10 years ago we told you not to wage war in Iraq, who will stop the bloodshed now?

Published: June 17, 2014
SHARES
Email

Fighters from the ISIS jihadist group driving near Tikrit. Left, ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Photo: AFP

It was a chilly February morning in 2003 when my sister and I trudged into central London with a couple of school friends to voice our utter revulsion at the upcoming Iraq invasion that was being planned by Tony Blair and George Bush. There were people from all walks of life; the elderly, the disabled, the very young and very frail out in the millions to scream at the top of their lungs,

 ‘No war! No war!’

The atmosphere was electric and people rallied together with a unified message knowing full well that war would completely destroy the region.

So more than ten years later, it seems that our worst fears have only come true with a terrorist faction called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) sweeping across Iraq in a most brutal manner; beheading anyone or anything that stands in their way. This particular group is so deadly in their methods that even Al-Qaeda has tried to avoid being associated with them.

Iraq’s two main cities, Mosul and Tikrit, are now under militant control and yesterday, a third city, Tal Afar has been invaded by these military fighters who are trying to merge their group from Syria and Iraq to form a separate nation for Sunnis. Whatever their plans, the presiding Iraqi army and police force have been powerless to stop the invaders and have even resorted to fleeing their posts as the militants now have their eyes set on Baghdad.

So it came as no surprise when this week the US and the UK ruled out military invasion to support those helpless Iraqis caught up in this storm. It angered me so much because the Americans and the British were supposed to help the Iraqis when they originally invaded in 2003 from a supposed mad, tyrant.  Instead, their country has been destroyed by 10 years of war and now looks set to be embroiled in even more bloodshed. Tony Blair, refusing to take responsibility for his botched Iraq invasion, now says the militant uprising had nothing to do with him, instead, pinning it on an overflow of terrorist factions from Syria. The whole basis of the 2003 Iraq invasion was on the pretence of weapons of mass destruction being discovered which were, of course, never found. When Iraq’s leadership was overtaken by a Shia government, a spate of violent car bombings began which have continued to terrorise the Iraqis. The car bombings pale in significance compared to the carnage that Iraq is now witnessing. This instability now threatens to destroy the region and could even result in a split in the country as a way of preventing further sectarian violence.

In a surprise move, Barack Obama is now considering the prospect of talks with Iran, its archenemy, as a way of finding some way to resolve the crisis. However, time is of the essence and the militants are advancing at a rapid pace, and with extreme precision towards Baghdad and its surrounding cities. It is, of course, needless to say that the oil fields that America is so desperately trying to protect remain relatively unscathed. It will be interesting to see how well America and Iran will cooperate with each other given Israel’s concern about the latter’s nuclear development programme and general animosity that exists between the two nations.

So what repercussions do these military style invasions have for Pakistan?

Well, Pakistan is in a grip of a terrorist uprising in the form of Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP) itself and there is a risk that Levant, ISIS, Taliban and TTP will all merge to form one giant umbrella of hatred, brutality and utter annihilation which will mire any chance of stability within the region. Given Pakistan’s nuclear capabilities, things will be tetchy and precarious for the near future, and it seems likely that sectarian fuelled violence is likely to result in greater uncertainty and the polarisation of communities.

Tense times lay ahead and it looks likely that the suffering of innocent Iraqis will continue as envisioned by those taking part in anti-war demonstrations 10 years ago in London.

Faiza Iqbal

Faiza Iqbal

A law graduate from King's College, London Nottingham Law School. Having worked at Mandviwalla & Zafar as an Associate, she now writes freelance articles and is trying to qualify as a barrister in Canada.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • zahra

    o bibi, we have a war at home now, surely you couldve written about that?Recommend

  • Parvez

    Ten years ago when you said not to wage war on Iraq because many predicted mass bloodshed……..you were 10 years younger and now hopefully you’re 10 years wiser.Recommend

  • Ali Dude

    wat about obama who is responsible for killing of innocent people in pakistan afghanistan iraq and yemen ?
    I wish these ISIS slaughter the american forcesRecommend

  • non muslim

    “So it came as no surprise when this week the US and the UK ruled out military invasion to
    support those helpless Iraqis caught up in this storm. It angered me so
    much because the Americans and the British were supposed to help the
    Iraqis when they originally invaded in 2003 from a supposed mad,”

    Does it remind you of another country?

