Secretly commissioned by the UK Ministry of Defence this past August… the results, are predictable:
- Forty-five per cent of Iraqis believe attacks against British and American troops are justified – rising to 65 per cent in the British-controlled Maysan province;
- 82 per cent are “strongly opposed” to the presence of coalition troops;
- less than one per cent of the population believes coalition forces are responsible for any improvement in security;
- 67 per cent of Iraqis feel less secure because of the occupation;
- 43 per cent of Iraqis believe conditions for peace and stability have worsened;
- 72 per cent do not have confidence in the multi-national forces.
And, Juan Cole today got a response from Peter Galbraith, former US Ambassador to Croatia… about his comments on the Iraqi Army.
I described the Iraqi Army as consisting of nine Kurdish battalions, sixty Shiite battalions, and 45 Sunni Arab battalions. There is exactly one mixed battalion. The Kurdish battalions have no Arab officers, while there are a few Kurdish and Sunni Arab officers with Shiite battalions. Being a Kurdish or Shiite officer of the Sunni Arab battalions is risky, so there are not many at all. This is hardly the picture of a national institution.
You also describe me as advocating the break up of Iraq. My position is slightly different. I argue that Iraq has already broken up, and that it will be much more costly—in terms of lives and money—to put it back together than to accept the new reality. One reason I like the new Constitution is that I believe it is realistic.
I have talked to several prominent Shiite politicians who do say that they might consider separation if Iraq continues to deteriorate and if there is no accomodation with the Sunni Arabs. The “three state soluton” (plus Baghdad as a federal capital) may be the outcome in the context of a federation, but it is not necessarily precursor to the three independent countries. I see two independent states–not three–as the much more likely end result.
Interesting… I never considered a “two state solution”. Of course, this is the “solution” that Turkey was afraid of, what with its’ large Kurdish population. Iran also has a signifcant Kurd population in its’ north west regions. Remember also, that the oil rich regions are the Northern and Souther sections. The central, Sunni, areas are bone dry… so to survive the Sunnis will likely have to rely on either the Kurdish or Shia regions, or both, to survive.