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ESSAY : Iraq after Saddam
Friday, 21 June 2013 04:50

Iraq after Saddam


More than one year has passed since the fall of Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq. When the Saddam’s statue fell, it was American’s moment of triumph. Three grand purposes had been fulfilled within fulfilled within a short span of three weeks. Firstly, the threat of Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction had been eliminated. Secondly, the possibility that Al-Qaeda would forge a strategic link with the dictator Saddam Hussein and acquire a new sanctuary in Iraq had been averted. Thirdly, the long suffering people had been liberated from the yoke of a blood thirsty dictator.

It was hoped that life would become stable and predictable and the world would see the end of a History. A democratic modern secular, Iraq would soon become a beacon for the other nations of West Asia to follow. Terrorism would also then be deprived of the soil which had nourished it so far.

Today all the hopes turned out self-deceptive. The fear of an imminent link between Saddam and Al-Qaeda have also been exposed as product of a paranoia. Except an Ansar Ul Islam base in Kurd controlled territory in the far north there was no Al-Qaeda bases or Cadres in Iraq. Instead it is the invasion of Iraq that has brought in Al-Qaeda and enabled it to ensconce itself firmly in Iraq. Its growing presence can be gauged from the increasing frequency of its signature form of attack – the suicide bomb.

US’s blunder was it thinking that it could invade a country kills tens of thousands of its people and not triggers a violent resistance in its new subjects. The spreading revolt in Iraq and the joining together of the Sunnis and the Shias in it, proves that how much of a self-deceptive delusion it was.

Before invading Iraq, Bush, Chency and Rumsfeld had convinced not only Americans but the invading armies as well that they would be greeted not as invaders, but as liberatiors. Te solders advanced on Basra, Najf and Nasiriya had expected cheering crowds and garlands. They met with rockets and bullets instead. The US blamed these on fidayeen, a word that no one had heard in the context of Iraq till them, on Baath Party fanatics ans Saddam’s loyalists.

The Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) stuck to this version of events long after American army personnel’s began to be shot literally everyday and were forced into fortified enclosures to minimize casualties from which they only ventured forth in armed convoys. When news of death of Uday and Quasy, Saddam’s sons was greeted by 30 minutes of rifle fire all over Baghdad, the CPA told the world that this was spontaneous expression of joy and forecast a sharp reduction in guerrilla attacks in the coming weeks. When the opposite happened, there was nothing to comment and explain. The CPA again expected resistance to peter out, after Saddam was captured on Dec. 13, 2003. Instead the attacks on the Americans grew more focused and deadly. It is a fact that the dislike of Saddam couldn’t be translated into a liking for the invading army and again the US fell victim to its own propaganda.

Iraq’s new democracy had to be federal, secular, pro American and at least not anti Israel. Only one Iraqi group fulfilled these requirements is the Iraq national Congress headed by former embezzler Ahmed Chalabi. That was why Jay Garner, the first CPA Chief, sized up the real situation in Iraq and proposed a very quick election in order to return power to the Iraqis, he was literally kicked out in a matter of hour. Today the gerrymandered ‘constitution’ that USA seeks to impose on Iraq and the so called transitional government it will create, stand universally rejected.

The resemblance between what is happening in Iraq and Vietnam grows more marked every day. It has become very difficult for the US, to pull out of Iraq, without losing all its claim to world dominance. Al-Qaeda has made it clear that all crusaders must be driven out, whatever may be their intensions.

As the terrorist violence in Iraq is continuing, the road to self governance will be challenging but the progress is also impressive. The Iraqi Governing Council unanimously signed an Interim Constitution. It guarantees freedom of religion and expression; the right to assemble and to organize political parties; the right to vote and the right to a fair, speedy and open trial. It prohibits discrimination based on gender, nationality and religion as well as arbitrary arrest and detention. A year ago, none could have imagined any of such protections.

Withdrawal of American Forces from Iraq:

There are differences of opinion at the top of the US military over the occupation of Iraq, with some senior officers that the United States is facing the casualties for years without achieving its stated goal of establishing a free and democratic Iraq.

Their major worry is that the United States is prevailing militarily but failing to win the support of the Iraqis. That view is far from universal but fast spreading and being voiced publicly for the first time.

Maj. Gen. Charles Swannack, the Commander of the 82nd Airborne Division, who spent much of the period in Western Iraq, said, “He believes that the tactical level at which fighting occurs, the US military is still winning.” But when asked whether the United States is losing, he said, “I think strategically, we are.” Col. Paul Hughes, who last year was the first director of strategic planning for the US occupation authority in Baghdad, said, “He agrees with that view and noted that a pattern of winning battles while losing a war characterized the US failure in Vietnam. I lost my brother in Vietnam, “ said Hughes, who is still involved in formulating Iraq police. “I promised myself when I can on active duty that I would do everyting to prevent that from happening again. Here I am, 30 years later, thinking we will win every fight and lose the war, because we don’t understand the war we’re in.”

