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IRAQI SPAT HOOD IN POST AGGRESSION ENVIRONMENT
The ancient civilization Iraq, officially the Republic of Iraq (Al Jumhuriyah-Al-Iraqia in Arabic), is a country in south-western Asia. This great civilization had been humiliated and devastated by the invasion of many, and recently the United States-led coalition forces. The Second Gulf War popularly known as “The Iraq War” took place from 20 March to 08 April 2003. The war itself may be regarded as a sequel to the First Gulf War fought in 1991. Americans named the war “Operation Iraqi Freedom, (OIF)”. Military action led by the United States against the regime of Saddam Hussein, the authoritarian leader of Iraq. Announcing the beginning of the war, United States President George W Bush explained that the goals were to “Disarm Iraq to free its people.” Though President Bush declared on 01 May 2003 that the major combat operations in Iraq had been over, yet many would argue that the war in Iraq has not ended. It is more evident when the coalition forces are engaged in fierce guerrillas who all are effectively applying the hit and run tactics and casualties on United States soldiers are on the rise.
The Coalition Forces (CF) invaded Iraq in total defiance of international opinion. There had been a wide-ranging scepticism about the United States’s case for initiating this war. The coalition gained a military victory against a nation that had been suffering due to United Nation’s imposed sanctions for the last 12 years. The military outcome in Iraq War was never in doubt, yet any success seems widely premature for several reasons. Even in Iraq it is not at all clear at this point whether the sequel to warfare will be a smooth transition to a peaceful and democratic Iraq or a descent into civil war. This invention led to many desired and undesired outcomes. It is certain that the war in Iraq and the post-war situation have wide ranging effects on the country’s future. After the national election, now it is the probable time for United States forces to withdraw. But still the Iraqi Army, National Guard and Police could not act very effectively.
After the election now situation of Iraq has got a new dimension. Political and military events though are inseparable in war; this paper will highlight the pre war Iraq, future prospects and possibilities of Iraq after the departure of collation force.
The aim of this paper is to analyze the pre war situation of Iraq and the likely future conditions after withdrawal of United States forces.
AN ACCOUNT OF PRE WAR IRAQ
About 75 percent of the population of Iraq is Arab. Kurds, dwelling in the highlands of northern Iraq, constitute 15 to 20 percent of the population. Smaller groups include Turkmen’s, Jews, Armenians, and Assyrians. Arabic is the official language of Iraq and is spoken by the majority of the population. The Kurds speak Kurdish. Armenian and Assyrian are spoken in rural areas in the north and west. Iraq is a pilgrimage site for Shia Muslims. Muslims make up 96 percent of Iraq’s population. About 60 to 65 percent of the Muslims adhere to the Shia branch, and the rest adhere to the Sunni branch. The Shias live mostly in central and southern Iraq, and the Sunnis live principally in the north. Most of the Kurds are Sunnis. Several of the holy cities of the Shias, notably An Najaf and KarbalÄ’, are situated in Iraq.
The modern Iraqi economy has been largely based on petroleum. Most of the few large manufacturing industries have to do with oil. During Hussein’s rule the Iraqi economy was adversely affected by four major factors: the war with Iran during the 1980s, an international oil glut in the 1980s and 1990s, the economic sanctions imposed by the United Nations (UN) after the invasion of Kuwait in 1990, and the Persian Gulf War in 1991. The combined effect of all these factors was the destruction of Iraq’s basic infrastructure (roads, bridges, power grids, and the like) and the country’s financial bankruptcy.
The UN sanctions created widespread unemployment, skyrocketing inflation, and severe shortages of previously imported commodities, including medicine, medical equipment, animal vaccines, farm machinery, electricity-generating equipment, and water purification supplies. As a result of these shortages and the damage done to water and sewage treatment systems during the war, the incidence of disease and malnutrition rose sharply.
The leading political organization in Iraq under Saddam Hussein was the Arab Baath Socialist Party, which bases its policies on pan-Arab and socialist principles. Other political groups include the Iraqi Communist Party (ICP), the KurdistÄn Democratic Party (KDP), The United Iraqi Alliance, the Patriotic Union of KurdistÄn (PUK), and a few other Kurdish parties. The two most important Shia opposition parties are the Da‘wa Islamic Party and the Supreme Assembly of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SAIRI). Until Hussein’s overthrow, all these opposition parties were illegal outside the Kurdish autonomous region. Following the US invasion, another political group, the Iraqi National Congress led by Ahmad Chalabi, emerged as an important political force. The Baath Party remained a legal and open party. However, the US administrator for Iraq banned some high-level Baath Party members from employment in the public sector.
STRATEGY OF UNITED STATES AND COALITION AGGRESSION
By early March 2003 it became clear that the administration of US president George W Bush was intent on military action against Iraq. The Bush administration asserted that Iraq possessed chemical weapons, had accelerated its program to make biological weapons, and was actively seeking materials to make nuclear weapons. The US administration feared that Hussein could provide weapons of mass destruction to terrorist groups for use against the United States.
