ISIL in Iraq: A disease or just the
symptoms? A public opinion
analysis
Munqith M. Dagher
IIACSS, Iraq
Nation wide survey ...
Terrorist Organizations in Iraq (Sunni area)
• Al-Qaida:
• Very active since 2004 to 2010
• ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq an...
What is ISIL?
• ISIL is the latest and most powerful incarnation of what began as an
al-Qaeda affiliate in Iraq following ...
What is ISIL?
• The Syrian uprising, which began in 2011, opened the door to his
greater ambitions. Al-Baghdadi dispatched...
What is ISIL?
• ISIL fought as al-Qaida’s Iraq branch against US forces during the years
of American occupation in Iraq, b...
ISIL in Mosul
• Mosul, the second largest city in Iraq, fell out of the control of the
Iraqi central government on the 9th...
About Mosul
• The population of Mosul is around 2,000,000. Most are Arab Sunni.
• Total number of security forces in Mosul...
Nation wide survey 8th June 2014
Who is fighting in Mosul and other Sunni
areas in Iraq?
• Only 10-20% of military gains are attributed to ISIL, but the gr...
Generally speaking, do you think that things in Iraq are going in the right direction, or do you think things are going in...
I am going to read you a list of concerns that some people may have. Please tell me which one
of these is the most importa...
Respondents were worried about certain situations which may occur in Iraq. 66% of respondents
were worried about an intern...
23.8
75.3
.9
0.0 10.0 20.0 30.0 40.0 50.0 60.0 70.0 80.0
Agree somewhat with Statement B
Agree strongly with Statement B
D...
Prime Minister Nuri al Maliki is not moving our government or country to where we
need to be and now it is time for a chan...
10.5
74.6
15.0
It was necessary for Maliki to concentrate powers
in his office
It would be better for Iraq to distribute p...
Who is the most responsible for the current
situation in Al-Anbar?
20.0%
10.9%
8.2%
22.7%
10.0%
33.0%
21.2%
8.2%
1.8%
4.5%...
Sunni agreement with ISIL can not last long.
Why?
1- Support for Secular Politics: A much higher percentage of Sunnis,
eve...
2- Recognition of Iraq (and not religion) as the basis for identity: The
Sunnis and Shi’a both self-identify as Iraqi, rat...
Local Groups Oppose Terrorism and the Influence of
Predominantly Foreign Forces
Nation wide survey 8th June 2014
Please tell me how serious a problem each of
the following is in Iraq
88.4
92.1
11.6
7.9
Sunni Shia
Terrorism
Very serious...
61.3
67.9
31.1
27.2
6.7
3.3
Sunni Shia
Religious extremism
Very serious Serious Not very serious
Nation wide survey 8th Ju...
7.9
23.5
47.9
56.2
37.5
18.6
6.7
.6
Sunni Shia
Lack of government services
Very serious Serious Not very serious No proble...
Thinking about your current situation, what is the
one major source of personal insecurity for you?
18
23.1
49.7
45.4
Sunn...
Generally speaking, do you think the following organizations have a
positive or negative influence on the internal events/...
2.4
39.2
69.0
26.0
18.6
23.7
Sunni Shia
Hezbollah in Lebanon
Completely positive influence Completely negative influence N...
8.2
0
83.2
97.6
Sunni Shia
Al-Qaida
Positive influence Negative influence
Nation wide survey 8th June 2014
9.7
76.5
91.9
4.6 3.2
Sunni Shia
Islamic State of Iraq and Levant
Positive influence Negative influence Neither positive n...
Would you support the activities of the following groups inside Iraq? Would you
strongly support, somewhat support, neithe...
.6 1.5
8.9
.9
18.7
3.3
60.4
86.8
Sunni Shia
Islamic State of Iraq and Levant
Strongly support Somewhat support Neither sup...
55.2
96.0
15.0
1.0
22.9
2.4
Sunni Shia
Iraqi security forces
Strongly support Strongly oppose Neither support nor oppose
N...
How people in Mosul feel now?
Nation wide survey 8th June 2014
200 telephone interviews were conducted with
people from Mosul from 19-21 June.
Nation wide survey 8th June 2014
What happened in Mosul was a result of…
28.0
36.0
5.5
6.5
12.0
12.0 A conspiracy of internal Iraqi political parties insid...
Who is controlling Mosul now?