The prisoner-abuse scandal and the continuing car bombings and US casualties “create the image of a military that’s not being effective in the counter insurgency,” Some leaders in America specifically want the resumption of economic reconstruction and the political progress made with Sunni Muslims is resolving the standoff around the city of Fallujah, and increasing cooperation from Shiite Muslims in isolating radical Shiite cleric Muqtatda al-Sadr believe that there’s liable to be a lot of fighting in may and June, as the June 30 date for giving limited sovereignty to an Iraqi government approaches. The emergence of Sharp differences over US Strategy has set off a debate, a year after President Bush declared victory over Iraq, about how to end a festering insurrection that has stymied some reconstruction efforts, made many Iraqis feel less safe and created uncertainty about who actually will run the country after June 30. Both inside and outside the armed forces, experts generally are arguing that the US military should remain there but should change its approach. Some argue for more troops, other for less, but they generally agree on revising the United States’ stated goals to make them less ambitious. A senior general at the Pentagon said he believes the United States is on the road to defeat. “It is doubtful we can go on much longer like this”, he said. “The American people may not stand for it- and they should not.” Asked who was the blame, this general pointed directly at Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz.

“I do not believe we had a clearly defined war strategy…and exit strategy before we commenced our invasion,” he said. “Had someone like Colin Powell been the Chairman (of the Joint Chiefs of Staff), he would not have agreed to send troops without a clear exit strategy. The current OSD (Office of the Secretary of Defense) refused to listen or adhere to military advice.”

Wolfowitz, the Pentagon’s No.2 official, said the he doesn’t think the US is losing in Iraq, and said no senior officer has expressed that thought to him. “I am sure that there are some” who think that, he said yesterday. “There’s no question that we’re facing some difficulties,” Wolfowitz said. “I don’t mean to sound Pollyanna-ish we all know that we’re facing a tough problem.” But, he said, “I think the course we’ve set is the right one, which is moving as rapidly as possible to Iraqi self-government and Iraqi self-defense.”

That strategic objective of a free and democratic Iraq is grandiose. Instead, it is predicted that if the Bush administration wins re-election, it simply will settle for a stable Iraq, probably run by former Iraqi generals.

The idea that Iraq can be miraculously and quickly turned into a shining example of democracy that will ‘transform’ the Middle East requires way too much fairy dust and cultural arrogance to believe. Some are calling for the United States to stop fighting separatist trends among Iraq’s three major groups-the Shiites, the Sunnis and the Kurds and instead embrace them. “The best hope for holding Iraq together and thereby avoiding civil war is to let each of its major constituent communities have to the expend possible the system each wants, “Peter Galbraith, a former US ambassador to Croatia wrote last month.

American-let occupation authorities will permit fee and fair election to the national assembly within the next few months under the auspices of the UN or another international body. They will accept the electoral outcome even if it is an anti American majority. Meanwhile the US will prepare Iraqi security forces but begin its military withdrawal once the interim government is functioning. And Washington will continue to provide funds for the reconstruction of Iraq, as long as the new Iraqi authorities generally abide by their democratic origins. But that the American occupation should not end until there is stability in Iraq because the consequences will be chaos and violence is also to be ensured by America. It is important to note that there violence unfolding today. One more fear is there that anti0Amrecian “extremists” will disrupt the election for the national assembly. But if such Iraqis really want America to go, they will support an electoral process that leads to a US withdrawal.

Whatever be the political or economic outcome, the only way out for America and this is the last chance to be remembered as liberators is its withdraw gradually. President Bush promised the Iraqi people and the international community that our military victory would make Iraq a peaceful, democratic state, a model for its neighbours and a bastion against terrorism. The resistance movement has pinned down the expectation of Us and it is being treated as enemy occupiers.

America must swallow its resentment and keep a measure of control by doling out the money to keep the Iraqi state functional. $10 (£5.6bn) a year will buy more counter-terrorism cooperation than a military occupation that costs five times as much. The US faces two critical issues in Iraq. First is the necessity of genuinely engaging the international community in stabilizing the security situation, supporting the new Iraqi government after June 30 and rebuilding the country’s infrastructure and economy. The US has proclaimed the principles of democracy and self-determination and must now abide by whatever results are consistent with the protection of basic international Human Rights.

Iraq has become a tangle for America and America is searching a way to withdraw respectfully from Iraq. A lot of resentment is seen in America and in the armed forces too. Let us see what would happen there.