THIRD 2 states in a different coherent manner.In the

 

THIRD REFLECTION PAPER on 2003 INVASION
of IRAQ

One of the most striking events of
the 21st century was 2003 invasion of Iraq.This invasion is a crucial turning
point in history to understand wars taken place in the Middle East and the
current chaos in the region.In this reflection paper, I would like to touch on
the policies during the years of Clinton and younger Bush, later on reasons and
consequences of the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

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Policies

With the beginning of 20th century,
Britain and France were willing to shape the Middle East and during the
post-Cold War era, the US was much more active on this issue.During the Cold
War, the US policy was explained as supporting the development of Israel and
securing Israel from Iraq and Iran, blocking the Soviet influence to the region
and having access to the countries who had rich oil resources and controlling
the energy routes.When we take a look at younger Bush term, he was giving less
importance on Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, but he was governing the US to be
the world’s single hegemony in a machiavellian perspective and the US had never
been that much offensive in history before.

During Clinton years the US
developed a dual containment policy to basically face the threat of Iraq and
Iran in the Middle East.The policy was set for both 2 states in a different
coherent manner.In the past the policy was adapted to play one state off
against another, however, it didn’t provide the expected result and the
relative power between the states in the region became greater.Even it
contributed to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990. 

Based on dual containment policy,
the US tried to isolate Iran through economic sanctions, because Iran was
becoming a significant region player and if Iran could use the money gained
from energy, then Iran could use this money to buy more complicated weapons.For
instance, American companies were banned from getting in a trade and investment
relations with Iran, in 1996 the US implemented a limitation rule for any
foreign companies not to invest more than $20 million in Iran1.
However European companies didn’t care about this limitation and American
companies were not happy about it, they lobbied for the change of the policy.

The dual containment was not a
well-contemplated strategy, especially the strategy on Iraq. Because the military
attacks on Iraq shaped the Arab countries notion as the US was unilaterally
using hard power against an Arab country, and the US even a little didn’t care
about Israel’s violating actions of the peace with Palestine.Furthermore, the
US actions and attitudes toward Iraq deeply changed the social atmosphere of
the country and citizens.Elegant Iraqi middle class was now in poverty and the
rate of unemployment, crime and prostitution dramatically raised.

Previously Clinton had emphasized
the importance of a peaceful world and justice, but from that point on Bush
erased any single obstacle on using military power.And the enemy of the US was
substituted from developed countries to terrorists and bandits.Looking at the
fact on Laden’s side, he was right that his attack on the US was responded by
military action and this military action could deteriorate the image of the US
in Arab states’ minds.At the same time, he found the chance to call all the
Muslims for jihad, this way Al-Qaida could receive more partizans.

 

Reasons

The symbol triggering event of 2003
invasion was the attacks of September 11 on Pentagon and World Trade
Centre.These terrorist attacks were influential on the quick change of American
policy, however they were actually not the main reasons.After these attacks,
the US was in an insecure and vulnerable position against terrorism, and
unilaterally declared war against terrorism with an attack-oriented
ambition.Iraq was on target due to its support for terrorist organizations and
also it was one of the states that consisted evil axis with North Korea and
Iran.

Saddam Huseyn was a notorious dictator
for 35 years and he was the central threat to the peace in the Middle
East.Moreover, Iraqi people did not like him, this situation also tempted the
US attention to start the operation from Iraq.Saddam was part of the Sunni
minority and suppressed the majority.At the same time, the US was seeking to
intimidate rival authoritarian regimes, especially Iran and Syria.Maybe after
Iraq’s successful operation, there would not be any necessity to keep on
military operations to other authoritarian regimes.

After the attempt of Saddam to
invade Kuwait in 1990, Iraq was a fear for the US with the possibility of
causing a threat one more time to the interests of America in the Gulf.The US
always insisted on the so-called claim that Iraq still had undiscovered  stores of mass destruction, and putting
sanctions was the only way to prevent Iraq from building more weapons.There was
a lack of the system for obtaining accurate information in Iraq, so it was very
easy for Bush government to manipulate and exaggerate anything related to the
area as they demanded, this way Bush government could pave the way for an
invasion.

