On December 18 last year the last American soldier left Iraq. Thus the US Army finally withdrew from the country (leaving a small unit to guard the US Embassy in Baghdad). The withdrawal had been among Barack Obama’s promises ever since he started campaigning four years ago.
The timing was probably well calculated – not too early (otherwise the country’s descending into a lawless mess might have hurt Obama’s re-election campaign) and not too late (or else Obama’s image as a warmonger would’ve been cemented in the minds of the bleeding hearts who support him).
To show how important that event was, the Prime Minister of Iraq proclaimed December 31 a national holiday in celebration of the US withdrawal. When people celebrate after you leave their plac they usually mean that you were unwanted. There is nothing flattering here – after nearly 8 years and 4,000 casualties, the Americans were still considered occupiers.
I am far from blaming Obama. Although he prolonged the war, it was George W. Bush who started it.
I am still puzzled about why he did that. It was true that Saddam Hussein used to pay $25,000 to the families of Palestinian suicide terrorists. Also, at the time there was the case of the WMD, which looked quite convincing, although later they found nothing. Maybe the oil conspiracy theory was credible enough (despite the fact that in a country like Iraq any export arrangement can easily be overturned).
Or maybe Bush sincerely believed in the export of democracy, thinking that once the old regime is overturned, Iraq would become a modern democratic paradise. I tend to agree with that interpretation, because we saw the same delusion during the “Arab Spring”, when Obama facilitated the overturn of a few dictators hoping to bring democracy only to see barbaric Islamists taking power.
The problem with the Arab countries is that as long as their culture, politics and everyday lives are dominated by Islam, there’ll be no chance of democracy. Sure, you can say that when the masses in Egypt elect the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafis, they have done that in a democratic way. But that is not going to improve their situation at all.
Iraq is not different. When the British determined the borders of this artificial country consisting of three major groups that hate each other, they planted the seeds of the future wars. Ironically, the only person who proposed a solution to that problem was Joe Biden while he was running for President of the USA. His idea was to divide Iraq into three countries controlled by Kurds, Shia Arabs, and Sunni Arabs, but as soon as he became a Vice-President, the idea was forgotten.
In a tribal country like Iraq the only successful ruler would be an authoritarian figure, who controls everything with an iron fist. Every act of compassion or compromise is viewed by the Arabs as a sign of weakness, which is mercilessly exploited.
When Bush went to Iraq and deposed Saddam, he got rid of the only person capable of maintaining some order. The quarrelling factions of the parliament elected in supposedly democratic elections revealed the weakness of that system in the country. Without an authority figure, people there don’t have respect for the government.
That uncertainty and instability brought in Al Qaida terrorists, local militias and all kinds of bandits, who tried to take advantage of the situation. Officially, all of them claimed that they were fighting the Americans, but the truth was that they killed many more local Muslims and Christians than US servicemen.
The withdrawal of the US Army didn’t change the situation at all showing that all the fighting was sectarian.
During the first week of January, several bombs in Baghdad, Sadr City and other towns killed nearly 80 people in single day. The next week, a man in a police uniform blew up himself among Shia pilgrims killing at least 50. Just two days ago, a suicide bomber detonated an explosives-packed car close to a funeral procession in Baghdad, killing at least 32 people, half of them policemen.
All in all, at least 200 people all over Iraq have been killed in bomb attacks since the beginning of 2012. And they can’t even blame the Americans or the Jews for that.
The country is descending slowly, but steadily into a civil war. There are not many options left. We may see Joe Biden’s scenario realized – with the Kurds and Sunnis declaring independence and the Shia parts annexed by Iran. Or, just as likely, we could witness the ascend of a new dictator, much worse and more ruthless than Saddam and the Iraqi people would be happy to support him no matter what he does, just to have some peace. Then Iraq will return to exactly the same situation it was in before the USA invaded it. And with the current weakness of the USA, nobody will challenge the dictator.
… Don’t you miss Saddam? At least under him that mess was much more manageable…
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