Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Iraqis In Kirkuk And Salahaddin Feel Safer But Worried About Future

(US Business Council in Iraq)
Kirkuk and Salahaddin used to be two of the foundations of the insurgency. Today, both are relatively secure with a decline in attacks. Two surveys by PAX show that people there are feeling safer, but have some trepidations about the future.

In April 2019, Pax interviewed 613 people in Kirkuk. 40% were Kurds, 29% Arabs, and 15% Turkmen from all of the districts in the province. When asked how would they rate their personal security compared to a year ago 16% said it was worse, 31% said it was unchanged and 52% said it was improved. They were then questioned about how that changed their lives. 48% replied they felt less exposed to violence and harassment, 15% said they could travel more easily, 11% said they could leave their house more often, and 10% said displaced were returning. Asked if they or a member of their household had been a victim of security threats over the last 12 months 79% said no versus 21% that said yes. This was up from 2017 when 67% said no and 33% said yes. The questions about the future however showed that people were apprehensive about what could happen. 48% said they felt like they could become a victim of violence in the next year versus 27% in 2017. 17% said they thought security would get worse in the next 12 months against 14% in 2017. Violence in Iraq is concentrated in the two southern districts of Hawija and Daquq with occasional incidents in Kirkuk city. The rest of the province is quiet. Even then there is less than one incident per day in 2019, and attacks almost always occur in rural areas. This improved situation is portrayed in the survey. People are still worried that the insurgency could make a comeback however.

How would you rate your personal security compared to last year?
16% Worse
31% Unchanged
52% Improved

How has improved security impacted your life?
10% Displaced returning
11% I can leave my house more often
15% I can travel more easily
48% Feel less exposed to violence or harassment outside my home

Have you or members of your household been a victim of security threats within the past 12 months?
21% At least once
79% None

What do you expect to happen with security in the next year?
17% Worse
18% Same
51% Improve

Slightly different results were found in a poll conducted in August 2019 in Salahaddin. 82% said their security was improved from the last year, up from 80% in 2018 and 78% in 2017. 91% said they felt safe from the Islamic State. There was a slight increase in reports of violence however. 19% in 2019 versus 8% in 2018 said they or a family member had been a victim of a security threat in the last year. Similar to Kirkuk when asked if they thought they would face violence in the next year 22% said that was likely, up from 13% in 2018. Feelings of safety went down from 79% in 2018 to 70% in 2019. Criminals at 72% rather than the Islamic State at 32% were thought to be the likely culprits. Causes of violence were split across a variety of factors from ethnosectarianism at 44% to poverty and lack of opportunity at 43% to competition over resources at 41%. Overall, Salahaddin faced less violence than Kirkuk this year, but it was more widespread and had different causes. IS carried out attacks throughout many of the districts. There were also tensions between Arabs, Kurds and Turkmen in the eastern areas. This showed how perceptions of security differ across Iraq. In Kirkuk, there were more incidents in 2019, but because they were only in a few places most people there felt safe. In comparison, there were less incidents in Salahaddin, but because they were across much of the governorate along with the rivalry between ethnosectarian groups led people to feel not as safe there. In both provinces people were also worried about the future.

How would you rate your personal security compared to last year?
16% Unchanged
82% Improved

Have you or members of your household been a victim of security threats in the last 12 months?
19% Yes
81% No

In the next year do you expect to be a victim of violence?
22% Likely
65% Unlikely

Who do you expect to be the likely culprits?
14% ISF
32% Islamic State
72% Criminals

I generally feel safe from violence and crime in my community?
18% Disagree
70% Agree

What are the 3 main factors that will likely cause conflict in the next year?
41% Competition over resources
43% Poverty/Lack of opportunity
44% Fighting between ethnosectarian groups

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