Iraqi Poll results and thoughts on a “2 state” solution

Secretly commissioned by the UK Ministry of Defence this past August… the results, are predictable:

  • 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 troops;
  • 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 have worsened;
  • 72 per cent do not have confidence in the multi-national forces.

And, Juan Cole today got a response from Peter Galbraith, former US Ambassador to Croatia… about his comments on the Iraqi Army.

Galbraith says:

I described the Iraqi Army as consisting of nine Kurdish battalions, sixty Shiite battalions, and 45 Sunni Arab battalions. There is exactly one mixed battalion. The Kurdish battalions have no Arab officers, while there are a few Kurdish and Sunni Arab officers with Shiite battalions. Being a Kurdish or Shiite officer of the Sunni Arab battalions is risky, so there are not many at all. This is hardly the picture of a national institution.
You also describe me as advocating the break up of Iraq. My position is slightly different. I argue that Iraq has already broken up, and that it will be much more costly—in terms of lives and money—to put it back together than to accept the new reality. One reason I like the new Constitution is that I believe it is realistic.

I have talked to several prominent Shiite politicians who do say that they might consider separation if Iraq continues to deteriorate and if there is no accomodation with the Sunni Arabs. The “three state soluton” (plus Baghdad as a federal capital) may be the outcome in the context of a federation, but it is not necessarily precursor to the three independent countries. I see two independent states–not three–as the much more likely end result.

Interesting… I never considered a “two state solution”. Of course, this is the “solution” that Turkey was afraid of, what with its’ large Kurdish population. Iran also has a signifcant Kurd population in its’ north west regions. Remember also, that the oil rich regions are the Northern and Souther sections. The central, Sunni, areas are bone dry… so to survive the Sunnis will likely have to rely on either the Kurdish or Shia regions, or both, to survive.

7 replies on “Iraqi Poll results and thoughts on a “2 state” solution”

  1. If these results are really accurate, then I’m very puzzled at the extremely high voter turn-out in the recent constitutional referendum. If the Iraqi people are so completely demoralized by the insurgency violence, it would be logical, at least to me, that they wouldn’t have bothered going to the polls and would be infact aiding and abetting the terrorists to a much higher degree than currently is the case. The IDF and police seem to have no end to the supply of men wanting to join-up.

    There are some contradictions inherent in this data, it seems to me but I don’t have time nor energy to look for other recent poll data. So I can only state my own misgivings regarding the outcome of this particular poll. Wonder if GWB has seen it?

  2. Now you understand why I was amazed at the voter turnout as well.. but.. maybe at the last minute Sunni leaders encouraged their populations to participate in order to strike down the constitution and thus strengthen the Sunnis’ political force.

    “The IDF and police seem to have no end to the supply of men wanting to join-up.”

    I agree… but there have also been plenty of confirmed reports of those same IDF and police aiding and abetting the insurgency. The conflict in Basrha last month with British troops being a prime example.

    “Wonder if GWB has seen it”

    I’m sure he has… but I doubt he would acknowledge it.

  3. Check out the previous post… I just found some preliminary numbers on the referendum vote.

    96% of Iraqis in Anbar province rejected the constitution… given that result, I’d say they used the referendum to voice their opposition to what’s going on in Iraq.

    I will like to see that vote confirmed by observers… but even if it’s off by 10 or even 20 percent, that’s still a massive statement in any democracy.

  4. My interpretation of the Anbar province vote is that it is just as predicted by some – most Sunnis would not vote to ratify this constitution because as the smallest sect in Iraq and occupying the area where there is no oil, they fear step-child status after ruling the majority for over 3 decades with an iron hand. this is a conundrum that must be addressed if Iraq is actually turn out to be a Nation and not just three separate smaller states.

    I’ll be anxiously awaiting the outcome of the vote in Nineveh.

    “I’d say they used the referendum to voice their opposition to what’s going on in Iraq”

    Well if the nationwide poll is to be believed, following your logic stated above, then the rest of Iraq should have voted no as well which it didn’t.

    As I said, the national poll does not jive with the national referendum. Perhaps the coming days will provide better information and answers.

  5. ” then the rest of Iraq should have voted no as well which it didn’t… the national poll does not jive with the national referendum”

    Not necessarily. Remember that most Iraqis, and especially Shias, voted according to what their local religious leader told them to. I’m sure this was also the case with the Sunnis, but the Sunnis are also the ones most vocal against the occupation.

  6. If the majority of the Shia and Sunni voted according to their religious leaders instructions, I would lean to an interpretation that the common Iraqi was in tacit agreement with his Imam whether Sunni, Sunni Kurd or Shia. Do you think that the ordinary voter felt coerced to vote as encouraged or did he believe that his leader was guiding him in his own best interests?

    Most likely the answers given in the national poll illustrate that the ordinary Iraqi is conflicted on the questions of current conditions in Iraq and the path to the hoped for full independence as a nation.

  7. Can we assume that what he means by two-state solution is an Arab state and a Kurdish state? I don’t see how the Sunni Arabs would want to belong to a state in which the Shias are an even bigger majority without the Kurds than with them, and I don’t see what the Shias would have to gain by including a hostile population that shows no sign of accepting the rule of a non-Sunni majority. And for the Kurds, as you note, an independent state would be perilous.

    If a three-state federation doesn’t hold, it would make more sense for the Kurds to join the Shias in a two-state federation. Such a union would probably satisfy Turkey and Iran (and might in fact set an example to both). The Sunni Arabs don’t need Shia Iraq’s oil to survive on their own; in return for peaceful coexistence with their neighbors, they could meet any deficits with subsidies from the Gulf states.

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