31 March 2010
IRAQ REFLECTION: Iraq, After Seven Years of War
By Peggy Gish
After seven years of war, Iraqis live with:
- A society (other than the semi-autonomous northern Kurdish region) broken from the invasion and occupation, with the loss of civil society, and the deterioration of trust and cohesion necessary for a peaceful society. There has been some reconstruction, but most infrastructure remains un-repaired. There is still contaminated water, an average of four to six hours a day of electricity, and inadequate medical care.
- Violence, killing and torture still the norm in the northern Iraqi Kurdish region because the US, supplied and supported Saddam during the Anfal campaign (genocide against the Kurds).
- Deaths of an estimated million Iraqi civilians since 2003. (Sept. 2007 poll by British polling agency, ORB)
- Continued economic crisis. Sixty-percent of the families rely on the food rations, which have been reduced. Unemployment is over 50%. Prices of food and fuel have increased, but not wages.
- Iraqis in control of prisons and “security” but with many innocent detainees forced, through
torture, to confess to acts of terror they did not commit. Iraqis often feel terrorized by Special Forces. Many Iraqis say that the ways of Saddam continue.
- Continued widespread anger and despair about the conditions of their lives.
- Decreased violence on the streets in central and southern Iraq, but without the deeper problems
being resolved. Iraqis still live in daily fear of kidnapping or other violence. Many say the groups doing greater acts of terror have moved to areas such as Mosul and Baqubah where higher rates of violence continue.
- Women subjected to increased violence and loss of personal rights and freedoms.
- Children growing up seeing violence and killing as the norm.
- A country polluted with radioactive depleted uranium from U.S. weaponry used in the 1991 and 2003 wars with Iraq, resulting in increased cancers and birth defects.
- A ratified constitution and current elections, but a government plagued with power struggles. Kurds in Kirkuk and other northern disputed areas are afraid of civil war between Arabs and Kurds.
- U.S. government still giving military intelligence to Turkish military planes to fly over Iraqi airspace and bomb civilians in villages along Iraq’s northern borders, turning a blind eye to Turkish attempts to destabilize the Kurdish region, while using the actions of the armed resistance group, the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) as their excuse. Turkish bombing and Iranian shelling across the borders cause destruction of hundreds of villages and displacement and disruption of thousands of residents’ lives.
- An estimated 4.5 million Iraqis having fled their homes to other countries or as displaced persons in their own country, because of the hardship and dangers.
Though Iraqis suffered from brutal policies of Saddam’s regime and US and UK interventionist policies before 2003, words cannot express the anguish that the Iraqi people have experienced in these last seven years of the continued war. Occupying forces have exacerbated ethnic conflicts and oppressive political forces in their country that will continue to cause suffering and hardship for generations.