It is painful to watch Iraq die a million times before its penultimate death. Between 1990 and the present day, there have been more years when Iraq has been bombed by the US and its partners, than years during which the opposite was true.
No other country can say the same in respect of that 27 year time frame. When Iraq wasn’t being bombed by the US, it was being sanctioned to death, while pirates plundered the profits from the inherently inhumane Oil For Food programme.
Seeing the recent images from Mosul, where more people have died in a day of bombing than during the entire Battle of Aleppo, including those killed in Aleppo by Al-Qaeda and other terrorists, one can only weep for Iraq. In spite of this, some Iraqis are challenging the clear evidence of war crimes. It is as though they refuse to believe that an Iraq which only a few years ago showed some small signs of resurgence, could stoop to this. But the reality exposes a gap between such wishful thinking and the facts on the ground.
This can be contrasted sharply with Syria.
The air forces of Syria, Russia and Iran could have easily flattened every terrorist occupied city and town in Syria. They could have then salted the earth. It would have taken less than a single week given the combined fire-power of the three countries. But then there would be nothing left.
Syria has taken time to rid itself of this evil. Sadly, many brave men have died to do this.
By contrast, the US led war on ISIS in Mosul has become more than a war on ISIS. It has become another war on Iraq, with the full compliance of the Iraqi government that formed in the aftermath of the toppling of the last fully legitimate government Iraq, which was illegally destroyed in 2003. I say this not as an enemy of Iraq but as an old friend of Iraq. But so many, including many Iraqis have been brainwashed into thinking their oppressors are their allies.
Legally speaking, the current US led war on Iraq is legal because the government in Baghdad has approved it. But this government, however technically legal and however well meaning certain members of it are, is ultimately a dis-unified government whose composition was the outgrowth of the illegal regime change of 2003. Even without the presence of the barbaric ISIS, Iraq would almost certainly have not fully recovered this invasion by 2017.
Ron Paul has shared articles and spoken out against America’s aggressive new war on Iraq. Sergei Lavrov, while supporting the war on ISIS in Iraq, has criticised the methods of the US. Not even the most fervent neo-cons could accuse Dr. Paul or Mr. Lavrov of being individuals who worship Saddam Hussein. Yet much of the propaganda coming from the west and from certain quarters of Iraq, says that anyone who questions the legitimacy of the campaign is somehow a pro-Saddam Hussein nostalgia junkie. This is simply false. Others say that criticising the attacks on Mosul is somehow an apologist for ISIS. This is not only false, but it is deeply insulting.
I am a great admirer of Ba’athism and to that end, Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr was the best leader of Iraq’s Ba’ath government and the best modern Iraqi leader in history. Saddam Hussein was not, he had as man flaws as he had virtues. But even many of his old opponents admit that things were better even under him and even under sanctions, than they have been under almost constant war.
The fact of the matter is that you do not beat ISIS by becoming ISIS. Indeed you cannot beat ISIS by becoming ISIS. When heads are severed from effective carpet bombing rather than by a rusty blade, when women are imprisoned by men in Iraqi uniforms rather than in ISIS costumes and when bodies are mutilated by ‘liberators’, it is hard to see the difference.
Where the Syrian Arab Army is made up for Sunnis, Shi’a and many denomination of Christian Syrian men and women, the Iraqi army is almost all Shi’a men. Iraq has become the sectarian, Balkanised state that both Bush Presidents wanted it to ultimately be.
Prior to the phrase being co-opted and molested by barbaric savages, the Arabic phraseالله أكبرالله أكبر (Allahu Akbar), meaning ‘God is great’ was spoken by Muslims to remain humble in times of joy that may have otherwise become frivolous. The flag of Iraq has those words inscribed on it. Never before has a nation been so humiliated, yet still ought to behave more humbly.
Where Syria is rapidly rising from the ashes, Iraq is fast becoming a sectarian ash-heap.
Many right wingers in Eastern Europe pretend that their left-wing post-war governments were not-legitimate in the long term. This is said in spite of the sustained peace these governments brought their people. The truth is that, the modern Iraqi government is technically legitimate, but technically so too is the bombing of Mosul. Tell that to the families whose children were killed by ISIS and whose other living relatives are now being bombed to death by the armed forces of their own country and its American ‘ally’.