Tribute to the victims of
terrorist attacks worldwide
Comments: 12612
Mariela Baeva
Mariela Baeva
Member of the European Parliament for Bulgaria
2007 - 2009
(first direct EP elections in Bulgaria);

LEED to OECD partner (Nanotech)

News of the Day

The Global Tantrum 
 Act for Early Years logo

Young people in partnership with @Theirworld demanded action on the #GlobalEducationCrisis and world leaders have listened. #IFFEd will unlock billions for children globally and help deliver a world where every child has a place in school. #LetMeLearn

Theirworld, Your Walk: Thank you! –

Nous venons de signer cette lettre ouverte pour demander aux chefs d’Etat et de gouvernement de faire de l’école gratuite pour tous les enfants un droit humain universel.

Survivors tell of the devastating impact of the US-led invasion 20 years on by Emma Graham-Harrison and Salim Habib

‘The US army destroyed our lives’: five Iraqis on the war that changed the Middle East

Twenty years ago today the US and the UK invaded Iraq in a disastrous military mission based on flawed intelligence, months of lying to the world, and a casual disregard for international law.

The invasion would lead to hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths, decades of civil war and vicious sectarian violence in Iraq, and the rise of the Islamic State militant group. Incubated in a US prison camp, IS was directed and staffed in part by former members and officers of the Saddam-era Ba’ath party.

In a pattern that would be repeated again and again over the following two decades of the “war on terror”, the US and its allies, including the United Kingdom, assumed that overwhelming technical and military superiority was all they needed to control a distant nation and its people.

A “shock and awe” bombing campaign showcasing that military power launched the invasion, and ground troops moved into Iraq the next day, 20 March. Saddam was soon on the run, and in early April, Baghdad was formally occupied.

On 1 May, US president George Bush set up a theatrical spectacle on an aircraft carrier, flying in to announce “mission accomplished”. America had ended “major combat operations” in Iraq.

It was a speech that betrayed American arrogance, ignorance and disdain about realities on the ground in Iraq, where decades of bloodshed were only just beginning.

The damning Chilcot report on Britain’s involvement in the war later found that the UK had chosen to join the invasion before peaceful options had been exhausted, and then the prime minister Tony Blair had deliberately exaggerated the threat posed by Saddam Hussein.

Britain’s intelligence agencies produced “flawed information”, working from the start on the misguided assumption that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction, and made no attempt to consider the possibility that he had got rid of them, which he had.

Blair ignored warnings that Iraq could degenerate into civil war after the invasion, including from US secretary of state, Colin Powell who accurately predicted “a terrible bloodletting of revenge after Saddam goes”.

The British government had no post-invasion strategy and no influence on Iraq’s postwar US-run administration.

Overall, Britain did not achieve its objectives in Iraq, Chilcot found. The war undermined US and British authority on the international stage, with the reputational damage continuing until today, when it has hampered efforts to gather support for Ukraine’s fight.

The west’s strategic mistakes were Iraq’s enduring tragedy. Catastrophic mishandling of the occupation included the “de-Ba’athification” campaign, a mismanaged effort to purge the country of Saddam’s influence.

Thousands of former government employees and soldiers were suddenly without a future in the new US-dominated state, and they turbocharged the insurgency.

The Abu Ghraib prison became a byword for US abuse when photographs and accounts of detainees tortured there were leaked to the press. Iraq’s cultural heritage was looted as US troops stood by and watched.

And for two decades, civilians died in terrible numbers at the hand of all parties to the conflict, in shootings, suicide bombings, air raids and crossfire. Chilcot found the government had not tried hard enough to keep a tally of Iraqi civilian deaths.

Here the Observer tells the stories of five Iraqis affected by the invasion, and the violence it unleashed.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Copyright © 2024. All Rights Reserved.