BAGHDAD -- This week, during a brief ceremony, U.S. soldiers lowered the flag of American forces in Iraq symbolically and formally ending the nine-year war in Iraq. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said that departing troops and veterans of the conflict can be "secure in knowing that your sacrifice has helped the Iraqi people to cast tyranny aside." His statement conjures memories of the notion that Americans would be "greeted as liberators," as was suggested by some during the time of the initial "Shock and Awe" campaign. But how do Iraqis, and those in the greater Arab world, really view the U.S. role in Iraq? And does the end of an increasingly unpopular war, at home and abroad, help America's image in the region?
To gain some perspective on these and other questions, we spoke with James Zogby, founder and president of the Arab American Institute, about a new poll he conducted to gauge reactions to the withdrawal of American forces.
Dr. Zogby is the author of, Arab Voices: What They Are Saying to Us and Why it Matters (Palgrave Macmillan, October 2010). The Arab American Institute (AAI) serves as the political and policy research arm of the Arab American community. Since 1985, Dr. Zogby and AAI have led Arab-American efforts to secure political empowerment in the U.S.