I’m not a privileged insider when it comes to Trump’s foreign policy in the Middle East. As I watch the mess in Syria and Iraq unfold following the defeat of ISIS, Baghdad and Washington are in talks on how to deal with tens of thousands of ISIS fighters and their families. Iraq is seeking a multibillion-dollar fee to receive the remnants of the Daesh terror group.
A few days ago, I had an Iraqi friend from Basra visit me at home and we talked about events currently taking place as well as what has happened during his lifetime.
For 40 years we have witnessed carnage that started with the Iran/Iraq war that took place in the 1980s. Over one million died during this senseless conflict during which the West sided with Saddam Hussain, but even with this help in the end there were no winners.
In the early 1990s Saddam Hussain decided that the marsh Arabs around Basra had to be eliminated and through destruction of villages and draining of the marshes thousands of people had their lives permanently changed for the worst with tens of thousands of deaths.
Also, in the early 1990s we had the first Gulf War. Although the war was mostly focused on freeing Kuwait the people of Southern Iraq were caught up in this conflict due to the spill over as the Iraqi forces retreated northwards.
Then we had the big one in 2003 with the launch of Iraqi Freedom which has continued in various formats until today. Casualties on all sides have been substantial and the Iraq of today is a broken society from political and infrastructure perspectives as well as from a human suffering view point.
Then we had the Arab Spring and the collapse of Syria with the resultant knock on effect on a broken Iraq. Internally Iraq was incapable of dealing with the consequences and resulted in the country moving further down the path of chaos and death.
The fallout from the Arab Spring has resulted in the growth of ISIS which like events previously has heaped more death and misery on the Iraqi population who had the misfortune to remain in this broken and dysfunctional country.
Today we are all waiting to see what is going to happen next.
Putin, Erdogan, Trump and Iran are all involved in one shape or another with the EU and the UN also in the background.
So, after almost 40 years we have heaped misery upon misery on the Iraqi people. My friend was asking me what does he do. He has three smart teenage children but what future do they have? He told me that nobody wants Iraqis and to stay in Iraq is to stay in hell.
Trump recently announced withdrawal of US and Western troops which will not result in the demise of terrorism. The US invasion of Iraq created an enduring Sunni insurgency, as a response to the occupation of the Sunni areas by both US troops and the occupation by the Baghdad Shia government empowered by the US.
The suicide terrorism currently employed across the country is a consequence of both occupations and will continue.
The 2003 Iraq invasion created enduring terrorism that will continue until Iraq’s Sunnis have genuine political, economic and social self-determination—the tragic price of folly in March 2003.