In subsequent speeches and reports President Bush and his administration made the case for preemptive military action to avoid such a potential threat. “If we wait for threats to fully materialize, we will have waited too long,” President Bush said in June 2002. To make the case for military action against Iraq in his January 2002 State of the Union speech in which he identified Iraq as a member of an “axis of evil” threatening global security.In his January 2003 State of the Union address, President Bush cited reports that Hussein had attempted to buy “significant quantities of uranium from Africa” as well as special aluminum tubes in order to produce nuclear weapons. Bush administration officials also asserted that the establishment of a new, democratic government in Iraq could pave the way for peace in the Middle East and the spread of democracy among Arab nations.
The war began on 20 March. The invasion of Iraq, dubbed Operation Iraqi Freedom by the White House, was led by General Tommy Franks, then head of the US Central Command. The coalition force consisted of a U.S. force that initially numbered about 200,000 personnel (eventually expanding to 290,000), as well as about 50,000 British personnel, about 2,000 Australian troops, and about 200 Polish soldiers.The U.S. military made much greater use of precise, high-tech weaponry than in the Persian Gulf War. In 2003 coalition force used satellite-guided bombs and advanced drones (unmanned aerial vehicles) for reconnaissance.
In early April the US force, its supply lines secured, moved in on Baghdad. On 4 April 2003 Army forces seized Saddam International Airport, west of the city, and renamed it Baghdad International Airport. On 5 April a battalion from the 2nd Brigade of the 3rd Infantry Division drove through Baghdad in a raid. More than 1,000 Iraqis were reported killed during the operation, according to a US estimate. On 7 April 2003 the 2nd Brigade attacked into central Baghdad. The same day, US B-1 bombers dropped four 900-kg (2,000-lb) bombs on a building in western Baghdad where Hussein was believed to be hiding. Nevertheless, Hussein’s grip on power was gone. US Marines arrived in Baghdad on 9 April 2003 and helped Iraqi civilians tear down a massive statue of Saddam Hussein that towered over a major city square. Within a few days Marines captured Tikrit, a city north of Baghdad and Hussein’s ancestral home, with little struggle. President Bush declared an end to combat operations on 1 May 2003. Nevertheless, the guerrilla war against the coalition occupation continued till today.
IRAQI RESISTANCE WAR
Insurgents have killed at least 29 US and six British military personnel since the US President, George Bush, declared an “End to combat operations” in Iraq on May 1. The violence has been concentrated in Baghdad and the so-called Sunni triangle west and north of the capital, an area inhabited mainly by Saddam Hussein’s fellow Sunni Arabs, a minority in Iraq. Attacks under cover of crowds are less risky for the assailant. The only defence against them is maintaining strict separation between coalition troops and the civilian population – apparently one of the insurgents’ aims. The Iraqi resistance to US occupation is growing, as is its support among ordinary Iraqis.
Iraq’s interim government recently admitted that the insurgency involves at least 40,000 “hardcore fighters” and up to 200,000 active sympathizers–a far cry from the isolated 5,000 “Baathist remnants” and “foreign fighters” the Pentagon initially claimed to be fighting. They are effectively using the hit and run tactics on the coalition force.
At the beginning of 2005 after 50 years, 30 January 2005 general election took place. In this election Shia supported United Iraqi Alliances earn the majority and form the first democratic government. The Kurdish Leader Jalal Talebani elected as President and Shia leader Ibrahim Al Jaffrai nominated as Prime minister. After that the government fails to ensure the national unity. Ruther government ignites the conflict. In the proposed constitution government neglect the interest of Sunni Muslim. After a long debate 28 August 2005 government signed the draft constitution and arranges the general election on this constitution. In that election within the 18 provinces government won in 15 provinces and lost in resttree. With this result the Sunni could not change the constriction. The Shia –Sunni conflict increase in this volatile situation.
International Opinions. US and British officials repeatedly warned Iraq’s political parties that in a democratic election there are winner and looser. Same time they hope that Iraqi leader set up a coalition government to help the undermine Sunni support for the insurgency. Now to bring them in the same platform the government have to keep the interest of the Sunni.
Presently in Iraq Shia and Sunni conflict turn into a worst situation. At 21 February 2006 there was a big boom explosion in Shia mosque AL Aksari in Samara city. It starts the riot in Bagdad. In whole country at least 90 Sunni mosques was attacked by Sunnis. After this incident there is a possibility of civil war. The main political party of Sunni complains that at least 50 mosques in Bagdad city were attacked by Shia. Iraqi president Jalal Talebani asks all to face the situation together and stop the risk of civil war. A month after the general election, political parties are still waiting for results and are jockeying for position ahead of the start of serious bargaining on the make up of the country’s first full time government since the fall of Saddam Hussein. Initial indications showed that Iraq’s Shiite(A branch of Shia Muslim) majority come out on top in the 15 December’s vote but final results dew in the coming days, have been delayed by a probe into complaints by Sunni backed and secular party of ballot rigging. Recently the Iraqi parties started negotiation on a national unity government after rebels launched concentred attack in western Iraq to coincide with the release of election result. The election were marked by voting along ethnic and sectarian lines with the shia religious based United Iraqi Alliance, which includes prime minister Ibrahim Jaafari’s DawaParty and Abdul Aziz Hakim’s Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, winning 128 of parliament’s 275 states.
