Israel's book and shelling and bombing Kurdistan...

If you did a survey, I wonder how many Iraqis would prefer to see "the Moustache" Saddam Hussein back in power? Under Saddam, Iraqis were relatively safe if they kept their head down -- now, there is no safety anywhere, and no sign that things are getting better.

What an ugly, ugly mess.

It's been said, "you break it, you fix it". I think Iraq is beyond fixing now. It is difficult to see any way out, whether Iraq remains a single nation or is partitioned into three (or more?) countries. Whatever happens, Bush has brought chaos and instability to one of the most critical, explosive areas of the world.

Thanks George.

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