Ten years have passed since the occupation of Iraq, over which time the face of the Middle East has changed. Equations have shifted; due to the occupation and its strategic fallout, the map of regional and even global powers has been redrawn.
The Iraqis and Arabs commemorating the 10th anniversary of the war that U.S. neoconservatives waged against Iraq in 2003, ending in the capital on April 7 of that year, will find naught but memories of death, fire, devastation, the violation of Mesopotamia and the destruction of a noble Arab country that was a fundamental axis of the region’s stability — all of this under clamorous, misleading allegations such as weapons of mass destruction and the endeavor to spread democracy in the region.
On the 10th anniversary of the occupation of Iraq, the “democratic” U.S. President Barack Obama is visiting the region where Iraq is located, whose occupation and the resulting woes and fallout contributed to the rise of Obama and the Democrats’ star. It helped them make it into the White House in 2008, as the catastrophic effects of the occupation in Iraq became apparent. Obama will not be able to visit Baghdad as part of an announced and previously arranged tour due to the fact that since its occupation, and in spite of its transformation into an American barracks armed to the teeth with war planes, soldiers and weaponry, the U.S. president and his higher officials cannot visit Baghdad except in complete secrecy and for only a few hours under the cover of darkness.
Today, U.S. policy is no long able to argue or claim that its war in Iraq achieved any of its declared goals. Iraqis, instead of enjoying the blessings of promised democracy, have been drowned in a brutal sectarian war that struck a profound blow to Iraq’s national and social fabric. Hundreds of thousands of them have fallen victim to the hostile policy of the United States, while millions have been driven away to all regions of the world and their scholars and intellectuals have been killed.
After 10 years of occupation and bloodshed, everyone agrees that the United States also ended up a loser in this bloody war. Iraq has become a vital strategic extension of Iran, which is thus competing with U.S. influence itself.
The occupation of Iraq has become the most prominent historical event in the Middle East in the last six decades, similar to the prominence the occupation of Palestine and the establishment of the Zionist entity in 1948 and then the setback of June 1967. Perhaps the strategic changes that the Arab Spring has brought in the past two years are just what give similar strategic importance to the occupation of Iraq.
Obama’s visit to the region, at the same time as the commemoration of the 10th anniversary of Baghdad’s occupation, is an opportunity to remind the U.S. president that a decade ago his superpower country committed a great crime against the people of this region. This crime added to previous crimes, which were typified by the boundless strategic support for the Israeli occupation and its continued hostility against the Arab nation and the Palestinian people.
We are not betting much on Obama’s visit or his comprehension of the size of the suffering and injustice that has beset the Iraqis and Arabs in this region of the world. However, we are at least hopeful that he comprehends the size of the misfortunes and damage to U.S. interests brought by the occupation of Iraq on the one hand and by the continuation of unlimited U.S. support of Israeli policy — and of Israel’s scorning of all international legal resolutions — on the other.