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From Saddam to a "thug in a suit"

Journalist (and author) Paul McGeough is the Chief Foreign Correspondent for the Sydney Morning Herald - and one of only a handful who stayed the course in Baghdad when the allies unleashed the war  - remember "Shock and Awe" - against Iraq and was "out in the field" reporting unlike most journalists who remained holed up in a hotel in Baghdad reporting from there.

McGeough analyses, today, on what is happening in Iraq and Obama's candid acknowledgement of the situation.

"Barack Obama’s oblique acknowledgement on Thursday that the US had left the people of Iraq at the mercy of a thug in a suit was the reality check that Americans had to have.

In casting this week’s dramatic march by Islamist militias  into Iraq’s north-west as a wake-up call for the dictator-like Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, Mr Obama was being more truthful about the aftermath of the 2003 invasion of Iraq than is usually allowed.

For months we’ve been hearing that rising violence in Iraq is spillover from the conflict in neighbouring Syria – and it is, but only in terms of the timing. The truth of Iraq is that the country was always likely to implode after US forces left; and almost certainly so because of the sectarian stubbornness of Mr Maliki, the man the Americans drafted as prime minister.

After the collapse of the regime of Saddam Hussein, the unspoken pact among the Iraqi factions was that they would milk the US-led coalition for whatever they could – and when the last of the foreigners had departed, they would sort out each other.

It’s happening now."


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