"Secret MoD poll: Iraqis support attacks on British troops"

#1
from S Telegraph. LINK

Secret MoD poll: Iraqis support attacks on British troops
By Sean Rayment, Defence Correspondent
(Filed: 23/10/2005)

Millions of Iraqis believe that suicide attacks against British troops are justified, a secret military poll commissioned by senior officers has revealed.

The poll, undertaken for the Ministry of Defence and seen by The Sunday Telegraph, shows that up to 65 per cent of Iraqi citizens support attacks and fewer than one per cent think Allied military involvement is helping to improve security in their country.

It demonstrates for the first time the true strength of anti-Western feeling in Iraq after more than two and a half years of bloody occupation.

The nationwide survey also suggests that the coalition has lost the battle to win the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people, which Tony Blair and George W Bush believed was fundamental to creating a safe and secure country.

The results come as it was disclosed yesterday that Lt Col Nick Henderson, the commanding officer of the Coldstream Guards in Basra, in charge of security for the region, has resigned from the Army. He recently voiced concerns over a lack of armoured vehicles for his men, another of whom was killed in a bomb attack in Basra last week.
[LINK TO ARRSE THREAD ABOUT HENDERSON STORY]
continuing...
Andrew Robathan, a former member of the SAS and the Tory shadow defence minister, said last night that the poll clearly showed a complete failure of Government policy.

He said: "This clearly states that the Government's hearts-and-minds policy has been disastrous. The coalition is now part of the problem and not the solution.

"I am not advocating a pull-out but if British soldiers are putting their lives on the line for a cause which is not supported by the Iraqi people then we have to ask the question, 'what are we doing there?' "
More details of the Iraqi attitude survey can be found at the first link at the beginning of this post.

From a glance at the more detailed figures, some are less depressing than the headline figures suggest. For example, the "65% Iraqi citizens support attacks" refers to Maysan Province which is, of course, highly significant for us - but the NATIONAL percentage said to be "supporting attacks" falls to 45%.

The figures for those who said they have clean water, electricity, or employment are also significant, but depressing if true. The latest reconstruction summary from the US Army Corps of Engineers can be seen HERE - includes South-Eastern provinces.


self-edited to put heading in quotes.
 
#2
Actually suprised that the national figure quoted is not higher.
Even if the CPA had hit the ground running and provided the Iraqis with basic services and had engaged in a more successful Hearts and Minds strategy, I think any insurgency still would have attracted considerable support amongst Iraqis (though probably not as high as the figures quoted). After all, no really likes an occupational force and the mood of the average Iraqi at the end of 2003 was clear, 'thanks for removing Saddam but please don't make youself comfortable.'
 
#3
castlereagh said:
Actually suprised that the national figure quoted is not higher.
Even if the CPA had hit the ground running and provided the Iraqis with basic services and had engaged in a more successful Hearts and Minds strategy, I think any insurgency still would have attracted considerable support amongst Iraqis (though probably not as high as the figures quoted). After all, no really likes an occupational force and the mood of the average Iraqi at the end of 2003 was clear, 'thanks for removing Saddam but please don't make youself comfortable.'
maybe we should fcuk off and leave them to it ? and if it goes ratshit then thats their own problem
 
#4
semper said:
castlereagh said:
Actually suprised that the national figure quoted is not higher.
Even if the CPA had hit the ground running and provided the Iraqis with basic services and had engaged in a more successful Hearts and Minds strategy, I think any insurgency still would have attracted considerable support amongst Iraqis (though probably not as high as the figures quoted). After all, no really likes an occupational force and the mood of the average Iraqi at the end of 2003 was clear, 'thanks for removing Saddam but please don't make youself comfortable.'
maybe we should fcuk off and leave them to it ? and if it goes ratshit then thats their own problem
Maybe Iraq does need a good civil war to purge it's self and after that war it will stablise its self.