    30 years ago, Pakistan was told by wise men not to indulge in Afghanistan. See what’s happening in Pakistan today?Recommend

  • curse

    10 years ago we told you not to wage war in Iraq, who will stop the bloodshed now? –War will be stopped after one community is wiped out fully.Recommend

  • http://peddarowdy.wordpress.com/ Anoop

    Whats the point?

    Many Muslim majority countries or even places with substantial Muslim populations are facing Islamic Insurgencies, mainly Sunni fundamentalism.

    Just look at the staggering number : Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria, Somalia, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Maldives, Egypt.. The list has a few more entries but you get the point.

    Even places with substantial Muslim populations are facing the threat : USA, India, Nigeria, Ethiopia, UK.. Again the list is big.

    In the larger picture, US nor UK cannot do anything if the ideological roots of this problem are not tackled. There is a problem and Muslims themselves have to find solutions for it. But, most Muslims are not willing to admit there is a problem. And, that is the thing that worries many.

    This is a one-sided article which lacks perspective.Recommend

  • BlackJack

    Maybe you should protest against funding of terrorist groups to attack India. 10 years from now at least you can say that you tried.Recommend

  • Reddy

    So you were fine with Saddam slaughtering of Shias?Recommend

  • Hasan Moslem

    They’re
    pretty good at fighting, but the majority Shias will also fight back, and
    who can forget the Kurds, a thorn in the side of four nations at
    the same time since WW1.
    ISIL can only get a stalemate out of this, not a blitz.Recommend

  • Nitin DallasTexas

    The author who is a law graduate from UK and is seeking to qualify as an attorney in Canada should concentrate on studying the law. She is clueless about war, international relationships, Islamic militancy, US policies, or the cancer of terrorism emanating from places like Pakistan, Syria, North Africa, Iraq, etc.Recommend

  • Leela4fun

    Why complain? Pakistanis in partcular and muslims in general keep demanding imposition of sharia worldwide. The ISIS will bring true sharia to Pakistan, shouldn’t thère be rejoicing and celebration? The ISIS cannot be killing true muslims, as that is against the religion of Islam. Cruxifiction? This is the propoganda of the West and Zionists. Islam doesn’t precribe cruxifiction.Recommend

  • Riza

    Such a mindless response. Recommend

  • Mustafa

    Bro these ISIS guys are being supported by one of the biggest US Allie. So how can ISIS guys dare to wage war against US. Its all a bloody drama just to impose salafist order. Peace we have a war at home, a little associated with Wat ISIS doing. Many of TTP guys have already joined them, may be at later stages this Salafist movement comes to Pakistan after they over with Iraq. To preempt this, Army has taken a decision to kill TTP once for all.Recommend

  • water bottle

    Instead of condemning ISIS, you are blaming USA.

    You know why Muslims worldover have failed miserably? Because there is no honesty left among Muslims. Muslims don’t look within. Muslims do not own responsibility to their actions.

    Yes, there is a small percentage of honest Muslims, but the rest are very dishonest.

    Muslims in India fail: HIndus are responsible.
    Muslims in Pakistan fail: India responsible.
    Muslims in Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Syria fail: USA is responsible.
    Muslims in Palestine, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan fail: Isreal is responsible.
    Muslims in Africa fail: US is responsible.
    Muslims in Srilanka, China, Myanmar fail: Buddhists are responsible.

    Muslims in Turkey fail: Europeans are responsible.

    Mulsims in Indonesia Malaysia fail: so far no one has been held responsible.Recommend

  • siesmann

    They would rather slaughter other Muslims.Terrorists are never there to protect their country.They are brave behind guns,and cowards otherwise.Recommend

  • antanu

    truth hurts….Mr. blackjack but Iraq was a better place under saddam. ..and don’t ignore the reason Iraq was invaded by US …you are proving to be a slave of highest order to US by avoiding the real issue. ..DID IRAQ HAD WMDs? You claim to be an Indian but sory to say doesn’t possess the self respect an indian would never sacrifice.Recommend

