“Iraq we must succeed, failure is not an option.” Zbigniew Brzezinski
“In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapon stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including al Qaeda members… It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons.” — Hillary Clinton
“So the threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real.”
“The situation in Iraq will be long, it will be expensive and it will be difficult. But in the end, Iraq will very much be worth it.” Robert Foster Bennett
For the past few months, there has been an anxious preoccupation with the country of Afghanistan. Regarding its place in the mainstream media cycle, as of late it runs second only to “vaccine mandates” as far as the frequency in newspapers and op-eds is concerned. Afghanistan is searched more on Google right now than at any other time in Google Trends history. All eyes are now on a country that most people couldn’t even tell you where it is. But, once upon a time, there was another small country demanding our attention named Iraq. Remember Iraq? Not so long ago, it was the center of the global universe.
In this week’s issue, I want to shift gears. I want to revisit Iraq. I will do a quick recap of what happened, then quickly shift to what is happening in Iraq today. I think there is one thing for sure that we will learn, there is more than meets the eye when it comes to what continues to happen in Iraq today.
Let’s rewind. Following the U.S. invasion in March 2003, Iraq suffered a lengthy civil war in which over 100,000 civilians were killed, tens of thousands of combatants died, and millions were temporary—if not permanently—displaced. The war featured at least three distinct conflicts: a sectarian civil war between Sunni and Shi’ite militias, an insurgency by mostly Sunni militias (some Iraqi and some international) against the government of Iraq and the Coalition forces supporting it, and a communal conflict pitting Kurds against Arabs in Kurdistan. During the period of peak violence in 2006 and 2007, there were over one thousand insurgent attacks per week in Iraq and hundreds of sectarian killings.
- Population: 39.3 Million
- GDP (PPP) $708.3 billion
- 3.9% growth
- 3.7% 5-year compound annual growth
- $11,332 per capita
- Unemployment: 12.8%
- Inflation: -0.2%
- FDI Inflow: -$-3075.6 million
Human Rights in 2021
According to Human Rights Watch, despite promising to address some of Iraq’s human rights challenges, the government of Mustafa al-Kadhimi, which took power in May 2020, has failed to end abuses against protesters, with armed groups continuing to perpetrate arbitrary arrests, enforce disappearances, and kill with impunity those allegedly involved in organizing protests and openly criticizing the political elites. In 2020, Iraq’s criminal justice system was riddled with the widespread use of torture and forced confessions. Authorities carried out numerous judicial executions despite serious due process violations. Iraqi law contained a range of defamation and incitement provisions that authorities used against critics, including journalists, activists, and protesters to silence dissent.
IMPACT OF COVID-19: As of December 1, 2020, 12,306 deaths had been attributed to the pandemic in Iraq, and the economy was forecast to contract by 12.1 percent for the year.
Iraq is slowly recovering from the traumatic war against the Islamic State, which seized large swaths of territory in western Iraq in 2014 and continues to pose a terrorist threat. Antigovernment protests led to the resignation of Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi and the appointment of Mustafa al-Kadhimi as the new prime minister on April 9, 2020. Although early elections have been promised, the next election is scheduled for 2022. Iraq’s state-dominated economy is led by the oil sector, which provides approximately 85 percent of government revenue. The war against the Islamic State imposed a high cost on the economy, which has also been hindered by rampant corruption, sluggish oil prices, and war-related damage to infrastructure.
Iraq faces significant challenges in its recovery from the war against the Islamic State. More than two million people remain internally displaced and nearly nine million remain in need of humanitarian assistance following the nearly four-year-long war, and reconstruction is projected to cost at least $88 billion. In addition to reintegrating liberated Sunni communities into the political system, the new government must also deal with the demobilization and integration of powerful Shiite militias that formed during the fight against the Islamic State into the Iraqi security forces, as well as ongoing tensions with Kurdish groups pressing for greater autonomy in the north following a failed independence referendum in October 2017.
After leading an international coalition to regain territory taken by the Islamic State, the United States has an interest in preventing a resurgence of the militant group and supporting a stable government in Iraq. There remains a larger concern that the aftermath of the conflict and challenges of reconstruction and reintegration will lead to the breakup of Iraq. Iraq is made up of Shi’ite Muslims, Sunni Muslims, and Kurds as its major population segments. Sectarian tension has the likely potential to plague the region for years to come, possibly expanding into a proxy conflict among various international groups, such as Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the USA. Additionally, there are concerns that the Islamic State, having lost control of territory in Iraq and Syria, may revert to its insurgency roots and refocus on orchestrating terrorist attacks.
We may want to put Iraq in the rearview mirror, but apart from the USA taking an isolationist position in the world, it will not be able to dismiss this country for many years to come.
Iraq is pivotal for the stability of the region. The Iraqi people are intelligent, educated, and endowed with huge amounts of natural resources. Saddam Hussein thoroughly broke that country. It will take many years to heal, especially since it has become a contested territory for the Shi’ites, Sunnis, Kurds, and the Islamic State. Iran has a major vested interest in Iraq, as does Saudi Arabia. It is a tinderbox ready to be lit on fire at any minute.
Don’t allow yourself to be jerked around by the mainstream media as they yank us all about with the conflict dujour.
Become an artful reader. Pay attention to the nuances of not just one frame of reference, but of many writers. Read beyond the bounds of newspaper article titles and sound bites. Read outside your comfort zones. Discern the truth for yourself, by uncovering the disinformation campaigns that are designed to shape your worldview. If you do not believe that anybody is trying to shape your worldview, take a look at how serious a particular group is about making sure that you and your children are taught a fabricated form of their “truth” in the Critical Race Theory.
They will teach their absolute truth while denying that there even exists any kind of absolute truth. Do you see how easy it is to think critically about what is being written today? It is not even buried very deep, if you will just look, think, and apply your ability to reason to what you are consuming.
The Taliban Is Just as Bad as It Always Was… https://www.defenseone.com/ideas/2021/10/taliban-just-bad-it-always-was/186158/
SANCTIONS ON TALIBAN COMPOUND AFGHANISTAN’S HUMANITARIAN DIFFICULTIES… https://mailchi.mp/thesoufancenter/sanctions-on-taliban-compound-afghanistans-humanitarian-difficulties?e=47e9e33bef
For your comments or questions about any of our digests please feel free to write to me at: firstname.lastname@example.org