Just after the war, during an
interview in the magazine Vanity Fair Paul Wolfowitz admitted that alleged
weapons of mass destruction (WMD) were politically the most convenient
justification to invade Iraq and he added that everybody could agree on that
point2.
And considering the term just before the war, a perception operation was
conducted perfectly.This proves that purpose of the US does During the war, not relate to
getting rid of the WMD which could pose serious threats to humanity.

The term of preemptive military
action first time in history was coined by the US and the aim was proving the
success of this new term.It was created because there was no clear evidence
connected Iraq to the attacks of September 11.This new policy was based on
taking actions against any likely threat in the international system just
before the likely-threat causing side poses any damage to anyone.However, there
was no acceptable point of that, because this could be used to abuse the right
of taking military action and also it was already against Nuremberg War Court
as being the side to start a war.And the US was explaining that the preventive
attack will be used for the sake and security of the whole world, this was the
US’s struggle to convince the world on the preventive attack to be used in a
legitimate way.

The justifications of the US were
on 2 points.First of all Iraq was possessing weapons of mass destruction and
those weapons could be handed to terrorist organizations; secondly, the regime
of Iraq need to change and Iraqi people should achieve a stable life with
democratic freedom.And we know that the most important and concealed reason for
the US was that Iraq was possessing one of the world’s largest oil reserves.

            In 1980, the
war between Iraq and Iran happened and it totally took 8 years.During the war,
one million people died.Furthermore during the war Weapons of Mass
Destruction(poison gas) were used on regular bases by both sides.However,
Saddam was not satisfied and in 1990 he attempted to invade Kuwait.Actually
invading Kuwait meant that grabbing the 19% of the world’s oil supply3.So
this was directly endangering the interests of the US.After being defeated by
the US-led coalition, he was still believing to defeat the US in the second
round.

            There had
been many resolutions enacted by the UN for Iraq between the years of 1990 and
1999.They were basically about destroying ballistic missiles with a range
greater than 150 km, bearing financial liability for damage from the Gulf War
and stopping support for terrorism.But Saddam did not care about these
resolutions in a defying manner.

 

Consequences

Looking at the consequences of the
war, was the real purpose of the war alleged by the US to bring peace, justice
and freedom to Iraq achieved by the US? Definitely no, there are now exactly
opposites of these positive virtues such as blood, misery, chaos, ethnic
conflict, sectarian partition in Iraq.All the cities were ransacked after the
war.Baghdad is not one of the biggest culture centers of Islamic World
anymore.Furthermore, the death toll of the war is incalculable due to the
anarchic situation.However, regarding the years between 2003 to 2008, we can
state this number as approximately 90,000 deaths for Iraqi side4.

Just after the beginning of the
war, with the substitution of power from Sunni to Shia, unsurprisingly a Sunni
rebel began and terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda trickled into Iraq.Terrorist groups
and local groups fought the US troops, later on this fight turned into a bloody
civil war in 2006.Ironically, the priority of the US to eliminate the terrorism
in the area has resulted in an exact contrariety, now Iraq is a perfect
training ground for terrorism.

The US soldiers successfully
crushed the Islamist terror in Iraq, but it returned with a new vengeance in
the form of a new terrorist organization..The invasion of Iraq indirectly paved
the way for the establishment of ISIS, and we know that this terrorist
organization was so powerful to take control of the big chunk of Iraq in
2014.The complicated conflict between Shia and Sunni was even so different on
the support of terrorist organizations.For example, Saudi Arabia used to
support the Islamic state.

In 2010, the Middle East countries
were shaken by the Arab Spring, the whole situation in the area was changed.In
Syria, dictator Bashar al-Assad struggled not to resign from his position and
another bloody civil war started in the country.ISIS also participated in the
chaos in the country to construct an Islamic state both in Syria and Iraq.After
war, ISIS brutally exploited the security vacuum, and carried out many
massacres against civilians, suicide bombings, hostage takings, executions and
beheadings.I really wonder is there anyone from the US or the UK feel the liability
of all these massacres, blood.What a pity, there is no attempt or real plan of
the US or any other ally to rebuild the country they have broken.