But morally and for the sake of wider interests in the ME I dont think we can let that happen by immediately withdrawing . Maybe we could set a date for withdrawal and tell the parties to sort it out and let UN troops from (Iran and Turkey :twisted: ) sort it out.... I think at this stage everyone is looking for a golden solution which may or may not exist. It was a situation that was screwed up from the beginning and everyone involved one way or another is going to end up paying for it heavily.
 
#5
Surely the whole point is that Iraq - like many other Muslim countries - did not and does not want any outside interference in the way it runs. Their living conditions are way behind most other countries - certainly those with all that oil. They are happy like that. Medicine, eductaion etc - same thing. For another example, look at the Palestinian refugee camps. Who in Gods name do we really know who would wish to live like that? Why has no other Middle Eastern nation intervened to improve things.
I'm not knocking them down as some sort of sub-human species. Man has a triangle of aspirations. Some struggle to rise from the lowest level to the pinnacle. Some are content to lurk about at the bottom or some other intermediate stage. They do not want change, they do not know what change might bring and they resist it. Anyone who is sufficiently interested to fight their way into the place is automatically suspected.
 
#6
OldRedCap said:
For another example, look at the Palestinian refugee camps. Who in Gods name do we really know who would wish to live like that? Why has no other Middle Eastern nation intervened to improve things.
Maybe Bush can ask Sa'd Hariri or Ariel Saron that when he next calls them. The main Palestinian refugee camps are located in the Occupied territories and Lebanon which refuses to normalise the status of these refugees.


Why has no other Middle Eastern nation intervened to improve things
Could ask that of the same question of non-arab nations.

Various Arab leaders from Nasser to Hussain (dictator king and President) hijacked the cause of the Palestinians to further their own careers and goals. These people were never serious about the plight of Palestinans and often the Palestinians have suffered because of the decisions of these Arab meglomaniacs.
 
#8
Most polls dont involve staff types wandering around Iraq taking a poll of "millions". The British Army is very respected in Iraq. Now the pro-Iranian extremists may like to see the BA leave Iraq but most I would bet want to see the Brits stick around. But the "poll" would be just the thing if the Government wants to create an excuse to leave Iraq.
 
#9
When was this poll conducted?

Only I've seen another investigation described, that said there was widespread support for insurgent activity,that was dated May this year.
 
#12
Then there is an earlier one that says the same thing Hackle.
 
#13
The polling of Iraqi attitudes was raised in the House of Lords yesterday. HANSARD SOURCE Some emphasis by me.
Iraq: Coalition Forces

Lord Lamont of Lerwick asked Her Majesty’s Government:

What polling has been done by the coalition in Iraq to evaluate Iraqi attitudes towards the presence of coalition forces in Iraq; and what the results were.

Lord Drayson: My Lords, the coalition has conducted regular polling in Iraq since early 2004 to improve our understanding of ordinary Iraqis’ priorities and concerns. The polling assesses attitudes towards governance, democratic participation, security and media use. The attitude towards the presence of coalition forces forms part of that assessment although it is not the primary purpose of the polling activity.

The results show that, overall, the majority of Iraqis believe that they are better off currently than they had been under the previous regime.

Lord Lamont of Lerwick: My Lords, I thank the Minister for that full reply. In the light of it, will he comment on the report on the BBC website and in certain newspapers on Sunday that the MoD commissioned a poll carried out by an Iraqi university which showed that 85 per cent of Iraqis were opposed to the presence of American and British troops, up to 65 per cent supported attacks on those troops, and only 1 per cent thought that security had improved as a result of the presence of American and British troops? If that is correct, does it not show that we have a tremendous distance to go to win hearts and minds in Iraq?

Lord Drayson: My Lords, I am not in a position to comment on the leak reported by a newspaper on this polling. As I have said, I can confirm that such polling has taken place. Clearly, there is a degree of concern within the Iraqi population about the presence of coalition forces. It is also clear that the Iraqi Government wish those forces to continue to support what is being done as Iraq moves towards democracy—to create a situation where improvements can take place. I can do no better than to quote President Talabani, who has said within the last month:

“To abandon us now would be murderously irresponsible and cynical”.

