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The US Obstacles in Iraq

Reader comment on item: The Roots of Iraq's Rebellion

Submitted by Shimon Z. Klein (Israel), Apr 17, 2004 at 12:55

It is just on a year since the US-British coalition invaded Iraq and toppled the evil Saddam Hussein regime. Who remembers the incredible euphoria after the invasion and the US-British coalition victory? Who remembers the cries of joy from the Iraqi people at Saddam's fall? Who remembers the world opposition to the war effort which may have been misread as a form of support for Saddam's regime?

A year later and what is the situation on the ground? Utter chaos with incredible loss of life, including the deaths of many American and British soldiers, not to mention the loss of life of troops from Spain, Italy and other countries who had also joined the coalition. Iraq is still no closer to the "democracy" that President Bush envisaged, let alone a US promised pullout towards the end of June. The terror by various Iraqi militias supported by Sunni Moslems and Shiite Moslems seems to be reaching its zenith.

Despite the evil of Saddam Hussein and the cruelties he had inflicted on his people, one must admit that the situation without Saddam Hussein seems to be far worse. There is total anarchy as a result of the vacuum created by Saddam's total defeat. Maybe the world opposing the war in Iraq foresaw this intolerable situation more than the beefed up intelligence of Bush and his advisors. Now it is the US face-saving game which the US is on the verge of losing in Iraq.

All the artificial US created infra-structures after the war – the Iraqi Police Force, and the rehashed Iraqi Army has crumbled completely. Why? The reason is the total naivety of the US towards the Iraqis and the Islamic psyche altogether. No self- respecting Moslem will ever accept non-Moslem rule in their country. This is an axiom which the Americans failed to understand. Israel has a similar problem. The Palestinian-Israeli conflict is an existential one and the Moslems will never accept a Jewish presence (Israel) in their midst. Any non-Moslem power, albeit temporary, has to be defeated and the infidels driven out. There will be no limit to the methods that the radical militias will use to attain their goal of driving the ruling "non-Moslem infidels" out.

Now, in Iraq, a new radical Shiite cleric, Moqtada al-Sadr, has arisen from the ashes and vacuum created by the fall of Saddam Hussein. He has an increasing following of thousands of young radicals. He is a force with which to be reckoned and he is totally opposed to the US occupation. He will stop at nothing and is probably gaining power by the day. The US propped Iraqi regime lacks the grass roots support of the Iraqi people and the country is slipping into total chaos from which it will not recover for many years to come.

The US may have won the war, but they have lost the peace. The real war is now about to begin. It seems as if the US led coalition felt that western style democracy will gain support amongst the Iraqi people and a series of US bolstered puppet Iraqi rulers will solve the problem of transition towards a democratic Iraq. Here we see US naivety and ignorance at its highest. Despite claims to the contrary, the US has turned Iraq into a new Vietnam. Similarities to the Vietnam War are growing by the day as the US becomes more and more embroiled in the mess that they had created. Suicide bombings, terror unbeknown to the US will gain in momentum and a solution is far from being on the horizon.

The US has failed to install law and order in Iraq. They are rapidly losing the support of the Iraqi people which they thought they had initially. Despite the terrible cruelties that Saddam Hussein and his ghastly regime had inflicted on the Shiite majority, the Shiites and Sunnis are far closer together as a result of the US coalition occupation than ever before. Blood is thicker than water. After all the word "occupation" is magical in uniting opposing groups against the occupier whether it is the US in Iraq or Israel in the Occupied Territories. The theory practiced in colonial times of "divide and rule" does not work in the Middle East, the opposite occurs as a result, namely "unite and drive out". Despite the differences between the various groups in Iraq, the US led occupation has paradoxically united them against the US and this will make the US task of maintaining law and order impossible.

There are no simple solutions in the aftermath of the Iraqi War. There may be no solutions at all – not for many years. When the US coalition leaves (this will not occur for a long time) Iraq will be plunged into civil war between the various population groups – Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds. There will be a power struggle and the possibility of mega terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda filling the vacuum and creating terror bases against the West cannot be ruled out. No matter how one perceives the situation, the future for Iraq is very grim indeed.

Perhaps a unilateral pullout of US troops would be the solution to the Iraqi problem without too much loss of face.
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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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