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New Poll Finds About Half of All Iraqis Back Attacks on Americans

Editor And Publisher | Feb 1 2006

NEW YORK A new poll has found that nearly half (47%) of Iraqis approve of attacks on U.S.-led forces. An overwhelming number (93%) oppose such attacks on Iraqi forces, however.

It also finds that 70% of Iraqis favor setting a timetable for U.S. forces to withdraw, evenly split between those who want it done within six months and those who would allow two years. A majority expect the new Iraqi government to call for a pullout.

The poll also found that 80% of Iraqis think the United States plans to maintain permanent bases in the country--even if the newly-elected Iraqi government asks American forces to leave.

Just under 4 in 10 Iraqis surveyed think that Iraqi police and army forces are now strong enough to deal with security on their own.

The Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) at the University of Maryland conducted the poll, published Tuesday by WorldPublicOpinion.org. The survey was conducted Jan. 2-5, with a nationwide sample of 1,150 Iraqis from the country's main religious and ethnic sects.

The finding that among Sunni Muslims, 88% said they approved of the attacks of Americans, contrasted with just 16% of Kurds, comes as little surprise. The eyebrow-raiser, however, is that 41% of Shiite Muslims support that idea.

Of the 47% overall who back the attacks, about half say they "strongly" feel this way.

PIPA Director Steven Kull commented, “It appears that support for attacks on U.S.-led forces may not always be prompted by a desire for the US to leave Iraq immediately but rather to put pressure on the U.S. to leave eventually—something most Iraqis perceive the U.S. as having no intention of doing.”

According to a PIPA analysis, "The major source of urgency for withdrawal is the feeling, especially among Sunnis, that it is offensive for their country to be occupied. A secondary reason is that US forces attract more attacks and make the violence worse."

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