A brief primer to explain to you how the American empire is compelled to attack Iraq…
Q: Why are there US air strikes over Iraq?
A: Because of the ISIS threat! This terrorist group is threatening to take over Iraq and have announced that they will revive the Caliphate that includes many surrounding countries. They have already displaced the Al-Qaeda in the mind space of global citizens.
They have taken over a dam and oil fields and if left unchecked could capture Baghdad too.
Q: Whys did ISIS grow so strong?
A: Because of the leadership vacuum created in Iraq. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has proved to be totally ineffective. Al-Maliki is from the majority Shia community and ISIS from the minority Sunni community.
To make matters more complicated, there’s even the Kurds who are demanding a separate country.Q: Why is there a leadership vacuum in the first place?
A: Because Iraq was attacked and invaded in 2003! That left the country totally devastated. One estimate even put the total number of people killed in the war in excess of 1 million. The Army was left ineffective and internal security was weakened.Q: Who attacked and invaded Iraq?
A: The US!Q: Why did the US attack Iraq in 2003?
A: To destroy Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction which were a threat to the new global order!Q: So the US destroyed all of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction?
A: No!Q: Why?
A: Because there weren’t any in the first place!Q: That’s crazy! Then why did they attack Iraq?
A: Because of the Iraqi President Saddam Hussein threat! Saddam was making Iraq a nuclear power in 1981, something which ended in the Israeli strike of the Osirak nuclear reactor. In 1988, the Halabja attack involved chemical weapons and killed thousands of Kurds.
When Saddam invaded Kuwait, that led to the Gulf War and even though the US won, not toppling Saddam was seen as an unfinished agenda. The Americans were desperate to go after Saddam and Iraq immediately after 9/11 but that never materialized.
They finally attacked Iraq in March 2003 and deposed Saddam in April. He escaped the US but he was finally captured and executed in 2006.Q: Why did Saddam grow so strong?
A: The US was very close to the Shah of Iran, but after he was deposed in the Iranian Revolution in 1979, the Americans were quite confused. Some wanted both Iran and Iraq to check each other in the 1980s war.
The Americans gave logistical support to Saddam and armed him and even gave him chemicals for pesticides but which could be used for weapons. Donald Rumsfeld (who later became George W Bush’s Defence Secretary) even met Saddam in 1983.
In 1990, the US in backdoor talks indicated to Saddam that they weren’t interested in Iraq’s border dispute with Kuwait. Saddam took that as a green light to invade Kuwait.Q: But why did a dictator like Saddam come in the first place?
A: The Hashemite dynasty ruled Iraq and they were not very popular with the people of Iraq. This was exploited by the military which did a coup in 1958 which in turn were overturned by the Ba’ath Party in 1968 of which Saddam was a member.Q: So how did this Hashemite dynasty come to rule Iraq?
A: Instead of choosing a local popular government, the British Empire foisted King Faisal of Syria onto Iraq. Q: So finally, something that the US had nothing to do with, no?
A: Not really. The American Empire took off from where the British Empire left off. America may be a great democracy, but it is more comfortable with dealing with dictators and kings. The Americans were not very happy with the end of monarchies in both Iraq and Iran.
They love dealing with a king in Saudi Arabia even today. The CIA actively tried to assassinate their first Prime Minister Abd al-Karim Qasim (a Brigadier who seized power). A Senate Committee report even mentioned how the CIA tried to kill Qasim with a poisoned handkerchief!Q: So what is Iraq’s fault in all of this? And what is the fault of the Iraqi people that they keep getting attacked like this while their leaders are used like pawns in a global chess game?
A: Good question!More from the author:
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The author is a Bangalore-based journalist and blogger. He blogs here.