Monday, December 29, 2003

I'm generally skeptical regarding claims of what the Iraqi people want unless it's backed up by numbers. I'm somewhat skeptical of the numbers in this story.

I've been looking for info on the Iraq Center for Research and Strategic Studies. It is described as an independent, privately funded think tank founded by Baghdad professors and headed by Sadoun al-Dulame, a political scientist who lived for several years in exile. At least some of that funding is a "political transition grant" from USAID for a questionaire with seven demographic variables and seven questions that was supposed to be conducted once a month from August to October 2003.

It should be noted that there are some alleged ties between USAID and the CIA, particularly in Southeast Asia and in Latin America.

By the way, here's some work dome by the ICRSS which you can find on the website of the U.S. State Department. You can find a more detailed description on the website of the Iraqi Coalition Provisional Authority . in PDF form.

I'm also wondering what kind of guy the executive director, Sadoun al-Dulame, is. He is quoted in a lot of stories in the context of his position at the ICRSS, but I can find absolutely nothing else about him, including what he was doing while in exile and where. Did he have an academic position or was he doing something else. His comments suggest he is not a big fan of the Governing Council's performance. I guess maybe he wasn't hanging with Chalabi.

But, back to the polls, the numbers feel incomplete. When they're not polling Tikrit and Samarra and other Ba'athist strongholds, you figure that the pro-Saddam and anti-American sentiment is probably a bit muted.

I'm not saying the ICRSS is a U.S. tool, although I am admitting quite openly that the possibility is there. On the other hand, the U.S. government is the only place you're probably getting money to run polls and if I were them, I would do anything short of altering methodology and results to gain funding.

I'm sure there's an interesting story in how quickly the ICRSS was put together. I wonder if Sadoun al-Dalume was planning the possibility of putting such an outfit together during the march to war.

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