Despite the United States spending billions of dollars and spilling American blood in the fight against ISIS, as many as one third of Iraqis believed as recently as last fall that the U.S. “supports terrorism in general or ISIL [ISIS] specifically,” according to a recent U.S. State Department report. Forty percent of the country said the U.S. is purposefully “working to destabilize Iraq and control its natural resources.”
The figures come from State Department polling cited in a State Inspector General report that was published online last week. The report, which used data from October to November 2015, focused on how well the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad was implementing the sixth of nine directives from the Obama White House’s strategy to counter ISIS, namely, “Exposing [ISIS’s] True Nature.” While the report found that the embassy was working diligently to counter ISIS’s messaging, mostly with America’s own information about coalition military victories, the White House directive didn’t exactly apply as written.
The Iraqi public, the report says, is “keenly aware of [ISIS’s] true nature” and the polling showed that “nearly all Iraqis have unfavorable views of [ISIS] and oppose its goals and tactics, with no significant variation across religious sects and ethnic groups.”
But the report also found U.S. didn’t fare much better than the murderous terror group in the minds of one third of Iraqis, who said they believed the U.S. directly supports ISIS or other terror groups. The report adds that the U.S. “image among Iraqis has fallen from 38 percent favorable in December 2014 to 18 percent in August 2015.”