Public Opinion Highlights Fault-Lines in Current Iraqi Crisis

Thursday, June 26, 2014 - 3:00pm

Freedom House

What Do Iraqis Think?
Public Opinion Highlights Fault-Lines in Current Iraqi Crisis


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Thursday, June 26, 2014
3:00-4:30 PM

Freedom House
4th Floor Conference Room
1301 Connecticut Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20036

 The ISIS-led violence that has engulfed Iraq in the last few weeks has led to the capture of large swaths of the country by a terrorist group once aligned with Al Qaeda. This took many by surprise, but not those who were looking closely at mounting tensions within Iraqi society. Eleven years after the U.S. invasion, Iraq remains stymied by basic questions of governance. Today, most experts agree that the marginalization of the Sunnis in Iraq laid the groundwork for the most recent challenge to the Iraqi state.

Dr. Munqith al-Dagher is Iraq’s most experienced pollster, and since 2003 he has conducted hundreds of nation-wide surveys of public opinion. From January to April of this year, he advised one of Iraq’s Sunni leaders in the run-up to parliamentary elections, focusing largely on Sunni constituencies from the Anbar to Diyala governorates — the same geographic arc where anti-government fighting over the past several weeks has been most pronounced.

Based on this work, Dr. al-Dagher has identified a series of causes behind the Sunni dissatisfaction with the central government in Baghdad and possible warning signals that could apply to other countries with complex sectarian divides riven by the denial of rights to groups excluded from a meaningful role in governance.

Please join us at 3 p.m. on Thursday, June 26, for a discussion with Dr. al-Dagher on 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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