Lord Craig of Radley: My Lords, is the Minister saying that the reported figures are inaccurate?

Lord Drayson: No, my Lords, I am not commenting on the accuracy or otherwise of the figures. I am not commenting on whether—

Noble Lords: Why not?

Lord Drayson: My Lords, it is not appropriate for me to comment on the polling results. There are important security considerations relating to the carrying out of this polling, which affect the personnel who undertake it. Our ability to undertake that polling is important for us to have a good grip on the progress being made, or otherwise, of the actions that we are taking in Iraq. The fact that statements are being made on possible leaks from such reports does not mean that I should be confirming to your Lordships’ House the accuracy, or otherwise, of confidential polling.

Lord Garden: My Lords, I welcome the fact that the Government are taking those polling data. Does the Minister agree that it is essential, in any successful counter-insurgency strategy, to separate the broad mass of the population from the insurgents? We need this polling, but we also need to know what the trend lines are. The Minister does not need to give us the percentage, but is it getting better or worse as regards the general attitudes of the Iraqi people, and hence the support for the insurgency?

Lord Drayson: My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord for his understanding of the very real concerns about the security of the people carrying out polling. He is right that it is possible for me to talk about trends. Clearly, we have seen consistent trends in the concerns of the Iraqi people about the presence of coalition forces. We have seen an improvement in the level of Iraqi people’s confidence in their own security forces, which is an important point. There is increasing evidence of that effectiveness, demonstrated by the progress towards democracy. We need to recognise that our strategy will be achieved only if we match our efforts on the security front with those being made with the hearts and minds of people on the ground. We need to measure it and know what it is. Our ability to do so would be prejudiced by detailed debates on the answers in this House.

Lord Campbell-Savours: My Lords, as someone who unconditionally supported the Government for the invasion of Iraq—and advocated it right through from 1997—I put it to my noble friend that he should reconsider the position of the Government. Will he now consider asking the Secretary of State whether it would be possible to put this material in the public domain?

Lord Drayson: My Lords, I am grateful to my noble friend for his support. Our ability to measure those things within Iraqi society as it develops is key to our ability to ensure that our work is effective and that we are aligning that work with security reforms, the reconstruction of Iraq and the democratic process. If we get into the business of making a running commentary on these results on a monthly basis, as they come in, we prejudice the ability to work effectively. We really cannot do that.

Lord Hurd of Westwell: My Lords, will the noble Lord please ensure that the matter is looked at again? He confirmed to my noble friend that the polling takes place. In his original answer he gave us part of the answer, which suited the Government’s case, but he is now refusing to give the rest of the answer that may not suit their case. Is there not a real issue here about the morale of our armed services and the understanding in this country of what they are doing and whether they are achieving what they have set out to do? The Government have evidence; surely, in the general interest, that evidence should be made public.

Lord Drayson: No, my Lords, this is not about us talking about the evidence that supports the Government’s case and not talking about that which does not. I can talk about the general trends, as I have done for the noble Lord opposite who asked the Question. We have indicated what it tells us. I have explained frankly to the House the reasons why we cannot go into the detail, and those reasons are clear..
 

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#14
tomahawk6 said:
Now the pro-Iranian extremists may like to see the BA leave Iraq but most I would bet want to see the Brits stick around.
This is EXACTLY the mindset that will not believe that the Emperor has no clothes....Castlereagh summed up very accurately how the Iraqis felt that I spoke to when I was there, now two years ago........" Thanks, but don't hang around"

It is NOT just the pro-Iranian extremists who want to see foreign troops gone FFS ! Try and think how you would feel about lousy brutal and licentious redcoats who arrived in your home town to get rid of a demonic dictator and then decided to hang around to show you ignorant Yanks the road to "true" enlightenment, defiled your churches and allowed criminal scum to run riot.........you, I have no doubt count yourself as a patriotic guy....you would feel the same way - and you would doubtless take up arms to do something about it.......Iraqis love their country just the same as you do and they DO NOT WANT FOREIGNERS TELLING THEM HOW TO RUN IT.......