On the notion of Saddam Husayn
representing a threat to world peace, there was a contradiction between NATO
allies.France and Germany were not on the same line with the US, so this led
the US to act unilaterally.The world protested the US’s maverick actions and
all the sympathy achieved after September 11 attacks for the US was now melted
away.Therefore this invasion helped the US to lose its charisma and charm in
the world.

This invasion was a massive show of
American power, and in the end, the US achieved to topple Saddam Hussein from
his position, even he was hanged, but killing him did not bring order and peace
to Iraq.The expectation of the US on Iraqi people to adopt a Washington
centered political life and change their lifestyle were also responded by a
huge devastation.

After the Iraq War, there has been
an ongoing conflict and tension in the area due to the change in the political
atmosphere. There are many ethnical and denominational groups in the region so
it is not likely to set stability in the area and this situation definitely
harms the interests of any other countries to Iraq, especially the US.

One of the biggest issues that
shaped the political situation of the country was sectarianism.The argument
between Shia and Sunni goes back 1400 years, but the invasion of 2003
contributed to the argument by redefining and supercharging it.The fragile
peace between Sunnis and Shia fell apart. Although before the invasion the
Sunni Arabs were dominant in the country, they were excluded from the policy
after the invasion of the US. I do not believe that the partition of the
country in terms of sects and ethnicity was a destiny, it seems like it was a
plan that we can see in the policy of the coalition powers in Iraq.

In the aftermath of the war, there
had been attacks in the West, especially in Britain.On the 7th of
July 2005, terrorists organized bombings in London.This action resulted in many
deaths and casualties.It was understood that the explosives used in London were
brought from Iraq5.We
can say that the invasion of Iraq also triggered Islamic organizations to
target Western countries to take revenge of the invasion.

To evaluate the Iraq War’s consequences, looking
at the interview of Kadhim Sharif Hassan
Al-Jabbouri with BBC6 is really to the point, it brings everything to light.He says that
he was one of the people that were toppling the statue of
Saddam Huseyn, and he was really eager to take the revenge of everything that
Saddam did.But considering Iraq’s recent condition, the US and UK destroyed the
country and took Iraq back to zero points like the middle ages.Now he is so
furious that he says he could kill Blair and Bush for all the lies.He accepts
that Saddam was not a good leader, but at least at that time there was only one
Saddam, however now there are several.In my opinion, there is a lot for others
to take lessons from this example, especially for Turkey.On this point, my aim
is definitely not to do politics here, but we may consider the attempted coup
d’etat in 2016 as a different kind of invasion attempt.Although a remarkable
ratio of people in Turkey are not rightfully satisfied with the policy of the
current government, it looks like it is better to choose the lesser evil one
for now.

Regarding Turkey, Iraq War caused
serious crises with the US due to March 1st Memorandum and the Hood
Event.Turkey supported Iraq’s integrity and opposed the American invasion.On
the other hand, opposing the US won the hearts of Arab countries, especially
Iraq’s.

To sum up, Iraq War is an historic
disaster and mistake.Carrying out such an invasion at the beginning of the 21st
century costed the US economic burden, many casualties and internationally loss
of reputation etc..At the end of the operation, almost none of the stated
reasons and aims to do the operation were achieved.Nowadays such kind of
unilateral and offensive actions can’t be taken anymore.Globalisation and
gradually increasing dependency between states do not let the states to act
like that.On the other side, the cost of such military actions is not favorable
comparing to the benefits achieved in the end.

   

           

           

 

 

 

 

 

1 CLEVELAND William and BUNTON Martin, A History of the Modern Middle East, Westview,
2009, Page 559

2 ABRAM Irwin and GANGWU Wang,  Iraq War and Its Consequences, World
Scientific, 2003, Page 357

3 ROBERTS Andrew, Why America Invaded Iraq?, Page 1

4 BASSIL Youssef, The 2003 Iraq War:
Operations, Causes, and Consequences, X. ASSESSMENTS OF THE WAR ON THE IRAQIS,
Page 37

5 BASSIL Youssef, The 2003 Iraq War:
Operations, Causes, and Consequences, X. ASSESSMENTS OF THE WAR ON THE IRAQIS,
Page 39

6 BBC interview with Kadhim
Sharif Hassan Al-Jabbouri, “I toppled Saddam’s statue, now I want him
back”, 05 July 2016