Iraq, ”The Aftermath of Saddam”

At dawn on 20 March 2003, 40 missiles strike Baghdad. The Second Gulf War is underway. The United States, supported by the Coalition of the Willing, accuses Saddam Hussein’s regime of possessing arms of mass destruction, of being in contact with Al-Qaeda terrorist cells and of governing in an anti-democratic fashion that violates human rights.

Fighting alongside the Coalition troops are the Kurdish Peshmerga militias, and a combined land and air attack leads to the rapid conquest of the country’s chief cities. Baghdad falls on 9 April, forcing the Saddam Hussein to flee.

On May first of the same year, American President George W. Bush declares: “Mission accomplished”. In December, following a less than fair trial, Saddam Hussein is sentenced to death and executed, to the joy of the Shiites.

But what would appear to have been a lightening war, proves to be far different, deteriorating into a prolonged state of general instability and civil war that pits the international forces and the new Iraqi government, supported by the Kurdish and Shiite militias, against a primarily Sunni resistance movement that includes members of terrorist groups.

While attempts are made to find a solution through the political process, though with scarce success, a scandal breaks out regarding the torture and abuse of Iraqi prisoners by American and British soldiers at the Abu Ghraib Prison (2004). The episode sparks protest throughout the international community, forcing the American government to issue a public apology. Not only that, but the arms of mass destruction for which the entire conflict had been started prove to be non-existent, to the point that even the Chief Inspector of the UN labels them a huge falsification.

The Iraqi people, already on their last legs due to the dire consequences of the embargo imposed under UN Resolution 661 of 1995 to punish Iraq following the First Gulf War, continue to live in extremely trying conditions, despite the pledges of aid from the Western governments, which are accused of pursuing economic objectives in one of the world’s largest basins of oil reserves.

It is calculated that more than a million Iraqis have died.