Many Iraqis Believe US Promotes Terrorism, Says US Report

A NEW report released by the State Department reveals a chunk of Iraqis don’t share very favorable views of the US, nor the multinational coalition it’s leading against the Islamic State. Some even go as far as to accuse the US of engaging in “terrorism.”

About a third of Iraqis say the US promotes terrorism “in general” while the black-clad, head chopping militants of Daesh — also “ISIS” or “ISIL” do so “specifically.” The statistics come from a recent report released by the State Department Inspector General.

The same report indicates that 40 percent of Iraqis say the US is “destabilizing” Iraq to take its resources. This kind of language receives “considerable play in the Iraqi media,” according to the report.

About half of Iraq’s Sunnis and Shias completely oppose the coalition against ISIS, according to a report by the U.S. embassy in Baghdad’s counter-ISIS messaging unit. However, only about six percent of Kurds opposed the coalition.

“The embassy confronts active disinformation campaigns and residual suspicions about U.S. policy that undermine its messaging,” the report says.

The embassy works to counter ISIS propaganda about its gains by highlighting the success of Iraqi and coalition forces on the battlefield.

“Rather than expose ISIL’s true nature, the embassy and US agencies shared the view that, as events had developed, the more pressing messaging task in Iraq was to counter an emerging narrative that ISIL’s battlefield success was unstoppable,” the report says. “This approach involves highlighting Iraqi Security Force battlefield gains and ISIL setbacks, and underscoring U.S and coalition assistance to those efforts.”

Despite these actions, the State Department report indicates Iraqi outlook on the US is declining. In December 2014, about 38 percent of Iraqis favored the US. That number stands at 18 percent as of August.

Still, Daesh doesn’t seem like a feasible alternative for the Iraqis. At least that’s what the State Department report shows. It was devised following polling held in October and November.

“Department polling shows that nearly all Iraqis have unfavorable views of ISIL and oppose its goals and tactics, with no significant variation across religious sects and ethnic groups,” the report says, using an alternate acronym for ISIS.


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