( Is it me?...what part don't they get ?....head, wall, flat bit,jeez!)

Le Chevre
 
#15
Much as I love our cousins they do have a blind spot when it comes to the whole occupying someone else's country thing. And it's getting them killed. Compare and contrast:

Foreigners in the US - At the targets in front, in your own time, go on ! God bless the second amendment, an armed people can never be conquered, dictatorships disarm the people etc etc

US on a foreign holiday - they love us because we give them freedom ! Although we do need to disarm them to keep weapons from the insurgents. And anyone opposing our occupation must support our enemies - because - well - if they don't support our occupation they are our enemy ! (or soon will be)
 
#16
This is a post from Iraq the Model

[align=center]Polls: can we rely on them?[/align]

Through Gateway Pundit, I learned this morning about some poll results that were published by the Daily Telegraph. I still have mixed feelings about this poll and the way its results were reported and these feelings drove me to the conclusion that we should neither believe nor entirely discredit the report. Here are my thoughts and observation:

First let’s take a look at the way of presenting the results; it begins with “Millions of Iraqis believe that suicide attacks against British troops are justified, a secret military poll commissioned by senior officers has revealed.”
Now one of the basic principles of reporting poll results is that they’re reported in terms of percentage of interviewed sample and not by turning these percentages into counts of the entire population.

Then there’s the “suicide attacks against British troops” well, as far as I know, there have been many against American troops but none against British ones and even the link provided in the report leads to a report about a roadside bomb attack and NOT a suicide attack. This makes one think that the results are being used to promote a wrong idea, i.e. we have a twist of bias here.

We also have this secret poll thing; I can understand that the poll was conducted by an Iraqi institute secretly in Iraq for security reasons but there’s no mention of the source through which the results have leaked to the paper, not even a vague note.
The other thing that makes such results unreliable is that the methodology of the poll was not revealed so was the wording of question as well as the scores of other choices of the answers, for example saying that “82 per cent are "strongly opposed" to the presence of coalition troops” is a pretty much tricky sentence because while I do think that maybe even 90% of the people in any country do not want foreign troops on their land, it remains important to state whether a time interval was included in the question or not. If not, then the question was designed to give a misleading result and if there was one, then it should have appeared along with the results.

I mean it could be true or close to the truth that 82% of Iraqis do not want the troops to stay indefinitely but if it was meant to say that 82% want the troops to leave now then I assure you that the results have been forged.

Moreover, there are some contradictions among the results, look at this one closely “43 per cent of Iraqis believe conditions for peace and stability have worsened” this means that 57% of the answers either indicated that stability and peace have improved or they have not changed and this contradicts the other statement that says “less than one per cent of the population believes coalition forces are responsible for any improvement in security” especially that everyone inside and outside Iraq knows that coalition forces are involved directly in all the training and equipping processes of the Iraqi security forces. Mohammed objected to my latter sentence as he thinks that the population is unaware of that role of the coalition forces but wait a minute! At least Iraqi police and soldiers know that and some of their families and even this small fraction is greater than 1%.

After all, I think this 43% is rather an optimistic estimate but it also gives an impression that the bulk of the poll was conducted in relatively safer places like the southern provinces rather than nationwide as the report mentioned.
Now let’s take a look at this statement:

“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”
Ironically, Maysan has one of the lowest levels of violence in the middle and southern parts of the country and practically speaking if we put aside the clashes with Sadr’s militia’s last year there have been very few attacks against British troops during 30 months of their presence in the province and that certainly doesn’t go along with the results shown by the poll or we would have seen daily attacks and violence like we do in Baghdad, Anbar or Mosul, well maybe the results of some provinces got mixed up!

Some might object to my last sentence with something like “Just because it is believed to be justified doesn’t mean that translates into actual attacks themselves”
Well, if it doesn’t mean that this translates into actual attacks then what are we supposed to get from this poll? That Iraqis do not like the British and they want to see them bombed yet they wouldn’t do it? It doesn’t make any sense to me.