51.0
3.0
4.5
19.5
21.5
Tribal rebels Fighters from the Baathists
Military Council / former a...
Is it safe and secure in your neighborhood after the withdrawal of the
army and the armed groups took over the city
81.5
1...
In your opinion what is better for the current
situation in Mosul?
Nation wide survey 8th June 2014
12.5
34.0
15.0
38.5
De...
Currently there is an attempt to coordinate between the U.S. government
and Iran to help solve the problem of Nineveh. Do ...
Are you still living in the same residence in Mosul
in which you used to live before the 10th of June
2014 ?
72.5
16.5
11....
What needs to be done?
1. Recognize that a return to the pre-June 9 status quo is untenable.
2. Develop new relationships ...
5- Neither ISIL nor armed groups can maintain stability in
Sunni areas for long – an alternative to the poor governance
of...
We need a different approach
Thank you
Nation wide survey 8th June 2014
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What Do Iraqis Think? A Presentation by Dr. Munqith al-Dagher

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Dr. al-Dagher examines what public opinion in Iraq tells us about the country’s most serious challenges and what strategies might best address these underlying problems.

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What Do Iraqis Think? A Presentation by Dr. Munqith al-Dagher

  1. 1. ISIL in Iraq: A disease or just the symptoms? A public opinion analysis Munqith M. Dagher IIACSS, Iraq Nation wide survey 8th June 2014
  2. 2. Terrorist Organizations in Iraq (Sunni area) • Al-Qaida: • Very active since 2004 to 2010 • ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant): • Appeared in Syria in 2013 as one of the main actors there • Used by Asad to justify the suppression of the revolution hand and gain international support. • ISIL began gaining ground in Anbar after the Iraqi central government ignored demonstrators’ demands there. Nation wide survey 8th June 2014
  3. 3. What is ISIL? • ISIL is the latest and most powerful incarnation of what began as an al-Qaeda 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 embroiled in political turmoil and sectarian violence. ISIL has seized on those Sunni-Shiite tensions to galvanize its Sunni extremist followers. • The group is led by an ambitious Iraqi militant known by his nom de guerre, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi Nation wide survey 8th June 2014
  4. 4. What is ISIL? • The Syrian uprising, which began in 2011, opened the door to his greater ambitions. Al-Baghdadi dispatched militants to Syria to establish a group called the Nusra Front. Initially, more moderate Syrian rebels welcomed the group's experienced fighters, but ISIL alienated rebels and Syrian civilians alike with its brutality and attempts to impose its strict interpretation of Islam. • Eventually, ISIL’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 ISIL. Nation wide survey 8th June 2014
  5. 5. What is ISIL? • ISIL fought as al-Qaida’s Iraq branch against US forces during the years of American occupation in Iraq, but broke away from al-Qaida after joining the civil war in Syria. ISIL now claims that the group founded by Osama bin Laden is not extreme enough Nation wide survey 8th June 2014
  6. 6. ISIL in Mosul • Mosul, the second largest city in Iraq, fell out of the control of the Iraqi central government on the 9th of June 2014. Most international media reported that ISIL took control of Mosul, but is that correct? Nation wide survey 8th June 2014
  7. 7. About Mosul • The population of Mosul is around 2,000,000. Most 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 aircraft. • The highest number of ISIL fighters reported by media was 500. Nation wide survey 8th June 2014
  8. 8. Nation wide survey 8th June 2014
  9. 9. Who is fighting in Mosul and other Sunni areas in Iraq? • Only 10-20% of military gains are attributed to ISIL, but the group’s reputation is now gaining more influence internally due to the inflated media coverage. • Several Iraqi armed groups under the control of: 1- Baathist (Jihad and Liberty Front) with 6 armed groups under their control. 2- Moderate Islamist 3- Tribal rebels Nation wide survey 8th June 2014
  10. 10. 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? 11 10.8 11 82.7 81 85 January Febrauray March Wrong direction Right direction
  11. 11. I am going to read you a list of concerns that some people may have. Please tell me which one of these is the most important for the Iraqi government to address. 34.1 29.6 30.1 31.5 29.6 21.7 36.8 26 10.9 19.7 13.5 14 10.9 15.9 16.5 21 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 January Febrauray March April Security Unemployment Sectarianism Corruption
  12. 12. Respondents were worried about certain situations which may occur in Iraq. 66% of respondents were worried about an international conflict involving their country, 81% were worried about a terrorist attack and 65% of Iraqi respondents were worried about a civil war. Nation wide survey 8th June 2014
  13. 13. 23.8 75.3 .9 0.0 10.0 20.0 30.0 40.0 50.0 60.0 70.0 80.0 Agree somewhat with Statement B Agree strongly with Statement B DNK/Refused Prime Minister Nuri al Maliki is not moving our government or country to where we need to be and now it is time for a change that requires us to choose a new prime minister.
