Tuesday, January 20, 2009


The picture that you see here was the grim reality of Iraq six years back. Unfortunately, it is the same today. I took the picture barely a week after the U.S. led coalition forces invaded Iraq in April 2003 . In the heart of Baghdad, a shopkeeper was fighting fiercely with the American troops who had taken position outside his shop. He wanted them out of his space. They were armed with the most sophisticated weapons and he had none. But he had no fear for his life. I think this one picture describes and portrays the indomitable and aggressive Iraqi spirit most aptly. The natives of this ancient civilization that we all have known as Mesopotamia have been through so much of violence and bloodshed in their centuries old history that they have no fear left in their blood.George W Bush and his allies, in their shortsightedness and incomprehension of the Iraqi psyche and the country's deeply factious social set up , created the kind of mess in that country that his successor, Barack Obama, who assumes office today, will have a hard time clearing up.

Bush Junior's 2003 Operation Iraqi Freedom turned out to be Operation Iraqi Destruction and proved to be his regime's most aching liability. For one, it stripped the ferociously freedom loving Iraqis off their sense of freedom and sovereignty and two, it further widened the rift between Iraq's three main factions - the Shias, the Sunnis and the Kurds.In their over anxiousness to correct the historical wrong of repression and isolation of the Kurds and win over their alliance , the Bush regime gave the Kurds the lion's share in Iraq's ' America-installed democratic set up' .Doing so, it alienated the sunnis and the shias.Worse was that it did not even win them the Kurd community's loyalty to the state of Iraq.The Kurds, who have always considered themselves as separate entities did not share the American regime's enthusiasm for a democratic , united Iraq.

Between the other two communities, the majority Shia and the minority Sunni populace of the country, the American regime could not strike a balance.Shias accuse them of siding with the Sunnis, whom they consider their most bitter rivals and Sunnis, while still nursing the grudge against the toppling of their most powerful leader , Saddam Hussein, now also blame the Americans of treating them unfairly against the majority Shias and the Kurds.Result is a deeply divided and chaotic Iraq, always on the boil and on the brink of a civil war.Suicide bombings and factional clashes are the order of the day and the one lakh forty five thousand plus American troops still on ground in Iraq have little but succeeded in winning over the trust and support of ordinary Iraqis.

And therefore, Barack Hussein Obama, who assumes office today as the first Afro-American President of America has tough tasks cut out ahead for him.As a liberal, Obama has always opposed the American invasion of Iraq and later, the Bush regime's policies in the strife-torn land.In one of his famous speeches during last year's Presidential polls , he famously remarked, " I was against it in 2002, in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008 and I am going to end this war in 2009." He has even set a 16-month deadline for total troop-pullout from Iraq.Although, considering the sensitive security scenario there, analysts fear a civil war like situation in Iraq once American troops leave the country.And that exactly is Obama's challenge - extracting his troops out while ensuring Iraq's peaceful transition to democracy, with if not perfect, at least reasonable amount of peace between the three main factions of Iraq's hugely divided society , particularly between the Shias and the Sunnis.

It certainly will not be a cakewalk for the forty seven year old American President who has come to the White House riding a huge wave of change.And it is not just America that is anticipating and expecting change from Obama.It is the entire world and like the rest of the world, Iraq too waits for its moment of change. It waits for the completion of its story..for its march towards freedom and long lasting peace.


हाका हुम्बा (हल्ला गुल्ला) said...

peace in Iraq is not seems to possible in near future apart from Obama`s stand.the ethnic and religious fractured society where factionalism was encouraged by mr. Bush is the biggest hurdle in peace. I think american intervention in the region will continue because America has permanent interest like oil, & permanent enemy like Iran. obama too don`t have any clearcut policy towards Iran. and so called "war on terror" and "islamic fundamentalism" are there in america`s hitlist.I have objection over phrase "liberal Obama". i think american first citizen can`t be liberal in term of strategic policies. obama`s afganistan policy proves. anyway you wrote on a very relevant issue and region. yourarticle based on ground realities and field experience has great depth and potential and worthy for students of International politics like me.

कुन्नू सिंह said...

आप पत्रकार हैं तो अपने देश के उप्पर भी लिख सकती हैं। जैसे दिल्ली की भरी बसों पर जैसे 879..

क्यो की सिला दिक्षीत हरी बसे तो लाईं हैं पर फिर भी एल बस मे 200 से ज्यादा लोग जाते हैं जिस्से उनके जान का भी खतरा बना रहता है। रूल तो होता है की एक बस मे जितनी सिटे हैं उतने ही लोग जाएंगे।

और पुलीस की चेकींग भी नही होती की एक बस मे रूल के मूताबीक जा रहे हैं या ठूस-२ के। पुलीस वाले बस वालो से हफता लेते रहते हैं और छोड देते हैं उनहे

Dr. G. S. NARANG said...

your article is having very depth and informative.