Yesterday at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution, Steven Kull, the director of PIPA and editor of WorldPublicOpinion.org, presented the results of the newly released poll. On hand to interpret these results were Kenneth Pollack and Shibley Telhami, both preeminent Middle East experts. The two noted that the polling results relay the sense that Iraqis desire a strong federal government and are confident in their government’s ability to secure the country, though Pollack feels that their surprisingly high confidence in the country’s security forces is perhaps misguided. He notes that Iraqi government leaders have recently expressed views to the contrary claiming that the support if US troops is still crucial to securing the country at this stage.
One seemingly contradictory finding is that a majority of Iraqis disdain US troops, yet they still express confidence in Iraqi security forces which, as every Iraqi knows, are trained exclusively by US troops. Mr. Telhami offered a possible explanation for this discrepancy as well as for the oft-cited increase in the number of Iraqis who approve of attacks on US troops. Simply put, after the recent Lebanese war that has been a surge of anti-American sentiment in the Arab world. I’m sure this anti-American sentiment is only aggravated for Iraqis who see US troops on their streets everyday.
Positive developments found by the poll include: an overwhelming majority are opposed to al-Qaeda and bin Laden; virtually all groups disapprove of attacks on Iraqi police and civilians; and a majority of Iraqis want to get rid of militias.Full Poll results are here
You can view the questions asked and methodology used here