Assessing Living Conditions in Iraq's Anbar Province in 2009
RAND NATIONAL DEFENSE RESEARCH INST SANTA MONICA CA
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In Iraqs Anbar Province, the local population is the center of gravity, as is typical in any counterinsurgency campaign. Thus, in order for the forces of order to appeal to the people, security forces need to effectively engage not only in combat but also in efforts to understand the population and how they live their concerns, their expectations, their grievances, and what drives those dispositions, as well as how they live and act on those concerns, expectations, and grievances. Also important is gauging changes in their assessments and attitudes over time with the aim of identifying the areas of greatest need. To acquire a better understanding of how Anbaris live and how conditions in al-Anbar may have changed, RAND conducted two surveys evaluating living conditions in the province. Face-to-face interviews were conducted with a random sample of 1,200 heads of Anbari households here, a household is defined as a family and other related individuals normally living in one housing unit from May 28-June 10, 2008, and from May 23-June 9, 2009. Interviews were conducted by local Anbaris, who were trained over four days by instructors who had attended a separate training course held outside Iraq and conducted by RAND and subcontractor staff. While one might expect respondents in a conflict zone to react with some hesitancy toward a survey asking questions about their daily lives, the average response rate between the two surveys is 67 percent, a figure on par with response rates for similar surveys in other Middle Eastern countries. The surveys and data are available to researchers upon request from RAND. The main findings, summarized in the following sections, suggest that, essentially, Anbaris are better off as of 2009 in terms of key measures than they were in 2008.
- Sociology and Law