Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Iraq before the elections

Amid political discussions home and mainly anecdotal evidence presented by news agencies, it would be interesting to know what ordinary people in Iraq think about the situation. Unfortunately, as there are no low cost carriers flying to Baghdad yet, that is not so easy to do. Luckily, Oxford Research International carries out annual polls, interviewing 1700 inhabitants in different regions.

What emerges from their recent poll is a positively thinking country with strong faith in unity of Iraq. 61% believe that the government is doing a good job (everywhere, except for Sunni-dominated center the percentage is >70%). Despite the claims that democracy was forced upon Iraqis against their will, 57% believe that democracy is the best way forward for the country. Islamic state has much less support than appears from media coverage (14%). Approximately 70% think that life will be better a year from now.

From the negative side however, the country seems to break apart with Sunnis sounding much more negative about every aspect of their life. The Sunni dominated areas are also the ones where large majority of the violent acts take place. In Kurdistan, with its relatively long history of semi-independence, 50% support some form independence from the central government. And although Iraqis in general support all that the foreign troops stand for (democracy, security, training of local army, protecting infrastructure, etc.) the coalition forces themselves remain highly unpopular.

The message the poll carries for any country with its troops in Iraq is that we are doing the right thing. When hunting down insurgents, protecting oil pipelines, and endorsing democracy, we are fighting the war for Iraqis not demolishing the Islamic way of life in the name of American interests. If the elections tomorrow will involve more Sunnis into the political process, there is great hope that people in the center of the country have more support for the governement and less for the insurgents. This is the best hope of turning Iraq into a peaceful democratic state. This is a good aim to fight for.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So.... are you one of the freedoom fighters in Iraq? If not, then why not?