  • antanu

    truth hurts….Mr. blackjack but Iraq was a better place under saddam. ..and don’t ignore the reason Iraq was invaded by US …you are proving to be a slave of highest order to US by avoiding the real issue. ..DID IRAQ HAD WMDs? You claim to be an Indian but sory to say doesn’t possess the self respect an indian would never sacrifice.Recommend

  • antanu

    Was there really a slaughter. ..get rid of this slave mentality and treat every propaganda by US as devineRecommend

  • antanu

    Was there really a slaughter. ..get rid of this slave mentality and treat every propaganda by US as devineRecommend

  • BlackJack

    Since you have referred to me, I will reply, my Pakistani friend. India enjoyed reasonably good relations with Iraq under Saddam (he openly supported India against Pakistan on the Kashmir issue), and possibly Iraq was a more peaceful place before the WMD-based invasion, and certainly much more peaceful and prosperous before he decided to invade Kuwait (have you forgotten that this was his undoing?) Iraq did not have WMDs. So what is your point and where does India come into this picture?Recommend

  • Gulwant Singh Bedi.

    You raised your poison pen again in these blogs. Must be compulsive obsessive behavior. Still going strong maligning Islam and Muslims.
    PatheticRecommend

  • Jamshed Rustomjee

    Excellent article by Ms Iqbal. with a clear cut analysis. The author should have
    mentioned the ISIS like killings fields of Gujrat. Indian trolls are just as hateful as ISIS. And they will hijack this blog, turning it into a venomous pit.Recommend

  • Golnath Agarwal

    Another mindless response.Recommend

  • Torkham Khan Qazilbash.

    Those rednecks in Dallas don’t like Hindus and Indians. Be careful.Recommend

  • Biswajeet Kapoor

    Look at all this hate and energy directed at Muslims and Islam.
    India Rising on hate.Recommend

  • Gulchand Mehta

    10 years ago you did nothing. Stuck your head in sand. Now you are waxing poetic.Recommend

  • Jumrud Khan Afridi

    Here is the problem. These two bit dime store pseudo intellectuals,
    also known as Indian trolls, are inundating gibberish suffused with black hate. on this blog. Which is meant for Pakistanis consumption. It is in a Pakistani newspaper. With ridiculous facts and figures manufactured in some dark
    ugly recesses of their troll mind.Recommend

  • UtkarshSinghNain

    I’m not sure about Shias, but do you know how Saddam behaved with the Kurds? Please do read.Recommend

  • Sane

    Now count Shias slaughtered after Saddam.Recommend

  • Sane

    Saddam behaved with Kurds less than what Modi behaved with Muslims in Gujarat.Recommend

  • unbelievable

    Blaming the USA for Muslim sectarian violence is popular but not much on logic. How about directing some of your anger at Maliki who is directly responsible for alienating both Sunni and Kurdish minorities — or how about Saudi Arabia and Iran who have used Syria and Iraq as their battlefield for their proxy sectarian war.Recommend

  • http://peddarowdy.wordpress.com/ Anoop

    What did Modi do? A court has found him not guilty. Saddam was hanged by the International Court.Recommend

  • http://peddarowdy.wordpress.com/ Anoop

    India did not support Iraq invasion, you know that right?

    Saddam was very close to India, did you know?

    Please start reading newspapers other than Pakistani Urdu ones.Recommend

  • abhi

    cool so saddam is your hero? and what about ayatulla khomeini, is he your hero too?Recommend

  • Parvez

    You have accused me of doing nothing………may I ask how you came to this conclusion ?Recommend

  • Parvez

    Golnath…..try reading my comment again, carefully and slowly. If you still don’t get it, then there’s nothing I can do.Recommend

  • UtkarshSinghNain

    I’m sorry, I fail to see any link whatsoever between what happened in Gujarat and what Modi did, and what Saddam did in Iraq.

    What you seem to be saying is that because Modi did something evil in Gujarat, it makes Saddam a decent person.Recommend

  • Rafeeq

    Surely people in all these places you mentioned are lining up to come to India right?

    By the way if you have any inkling of an education care to check the HDIs of these nations and compare it with India’s.

    Turkey, malaysia, indonesia, uae failing…hahahaha.

    here help yourself:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_Human_Development_Index
    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/India-ranks-136-in-human-development-index/articleshow/18990526.cmsRecommend