Contrary to Iraqi state propaganda and the statements of those hoping against hope that Iraq might at some point recover from decades of war and chaos, the sectarianism unleashed by George W. Bush and Tony Blair’s war on Iraq in 2003 continues to dictate events in the ravaged nation.
In February of 1963, the Ramadan Revolution brought the Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party to power in Iraq for the first time. The next month, the March 8 Revolution in neighbouring Syria brought the Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party to power in Damascus.
In November of 1963, Iraq experienced a military coup where Ba’athists were removed from power in favour of more overtly pro-Egypt figures.
The chaos of Iraq’s ten years of political transition between 1958 and 1968 were finally resolved during the 17 July Revolution of 1968, which brought the Arab Socialist Ba’ath party back to power under the leadership of Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr.
Between 1968 and 1979, al-Bakr governed as Iraq’s President witnessing an unparalleled expansion in wealth, GDP, modernisation, women’s rights and social cohesion.
Iraq was never without problems due to its precarious political geography as originally drafted in the secret Sykes-Picot agreement agreed upon between Britain and France during the Arab Revolt which formally began in 1916 when Britain got involved in the region, most famously under the leadership of T.E. Lawrence ‘of Arabia’.
Iraq’s borders are essentially the cobbled together vestiges of three Ottoman Vilayets (provinces) of Shi’a Arab Basra in the south, a broadly demographically mixed Baghdad in the centre, and Sunni/Kurdish Mosul in the north.
Because of this, modern Iraq has always had predominately Sunni Muslim, Shi’a Muslim and Kurdish regions. To say such a nation was difficult to unite would be an understatement, but this is what the Ba’ath party managed to do.
Under Ba’athist rule, Iraq’s government, military and civil service was staffed by Sunni and Shi’a alike as well as Christians.
When Saddam Hussein came to power in 1979, he maintained this balance of power, even though the western encouraged and totally misguided war that Saddam Hussein waged on Iran helped to drive some Shi’a Muslims away from the more overtly anti-Iranian Sunni population.
Nevertheless, in spite of the pressures from the 1990 war on Iraq and a crippling western imposed sanctions regime in the 1990s, Iraq still managed to hold together against tremendous odds.
Today, that is no longer the case. The illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq which started in 2003 has left its scars on the country. Iraq’s Shi’a majority who now dominate the government and armed forces blame Iraqi Sunnis for the entirety of the ISIS and al-Qaeda war against Iraqis. Likewise, many Sunnis feel caught between the hard-place of a distrusting central government and the Salafist terrorists who have conquered broadly Sunni regions of the country. The distrust now runs incredibly deep. Iraq’s once thriving Christian population has either been killed or fled, in many cases to Syria where they have sought and received the protection of the Syrian Arab Republic.
This has come to a head around Mosul where Iraqi troops along with their US coalition allies have begun to finally make gains in what had been a war of attrition against ISIS.
While any defeat of ISIS is to be welcomed, sadly, much of Mosul has descended from the rule of the barbarians to the rule of the jungle.
Iraqi soldiers and volunteers have been widely reported to engage in torture of everyone they come across whether they be innocent Sunni civilians or anyone else. Because many high-ranking ISIS leaders have long ago escaped Mosul, it is fair to say that a large number, perhaps even a majority of the victims are civilians who have traded one group of torturers for another.
RT has released an exclusive report showing just some of the torture that has taken place in and around Mosul. The western mainstream media will not touch this subject as it does not fit the simplistic narrative that America is in charge of a sane and methodical operation in Mosul.
The reality is that the US has engaged in airstrikes which have claimed the lives of hundreds of civilians and which have totally destroyed the infrastructure of northern Iraq which the Ba’athist government constructed.
Mohammed Serkal, UN coordinator of the organisation SALAM for Democracy and Human Rights spoke with RT about the horrors he witnessed in Mosul. He stated,
“This kind of torture, we’ve seen this kind of torture before. We’ve seen, (that) it is similar to Abu Ghraib”.
“At the moment we see the United States getting involved in Mosul with other countries, which is not allowing other countries to get involved and oversee how the fight is taken place, how the Mosul is getting freed”.
This is a stark contrast to the war in Syria wherein Russia and Iran acting as partners with the Syrian government, are closely coordinating airstrikes with highly professional troops on the ground. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s amnesty programme has allowed most terrorists who give up their weapons to be processed and evacuated from towns, cities and regions liberated by the Syrian Arab Army and its partners.
In Iraq, America has not taken this surgical approach, opting instead for what the Bush administration famously called ‘shock and awe’ tactics. The Iraqi Army, is vastly more sectarian and less professional than the Syrian Arab Army which counts Sunnis, Shi’as, Christians and even non-Arabs and women among its ranks.
America is quick to spread outlandish lies about unsubstantiated ‘crimes’ committed by Syria, most famously the alleged chemical attack in Idlib Governorate from early April 2017. Yet America has been totally nontransparent in even allowing reporters to gather information about what is really going on in Northern Iraq.
Those such as RT who were brave enough to see for themselves just what is going on, witnessed unimaginable carnage, torture and lawlessness.
One doesn’t need to have any view on Syria, Iraq, President al-Assad or the United States to understand that objectively, Syria and her partners are waging a war for the life of their secular, tolerant Republic, whilst Iraq is torturing its way through regions of a country where the centre simply cannot hold.
America and Britain authored the destruction of a once united and prosperous Iraq. The US coalition is currently putting the finishing touches on Iraq’s epitaph as a civilised and united nation.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.