It was 2003 when President George W.Bush declared a war on the Saddam Hussein led Iraq. The war from the beginning to almost a decade was a major mess due to the intransigence of the American regarding the Arab culture. However one of the main objectives of the President Obama in his first term was to get the American soldiers out of the Iraqi soil, safe and sound. The world media which bombarded the entire population of the earth during those days with news from the beleaguered country moved on to safer pastures and the whole war was very quickly forgotten.
AlJazeera the effervescent Arab channel did an excellent followup on what is happening in Iraq now by conducting a road trip across the country through all the Kurd, Shia and Sunni areas. The documentary was an eye opener and can be viewed here.
Iraq has always been a difficult country due to its diverse, ethnic and contradictory mixture of three major sects, the Shias, Sunnis and Kurds and their infinite subdivisions. Americans when they attacked the country in 2003 wasn’t prepared for the aftermath of the post Saddam era, were in for a greater surprise as the sectarian rifts exploded into the public. The presence of the US led foreign forces and the clash of agendas and ideologies ensued that Iraq became a collateral colossal mess. The cradle of civilization now became the carcass of the 21st century.
People say Iraq under Saddam Hussein was much better as the basic amenities of life was taken care of then. He ruled Iraq with a cruel fist and he was by no means a benevolent Sunni ruler. He ensured his caste was treated well and subjugated the Shia and Kurd faction with atrocious brutality. He also turned back on his Sunni allies by attacking and ransacking one of them-Kuwait. Getting rid of him was quick, but the scars of his decades old misrule triggered a chain reaction of worst sectarian strife that nearly consumed Iraq.
Iraq today is in a point of no return. I can see it is very difficult for the country to stay together as one. The reasons stem from unresolved issues from the time Ottoman empire was shredded into pieces by the colonial powers and mapped for administrative convenience showing total disdain for the ethnic and cultural differences among people.
What is the way forward? I believe it is autonomy. Iraq needs to be split into a federal structure of autonomous provinces like Canada by giving due concern to the various ethnic divisions among the Iraqi people. The enormous oil wealth needs to be developed and the benefits used for the benefit of the entire Iraqi population. People needs to be put to work, roads need to be built, the militia needs to be disarmed and the country needs to find its lost awakening.
Iraq is a country blessed with a highly talented work pool. During the beginning years of Saddam Hussein’s rule, he was so good that in the late 70s, UN awarded him the award for the best administrator. Railways were built, roads and all the infrastructure that is seen today was built in the 70s. It is a pity that the wars in 80s, 90s and 2000s reduced it into a heap of rubble.
The story of Iraq is one of unimaginable tragedy. A country that looked so promising in the 70s fell like a pack of cards, totally destroyed and decimated. Will it return is going to be the question for the 21st century ?
Image courtesy: http://cdn.cyberpunx.com/g3/c7c2d5d0aa17686d2ed0e4223ed05a75/rs/War-Chaos-Propoganda/iraq-misc/future.jpg?m=1322778931