The International Republican Institute, an independent group that seeks to promote democracy, recently conducted a poll of Iraqis. It found that despite sectarian violence, most Iraqi Shiites, Sunnis, and Kurds favor an integrated nation.
According to the Institute, seventy-eight percent of those surveyed do not want Iraq to be divided into religious or ethnic groups. Also, "an overwhelming majority, eighty-nine percent, believe that a unity government is extremely important to Iraq's future." "Security, infrastructure and economic development," says the Institute poll, "are the most pressing issues facing the country."
Zalmay Khalilzad, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, writing in the New York Times newspaper, says, "the overwhelming majority of Iraqis desire to live in peace with one another against the violent minority who seek to impose their vision of hatred and oppression."
A campaign to improve security in Baghdad, says Mr. Khalilzad, is "showing positive results. The Iraqi Minister of Defense reports that the crime rate in Doura has been reduced by eighty percent. In the Rashid district, Sunni and Shiite political leaders, tribal leaders, and imams signed an agreement forswearing violence. The tribal leaders went a step further," says Mr. Khalilzad, "by renouncing protection for tribal members who engage in sectarian violence."
Iraq's prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, says Iraqis "will assume responsibility for security in one province this month and another next month. At the end of the year," he says, Iraqis "will take control of most provinces."
President George W. Bush says that the United States stands with the Iraqi people and their freely elected government:
"Obviously, I wish the violence would go down, but not as much as the Iraqi citizens would wish the violence would go down. But, incredibly enough, they show great courage, and they want our help."
President Bush says the job of the U.S. in Iraq "is to help their forces be better equipped [and] to help their police be able to deal with these extremists." He says the Iraqis "will see to it that they succeed."
The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.