UK: most want out of Iraq

More than Sixty percent of the 1,019 people surveyed for the British newspaper The Guardian said that British soldiers should leave Iraq before next year, only 45 percent wanted them to withdraw immediately.

A further 16 percent say that the troops should be out by the end of the year — even if the United States requests that they stay on.

By contrast, just 30 percent backed keeping the troops there as long as is considered necessary.

A similar poll published in The Guardian last year found that 51 percent of respondents backed a troop withdrawal, while 41 percent supported keeping troops in the country until the job was completed.

Meanwhile, in a poll of 977 people for another British newspaper, The Independent daily, found that 62 percent of respondents said they thought British troops should be withdrawn from Iraq as soon as possible – even if the country is not completely stable.

Only 28 per cent said soldiers should stay there for as long as it takes.

About 72 percent of respondents to the survey said that if British and American troops withdrew from Iraq, it will probably lead to civil war there.

More than 72 percent also felt that the war in Iraq was “unwinnable.”

The Guardian’s poll found that support for withdrawing British troops from Iraq soon was particularly strong among women, with 51 percent saying soldiers should leave immediately, and only 24 per cent responding that troops should stay on.

Early handover ‘unrealistic’

But hopes of an early handover to Iraq’s police force are unrealistic according to a report by The Times newspaper which was citing unnamed American soldiers and officials in the capital Baghdad.

It comes a day after Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Barham Saleh said that nearly half of the country’s provinces will be under Iraqi control by the end of this year, and a British official said at the weekend that Iraqi soldiers and police will be ready to take over security from coalition troops within a year.

“Iraqis are on their own timetable,” an unidentified high-ranking American officer overseeing police training in Baghdad told The Times.

“They are fighting a war, but I’m not always sure they are fighting it. We train them to do checkpoints, patrols, cordon and knock searches, but it fails in the execution.

“There’s probably twenty of them at a checkpoint but you’ll only see three actually working it,” he said.

Another unidentified American official told the newspaper that it would be “very difficult” for the Iraqi security forces to take over in a year.

“The Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Defence don’t work together… We in the military see it as one fight. I don’t know what the Iraqis see it as. You could call it machismo, but it’s all about power,” the official said.