  14. 14. Prime Minister Nuri al Maliki is not moving our government or country to where we need to be and now it is time for a change that requires us to choose a new prime minister. 0.9 23.8 75.3 DNK/Refused Agree somewhat with the statement Agree strongly with the statement
  15. 15. 10.5 74.6 15.0 It was necessary for Maliki to concentrate powers in his office It would be better for Iraq to distribute powers more evenly DNK/Refused Over his two terms as prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki has increased the power of his office at the expense of other branches of government, for example the parliament and the courts. What do you say ?
  16. 16. Who is the most responsible for the current situation in Al-Anbar? 20.0% 10.9% 8.2% 22.7% 10.0% 33.0% 21.2% 8.2% 1.8% 4.5% 7.3% 14.5% 24.0% 11.7% 10.9% 11.8% 19.1% 22.7% 22.7% 9.5% 13.5% 46.4% 59.1% 54.5% 35.5% 45.5% 26.0% 42.3% 14.5% 16.4% 13.6% 11.8% 7.3% 7.5% 11.3% Nineveh (Mosul) At-Ta'm (Kirkuk) Salah Ad Din (Tikrit) Diyala (Baqubah) Al-Anbar (Ramadi) Baghdad Total Al-Qaeda Tribal armed groups Local officials Iraq state officials Other sources from outside Iraq
  17. 17. Sunni agreement with ISIL can not last long. Why? 1- Support for Secular Politics: A much higher percentage of Sunnis, even higher than Kurds in some years, believe that Iraq would be a better place if religion and politics were separated. Support for secularism among Sunnis has increased from 60% in 2004 to more than 81% in 2013. By contrast, support for secular politics among Shi’a increased from 44% in 2004 to 63% in 2011, and then dropped to 34% in 2013. This evidence implies that the cooperation between the Sunni tribes/groups with ISIL is unsustainable because of ISIL’s religious extremism. A common hatred of the Shi’a, sectarian government has led to some informal cooperation – for now. Nation wide survey 8th June 2014
  18. 18. 2- Recognition of Iraq (and not religion) as the basis for identity: The Sunnis and Shi’a both self-identify 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 Sunnis. Among the Shi’a, it was 28% in 2004, increased to 72% in 2007, and then dropped to 62% in 2013. Kurds largely do not self-identify as Iraqi. Reinforcing attachment to the nation rather than to the religion of Islam in politics is the fact that both Sunnis and Shi’a (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 Shari’a by at least a factor of 3 to 1. These findings indicate that neither the Shi’a 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
  19. 19. Local Groups Oppose Terrorism and the Influence of Predominantly Foreign Forces Nation wide survey 8th June 2014
  20. 20. Please tell me how serious a problem each of the following is in Iraq 88.4 92.1 11.6 7.9 Sunni Shia Terrorism Very serious Serious Nation wide survey 8th June 2014
  21. 21. 61.3 67.9 31.1 27.2 6.7 3.3 Sunni Shia Religious extremism Very serious Serious Not very serious Nation wide survey 8th June 2014
  22. 22. 7.9 23.5 47.9 56.2 37.5 18.6 6.7 .6 Sunni Shia Lack of government services Very serious Serious Not very serious No problem at all Nation wide survey 8th June 2014
  23. 23. Thinking about your current situation, what is the one major source of personal insecurity for you? 18 23.1 49.7 45.4 Sunni Shia Political violence Terrorism Nation wide survey 8th June 2014
  24. 24. Generally speaking, do you think the following organizations have a positive or negative influence on the internal events/affairs in Iraq? 23.2 1.6 45.5 76.5 21.3 18.1 Sunni Shia Al-Nusra Front Neither positive nor negative Completely negative influence Have never heard of them Nation wide survey 8th June 2014
  25. 25. 2.4 39.2 69.0 26.0 18.6 23.7 Sunni Shia Hezbollah in Lebanon Completely positive influence Completely negative influence Neither positive nor negative Nation wide survey 8th June 2014
  26. 26. 8.2 0 83.2 97.6 Sunni Shia Al-Qaida Positive influence Negative influence Nation wide survey 8th June 2014
