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The Fall of Saddam: The Aftermath and the Future PDF Print E-mail
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Sunday, 10 April 2005 09:50
On April 9, 2003, President Bush said in a nationwide address that the major hostilities in the war he has launched against Saddam Hussein and his regime on March 20, 2003, under the codename Operation Iraqi Freedom has ended.  Saddam was on the run, his family were dispersed in various parts of the country, and the most senior members of his regime were chased by the Americans.  CENTCOM were sitting in the presidential palaces and the vital centers of the regime were destroyed or severely damaged, few of them were spared.

Operation Iraqi Freedom has lasted three weeks.  Militarily and from the American point of view was a brilliant success.  The mighty American military machine was unleashed against Saddam in a relentless air campaign which involved no less than a thousand of the most advanced warplanes using state of the art technology and using some of the newest and deadliest weapons in their arsenal most up and a ground campaign involving some of their best soldiers in a great rush towards Baghdad.  The military aspects of the operation from the American’s perspective were a great success, they suffered only very few casualties, and were able to finish the military phase of the operation earlier than its planners have imagined.  Saddam and his greatly overrated elitist military units showed practically no resistance, the only resistance to the American advance was provided by paramilitary units and civilians like the serious one which took place near and around the international airport, that resulted in a very large number of casualties amongst the Iraqis which were never mentioned or honestly reported.

The Americans were within a very short time well entrenched and in full control of practically the whole country, but in spite of the great loss they have suffered in human life and property, many Iraqis welcomed the Americans and for two reasons:
  1. During the preparatory phase of their operation they have promised and in the words of their highest leadership that they are now very serious in their intentions to remove Saddam and change his regime and that when the country would be get rid of Saddam, the Americans would help the Iraqis in the very urgently needed rebuilding of their country.
  2. The reconstruction of its devastated assets, the rejuvenation of its moribund institutions and its severely depleted infrastructure something akin to the ingenious Marshall Plan with which the United States helped the Europeans both the vanquished [Germany] and the victors to rebuild their counties after the terrifying devastation, which was after the end of the World War II.  But after the Americans were finished with Saddam and his regime we were not given a Marshall plan we got ORHA.

ORHA is an acronym for the “Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance” and ORHA duly arrived under the leadership of Jay Garner, a retired army general with a handful of ex-ambassadors, defense officials and retired army generals.  ORHA was plagued from the beginning by inexperience, bureaucratic infighting and inertia, it failed and was replaced by the CPA [Coalition Provisional Authority] under Paul Bremer.  The CPA was worse than its predecessor, in fact Bremer made some incredible mistakes which have contributed to the current terrible mess, but by June 2004, the Americans decided that the Iraqis were by then able to take charge of their own affairs.  The country was declared sovereign and granted a legal document which was called the interim law for the administration of Iraq under the dictats of which a cabinet was selected led by Dr. Ayad Alawi.  Alawi was faced with a mountain of problems including the arranging of a general election on January for the election of a National Assembly, which would be charged with overseeing the writing of a permanent constitution amongst some other functions.

The failure of the successive civil administrations, and the failure of the Americans to honor their promises to provide security and the basic necessities caused a great deal of frustration and disillusionment even amongst people who were very supportive of the American intervention in the beginning.  This hardening of the attitude of the population is creating a very fertile soil to the various groups who are actively opposing the American occupation who are in spite of their diversity and their lack at the present time of a unified leadership and proper organization are causing a lot of problems.  The resistance adversely affecting the reconstruction process and the building of a new political structure, which is absolutely necessary if we are going to have a free, federal, prosperous and democratic Iraq.

Today, two years after the fall of Saddam, the problems which are facing this country and its people are very serious and taunting.  The future in spite of some hopeful signs during the last few weeks, like the election of the promised National Assembly, the election of the presidential council and the impending arrival of a new cabinet is still uncertain and unpredictable.  The great worry is that if the problems this country faces at present are not dealt with intelligently and efficiently, they might very easily develop into something really catastrophic.  This is not Grenada or Panama, the stakes here are very high.

Dr. Najeeb Hanoudi
Baghdad, April, 9, 2005
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