As a thorny issue revolving around a lot of controversy, the language of numbers is perhaps the most convincing way to approach the Iraqi issue, since the US invasion of the country in 2003, which was like an earthquake, the region is still suffering its repercussions to this day.
This language of numbers is an important key to understanding what has happened and is happening in Iraq, and it is the tool used by the director of the Middle East and North Africa program at the American Gallup Foundation, Munqith Dagher, in his new book (Iraq from Occupation to Illness .. Iraqi Public Opinion) In his attempt to deconstruct the ills of the Iraqi reality, the result of which was a documentary study, the owner of which witnessed the experience of “the new Iraq” closely, which was full of hopes and disappointments alike.
Dagher describes his book as “a drawing or depiction with words and numbers of a historical stage that may be the most important in the modern history of Iraq”, trying to answer two questions, namely: Was what the lenses documented at the time of the fall of the former regime represented the feeling of all Iraqis, and whether those who were happy or angry at the time were realized Their joy or anger after all those years ?!
The book consisted of 15 chapters divided into 4 chapters, each of which dealt with a pivotal matter in the lives of Iraqis, in politics, sociology and economics, during which the author was keen to track the change in local public opinion towards the various major issues that faced the Iraqis, and to build digital models that help anticipate The future state of Iraq.
Fate of experience
Politically, the author tried to employ the numbers in explaining the Iraqis ’vision of the political system that was based on the ruins of the Baath state, and the extent of the difference in dealing with this experience, reviewing the most prominent stations of conflict and violence during the 17 years, through the outbreak of sectarian violence waves and their impact on the citizen’s relationship with power, up to the outbreak of Popular anger, and the birth of a new anti-political class movement in October 2019.
Since the early days of the new political system, the relationship with religion has imposed itself and casts its shadow over the relationship of power to the street, and soon sectarian sensitivities, which turned into a monster that threatened the entity of the state and the fabric of society with rupture during the Islamic State stage in 2014, which is what the author devoted many pages to In it, he discussed the exploitation of “terrorism” in the sectarian tension, and the cracks it caused in the structure of national identity.
As for socially, the book dealt with how “the erosion of the Iraqi social capital during the past 17 years, and what the social conflict is taking place between the province and the renewal,” touching on the theories of the Iraqi sociologist Ali Al-Wardi about the Iraqi personality, and what he considered a duplication in it, but from the perspective of numbers, not ideas Only, and the implications for the conditions of women and children, in a society exhausted by wars, unemployment and suffocating crises.
The conclusion of the book was two chapters on the country’s economic situation, in which he touched upon figures and statistics about the Iraqi state’s economy, and the extent of corruption that gnaws at its joints, wondering about the fate of the money that entered the state’s budget as oil revenues during the past years, and the nature of the Iraqi rentier economy, which mainly depends on a commodity. It is controlled by OPEC prices and regional and international policy calculations.
Lessons for the future
Dagher believes that his book will be a “reference for all researchers in Iraqi social affairs from all angles,” but the reader can also “find in it a lot that increases his knowledge of the reality of Iraqi society during the occupation stage, and the political, social and economic repercussions that followed.”
The author does not express his optimism that the decision-makers will deal objectively with what was mentioned in his study, but he invites them to benefit from this book, and considers it as a “provision for them if they want to know the mistakes that were committed or committed by their predecessors, and what the Iraqis really want for them, their children and their country.”
The work of the author of the book may have allowed him to be very close to local decision-makers in Iraq, witness the outbreak of the October demonstrations at the end of last year, and one of their supporters through his accounts on social media.
Dagher is president of the Independent Research Group in Iraq, director of the Middle East and North Africa at Gallup International, and a senior researcher at the Center for Strategic Studies in Washington.
This book, which was issued by Dar Al-Thakira for Publishing and Distribution, comes as the result of studies that lasted for several years, and included a survey of the opinions of two million Iraqis from different cities and governorates, which the author obtained with the help of many people and local and international organizations, as the author confirms.
The author signed the first copy of the book on December 12, at a party at Al-Alawiya Club in Baghdad.