This medieval republic is suffering more now than it did under Saddam
AL ALARABI, For the Herald-Journal
Published April 8, 2007
It has been four years since the first shots were fired in the "shock and awe" war against Iraq. But the shocking truth is that Iraq is far worse off today than it was under Saddam Hussein in terms of economic development, stability, security and quality of life.
The recently published Brookings Institution Iraqi war index (www.brookings.edu/fp/
saban/iraq/index.pdf) catalogs the progress in Iraq in terms of security, U.S. troop involvement and quality of life. Category after category shows that Iraq is not only lagging behind its pre-war levels but that the slide is continuing downward.
Perhaps one would find so many moral arguments in favor of removing Saddam Hussein from power, and rightly so, however, according to a recently published U.N. report on the war in Iraq, more than 750,000 Iraqis were killed as a direct result of war, ethnic and religious violence. Moreover, there are more than 2 million Iraqi refugees in neighboring Syria
and Jordan in addition to 2 million more displaced inside Iraq, while 82 percent of Iraqis strongly oppose the presence of coalition troops, and 67 percent of Iraqis feel less secure because of U.S. occupation.
The United States has already spent more than $500 billion on this war, and this massive amount of money did not bring the level of security, quality of life, economic prosperity, education, health care and civil infrastructure to the pre-war level. What's even more shocking is that the "pre-war level" term refers to when Iraq, under Saddam Hussein, was languishing under brutal and suffocating sanctions.
Take, for example, some of the figures mentioned in the Brookings index: Of 34,000 doctors Iraq had before the war, 12,000 left the country, and 2,000 were murdered. And Baghdad residents get an average of only 5.7 hours of daily electricity compared to 16-24 hours of daily electricity before the war. Twenty-five percent of Iraqi children suffer from chronic malnutrition, and 40 percent of the professionals have left Iraq since the war began.
Sad to say, Iraq has become a medieval, intolerant republic of hatred and horror, ruled by anachronistic and cultist ayatollahs, and it has become a proving ground for terrorists of all kinds. Al-Qaida terrorists operate a daily horror show by killing innocent civilians, both Shias and Sunni. Shia death squads and terrorist groups such as the Mahdi Army and Badr Brigades rape Muslim women and destroy Muslim mosques.
Iraqi government troops and security forces also rape women and engage in kidnapping and murder of innocent civilians. The reason for the proliferation of terrorism in Iraq is that the United States supported a sectarian Shia rule instead of maintaining an Iraqi national identity that is not based on religious and ethnic background.
After the fog of war had subsided and Saddam's regime had collapsed, the Shia organizations descended upon Iraq (from Iran) like vandals looting the booty. And being Iranian financed, they sooner or later will turn their guns against the U.S. troops, if the United States engages Iran in some kind of military operation.
Reconciliation and rebuilding a democratic Iraq were nowhere on the minds of those organizations and their private terrorist militias when they took over the country. Judging by their performance in the past three years, revenge and blood was their mantra. The sending of more American soldiers into harm's way will support an Iraqi government that sees itself as strictly a cultist Shia government beholden only to Iran next door.
On Dec. 12, 1983, terrorists bombed the U.S. and French embassies, along with other facilities, in Kuwait City. Seventeen people were arrested, and as it turned out, they were from an Iraqi Shia terrorist group called Al-Dawa that bombed the U.S. embassy on behalf of Iran, which was at war with Iraq, a U.S. ally at the time. The Al-Dawa Shia party is the current Iraqi prime minister Nouri Maliki's ruling party in power in Iraq today.
Recent U.S. news reports uncovered that one of those terrorists convicted in that bombing is a current member of the Iraqi parliament.
It doesn't stop there. Other Shia groups, such as the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), headed by Abdel Aziz-Al Hakim, were financed by Iran and their militias trained and equipped by Iran.
Muqtada Sadr's Mahdi Army is another Shia terrorist group that has killed Arabs, Muslims and Christians and bombed mosques. These actions serve the narrow sectarian Shia interests and eventually the interests of their paymasters in Tehran.
Millions of other Iraqis can barely make ends meet, while their leaders loot the riches of their country. What needs to be done in Iraq today is for the U.S. government to stop the ongoing process of transforming Iraq into Iran's banana republic, or the "Iranification of Iraq," and thus force the Iraqi Shia leadership to dissolve its own militias and terrorists groups and rebuild Iraq for all Iraqis -- Arabs and Kurds, Muslims and Christians.
Ali Alarabi writes frequently on Middle East issues and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org