Reality Has Caught Up
to the US War in Iraq
By Wolfgang Hansson
Translated By Andrew Pratt
12 June 2014
Edited by Emily France
Sweden - Aftonbladet - Original Article (Swedish)
Risk for Terror Central in the Middle East
Just over 10 years after George W. Bush's invasion, Iraq finds itself in total chaos. It's embarrassing for the United States, awful for the Iraqi civilian population, and a danger to the rest of the world. It's also a wake-up call, warning about what could happen in Afghanistan when NATO's troops withdraw.
When the U.S. left Iraq at the end of 2011, President Obama confirmed that the country's army had received enough training to maintain stability. Just over two years later, we see how far from the truth that assertion was. Iraq's million-member army completely imploded due to pressure from several thousand jihadists with limited weaponry. The government soldiers are simply not prepared to fight, and the army's leadership is lousy and corrupt. Now, the government in Baghdad is desperately appealing to the U.S. to launch air strikes against the jihadists.
Iraq has found itself in a more or less constant civil war since the U.S. invaded the country in 2003 in order to oust dictator Saddam Hussein and, with president Bush's word, set up a display of democracy for the Arab world to look at. That display was shattered a long time ago. The U.S. lost 4,500 soldiers in Iraq. How do their families feel today when they see that it was all in vain? Well over 100,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed, and the slaughter continues with undiminished military strength. Not even those who were the most critical of the U.S. invasion foresaw the complete catastrophe that President Bush's intervention meant for the previously well-off – by Middle Eastern measures – country.
The invasion let loose the underlying antagonism between the Shiite and Sunni Muslims. The Sunni minority governed under Saddam and has felt less favored and oppressed during the Shiite rule that took over after the U.S. intervened. As a result, many Sunnis have now given their direct or indirect support to the Sunni extremist group, the "Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria." The ISIS offensive began several months ago when it took the cities of Ramadi and Fallujah, which are both located near the capital city, Baghdad.
With so few soldiers, ISIS has no chance of taking Baghdad, but the speed at which extremists have taken over large cities like Mosul and Tikrit in the past few days shows how the U.S.-trained Iraqi army has completely collapsed in the face of an inferior enemy. The risk is now apparent for a split in the country, where Sunnis establish their own rule over certain provinces similar to the Kurds, who already have their own state in northern Iraq.
One of the U.S. goals in the Iraq war was to prevent the country from becoming a center for terrorist activities aimed toward the West. Instead, the result after just more than 10 years could be that Iraq is developing into exactly that. ISIS has already established control over certain areas in the civil war-plagued Syria – which has also developed into a conflict between Shiites and Sunnis – which it can now unite with its areas in Iraq in the event that the Iraqi army doesn't unexpectedly succeed in retaking them.
Free City for Terror
ISIS wants to establish an Islamic state on par with what the Taliban led in Afghanistan in the mid-1990s, including severe oppression of women and strict Sharia laws, in which thieves are punished with amputated hands and feet, people are forced to pray five times a day, and all Western music and TV is banned. ISIS seeks an Islamic state that would be a free city for jihadists who want to plan acts of terror against the U.S. and other parts of the Western world.
At the end of the year, the better part of U.S. and NATO troops will have left Afghanistan. U.S. military officials assure us that the Afghan army has received the training it needs to maintain stability – the kind of thing they have to say, even though they know it isn't true. Afghanistan's army is, if that's possible, in even worse shape than Iraq's. If the Taliban chooses to go on the offensive, it will soon subdue large areas, and I, at the very least, won't be surprised if it soon takes over Kabul again.
Are the U.S. and the West drawing any lessons from these results?http://watchingamerica.com/News/240865/reality-has-caught-up-to-the-us-war-in-iraq/