12. Iraq

News in from Baghdad posted by me on 20th April 2013. Dick

19/04/13 – From Canon Andrew White – ‘The Carnage Intensifies’

“I came back to Baghdad early because things were terrible but what I have found is worse than even I could have ever imagined it. We cannot move even with my police and army security. We have never had to cancel a service but the youth service this evening will be impossible. Even today, the bombs are exploding, scores are being killed and total massacre has been released. Today is the worst war zone I have ever seen… All this rapid deterioration is because tomorrow we have provincial elections. They are only like regional council elections. Is this the so-called democracy?

“There are no journalists and so no news locally or internationally. I wish you could get news from here but you can’t. The news today is shared by Facebook. With vivid pictures and pictures of friends killed… Please pray for us. Blessings, Andrew.”


********* Here follows my previously entered content.

Reasons for invading Iraq remain obscure. The link with Al-Qaeda are tenuous. The weapons of mass destruction have not been found but may be in Syria and anyway Saddam was leading us to believe that they did exist.

We should be more robust in questioning and challenging American Foreign Policy motives. A momentum towards invasion had already been built up and delaying for a clearer UN Resolution would have meant keeping US and British troops hanging around in the hot climate till after the summer.

The crucial thing that should have been done differently was to maintain a functioning government and to decapitate the Baath Party only at a higher level rather than leaving so many essential services unmanned and leaving agreived people with nothing to do but hatch aggressive plots against the new US led regime. Apparently we did advise keeping more of a national government going and we were ignored. I think the Americans may have learnt from this.

It is a key example of the fact the we ARE needed in world politics and we need to assert ourselves more and to do it wisely.

It wasn’t our fault that Iran saw a chance to make mischief and to humiliate the Americans.

Eventually wisdom prevailed. General Petraeus and others injected considerable tactical wisdom in winning the population over.

It has been a nightmare for the Americans and to a lesser extent for us. Basra was a great test.

I served briefly  in northern Iraq near Zakho on the Turkish border in the mountains in 1991 just after the first Gulf War caring for Kurds who had tried to flee to Turkey to escape Saddam and whom Turkey would not admit. I, as a civilian, camped on a hillside with 40 Commando Royal Marines. The refugees had sheltered high in the snowy mountains under scraps of plastic sheet and supply parachutes as the American general showed me from his helicopter.  Fields locally were mined. Trees defoliated and the valleys depopulated. Saddam had built an immense airbase into the side of a mountain. I met a man who had escaped from the gas attack at Halabja in which Saddam killed over 5,000 of his own people. It showed me the immense scale of his malign undertakings under which the people of Iraq had suffered.

Now things are settling and there is a government but gross human rights persist and the ancient Christian population is under mortal attack without much help from us.

As elsewhere maintaining links with ordinary people and following the politics may help a lot even if it seems tedious weak work. I think we should keep closely in touch with Iraqi families and politicians and show we care and want to be a good influence.

And we need to stand up to Iran.