Analysis: The US Invasion in 2003 and Today's Crisis in Iraq

Manila Bulletin, June 16, 2014 | Go to article overview

Analysis: The US Invasion in 2003 and Today's Crisis in Iraq


Washington, DC, United States (AFP) The rise of Al-Qaeda-linked militants in Iraq can be traced to Americas invasion of the country more than a decade ago, as it left a power vacuum and unleashed sectarian bloodletting, experts said Friday. With television footage of Sunni extremists sweeping across Iraq this week, critics of former president George W. Bushs decision to invade in 2003 said the onslaught offered yet more proof of the wars disastrous fallout. Neoconservatives who backed Bushs decision touted the war as a way to build a model for democracy in the Middle East. Instead, it has fueled an explosive Sunni-Shiite divide that is still sending shockwaves through the region, experts said. For University of Michigan history professor Juan Cole, events in Iraq are an indictment of the George W. Bush administration, which falsely said it was going into Iraq because of a connection between Al-Qaeda and Baghdad. There was none, said Cole, an outspoken opponent of the invasion. But by occupying and weakening Iraq, the Bush administration ironically created conditions that allowed Al-Qaeda to take and hold territory in our own time, he wrote. Cole also blamed Iraqs troubles on the legacy of European imperial meddling from a century ago, sectarian-minded leaders in Baghdad and a US-trained Iraqi army that ran away from the militants. The late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was long painted as an arch-enemy by the United States, but more than ten years since US-led forces toppled his regime, his era appears relatively stable and innocuous compared to the virulent threats now engulfing Iraq and causing alarm in Washington. Saddams fall opened the door to an emboldened Iran extending its reach across the region, a Shiite-led government that has alienated Sunnis and helped give birth to Al-Qaeda linked extremists now entrenched in Iraq and Syria, analysts said. …

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