Poll finds most Iraqis oppose occupation

A majority of Iraqis are opposed to the continued presence of occupation forces in Iraq, according to a poll released on Tuesday.

    More than 40% believed the invasion humiliated Iraq

    A total of 2500 Iraqis were quizzed for a group of international broadcasting organisations including the BBC in a poll to mark the first anniversary of the US-led occupation.

    Fifty-one percent said they took issue with the foreign forces occupying Iraq, against 39% who supported it. 

    Almost a fifth of those questioned said attacks on foreign forces were acceptable, while 14% said the same about attacks on the civilian administrators of the Coalition Provisional Authority and 10% on foreigners working with the CPA.

    Asked what political system they believed was needed in their country, 86% said they wanted democracy, but 81% said a single strong Iraqi leader was needed, the poll commissioned by the BBC and other broadcasters found.

    Public security

    Just a quarter said they had confidence in US-led occupation forces to deliver their needs. There were far higher levels of confidence in Iraqi religious leaders (70%), local police (68%) and the new Iraqi army (56%). 

    A fifth said attacks on foreign
    forces were acceptable

    About 57% said life was better now than under Saddam against 19% who said it was worse and 23% who said it was about the same.

    Iraqi people appeared optimistic about the future, with 71% saying they expected things to be better in a year's time, 6% predicting it will be worse and 9% the same.

    At the same time, nearly 85% identified restoration of public security as a major priority, against 30% who wanted elections for a national government and 28% an economic revival.

    Britons divided
    A separate poll of British people suggested that a slim majority – 48% to 43% - support UK involvement in the war.


    British respondents, about 40%, 
    say Blair exaggerated WMD threat 

    bout 40% of respondents to the UK poll for the BBC2 Newsnight programme said British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his government exaggerated the threat of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction in the run-up to war, and 22% said that they lied about WMD, against 29% who said they told the truth.

    But the survey found that more Britons would trust Blair (32%) to take a decision on future military action than Conservative leader Michael Howard (22%) or the Liberal Democrats' Charles Kennedy (17%).
    Pollster ICM interviewed 1014 British adults between 10 and 12 March.
    Oxford Research International interviewed 2500 Iraqis between 10 and 28 February for the broadcasting organisations BBC, ABC News, ARD and NHK.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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