Time to pull out of Iraq, voters tell Blair By Anton La Guardia Diplomatic Editor,The Daily Telegraph. (Filed: 03/04/2006) Three years after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, the British public no longer believes that our military presence in Iraq is serving any purpose. For the first time, a substantial majority wants troops to be withdrawn, either immediately or within 12 months, regardless of conditions on the ground. As Iraq teeters on the edge of civil war, a YouGov survey for The Daily Telegraph today shows opposition to the war at its highest level since the US-led coalition invaded the country in March 2003. Fifty-seven per cent of respondents believe that George W Bush and Tony Blair were wrong to take military action. Only a third still believes they were right. That is a mirror image of April 2003, when support for the war was at its highest after the lightning campaign to capture Baghdad and the televised toppling of Saddam's statue. Then, 60 per cent of respondents said that military action was right and 35 per cent opposed it. Opposition has grown as the streets of Iraq have fallen into chaos, the rebellion has intensified, sectarian conflict spread and the allies have failed to halt the violence and rebuild the country. Conditions have not been helped by the political paralysis in Baghdad. Nearly four months after Iraqis defied the gunmen and the bombers to cast their votes, the parliament has been unable to form a government. Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, and Condoleezza Rice, the American secretary of state, after spending two days touring Liverpool and Blackburn, made a surprise joint visit to Baghdad yesterday to encourage the formation of a government of national unity. They insisted that they were not there to impose a choice of government but said they could not afford "to leave a vacuum". After meeting Sunni, Shia and Kurdish leaders, Miss Rice said: "The Iraqi people are losing patience." There is growing pressure for the dominant Shia alliance to drop its support for Ibrahim Jaafari, the leader of the Daawa Party, as prime minister. American and British officials are privately scathing about his performance in the past year and many prefer the vice-president, Adel Abdel-Mahdi, a leading member of another Shia faction, the Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq. Miss Rice hinted at seeking an alternative candidate when she said: "The Iraqis need to do that. They have got to get a prime minister who can form a government." Mr Straw said: "There is significant international concern about the time that the formation of this government is taking and therefore we will be urging the Iraqi leaders we see to press ahead more quickly." The creation of a stable and effective government is the last major opportunity to change Iraq's fortunes. America and Britain say that they will gradually reduce their presence as Iraqi forces are trained and ready to take responsibility for security. The YouGov poll shows that 55 per cent of people want Britain to withdraw either immediately (24 per cent) or "within the next 12 months regardless of conditions" (31 per cent). A substantial minority, 39 per cent, agrees with the Government that Britain should continue to deploy troops until Iraq's police and troops are ready to take over. The survey shows that opinion is gradually tilting against the argument that any allied withdrawal will constitute a major victory for international terrorism. Support for the war is strongest among Labour supporters: 54 per cent of them either genuinely believe that the war was justified or feel bound to back the Government. Among Conservative voters, only 30 per cent still believe in the war. john "Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, and Condoleezza Rice, the American secretary of state, after spending two days touring Liverpool and Blackburn, made a surprise joint visit to Baghdad yesterday to encourage the formation of a government of national unity." Surprise to who? Obviously well pre panned, wonder what plot they took over. The Times April 03, 2006 "Frosty body language at the Jaafzri meeting spoke volumes (AP) Joint mission to Baghdad twists arms on deadlock From Nick Meo in Baghdad JACK STRAW and Condoleezza Rice flew unexpectedly from Liverpool to Baghdad yesterday to try to break the deadlock in forming a government of national unity that could halt Iraqâs slide towards civil war. The unprecedented joint visit of the British Foreign Secretary and US Secretary of State added to the pressure on Ibrahim Jaafari, Iraqâs Shia Prime Minister, to stand down. Kurdish and Sunni leaders have refused to join any cabinet he heads, and his position looked increasingly precarious as prominent Shias also began demanding his resignation over the weekend. Mr Straw and Dr Riceâs intervention came after four months of fruitless negotiations between the political blocs elected to the Iraqi parliament last December, and with escalating sectarian violence filling the political vacuum. The ministers flew together in Dr Riceâs plane overnight to be greeted by lightning and torrential rain in Baghdadâs heavily guarded Green Zone."