Poll: Majority of Iraqis support attacks on troops!
- From: inkyblacks@xxxxxxxxx
- Date: 23 Oct 2005 11:19:05 -0700
Secret MoD poll: Iraqis support attacks on British troops
By Sean Rayment, Defence Correspondent
Millions of Iraqis believe that suicide attacks against British troops
are justified, a secret military poll commissioned by senior officers
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.
Andrew Robathan: Government policy 'disastrous'
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
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
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.
The secret poll appears to contradict claims made by Gen Sir Mike
Jackson, the Chief of the General Staff, who only days ago
congratulated British soldiers for "supporting the Iraqi people in
building a new and better Iraq".
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?' "
The Sunday Telegraph disclosed last month that a plan for an early
withdrawal of British troops had been shelved because of the failing
security situation, sparking claims that Iraq was rapidly becoming
"Britain's own Vietnam".
The survey was conducted by an Iraqi university research team that, for
security reasons, was not told the data it compiled would be used by
coalition forces. It reveals:
· 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
· 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
· 72 per cent do not have confidence in the multi-national forces.
The opinion poll, carried out in August, also debunks claims by both
the US and British governments that the general well-being of the
average Iraqi is improving in post-Saddam Iraq.
The findings differ markedly from a survey carried out by the BBC in
March 2004 in which the overwhelming consensus among the 2,500 Iraqis
questioned was that life was good. More of those questioned supported
the war than opposed it.
Under the heading "Justification for Violent Attacks", the new poll
shows that 65 per cent of people in Maysan province - one of the four
provinces under British control - believe that attacks against
coalition forces are justified.
The report states that for Iraq as a whole, 45 per cent of people feel
attacks are justified. In Basra, the proportion is reduced to 25 per
The report profiles those likely to carry out attacks against British
and American troops as being "less than 26 years of age, more likely to
want a job, more likely to have been looking for work in the last four
weeks and less likely to have enough money even for their basic needs".
Immediately after the war the coalition embarked on a campaign of
reconstruction in which it hoped to improve the electricity supply and
the quality of drinking water.
That appears to have failed, with the poll showing that 71 per cent of
people rarely get safe clean water, 47 per cent never have enough
electricity, 70 per cent say their sewerage system rarely works and 40
per cent of southern Iraqis are unemployed.
But Iraq's President Jalal Talabani pleaded last night for British
troops to stay. "There would be chaos and perhaps civil war," he said.
"We are now fighting a world war launched by terrorists against
civilisation, against democracy, against progress, against all the
values of humanity.
"If British troops withdrew, the terrorists would say, 'Look, we have
imposed our will on the most accomplished armed forces in the world and
terror is the way to oblige the Europeans to surrender to us'."
· John Reid, the Defence Secretary will announce next week that 3,100
troops are to deploy to Afghanistan next April as a part of the
expansion of the International Sec-urity and Assistance Force. Their
job will be to hunt down the Taliban and to take part in anti-narcotics