[Very good article analyzing the destruction of Iraq by the US and it's local allies. The Author is neither a former Baathist nor a Sunni Muslim for the record.]
by: Dirk Adriaensens
by: Dirk Adriaensens
Just days after the devastating attacks of 9/11, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz declared that a major focus of US foreign policy would be "ending states that sponsor terrorism." Iraq was labeled a "terrorist state" targeted for termination. President Bush went on to declare Iraq the major front of the global war on terror. US forces invaded the country illegally with the express aim of dismantling the Iraqi state. After World War II, the social sciences focused on state-building and development models. Little has been written about state destruction and de-development. We can now, after seven years of war and occupation, state for certain that state ending was a deliberate policy objective.
The consequences in human and cultural terms of the destruction of the Iraqi state have been enormous: notably the death of over 1.3 million civilians; the degradation in social infrastructure, including electricity, potable water and sewage systems; over eight million Iraqis are in need of humanitarian assistance; abject poverty: the UN Human rights report for the first quarter of 2007 found that 54 percent of Iraqis were living on less than $1 a day; the displacement of minimum 2.5 million refugees and 2,764,000 internally displaced people as to end 2009. One in six Iraqis is displaced. Ethnic and religious minorities are on the verge of extinction. UN-HABITAT, an agency of the United Nations, published a 218-page report entitled "State of the World's Cities, 2010-2011." Prior to the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, the percentage of the urban population living in slums in Iraq hovered just below 20 percent. Today, that percentage has risen to 53 percent: 11 million of the 19 million total urban dwellers.
Destroying Iraqi Education
Since 2007, bombings at Al Mustansiriya University in Baghdad have killed or maimed more than 335 students and staff members, according to a 19 October, 2009, New York Times article, and a 12-foot-high blast wall has been built around the campus. MNF-I, the Iraqi Army and Iraqi police units, occupied more than 70 school buildings for military purposes in the Diyala governorate alone, in clear violation of The Hague Conventions.
Eliminating the Iraqi Middle Class
Parallel to the destruction of Iraq's educational infrastructure, this repression has led to the mass forced displacement of the bulk of Iraq's educated middle class - the main engine of progress and development in modern states. Iraq's intellectual and technical class has been subject to a systematic and ongoing campaign of intimidation, abduction, extortion, random killings and targeted assassinations. The decimation of professional ranks took place in the context of a generalized assault on Iraq's professional middle class, including doctors, engineers, lawyers and judges as well as political and religious leaders. Roughly 40 percent of Iraq's middle class is believed to have fled by the end of 2006. Few have returned. Up to 75 percent of Iraq's doctors, pharmacists and nurses have left their jobs since the US-led invasion in 2003. More than half of those have emigrated. Twenty thousand of Iraq's 34,000 registered physicians left Iraq after the US invasion. As of April 2009, fewer than 2,000 returned, the same as the number who were killed during the course of the war.
To this date, there has been no systematic investigation of this phenomenon by the occupation authorities. Not a single arrest has been reported in regard to this terrorization of intellectuals. The inclination to treat this systematic assault on Iraqi professionals as somehow inconsequential is consistent with the occupation powers' more general role in the decapitation of Iraqi society.
It became clear after the invasion in 2003 that the Iraqi exile groups were to play an important role in the violent response to dissent in occupied Iraq. Already on January 1, 2004, it was reported that the US government planned to create paramilitary units comprised of militiamen from Iraqi Kurdish and exile groups, including the Badr brigades, the Iraqi National Congress and the Iraqi National Accord, to wage a campaign of terror and extrajudicial killing, similar to the Phoenix program in Vietnam: the terror and assassination campaign that killed tens of thousands of civilians.
The $87 billion supplemental appropriation for the war in November 2003 included $3 billion for a classified program, funds that would be used for the paramilitaries for the next three years. Over that period, the news from Iraq gradually came to be dominated by reports of death squads and ethnic cleansing, described in the press as "sectarian violence," that was used as the new central narrative of the war and the principal justification for continued occupation. Some of the violence may have been spontaneous, but there is overwhelming evidence that most of it was the result of the plans described by several American experts in December 2003.
Despite subsequent American efforts to distance US policy from the horrific results of this campaign, it was launched with the full support of conservative opinion makers in the USA, a Wall Street Journal editorial even declaring that, "The Kurds and the INC have excellent intelligence operations that we should allow them to exploit ... especially to conduct counterinsurgency in the Sunny Triangle."
In conclusion, the dirty war in Iraq continues. Even as President Barack Obama was announcing the end of combat in Iraq, US forces were still fighting alongside their Iraqi colleagues. The tasks of the 50,000 remaining US troops, 5,800 of them airmen, are "advising" and training the Iraqi Army, "providing security" and carrying out "counterterrorism" missions.