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Survey Shows Iraqis Do Not Support Terrorists

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 9, 2005 – A recent poll in Iraq shows Iraqis do not support the terrorists launching attacks in their country, Defense Department officials speaking on background said here today.

However, officials said, the poll also shows that Iraqis want foreign troops to leave the country. An Iraqi company conducted the poll between July 12 and 17.

The poll - done as part of the Tips Hotline number campaign - was conducted in Baghdad, Basrah, Salah Ad-Din, Najaf, Diyala and Irbil. More than 1,200 Iraqis answered the questions.

An overwhelming number of Iraqis say there is no justification for attacks on Iraqi civilians, Iraqi security forces or Iraqi public service infrastructure. A total of 94 percent of Iraqis say there is no excuse for attacks on Iraqi security forces, 97 percent say there is no justification for attacking civilians, and 97 percent are against attacks on infrastructure.

The percentages slip when it comes to disapproval of violence against Iraqis working with the coalition and attacks against coalition personnel. A total of 81 percent of those polled are against attacks against Iraqis working with the coalition, with 12 percent saying there is justification for the attacks and 7 percent with no opinion. Half of those polled said there was no excuse for attacks against coalition personnel, while 40 percent said there is a justification and 10 percent saying they don't know.

What this means, officials said, is that Iraqis see foreign troops - and there are 138,000 Americans in the country - as occupation forces, and that the coalition policy of training Iraqis to take the lead in the security arena is the right policy.

And the Iraqis "get it," officials said. Iraqis are proud of their security forces - a sea change from the way most regarded the forces under Saddam Hussein. The poll shows 75 percent of Iraqis say their security forces are winning the fight against anti-government forces. Iraqis regard the security forces as representing the nation and not just one group (77 percent), and 73 percent of those polled believe the Iraqi police and military work within the law and respect the rights of the people.

Almost 80 percent of those surveyed said the sooner that Iraqi forces maintain security, the sooner coalition forces can leave.

The poll showed some Iraqi misperceptions, officials said. A total of 64 percent of those surveyed said anti-government forces come mostly from other countries. Coalition officials said most anti-government terrorists are Iraqis.

Finally, 62 percent of the Iraqis surveyed said the security situation in Iraq has gotten "much better" (16 percent) or "somewhat better" (46 percent) in the past three months. Twenty percent of those surveyed said the security situation was "somewhat worse" and 14 percent said the security situation was "much worse" than three months ago.

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