Millions of Iraqis believe suicide attacks against British troops are justified, a secret military poll commissioned for the Ministry of Defense has revealed.
The poll, reported by the Sunday Telegraph, shows that up to 65 percent of Iraqi citizens support attacks and fewer than one percent think allied military involvement is helping to improve security situation in their country.
A total of 67 percent Iraqis feel less secure because of the allied occupation while 72 percent do not have confidence in the multinational forces. Forty-three percent believe conditions for peace and stability have worsened and 82 percent are "strongly opposed" to the presence of coalition troops.
It demonstrates for the first time the true strength of anti-Western sentiment in Iraq after more than two years of occupation, said the report.
The nationwide survey also suggests that the coalition has lost the battle to win the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people, which Tony Blair and George W. Bush believed was fundamental to creating a safe and secure country.
The secret poll appears to contradict claims made by General Mike Jackson, the Chief of the General Staff, who only days ago congratulated British soldiers for "supporting the Iraqi people in building a new and better Iraq".
The survey was conducted by an Iraqi university research team that, for security reasons, was not told the data it compiled would be used by coalition forces.
The poll, carried out in August, also defies claims by both the US and British governments that the general well-being of the average Iraqi is improving in post-Saddam Iraq.
The report profiles those likely to carry out attacks against British and American troops as being "less than 26 years of age, more likely to want a job, more likely to have been looking for work in the last four weeks and less likely to have enough money even for their basic needs".
But Iraqi President Jalal Talabani pleaded Saturday night for British troops to stay. "There would be chaos and perhaps civil war," he said, "We are now fighting a world war launched by terrorists against civilization, against democracy, against progress, against all the values of humanity."