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Iraq: Forgotten 10 years on.......


It hard to believe that it is 10 years ago that the Coalition of the Willing attacked Iraq.   Leaving aside the lies which were "used" to justify the war, the causalities and human and material cost of it the war, the allies have left the country a basket-case with multitudes of problems - many of which, basically, didn't exist before the war.

The Independent's highly regarded foreign correspondent, Patrick Cockburn, recently re-visited Iraq and paints a gloomy picture of what he found.....

"Iraq is disintegrating as a  country under the pressure of a mounting political, social and economic crisis, say Iraqi leaders.

They add that 10 years after the US invasion and occupation the conflict between the three main communities – Shia, Sunni and Kurd – is deepening to a point just short of civil war. “There is zero trust between Iraqi leaders,” says an Iraqi politician in daily contact with them. But like many of those interviewed by The Independent for this article, he did not want to be identified by name.

The escalating crisis in Iraq since the end of 2011 has largely been ignored by the rest of the world because international attention has been focused on Syria, the Arab uprisings and domestic economic troubles. The US and the UK have sought to play down overwhelming evidence that their invasion and occupation has produced one of the most dysfunctional and crooked governments in the world. Iraq has been violent and unstable for so long that Iraqis and foreigners alike have become desensitised to omens suggesting that, bad as the situation has been, it may be about to get a great deal worse.

The record of failure of post-Saddam governments, given the financial resources available, is astounding. One of the reasons many Iraqis welcomed the fall of Saddam in 2003, whatever their feelings about foreign occupation, was that they thought that his successors would restore normal life after years of sanctions and war. To their astonishment and fury this has not happened, though Iraq now enjoys $100bn (£66bn) a year in oil revenues. In Baghdad there is scarcely a new civilian building to be seen and most of the new construction is heavily fortified police or military outposts. In Basra, at the heart of the oilfields, there are pools of sewage and heaps of uncollected rubbish in the streets on which herds of goats forage.

I was in Baghdad at the end of January when there were a couple of days of heavy rain. For years, contractors – Iraqi and foreign – have supposedly been building a new sewage system for the Iraqi capital but none of the water was disappearing down the drains. I drove for miles in east Baghdad through streets flooded with grey, murky water, diluted with sewage. I only turned round in Sadr City, the Shia working-class bastion, when the flood waters became too deep to drive through. Shirouk Abayachi, an advisor to the Ministry of Water Resources, explained to me that “since 2003, $7bn has been spent to build a new sewage system for Baghdad, but either the sewers weren’t built or they were built very badly”.

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