Nation wide survey 8th June 2014 ISIL in Iraq: A disease or just the symptoms? A public opinion analysis Munqith M.Dagher IIACSS, Iraq
Al Qa'ida: – Very active since 2004 to 2010 ISIL: – Appeared in Syria in 2013 as one of the main plyers there. – Used by Asad to justify the suppression of the revolution at one hand and gain international support at the other hand. – The beginning of ISIL activates in Iraq was in Anbar after the ignorance of central government to demonstrators demands. Nation wide survey 8th June 2014
The Islamic State is the latest and most powerful incarnation of what began as an al-Qaida affiliate in Iraq following the 2003 US-led invasion. American forces spent years and enormous resources to bring the group largely to heel before US troops pulled out of the country in December of 2011. Since then, the region has been convulsed in political turmoil and sectarian hatreds. The Islamic State has seized on those Sunni-Shiite tensions to help whip up its Sunni extremist followers. The group is led by an ambitious Iraqi militant known by his nom de guerre of Abu Bakr al- Baghdadi Nation wide survey 8th June 2014
The Syrian uprising, which began in 2011, opened the door to his greater ambitions. Al-Baghdadi dispatched militants to Syria to set up a group called the Nusra Front. Initially, more moderate Syrian rebels welcomed the group's experienced fighters. But the Islamic State alienated many rebels and Syrian civilians alike with its brutality and attempts to impose its strict interpretation of Islam. Eventually, the Islamic State's presence in Syria proved so destabilizing that it fell out with the Nusra Front. Their mutual patron at the time, al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahri, formally disavowed the Islamic State. Nation wide survey 8th June 2014
ISIL fought as al Qaeda's Iraq branch against US forces during the years of American occupation in Iraq, but broke away from al Qaeda after joining the civil war in Syria. It now says the group founded by Osama bin Laden is not extreme enough “AP & Reuters” Nation wide survey 8th June 2014
On the 9 th of June 2014, the second largest city in Iraq, Mosul, has collapsed and most media reported that ISIL has took over Mosul but was it correct? Nation wide survey 8th June 2014
The population of Mosul is around 2000,000. Most of them are Arab Sunni. Total number of security forces in Mosul was between 120,000 to 150,000 armed with light, medium and heavy weapons including tanks and air force. The highest number of ISIL fighters reported by media was 500!! Nation wide survey 8th June 2014
10-20% ISIL Several Iraqi armed groups with full coordination on the ground: 1- Baathist (6 different groups including former Iraqi army officers under the name of Jihad and Liberty Front). 2- Moderate Islamist 3- Tribal rebels ISIL benefited from the wide strong un satisfaction among Sunni’s Nation wide survey 8th June 2014
generally speaking, do you think that things in Iraq are going in the right direction, or do you think things are going in the wrong direction?
I am going to read you a list of concerns that some people may have. Please tell me which one of these are the most important for the Iraqi government to address.
Iraqi respondents were worried about certain situations which may occurred in Iraq. 66% of Iraqi respondents were worried about a war involving their country, 81% were worried about a terrorist attack and 65% of Iraqi respondents were worried about a civil war which might occurs in Iraq. Of those, 90% of Sunni’s were worried from a civil war and 92% of Sunni’s worried about terrorists attack. Nation wide survey 8th June 2014
Who is the most responsible for the current situation in Al- Anbar?
1- Support for Secular Politics: A much higher percentage of the Sunnis, even higher than the Kurds in some years, believe that Iraq would be a better place if religion and politics were separated. This support has increased from 60% in 2004 to more than 81% in 2013. By contrast, support for secular politics among the Shia has an inverted U-shape between 2004 and 2013. It went up from 44% in 2004 to 63% in 2011, and then dropped to 34% in 2013. From the standpoint of public opinion, this evidence implies that the cooperation between the Sunni tribes/groups with ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) may not indicate mass conversion to religious extremism. Rather, it is driven by a common hatred of the Shia sectarian government ruling the country. Nation wide survey 8th June 2014
2- Recognition of Iraq (and not religion) as the basis for identity: The Sunnis and Shia converge in defining selves as Iraqi, rather than Muslim or Arab, above all. This support rose from 22% in 2004 to 80% in 2008, and then dropped to 60% among the Sunnis. Among the Shia, it was 28% in 2004, increased to 72% in 2007, and then dropped to 62% in 2013. There is not much support for Iraqi identity among the Kurds. Among the Kurds, on the other hand, there has been a shift from predominantly Kurdish identity to religion. Reinforcing attachment to the nation rather than to the religion of Islam in politics is the fact that both the Sunnis and Shia (1) prefer politicians who are committed to the national interests over politicians who have strong religious convictions by at least a factor of 4 to 1, and (2) consider a good government one that makes laws according to the wishes of the people over the one that implements only the sharia by at least a factor of 3 to 1. These findings indicate that neither the Shia nor the Sunnis would be interested in the partition of Iraq or in the implementation of a religious state, and the current sectarian struggle is for political supremacy rather than division. Iraq may converge to the Lebanese model of sectarian strife. Nation wide survey 8th June 2014
Would you support the activities of the following groups inside Iraq? Would you strongly support, somewhat support, neither support or oppose, somewhat oppose, or strongly oppose the activities of the following groups inside Iraq? Nation wide survey 8th June 2014
Is it safe and secure in your neighborhood after the withdrawal of the army and the armed groups took over the city Nation wide survey 8th June 2014
In your opinion what is better for the current situation in Mosul? Nation wide survey 8th June 2014
Currently there is an attempts to coordinate between the U.S. government and Iran to help solve the problem of Nineveh. Do you support such co-operation to defat the militants in Naynawa? Nation wide survey 8th June 2014
What needs to be done? 1.Recognize a return to the pre-June 9 status quo is untenable. 2.Conceive new relationships between these regions and the central government, whose past style of authority has been deposed. 3.Identify new faces with whom to engage as the current lot of known politicians has de minimus legitimacy in these areas. 4.Recognize that a failure to engage because it is “complicated” or “not our problem” will only lead to disastrous security consequences in the future, especially if ISIL and related groups consolidate and grow the momentum they’ve seen in the last two weeks. Nation wide survey 8th June 2014
5- Neither ISIL nor armed groups can keep stability in Sunni areas for long – an alternative to the poor governance of the past is needed quickly. 6- The only feasible option is to make all parties including armed groups sit together and make some trade-offs. 7- Before that we need to strengthen moderate armed groups to first get rid of ISIL and second encourage them to put their arms down. 8- A process of political reconciliation to address the grievances of Iraqi Sunnis is long overdue, and may be Iraq’s last chance. Nation wide survey 8th June 2014