73% of Iraqis: Iran Is Likely to Act Aggressively When U.S. Troops Leave

By Terence P. Jeffrey | October 24, 2011 | 1:11pm EDT

Ayatollah Al Khamenei, the supreme leader of Iran, left, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, center, and Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi, Iran's top judge, in Tehran. (AP Photo/Office of the Supreme Leader)

(CNSNews.com) - About 73 percent of Iraqis said they believe it is likely Iran will act aggressively toward their country after U.S. troops leave in December.

Fifty-one percent said they believe the security situation within Iraq will get worse when the U.S. forces leave.

These are the results of a survey conducted by YouGov-Cambridge, a partnership between the British polling group YouGov and Cambridge University. The survey interviewed 505 Iraqis from July 12-27.

The survey also found that 80 percent of Iraqis—403 of the 505 surveyed—said they believe it is likely that neighboring countries will act aggressively toward Iraq after U.S. forces leave the country.

Of the 403 who said that thought this was likely, 91 percent said they thought it was likely that Iran would act aggressively toward Iran.

That means about 73 percent of the overall sample said they believed it was likely Iran would act aggressively toward Iraq after the U.S. withdraws.

Only 22 percent of Iraqis said they were confident that Iraq’s own forces could protect the country’s borders from neighboring countries after the U.S. withdraws, while 75 percent said they were not confident Iraqi forces could do that.

Similarly, only 31 percent of Iraqis said they were confident Iraqi forces could protect the Iraqi population from terrorist attacks, while 67 percent said they were not confident.

The survey asked the Iraqi respondents this question: “If the security situation does not improve or gets worse, would you personally support Iraqi politicians asking the U.S. government to keep the troops in Iraq?”

Forty percent said they would support Iraqi politicians asking the U.S. to keep troops in Iraq if the situation did not improve and 26 percent said they would support Iraqi politicians asking the U.S. to keep troops in Iraq but only if the security situation got worse. Only 28 percent said they would not support Iraqi politicians asking the U.S. to keep troops in the country under either circumstance.

When asked what they thought would be the impact on Iraq’s governing coalition if Iraqi politicians asked the U.S. to keep troops in the country after the agreed-upon December departure date, 31 percent said they believed the coalition government would collapse, while 56 percent said it would have no impact on the coalition.

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