When President George W. Bush announced the much ballyhooed “surge,” during 2007, he maintained the overall objectives for this great expenditure of precious U.S. blood and treasure were to establish a “…unified, democratic federal Iraq that can govern itself, defend itself, and sustain itself, and is an ally in the War on Terror.” Any rational post-mortem indicates none of those goals were achieved, from either an Iraqi or sober U.S. perspective, even in the near term, let alone chronically.
Poll of Iraq’s Sunnis, and Common/Geostrategic Sense, Say U.S. Should Stay Out of Sectarian Morass
Dr. Munqith M. Dagher, is a bona-fide Iraqi pollster. His polling organization, IIACSS, Iraq, during June 2008, following “more than two years of testing, monitoring and evaluation” of its research practices, was recognized as a full member of the Gallup International Association.
Dr. Dagher was kind enough to send me a recent slide presentation he put together, entitled, “ISIL [Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant] in Iraq: A disease or just the symptoms? A public opinion analysis.”
His presentation included these sobering data (verbatim) which underscored that the violent changes in Mosul were wrought by an indigenous, broad-based Sunni insurgency:
- The population of Mosul is around 2,000,000. 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!!
Who is Fighting in Mosul and the Sunni Areas of Iraq?
- 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 [note: whatever that means!]
3- Tribal rebels
Dagher concluded, with understatement, “ISIL benefited from the wide, strong dissatisfaction among Sunnis.”
Most striking, were data from 200 telephone interviews of Mosul residents conducted in the period of June 19-21, 2014, i.e., after the city had come under control by the Sunni insurgents, including the jihad terror organization ISIL.
Notwithstanding subsequent dissatisfaction with ISIL, and its newly minted “Caliphate”—already emerging (as documented yesterday, 7/1/14 by the Washington Post’s Loveday Morris) within 3-weeks after the regular Iraqi army and police forces of the al-Maliki central government were crushed, or fled—two key sentiments were apparent in the immediate aftermath of the Sunni takeover:
- 81.5% of Mosul’s predominantly Sunni residents felt more secure after the Sunni insurgents seized control of the city;
- they overwhelmingly rejected—i.e., 84.5%!—U.S. involvement with the (longstanding Iranian proxy) Maliki government to repulse the Sunni insurgents, including ISIL.