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Iraq in History: A Short Epilogue PDF Print E-mail
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Sunday, 16 January 2005 12:35
Britains' experiment in nation building in Iraq failed and the British were forced out of this country by a group of young middle class officers who had absolutely no previous experience in government or politics.

The British presence in Iraq lasted almost half a century, the first part of which was a direct control of the country, the other part was a quasi occupation during which they ran its affairs from behind a select group of people who were mainly foreigners or foreign educated.  The failure of the British experiment in Iraq is ascribed to the country’s complex ethnic and religious composition with its plethora of groups competing for power and influence, to its particular geography which makes its half a million square kilometers practically land locked, with only about a 30 kilometers shore line on the Gulf which creates a very special cultural entity almost separate from the rest of the area, but to my mind the most important reason in Britain’s failure was its lack of understanding of Iraq’s 5,000 year history which was often very turbulent and frequently bloody which played a very important part in the shaping of the personality of its people. The mob in Damascus shouts the mob in Baghdad kills.

The British failed in Iraq and were kicked out half a century ago, but they are back now under the command of the Americans who have invaded this country in 2003 for almost the same reasons plus others which were dictated by the realities of the 21st century when the United States has risen to a sole super power status after the collapse of the Soviet Empire.  The Americans invaded to ensure the continuing supply the Middle East oil on which they are becoming increasingly dependant and to ensure their control of Iraq’s huge reserves which are the second largest or even the first.  The Americans also invaded to get as near as possible to Eurasia with its own huge reserves of gas and oil and its extremely important strategic location which have been brought very near to the military bases which were left intact by the deposed regime all of all of which were in very good conditions and up to the standards of the American military.

The American’s justified their invasion on similarly altruistic reasons like the British, they called their operation Iraqi freedom and said they have come to free the Iraqis from the tyranny of Saddam and to liberate them from his evil empire, but they also tried to sweeten the pill by continually promising us that after the end of the military phase of the operation they will immediately start the reconstruction of the country rebuild its destroyed infrastructure and rehabilitates its moribund institutions, another Marshal plan.  Unfortunately none of these promises were realized, in fact their failure to honor their promises has alienated the majority of the population against them, even people like myself who in the beginning welcomed them are becoming increasingly disgruntled and resentful.

This is not an in depth analysis of the American move, it is a reminder of what might happen when people forget about history and fail to glean lessons from it and it seems very sadly that the Americans and in spite of their undisputed qualities have learned very little from history, they have repeated and are still repeating the terrible mistakes that were committed by the British during their days in here.  The Americans have succeeded in creating a great mess which threatens very serious trouble to us and to themselves.

Dr. Najeeb Hanoudi
Baghdad, January 15, 2005
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