Veniamin Popov, Director of the Center for Partnership of Civilizations at MGIMO (Moscow State Institute of International Relations) of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”
15th Anniversary of American Invasion of Iraq – A Lesson Unlearnt
Some 15 years ago the American-British campaign aimed at discrediting Iraq reached its apogee. Washington used every trick in the book to persuade the world that the then ruler of Iraq Saddam Hussein was in possession of weapons of mass destruction, while possessing a desire to unleash it deadly force upon the world. People of the world were being prepared for yet another illegal armed aggression, with Iraq and its people found themselves staring down the barrel of a gun. But to pull out something like this crime, the West had to accuse Hussein of all the sins it could come up with.
The main goal of the US invasion was to show the world who was the ultimate alpha dog. After the tragic events of 9/11 a great many countries had their doubts about this. The calculation was that since Iraq was a major oil producer the revenue from taking over its natural resources would cover the costs of the military adventure Washington was about to embark on.
Anti-Iraqi hysteria reached enormous proportions when the former US Secretary of State Colin Powell demonstrated test tubes of unknown origin at the meeting of the UN Security Council that were allegedly containing dangerous chemical substances. Today pretty much the whole world knows that this was nothing but a con. The invasion of Iraq would result in 4,500 dead American servicemen, with nearly 600,000 more reported as “gravely injured” after military campaigns against Iraq and Afghanistan. However, most Western media sources don’t not believe that it’s worth reporting that Iraq suffered a death toll of over a million people as a result of American invasion. Yet, for the sake of objectivity, one should note that a popular American general medicine journal The Lanset published a study that stated that by 2006 some 655,000 Iraqis were killed in the course the Western aggression.
The military adventures in Iraq and Afghanistan has resulted in Washington wasting at least 2 trillion dollars in total on killing people that had no intension of harming America, which has been reported by a handful of US media sources. This monstrous Anglo-Saxon act has had catastrophic consequences. For instance, Al-Jazeera would describe at as the greatest sin of the 21st century. And even though American and British politicians were well aware of the fact that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction, they still used those weapons as a pretext for the invasion. A few years later, a special commission of the British Parliament would condemn UK’s participation in this military adventure, but without allocating any responsibility on political figures like Tony Blair, who was British Prime Minister at the time of the invasion. Neither he nor US President George W. Bush were declared war criminals, in spite of the repeated demands to bring them to justice voiced by various international and national organizations.
The invasion of Iraq resulted in a number of terrorist organization raising their heads deep within its territory, including Al-Qaeda and ISIS, with the latter declaring the creation of an Islamic Caliphate to be its ultimate goal. American aggression against Iraq has given a powerful impulse to the growth of extremist sentiments across the region, with the world still struggling to recover from this impulse. At the same time, we cannot forget that innocent people across the globe are still suffering from the consequences of this ill-convinced invasion.
Among the consequences of this despicable act one can mention a new wave of migration, which has taken its toll on the EU and a great many of other countries of the world.
Finally, all of these events have led to a radical change in the balance of forces in the Persian Gulf, along with the aggravation and emergence of new ethnic conflicts both within the region and across the globe.
As a result, Iraq has been turned into a festering wound that is plagued by constant never-ending fighting that leads to further misery and destruction.
Today the results of this thieving act of aggression are well-known:
- Iraq is a torn country that cannot recover from all the death and destruction unleashed upon it.
- Washington has handed over all power to the Shia majority, which led to a sharp increase in Iran’s influence, the country that Washington despises the most.
- The invasion of Iraq has led to an abrupt increase in radical sentiments which, in turn, resulted in the establishment of ISSI Caliphate that would control territories populated by almost 9 million people for years. But for Russia’s interference in the military conflict in Syria in 2015, this Caliphate would have been controlling the better part of the Arab world by now.
- The so-called War on Terror has led to a colossal spike in the number of terrorist attacks all across the globe.
It should be noted that during his time in office George W. Bush would repeat repeatedly that his task was the people of Iraq with all the freedom they could get, noting that America was entering Iraq to ensure that the hungry were fed, everyone who required medical attention may receive it, and so that the young may be properly educated. Time and time again American officials would ensure the world that Iraq is going to become a model of democracy after the American invasion and serve as a “beacon of the Middle East.” Yet, the world has seen nothing but miser, death and destruction so far.
The Foreign Affairs has recently published article noting that today’s instability in the region has nothing to do with Tehran’s regional aspirations, since the invasion of Iraq in 2003 tipped the scales of the regional balance, allowing chaos to spread across the region. As Iran found itself at the forefront of the struggle against Sunni terrorism, it was inevitable that it would enjoy more influence once it succeeds.
The world is still unable to overcome the consequences of this terrible gamble. However, the West does not want to admit its responsibility, choosing to employ double speak in a bid to push the blame on somebody’s else shoulders.