US occupation of Iraq: When, oh when will it end?

Adnan Al-Daini

Iraq slowly disappears down the plughole while Iraqi politicians argue about who should sit on which chair, squabbling like children under the shadow of the US imperial occupation. Fourteen months after the last Iraqi election in March-2010, the ministries of defence and interior are being run by the Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki. What a superman he is! Not only is he the Prime Minister, but he can also run these two most difficult of ministries. But wait a minute, examine the achievement of governments since the occupation in 2003, and you discover there are none. The realisation then dawns that these ministers actually do practically nothing in any capacity. It is a mathematical fact that no matter how many zeros you add together you still end up with zero.

The psychological barriers that afflict the rulers and the ruled in a country under occupation are particularly severe in Iraq. They have somehow sucked the initiative from its rulers and have destroyed the pride the people had in their country. People are demoralised and bewildered by the man-made catastrophe that has severely degraded their lives.

It is a measure of the abject failure of successive governments following the illegal war on Iraq in 2003, that a great number of people look back with fondness and nostalgia at an Iraq prior to that war, run by a brutal dictator and suffering under a US-British sponsored blockade that caused the deaths of up to half a million Iraqi children. The incompetence and corruption of governments that have run Iraq since the invasion is breathtaking.

The democracy that supposedly exists in Iraq is no more than a grab of its resources, the spoils of war, to be shared by voracious American and western corporations, arms manufacturers, private security firms and the corrupt elite of the sects and ethnicities that make up the mosaic of Iraqi society.

Politics are conducted on the basis of quotas; people vote in elections not on the basis of competing policies or ideas but on the basis of ethnicity, or a religious sect. The illegal war has melted the glue of humanity that has welded Iraqi society together for centuries.

The American army withdrew from Iraqi cities on 30-June-2009 to bases scattered all over Iraq. The media at that point lost interest in Iraq and it now hardly features in the news. There are now around 50,000 American troops in Iraq, and since that date the casualty figures for the troops are 132 dead and 804 injured. The estimated figures for Iraqi civilian casualties are about 8,000 dead and about 19,000 injured. The actual figures for the month of May-2011 alone are 362 dead and 820 injured Iraqis, with multiple explosions and assassinations daily.

Iraqi rulers work in the green zone protected by American soldiers and foreign security contractors living the good life, and have no concerns with the minutiae of the blighted lives of Iraqi citizens. They do not give a jot about the daily struggles of ordinary Iraqis regarding security, clean water, medical care, electricity and the other necessities of life. Why should they care when they are totally insulated from the hardships suffered by ordinary citizens, ensconced as they are, on a different planet, the green zone.

In whose interests is the continuation of the occupation for which American soldiers are being killed or injured on an almost daily basis? In whose interests are American tax dollars being spent? It is certainly not in the interests of ordinary Americans or Iraqis who have shown in poll after poll that they want the occupation to end. If you don’t trust the polls, hold a referendum. Why is the American government putting pressure on their puppets in Iraq to allow them to stay beyond the final agreed date of 31-December-2011? What could they possibly achieve that they have not been able to achieve in eight years of occupation?

Extending the stay against the wishes of the Iraqi and American people risks invigorating sectarian militias, such as the Mahdi Army, that may well reignite the civil war, which at its height was causing Iraqi civilian deaths of the order of 3,000 a month.

The agreement stipulates that 31-December-2011 is the final date. In fact, a referendum should have been held mid 2009 to decide whether the troops should have left by an earlier date, mid 2010. It did not happen because the result would have been to end the occupation at the earlier date.

The continued occupation that's caused death, injury and misery to millions can't be part of the solution; it is the problem. The fires of sectarianism and terrorism lit by war will only be quelled when the occupation ends. Please end it on 31-December-2011, no ifs, no buts.

Dr Adnan Al-Daini took early retirement in 2005 as a principal lecturer in Mechanical Engineering at a British University. His PhD in Mechanical Engineering is from Birmingham University, UK. He has published numerous applied scientific research papers covering heat transfer, fluid flow and energy utilization in many industrial applications. He is a British citizen born in Iraq. Since retirement he has devoted his time and energy to building bridges and understanding between minority communities, particularly the Muslim community and the wider community in the South West of England. He was Chair of Devon Racial Equality Council between 2007/8. Adnan is a contributing writer for the Huffington Post.



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