The Pentagon recently released its latest quarterly report to Congress, “Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq” for September 2008. It contains results from a public opinion poll conducted within Iraq in August 2008. It is the latest such information available on what Iraqis are thinking.
Most of the questions had to do with security, but there were a few on public services as well. The survey found that over 70% of Iraqis feel secure in their own area. 91% said the situation was the same or better in their neighborhood as well over the last 6 months. They were apprehensive about the situation across the country however as only 37% said they felt secure outside of their neighborhood, and only 21% said Iraq was calm.
The public believed the Iraqi security forces and the government, rather than the U.S. or other armed groups were responsible for the improved security. Over 60% said they feel safe around the Iraqi Army or police, and over 80% said they believed in the abilities of both. Over 60% of Iraqis believed that the government could also protect them, although those numbers declined from the last Pentagon survey conducted in November 2007. Iraqis on the other hand, did not see the American military in that good of a light, despite the Surge. Only 22% of Iraqis for example, said they believed the U.S. could provide security, and that was a 15% decrease from the November poll, while just 3% said the U.S. was responsible for security in their neighborhood. Armed groups, militias, and the Sons of Iraq fared even worse in the poll with 7% of Iraqis believing in the Sons of Iraq to provide security in their neighborhood, 5% in their tribe, and 1% in militias.
When asked about whether they had adequate electricity or water, the poll numbers also declined between August 2008 and the last time Iraqis were asked this question by the U.S. military. Still, almost 60% said they had access to clean water, while only about a third said they had enough power. The lack of government services has been an on-going problem within Iraq.
Here are the polling results published in the Pentagon report.
Note: When it says “increase” or “decrease” that’s compared to the last Defense Department poll done in November 2007, except for Government Services, which is compared to other Pentagon surveys
Security in neighborhoods
73% said security in their neighborhood was good, 12% increase
91% said security same or better in their neighborhood over last 6 months, 3% increase
75% said feel safe in their neighborhood, 1% decrease
37% said feel safe outside of their neighborhood, 7% decrease
Security across Iraq
21% said it was calm across Iraq
79% said security in whole country was better or the same, down 1%
41% said Iraq was stable, 16% increase
Iraqi Security Forces
65% said feel safe with Iraqi Army, 14% increase
61% said feel safe with police, 8% increase
68% said Army was winning, 16% increase
58% said police were winning, 8% increase
83% said they believe in the Army to provide security
81% said they believe in the police to provide security
35% said the Iraqi Army was most responsible for security in their neighborhood, 12% increase
38% said police most responsible for security in their neighborhood, 5% decrease
84% said Iraqi Army could protect their families from threats
81% said police could protect their families from threats
41% said government was effective, 3% increase
62% said local government could provide security, 17% decrease
68% said provincial government could provide security, 9% decrease
63% said central government could provide security, 5% decrease
63% said local government could protect their family from threats
67% said provincial government could protect their family from threats
63% said central government could protect their family from threats
22% said U.S. could provide security, 15% decrease
3% said U.S. was responsible for their neighborhood
24% said U.S. could protect their families from threats
Other Groups And Security
13% said armed groups could provide security, 16% decrease
12% said militias could provide security, 4% decrease
7% said Sons of Iraq responsible for security in their neighborhood, 5% increase
5% said their tribe was responsible for security in their neighborhood
3% said their neighbors were responsible for security in their neighborhoods
2% said religious leaders were responsible for security in their neighborhood
1% said militias were responsible for security in their neighborhood
11% said armed groups could protect their family from threats
11% said militias could protect their family from threats
34% sad they have enough electricity, decrease from early 2008
58% said they have access to clean water, 11% decrease from August 2007
Department of Defense, “Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq,” September 2008
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