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Not the Iraq I remembered

By Jamal Kanj*

Saturday, July 05, 2014

I remember once discussing with a friend the ill-advised decision by American Zion-con envoy Paul Bremer following the doomed invasion. "To dissolve the Iraqi army is irresponsible," I said and continued, "the army is trained to maintain security for the fellow on the top: Saddam Hussein or whomever was brought on a US tank. Out of jobs, they know well how to undermine security."

Shaking his head my colleague responded, "For the Zion-cons, it was the right decision. Dismantling Iraq was the Zion-con's aim. It was never Saddam or Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)."

Listening to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's interview with NBC Meet the Press last week, I was reminded of the Zion-con's objectives. The presumptuous Netanyahu lectured US president that when your enemies fight, "You work on both sides - as I say, you try to weaken both."

Mind you that one of the sides in this fight was the US-installed Iraqi government. While Netanyahu could argue that Iraqis were his "enemies", but for him to assume it was America's adversaries, was typical of the Neo-cons hypothesis when projecting Israel's foes to be the enemies of the US too.

The message was reinforced days later in Paris by Israeli foreign minister when he was quoted as telling US Secretary of State to accept that "Iraq is breaking up before our eyes".

Israeli President Shimon Peres delivered the same message to US President Barack Obama during his visit to the oval office in the same week.

Three Israeli leaders, from three different political parties, delivered the same message to the US within days of each other underlines Israel's resolve to complete the destruction of Iraq that was started by the US invasion in 2003.

The march to achieve Israel's goal was fabricated and carried out from the dens of the Pentagon in 2003 by Israeli firsters - from Paul Wolfowitz to Douglas J Feith and many others posing as American patriots.

The first phase of the break-up of Iraq came at a huge price. Not to mention the enormous cost to Iraqis, the "made for Israel" war was paid for by almost a trillion US tax dollars and the life of more than 4,500 American soldiers.

The Zion-cons convinced a US president it will be an inexpensive war - paid for by oil money, Americans will be received as liberators, builders of democracy and get rid of supposed WMD.

Those claims turned out to be the only proven WMD (weapons of mass deception) in that war.

It is undeniable - except for Dick Cheney/Tony Blair and company - that the US invasion combined with misguided decisions thereafter and the marginalisation of a large part of the Iraqi population created a receptive political environment for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

Having stated the obvious, no one should however indulge too far on blaming the "outsider" for the problems of the Arab World. For many of the Arab leaders and political parties continue to exploit and feed the public divide across sectarian lines to preserve power and influence.

This was not the Iraq I experienced at a young age attending high school in Baghdad where I was housed in a Sunni suburb and attended school in the Shia part of town. I was driven hundreds of miles to visit Shia holy places by a Sunni friend, and was given a tour of a Sunni mosque by a Shia Iraqi classmate.

Inarguably, the American invasion seeded the division by leaving behind a sectarian "democracy", but it is the Iraqi leaders from all political and religious spectrums who perpetuated the religious and ethnic divide long after the Americans have left.

* Mr Kanj (www.jamalkanj.com) writes weekly newspaper column and publishes on several websites on Arab world issues. He is the author of “Children of Catastrophe,” Journey from a Palestinian Refugee Camp to America. A version of this article was first published by the Gulf Daily News newspaper.