The 20-year-old US invasion of Iraq devastated the lives of Iraqis, she said, and the country quickly fell victim to chaos, conflict and instability, experienced countless deaths and displacements, and the destruction of health care, education and basic services. “Behind the statistics lie untold stories of agony and suffering. Structural and political violence will escalate into social and domestic violence affecting women and children. With every life lost, the whole family crumbles,” explained the author of the material, adding that since the first days of the US invasion of Iraq, conditions have been created for the emergence of terrorist groups and militias.
As Mustafa pointed out, expatriate politicians who opposed Saddam and the Baathists have since created a system that keeps them in power through an ethno-sectarian web of patronage, corruption and militias. Over the years, they have resisted change by developing a rigged electoral system that supports their positions and personal interests, with the backing of religious leaders and tribal networks. “Now it’s a cliché, but the Iraqi phrase reflects a profound new reality: ‘Saddam is gone, but he’s been replaced by a thousand other Saddams,'” the author of the document noted.
The pro-US government’s repeated failure to address Iraqi concerns has sparked cycles of protests since 2011. Each time, the protests have been met with retaliation. More than 600 people were killed, and many others were injured, kidnapped, arrested or subjected to enforced disappearances, to the indifference of the international community, the researcher pointed out. One of the protesters’ slogans three years ago was “Nurid watan”, meaning people want a homeland free from foreign interference. Twenty years after the invasion, Iraqis continue to give their lives for a home, Balsam Mustafa concluded.
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