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Over half of Russians say U.S. fights unsuccessfully in Iraq - poll

MOSCOW. April 5 (Interfax) - Over half of Russians, 52%, expressed opinion that the U.S.-led military action in Iraq was unsuccessful while 23% said the opposite, according to a poll conducted by the Public Opinion Foundation among 1,500 respondents in late March.

Moreover, 58% of those polled believe it will be a long war while 16% said the military action will soon be wrapped up.

Most respondents, 70%, said that the Iraqis' resistance was stronger than the Americans had expected. Just 11% noted that the resistance was on the level forecast by the United States and 4% said it was weaker than expected.

Some 35% of Russians are confident that the United States will win the war while 33% think Iraq will prevail. The rest of those polled were undecided.

Among those who expect the United States to win, 30% said that it was much stronger militarily than Iraq. Moreover, 2% recalled that Iraq was fighting without help while the allies are helping the United States.

Among those who think the United States will lose the war, 18% pointed out that Iraq was the victim and will united against the aggressor under the banner of Islam.

At least 7% expressed opinion that many Arab and European countries were backing Iraq and pacifists worldwide were morally supporting it.

Americans "do not know how to fight, U.S. soldiers are not prepared for the war and have never won a real victory," 2% of the respondents said.

Asked about their concerns linked to the Iraq war, 44% worry about civilian casualties, 12% fear that Russia may be attacked by the United States or drawn into the war and 5% are apprehensive about economic consequences for Russia.

At least 22% expressed concern about global consequences including destabilization and misbalance of forces that may trigger the Third World War.

Environment-related concerns were voiced by 5% of those polled, while 1% worry about destruction of ancient monuments in Iraq and another 1% fear that Iraq would lose independence.

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