Socialist Worker

The question they dare not now ask

by Simon Assaf
Issue No. 1936

Polls carried out for the occupation authorities have consistently shown that Iraqis reject the occupation on principle and have little faith in US-appointed rulers.

In November 2003, 63 percent of Iraqis said that they had some confidence in the US-appointed governing council. By April the following year that figure had fallen to 23 percent. The Iraqi ministries also fared badly, with confidence falling from 63 percent in November 2003 to 31 percent in April 2004.

Confidence in the occupation authorities also fell sharply. In November 2003, 47 percent of Iraqis polled said they had confidence in the authority. By April 2004 this had collapsed to 9 percent. A major poll carried out in March 2004 also showed a remarkable similarity in responses from Sunni and Shia areas.

Eighty percent of Iraqis in both Sunni and Shia areas said they thought of the coalition as occupiers. More significantly, many Shias have changed their mind in the space of a year: only 47 percent said that at the time of the invasion they thought of the coalition forces as occupiers compared with 64 percent in Sunni areas.

According to another poll conducted in May 2004, 81 percent of all Iraqis thought that the occupying forces should leave. By November 2004 polls stopped asking Iraqis if they supported the occupation.

But the call for unity is still strong. On 16 January 2005 thousands of Shias marched through Sadr City chanting, “[Iraqi] Christians are your brothers in this country.”

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Sat 29 Jan 2005, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1936
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