  27. 27. 9.7 76.5 91.9 4.6 3.2 Sunni Shia Islamic State of Iraq and Levant Positive influence Negative influence Neither positive nor negative Nation wide survey 8th June 2014
  28. 28. 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 5.2 .9 24.8 3.9 65.4 92.1 Sunni Shia Al Qa'ida Strongly support Somewhat support Neither support nor oppose Somewhat oppose Strongly oppose
  29. 29. .6 1.5 8.9 .9 18.7 3.3 60.4 86.8 Sunni Shia Islamic State of Iraq and Levant Strongly support Somewhat support Neither support nor oppose Somewhat oppose Strongly oppose Nation wide survey 8th June 2014
  30. 30. 55.2 96.0 15.0 1.0 22.9 2.4 Sunni Shia Iraqi security forces Strongly support Strongly oppose Neither support nor oppose Nation wide survey 8th June 2014
  31. 31. How people in Mosul feel now? Nation wide survey 8th June 2014
  32. 32. 200 telephone interviews were conducted with people from Mosul from 19-21 June. Nation wide survey 8th June 2014
  33. 33. What happened in Mosul was a result of… 28.0 36.0 5.5 6.5 12.0 12.0 A conspiracy of internal Iraqi political parties inside and outside of Nineveh A foreign plot against Iraq The occupation of Nineveh by foreign armed groups and make it a part of the Islamic state they proclaim Marginalization and sectarianism against Sunni Wrong practices of the army and federal police in Nineveh Wrong practices of the central government in Baghdad Nation wide survey 8th June 2014
  34. 34. Who is controlling Mosul now? 51.0 3.0 4.5 19.5 21.5 Tribal rebels Fighters from the Baathists Military Council / former army officers Foreigners, members of extremist Islamist groups All of the above Nation wide survey 8th June 2014
  35. 35. Is it safe and secure in your neighborhood after the withdrawal of the army and the armed groups took over the city 81.5 13.5 4.0 Category 1 Chart Title Yes No DNK Nation wide survey 8th June 2014
  36. 36. In your opinion what is better for the current situation in Mosul? Nation wide survey 8th June 2014 12.5 34.0 15.0 38.5 Defeat of insurgents by the Iraqi armed forces and the return of the army and the police as it was the case before the recent events Survival of Mosul under the control of insurgents An agreement between the government and militants to retreat and to ensure their safety in return for giving the control back to central government The return of the authority of the central government to the province in exchange for withdrawing the army and federal police forces and give control to local police and the local government.
  37. 37. Currently there is an attempt to coordinate between the U.S. government and Iran to help solve the problem of Nineveh. Do you support such co- operation to defeat the militants in Nineveh? 15.5 84.5 I support this cooperation, because he would defat the militants in Nineveh I oppose this cooperation because it will exacerbate the problem Nation wide survey 8th June 2014
  38. 38. Are you still living in the same residence in Mosul in which you used to live before the 10th of June 2014 ? 72.5 16.5 11.0 Yes No, I moved to another governorate No, I moved to another place in Mosul. Nation wide survey 8th June 2014
  39. 39. What needs to be done? 1. Recognize that a return to the pre-June 9 status quo is untenable. 2. Develop 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 build upon the momentum they’ve seen in the last two weeks. Nation wide survey 8th June 2014
  40. 40. 5- Neither ISIL nor armed groups can maintain 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 first need to strengthen moderate armed groups to defeat ISIL, and then encourage them to put down their arms. 8- We need a process of political reconciliation to address the grievances of Iraqi Sunnis. It is long overdue, and may be Iraq’s last chance. Nation wide survey 8th June 2014
  41. 41. We need a different approach Thank you Nation wide survey 8th June 2014
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