Many also fear Washington won’t allow them to shape their own political future, poll finds
A large concentration of people in Iraq and 12 other Muslim-majority countries are skeptical of the United States’ commitment to democracy building, according to Gallup poll results.
The survey, which was released by Gallup on Friday, also showed that many countries have expressed doubts about Washington’s commitment to forging their own political future without some level of democracy-promotion oversight from the from the United States.
The poll was released shortly after the 20th anniversary of Operation Iraqi Freedom; the US-led campaign to remove Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq that began in 2003.
The administration of then-President George W. Bush launched the operation on the false claim that Saddam was developing weapons of mass destruction, which could potentially be used against the United States and its allies. This decision is widely regarded as one of the worst foreign policy mistakes in US history.
And now, two decades later, just over a quarter of Iraqis think the United States is committed to its proposal to establish democracy in the country, according to the poll. Conversely, some 72% say they disagree that the United States is “serious” about encouraging open and free elections in the country.
Despite holding democratic elections in 2005 under US and British occupation, Iraqi democracy has been mired in violence, fraud and protests amid disputes between Sunni and Shia factions.
According to Lily Hamourtziadou, senior researcher for Iraq Body Count (IBC), which tracks civilian deaths after the US invasion in 2003, this has “produced a dystopian economy and a failed state.”
Hamourtziadou also argued in an op-ed published by Open Democracy in 2021 that “The United States and its allies could never have produced a Western-style democracy, or the results expected in a developed country.”
The Gallup poll also found that Iran – at 81% – is the country most suspicious of US intentions in the region. Tunisia, Turkey, Palestine and Iraq complete the top 5, each with between 78 and 75%. However, only 38% of Moroccans and 42% of Kuwaitis disagreed with the statement that the United States is serious about establishing democratic systems of government in Muslim areas.
Gallup also polled citizens of the same countries to ask if they felt the United States was committed to helping them with their economic development. Iran, Turkey and Tunisia strongly disagreed – between 82 and 74% – although again Kuwait and Morocco showed the least disagreement at 41% and 34% respectively.
You can share this story on social media: