Iraq legacy

The reality is there are two levels in international law. One level is applicable to residents of the ‘basement’ of the world, ie, citizens of Third World countries, and the other level applicable to citizens of powerful countries. 

The so-called ‘war on terror’ has reformulated many aspects of world politics and accountability of states has become the first victim. Human rights and accountability have become an open text subjected to selective ‘interpretations’. 

Therefore, some governments have enjoyed impunity, no matter how brutally they have behaved, while the spotlights are shone on others, undesirables for commercial and resource appropriation reasons. In a rather bizarre timing, the International Counterterrorism Conference took place in Baghdad on March 12, to coincide with the act of aggression that made Iraq a breeding ground for all kinds of violence and terrorism. 

Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Brett McGurk spoke at length in the conference about the US’ “holistic” strategy against terrorism in Iraq where “the government and people are confronting one of the most serious terrorist threats in the world.” 

While assuring the Iraqi regime that the US-Iraq partnership is permanent, he chose to ignore the continuous catastrophic effects of the US occupation of Iraq. Listening to his speech, one cannot help but get a sense of deja vu: “We are liberators not invaders.” 

Wasn't this the imperial British attitude while invading Iraq at the beginning of the last century? Didn't we hear the same terror-coated statement by then US Secretary of State Colin Powell a month before the invasion? He said: “Iraq's involvement in terrorism, the gravity of the threat that Iraq's weapons of mass destruction pose to the world, they are real and present dangers to the region and to the world, a sinister nexus between Iraq and the Al-Qaeda terrorist network. 

These Al-Qaeda affiliates, based in Baghdad…been operating freely in the capital for more than eight months." At the end of his dramatic speech, US military invasion of Iraq had become inevitable, a ‘must’ in order to save the world and Iraqis. 

It did not take the world long to see through the heap of lies called WMD and Al-Qaeda link. As for Iraqis, the daily killings in neighbourhoods, and human rights abuses in Abu Ghraib and other detention centres, has left them with a concrete belief that the war was not an ill-conceived and badly managed endeavour but a pre-planned project to destroy and pillage their country. 

This racist deception cost the lives of over a million Iraqis, the legacy of using depleted uranium and white phosphorous, the imposing of a sectarian kleptocratic regime and the instigating of violence that has driven many Iraqis to regret opposing Saddam's regime and believing in democracy. 

The defeat of the US imperial project is spectacular, thanks to the resistance of the people who, contrary to some claims, did not welcome the occupier with sweets and flowers but have seen through the imperial claims of democracy and human rights, tearing apart the shrouds of its deception.

How is the ‘holistic’ strategy translated in the Iraqi reality? In terms of propaganda, it claims that Iraqis are beyond the reach of democracy. They are ‘extremists’ and ‘terrorists’. These are the same Iraqis who have been demonstrating peacefully for almost two years, until the Maliki regime decided to turn the terrorism charge against them. 

As for Iraqis, every day brings fresh atrocities with an increase in ‘execution-style’ killings, and early morning discoveries of bullet-riddled bodies, signifying the presence of death squads, mercenaries, militias, and Iraqi security forces that have killed thousands in the aftermath of the US-led invasion. 

The US is determined to continue to provide security assistance to the Iraqi forces. US assistance includes weapons and security equipment, information sharing, operational advice, and military training.This goes hand in hand with a restructuring of the US army to rely more on cost effective US proxy regimes or ‘moderates’, in order to force terrorist groups into non-populated areas where they can be captured and killed. 

By backing Maliki’s brutal regime, the Obama administration, as the global policeman, has proven that when asserting its power, it is no different from any other imperial power: A readymade enemy is always useful to cover up its immoral foreign policy. 

by Haifa Zangana

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