Tim Black in Spiked:
On 1 May this year, it will be exactly 11 years since the then US president, George W Bush stood on board the USS Abraham Lincoln and said of the US-led invasion of Iraq, ‘mission accomplished’. It was not exactly the most accurate statement, even by Bush junior’s standards. Despite the coalition troops having officially departed Iraq at the end of 2011, the mission, such as it was – and is – remains steadfastly unaccomplished. The insurgence is still surging, and Iraq’s government, led by the divisive prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, is still begging the US for military help, a request to which President Obama relented a few weeks ago when he agreed to send over missiles and drones.
In fact, the situation in Iraq, a country supposedly liberated over a decade ago, looks to be deteriorating, not improving. The infrastructural basics, from healthcare to public sewerage, are still in a parlous state. The Shia-dominated government, seemingly set against Iraq’s minority Sunni population, appears to be as illegitimate as ever. And according to IraqBodyCount.org, the number of civilians killed last year as a result of the continued insurgency – about 9,000 – makes 2013 the deadliest year since 2008.
In a grisly irony, given the ‘war on terror’ rationale for much of recent Western interventionism, it now seems that the principal beneficiaries of the US-driven destruction of Saddam Hussein’s tinpot tyranny, beginning with the brutal UN sanctions regime imposed on Iraq in the 1990s and culminating in the 2003 invasion, have not been ordinary Iraqis, but a range of al-Qaeda spin-offs and affiliates, backed by various Middle Eastern states jostling for position in Iraq.