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The Exploding Cauldron: The Iraqi Situation and the U.S. PDF Print E-mail
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Wednesday, 22 October 2014 23:07

I would like to apologize to my friends and colleagues who have been behind this site for the last few years, for neglecting and failing to update it during the last few weeks.  The reason for that is twofold, my bad health and the appalling situation in Iraq which was threatening to lead to its disintegration and its dismemberment into three separate and hostile mini states, all of which was the result of the short sided and selfish policies which were practiced by the ignorant and mediocre politicians who were put in place by the Americans after their invasion and occupation of the country in 2003.  The situation in the Middle East, which has been boiling for the last four years is now threatening to explode into a very serious outburst.  Just look for few minutes into the civil wars and the violence which is engulfing Syria, Egypt, Libya and Yemen and Iraq, which is generating an unbelievable load of death and destruction.  I am not talking about that mess today, because I want to concentrate on the situation in Iraq vis-à-vis the American involvement there, which has started a quarter of century ago, and has been from the start, naïve, callous, with an inadequate understanding of history, and the lessons which can be learned from studying it.

The U.S. came to replace the United Kingdom as the main security patron of the Persian Gulf states, and working to ensure their access to Gulf oil.  But their involvement there became more active following president Roosevelt’s visit to Saudi Arabia in 1944 during which an agreement was signed between the two which guaranteed America’s monopoly on Saudi Arabia’s oil, which reflected an American interest in control of Middle Eastern energy resources when it came to consider the Middle East region as "the most strategically important area of the world, and a great material prize.  At this time the region was going through great social, economic and political turmoil resulting in an upsurge in the popularity of nationalistic politics and an increase in the number of nationalistic political groups across the region, which was creating grave headaches to them. In fact the situation was becoming increasingly threatening to the Americans following The situation in the area was becoming very serious to the Americans that followed the military coup in Egypt, which was led in 1952 by Colonel Nasser, who became president and was pursuing  very nationalistic policies, which was turning the whole area into a hotbed of un-ending revolutions and violence, including Iraq  from 1957 to 1968, when the Baath party under the leadership of Saddam Hussein succeeded in gaining control of the country, and inaugurated what was to become a terrible tyranny under Saddam.

Saddam Hussein came to power in Iraq following his party’s [the Baath] succeeded s in toppling the government which was in power, a very inefficient and very unpopular administration in a military coup in 1968.  For the first ten years after the coup, he was officially the second in command under President Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr, but he was from the start the real power in the country, and at a time when many groups inside and outside the country were conspiring against his government, he was able to create several security apparatuses through which he tightly controlled the government and the armed forces. During his rule, he suppressed several movements, particularly by shi’a and Kurds who were seeking to overthrow the government or gain independence, he maintained his grip on power by the frequent use of military force against his opponents.  He became president in 1979 when president al-Bakr relinquished power in his favor and became president from that year until he was toppled from power after the 2003 American invasion-occupation of the country.

In the begging of his rule Saddam was very reasonable, and almost likable, but with his increasing grip on power, he was becoming more arrogant and dictatorial, very aggressive and threatening, not only to his neighbors but also to his foreign adversaries including the Americans, which culminated in his terrible ten years war with next door Iran, and his occupation of the gulf sheikdom of Kuwait.  But for a long time the American were tolerating and trying to contain him, but they finally had enough of him so when the second Bush came to power, he had him in his eyesight from very early on in his presidency, and decided that he should go. So he invaded the country in 2003, under the pretext that Saddam had a huge arsenal of weapons of mass destruction and having ties to al-Qaeda. The war lasted for 19 days at the end of it his regime was in tatters and the Americans were sitting in his palace, but he avoided capture, but he was finally caught on December 13, 2003, was put on trial, he was convicted, and was sentenced to death, he was hanged on December 30, 2006.

After the fall down of Saddam many Iraqis were expecting that after the military phase ended which was a very brilliant operation and very successful, that it would be followed by a similarly well planned and a similarly well executed reconstruction of the country, and the rejuvenation of its almost totally devastated infrastructure and its institutions.  But the Iraqis were to be disappointed.  Iraq did not have any reconstruction, they got Paul Bremer, who arrived in Iraq as the U.S. Presidential Envoy on May 2003, and became the chief executive authority in the country, Bremer ruled by decree.  Two weeks after arriving, he disbanded  the army and the security forces and the Baath party, and thus in a single blow by his pen threw in the streets a million mostly young people and left the country without any force to defend it from internal and external threats, the disbanding of the army and the security services became a very important source of recruits to the insurgency which when he left was a very serious threat to which the Americans and the Iraqis would pay a great deal in blood and fortune later on.

Bremer ruled Iraq for one year, it was a year of unbelievable mistakes and blunders, his actions with regard to how and who would ultimately run the place were similarly very appalling, he gave the Iraqis a constitution which was an incomplete legal document which was called a provisional constitution, which in the end even the exiles who were made into a new political elite would not rule according to its dictates or respect it.  The constitution stipulated that the country should be ruled by a national unity government, but  the majority of the Iraqi population, the shi’a , who were marginalized during the dictatorship, who were now in charge had no experience in governing, ignorant of the Iraqi situation and the complexity of its problems and the difficulties of running a country like Iraq with its great diversity and the multiplicity of its ethnic and religious and cultural heritage, so there was in reality no national unity government, and it was in fact no less than a dictatorship by the shi’a.  The country’s affairs deteriorated, and very rapidly into a very ghastly mess, with almost a complete lack of security and a total inability to provide even the basic necessities of the people, and things were in fact so bad during the last eight years when the country was in the hands of the last Shiite prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki who was running the country like he owned the place, who presided over a very inefficient, and very greedy regime. Al-Maliki was a mini dictator, whose rule created an extremely dangerous situation in the country, especially after the sunning successes of the so called Islamic caliphate, the shockingly violent group which was an offshoot of al-Qaeda in Iraq, who suddenly burst on the scene, when they were able in a very short time on June 10, 2014 to capture Mosul, the second largest city in the country and from there went into north and north-western Iraq occupying within a very short time huge swathes of land in the country which they added to the territories they have already conquered in Syria during the last year.

At that time the country seemed to be separating into three warring entities, a situation which forced the Americans to return to the area with their bombers,   after their withdrawal from there on December 16, 2011 with the potential hazards of becoming drawn again in the terribly unstable and extremely unpredictable Iraqi situation.  I am going to stop now, but will be back soon to continue this story in a subsequent update to the Hanoudi letter.

Najeeb Hanoudi

Sunday October 19, 2014

Southfield, Michigan