Majorities of Iraqi youth in Arab regions of the country believe security would improve and violence decrease if the U.S.-led forces left immediately, according to a State Department poll that provides a window into the grim warnings provided to policymakers.
The survey — unclassified, but marked “For Official U.S. Government Use Only” — also finds that Iraqi leaders may face particular difficulty recruiting young Sunni Arabs to join the stumbling security forces. Strong majorities of 15- to 29-year-olds in two Arab Sunni areas — Mosul and Tikrit-Baquba — would oppose joining the Iraqi army or police.
In this poll, nine out of 10 young Iraqi Arabs said they see the U.S. and allied forces in Iraq as an occupying force. The majority of Iraqi youth in Arab regions — half in Baghdad and Kirkuk — also believe the security situation and the violence levels would improve if the U.S. and its allies left immediately.
On the contrary, 70 percent of young Iraqi Kurds see the multinational forces as a liberating force.