Following the US – Iraq War of 2003, the US spent billions of dollars to revive Iraq’s oil industry. By March 2004 Iraq was producing about 2.5 million barrels of oil per day, nearly as much as it produced prior to the 2003 war. The US expenditures were also aimed at restoring and upgrading Iraq’s oil fields and refineries. Much of the work was contracted to U.S. and other foreign oil companies, under the supervision of the US civil administrator.
After the aggression of coalition force now Iraqi’s are facing the hard strike of poverty. A resent study by the United Nation Development Programme and international Monetary Fund shows that 20 percent of the population has followen below the international poverty line of one dollar par day par person. The member of the families registering for assistance with the labor and social affairs ministry has more then tripled since the war to 171000 and even that according to the ministry “Drop in the ocean”.
After the withdrawal of coalition force, the first to suffer will be the people of Iraq. Due to the Shia –Sunni conflict general mass will face human suffering. Each and every day the list of casualty getting longer and longer. Various terrorist / insurgence group are still active. Police force or security force is not well organized. After withdrawal of US forces the law and order situation will be in a feeble condition. Insurgency, political revenge and arms conflict between various political or religious groups will increase. Police force or security force require time to organize, equipped and trained them.
In this process various political parties came up and participated in general election. Rashid Khalidi, director of the Middle East Institute at Columbia University said just before the election “They will have a Shia-dominated, Islamic-oriented government in Iraq”. Now situation is not balance. Shia dominated party gets the clear majority in the election, could not make the situation stable. Conflict of Shia and Sunni heading towards a civil war. There may be situation the whole country will divided as per their ethics. Recently they started attacked on there religious centers. Standing on this crisis situation Iraqi president Jalal Talebani asks all to face the situation together and stop the risk of civil war.
Recently the Iraqi political parties started negotiation on a national unity government after rebels launched concentred attack in western Iraq to coincide with the release of election result. The election were marked by voting along ethnic and sectarian lines with the Shia religious based United Iraqi Alliance, which includes prime minister Ibrahim Jaafari’s Dawa Party.
Iraq War has once again proved that there cannot be a military solution to a political problem. Though US Doctrine of Pre-emption has changed world security perspective, it also cautions that war against world opinion can be a disaster. More equipment-intensive future battlefield warrants modernization of the army. It has also proved that the most high–tech war also cannot be bloodless. Several thousands Iraqis were killed and wounded. Lately US loss is also quite significant. A good plan should also encompass all aspects of war – from the battle itself to the rebuilding phase, where the Armed Forces will be a relevant player. The post conflict scenario for the army is equally challenging against the insurgence and guerrilla group.
The post-war situation in Iraq is frustrating. The political process for the smooth transition to democracy is in question. The reconstruction process is unbearably slow for the people of the war torn country. The on going high intensity of guerrilla war and aggressive counter insurgency operation are aggravating the sufferings of the people further. The peace and stability of Iraq and the region is highly uncertain.
The war ravage Iraq is facing a total disorder. Reconstruction of Iraq is now the biggest challenge. The public service are to be restored, supply of food, medicine and other essential commodities are to be ensured. Sufferings of the mass people cannot be reducing at a time but a smooth political situation will be the first priority to achieve social and economical establishment.
- Political parties should have mutual trust between them. They should come to a same platform on the interest of their country.
- Soon they should form the coalition government and start reconstructions of war offended country.
- Various political parties should give the highest priority to their national interest keeping a side their UN ethical interest.
- They should take help of ether countries to develop their own security force.
- Government should take to solve the Insurgency problem.
Bhatiary ,Chittagong IMTIAZ MAHMUD
1.Bruce W. Watson, Military Lessons of the Gulf War, (Lahore: Izharsons Printers, 1992).
2.J C Aggarwal, Golf Crisis : Pre War And post War Scenario,(INDIA : S Chand & Company)
3. Robert F Helms,The Persian Gulf Crisis: Power in the post –Cold War World ( London: Wesport, Connecticut.)
Journals / Magazines/ Newspaper
4.Daily Star: January, February 2006
5.Burger, Kim, Caught off guard? Jane’s Defence Weekly, October 01, 2003.
6.Elliott, Michael, So, What Went Wrong? Time Magazine, October 06, 2003.
7.Robinson, Simon, Baghdad Today; Progress, Inch by Inch, Time Magazine, October 06, 2003.
8.Ripley, Tim, Mean Streets, Jane’s Defence Weekly, October 15, 2003.
9.Lt Gen T. Michael Moseley, Operation IRAQI FREEDOM-By the Numbers: (Assessment and Analysis Division, USCENTAF, 30 April 2003).
10.Army Headquarters Project Study Paper by 46 Independent Infantry Brigade, Iraq War – A Review, Dhaka, 2003.
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