And by the way, I almost forgot to tell you this; when Iraqis are performing a poll they tend to do so while trying to keep as low a profile as possible for concerns about being misidentified as spies or intelligence gatherers for the coalition, the terrorists or even the government so they try to interview the first person they meet and think is safe to interview forgetting about all the known standards and requirements of correct sample choosing. This alone is enough to weaken the validity of the poll results.

Bottom line, I will personally ignore the results as a whole as I think it cannot add anything of value to a view of the situation here in Iraq, which is a shame, as it might have done so, had they framed the questions in a more scientific manner. I tend to recommend that you not take it seriously as well for these reasons.


about the author
Mohammed and Omar, brothers and dentists in Baghdad, do not reveal their full names or faces because they write about their city and country, for a growing global audience, at personal risk to themselves.

Mohammed and Omar – Not at all typical middle-class brothers

We were born in a typical middle-class family. Our father was an officer and our mother was a school teacher. They’re both still alive and they retired 15 years ago. I am Omar, the youngest among four children, and Mohammed is the eldest with 11 years between us. Like other Iraqi families, we still live with our parents in the same house.

We went to the same elementary school which wasn’t an impressive one at all but the inherited love for knowledge in the family allowed us to finish school with fine grades that qualified us to enter Iraq’s best high school (Baghdad College). The teaching standards and special curricula offered by this school contributed greatly to our English as well as general knowledge.

Mohammed entered Baghdad’s school of dentistry after finishing high school, ranking tenth on the country’s level, and a few years later I followed him to become a dentist too. We both served in different places in Iraq as dentists before and after the fall of Saddam. But before 2003 we had also tried other temporary careers including managing a mini-market and raising aquarium fish, which was a lot of fun!

On their blog – Their country as a model for drastic change

Politics runs in our blood, and the blog came as a new and wide window to vent from. Living in Iraq and being raised by a military father made engaging in political debates a daily experience for us. Of course doing so was ultra-dangerous in Saddam’s Iraq but after the liberation we were searching for a way to share our thoughts with others, and engage in a wider panel of discussion, and the ‘www’ seemed quite a perfect choice!

Actually our beginning was different from that of other bloggers because we didn’t read any other blogs before we started ours as we only wanted to speak out. Anyhow, we discovered soon that the beauty of blogging lies in interaction with readers and with fellow bloggers. Our goal is to contribute to the world’s understanding of our country through our blog. We cannot reverse the damage inflicted by some of the media but at least we could try.

The name ‘Iraq the Model’ was Mohammed’s choice and I didn’t hesitate a second to accept it. We do believe that our country can and will be a model for the region and the rest of the world, a model for drastic change from dictatorship to democracy in a region where democracy is an anomaly. We haven’t reached our goal yet, but we think we’re not that far from it.
 
#17
Ahhhhhh right. So have these two Iraqi brothers seen the original MoD documentation and analysis then?

I doubt it.
 
#18
Polls are one thing elections are another. When the government of Iraq ask you to leave you leave.

Regarding the poll, you don't know what question were asked or what the methodology was .
This leaked secret poll is just spin.
 
#19
Regarding the poll, you don't know what question were asked or what the methodology was .
I could have sworn I said I'd seen a poll by MoD previous to this one. This was then highlighted by Hackle in his post, about the exchange in the Lords. There have been continuing polls. I have seen a briefing relating to a previous one, which said the same thing.

As such, I would say unless the Brothers have seen the same briefings I have, then they are not making a really informed commentary.

"Iraqis are not fond of us" says an MoD poll , and it's spun? Why would the Ministry of Defence wish to spin a poll in this direction?
 
#20
If the poll is accurate it would seem to open the door to a UK exit from Iraq. As the majority of posters here seem to favor a UK pullout anyway might as well pull out in 2006. This way the British people are happy, the military is happy and the Iraqi people are happy.
 

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