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Destruction of Fallujah – another legacy of the 2003 American invasion of Iraq

Smoke rises after a bombing attack in Fallujah [file photo]
Smoke rises after a bombing attack in Fallujah [file photo]

No doubt the American invasion of Iraq in 2003 has led to the destruction of a country which was one of the most vibrant societies in that part of the world. A cradle of civilization, Iraq has been turned into rubble and its social fabric has been increasingly disintegrating. A society once a ‘melting pot’ of Sunnis, Shiites, Christians, Assyrians, Jews and Kurds is now a playground for a sectarian government blatantly supported by Iran and unashamedly sustained by the USA.

Everyone agrees that Saddam Hussain was a tyrant who ruled with an iron fist. He obliterated every form of dissent during his reign. People from every opposition group were either killed, jailed or forced to find refuge in neighbouring countries or other parts of the world.

However, those who have been put into power by the American occupation army after 2003 have been no better than Saddam Hussein. Successive reports by human rights organization and testimonies from civil society organisations, oppositional groups and media outlets testify to the endless oppression that the Iraqi Sunni majority have been facing under a regime backed up by Iran. Since the installation of a sectarian government another chapter in the ordeal of Iraqi Sunnis has been inaugurated.

I am not sure how history will remember our era, but the last decade or so has probably been the bloodiest in the history of the Arab world since the Palestinian Nakba in 1948.

What is most worrying is not only the destruction of several thousands of years old historical and civilizational legacy in Bagdad and other parts of Iraq, but the devastation of the multi-ethnic and multi-religious society from within. After the destruction of people’s cultural heritage, memory and civilizational pride, now they themselves are being uprooted in their being.

For over a decade since the fall of Baghdad, under a sectarian rule,Sunni Muslims (who were a majority representing the mainstream Islam) have been facing a type of ethnic cleansing. Christof Wilk from Human Rights Watch has recently confirmed that the sectarian militia in Iraq, headed by Al-Hashd al-Shaabi, have been committing all types of crimes against the Sunni Iraqis.

Thousands of homes were destroyed, properties ransacked and thousands of people killed and scores of others tortured and imprisoned in concentration camps. All of this has been under the guise of the Iraqi government. Human rights Watch confirmed that the culprits (sectarian militia) have been involved in these operations for the last few years and have never been made accountable.

What is currently going on in Fallujah is another chapter of the attempt to eradicate the Sunni existence from various parts of Iraq. Fallujah has been a symbol of resistance to corrupt rulers and colonial invaders. Now it is being barbarically destroyed and its inhabitants annihilated by the so called Al-Hashd al-Shaabi militia directly supported by the government in Baghdad and the ‘Iranian Revolutionary Guard’.

Daesh (IS) has already done its job in preparing the ground for what is currently taking place. This terrorist group has already subdued all formed of dissent by killing and terrorizing those who oppose its rule. It is evident that the government of Bagdad has turned a blind eye to Daesh’s atrocities during the last few of years. This terror group is now used again (similar to case in Syria) to invade Fallujah and empty it from its Sunni population.

Furthermore, Daesh have systematically targeted Sunni groups, be it in Syria or Iraq. It has been recurrently reported that the sporadic attacks on regime armies in both countries is fake. Soon Daesh will be provided safe passage along with their hundreds of trucks and heavy artillery to another enclave in Iraq or Syria where they will be allowed to regroup again.

This sophisticated game has been untangled by various critics and media organisations, including activists on social media. American satellite TV channels as well as human rights organizations have signposted the Iranian involvement in the invasion of Fallujah and other remaining Sunni majority places. The Al-Hashd Al-Shaabi army has been reported to be waging a war by proxy for the Iranian ‘Revolutionary’ Guard. The fact that Kassim Sulaiman, leader in the Iranian ‘Revolutionary’ Gard, is roaming free in Iraq, giving advice to the militia, while he is wanted internationally raises a lot of questions, argues the head of Al-Hayat newspaper in New York.

The recent shutting down of Al-Jazeera offices in Iraq is another attempt to silence the witness. Along with other Arab media outlets, Al-Jazeera has been accused of misinformation and fabrication of news. The same reasons ostensibly had been given by the US army in 2003 when they decided also to shut down the channel’s offices in Iraq because of its daring journalism.

History will soon unveil that the invasion of Fallujah is not merely to uproot Daesh but to strategically broaden the sectarian rule backed by Iran on all Iraqi soil. This plan is partly about silencing all forms of Sunni dissent against the sectarian government of Baghdad and partly to expand the Iranian hegemony in the region.

I emphasized in a previous piece that it was evident that the USA had been supporting and sustaining a corrupt regime in Iraq instead of encouraging democratic rule.

Now it is also still valid to ask, are the US and its allies waging the wrong war against Daesh in Syria and Iraq? Isn’t Daesh a symptom rather than the cause of what is going on?

Are not the Bashar regime and the subsequent Iraqi governments since 2003 the root of all the drastic devastation taking place in that part of the world, including the creation of this terror group?

Isn’t the real war in Syria and Iraq against dictatorship and corrupt regimes, and to promote and strive for a transparent democratic rule which represents everyone??

The writer is Associate Professor of Media and Communication. This article was first published by the Penninsula.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

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