Crocodile Tears for Iraq
“This is an act of ethnic cleansing, if you will, almost genocide,” a U.S. military official warned. He was referring to bombings that killed nearly 800 members of the minority Yazidi sect in northern Iraq. “Among the wounded, one in five suffered serious injuries,” while “families of the wounded were so shaken by the attack that they insisted on taking their badly broken relatives back to their villages,” away from the hospitals treating them, the New York Times reported. U.S. officials attributed this atrocity to al-Qaeda. Surely it called for a calibrated intervention—a series of airstrikes, perhaps, to prevent a potential slaughter.
But these bombings happened in August 2007, years after the U.S. invasion. In that phase of the occupation, Bush “doubled the U.S. presence in Iraq” by sending “150,000 to 170,000 private forces to support the mission there, all with little or no congressional or public knowledge—let alone consent,” as two U.S. academics described the type of democracy Washington prefers. And its preferred foreign policies—“invading, occupying, weakening and looting Iraq”—“brought al-Qaeda into the country,” Juan Cole writes, emphasizing that the Islamist organization had zero presence there before March 2003.
Iraq developed in line with Washington’s expectations, in other words. “Months before the invasion of Iraq, U.S. intelligence agencies predicted that it would be likely to spark violent sectarian divides and provide al-Qaeda with new opportunities in Iraq and Afghanistan,” the Washington Post disclosed in May 2007. These grim analyses were “widely circulated within the Bush administration before the war,” which proceeded anyway, with shattering effects.
“The most serious sectarian and ethnic tensions in Iraq’s modern history followed the 2003 US-led occupation,” Sami Ramadani noted in the Guardian. “The US had its own divide-and-rule policy, promoting Iraqi organizations founded on religion, ethnicity, nationality or sect rather than politics,” he continued, his observations reinforcing those Iraqi political analyst Firas Al-Atraqchi recently offered: “Since the fall of Baghdad in April 2003, the Christian community [has] found itself under attack and tens of thousands have since fled the country in fear of religious persecution.”
For example, “Mandeans, or Sabians, a sect of people who follow the teachings of John the Baptist and pre-date Christianity and Islam in Iraq, have since 2003 been forced to leave en masse because of a brutal campaign against them.” A 2008 Minority Rights Group International study concluded that “Mandaeans face extinction as a people.” And an Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization report from June 2013—well into the Obama era—CONTINUE READING