Friday, 22 October 2010 00:00
As events unfold, we all tend to forget history. What I want to do with this piece is to explore some history of Iraq now that our combat forces have been withdrawn.
One footnote before taking a look at the timeline. During the lengthy war between Iraq and Iran in the 1980s, it is interesting to note that the United States supplied arms to Iran through backroom deals involving Colonel Oliver North. And today we are totally at odds with Iran. Very interesting.
Modern history with Iraq started in August of 1990 when Iraq invaded Kuwait. With UN support, President George H.W. Bush authorized United States forces, along with support from the U.N., to oust Iraq from Kuwait. Operation Desert Storm started on January 15, 1991. Soon the liberation of Kuwait was complete. President Bush authorized a cease fire.
That created a fire storm on Capitol Hill with Democrats highly critical of Bush for not taking Baghdad and ousting Saddam Hussein.
Next, there were rumors of Iraq turning to weapons of mass destruction. While the intelligence was faulty – much like the errors during the Cuban Missile Crisis – President George W. Bush ordered the invasion of Iraq and the ouster of Saddam Hussein. On March 20, 2003 the invasion started, consisting mostly of U.S. and British troops.
On April 9, 2003 U.S. troops took Baghdad, but Saddam Hussein disappeared. Eight months later he was captured and then was executed by the Iraqi Government.
All of this leads me to concerns I have about the future of Iraq after the withdrawal is complete. Even with the United States presence in Iraq, terrorists have continued to explode bombs killing thousands of innocent people. Can Iraq ever remain stable and allow people to live a normal life?
There is no simple answer. Years ago, I represented Bishop Mar Bawi Soro and the Assyrian Church of the East. Bishop Soro was born and raised in Iraq and has a deep knowledge of the country. In April of 2006, he sent me an email, which explains his concern about conditions in Iraq. Here is a portion of that email.
“I firmly believe that the best option left for the USA is to find a ‘benevolent dictator’ who has the support of the Iraqi Army (which can be a very hard task) and the blessings of the US administration and the mutual friendship with the US forces in Iraq. No one can resolve the problem of Iraq because Iraqis do not know how to practice democracy nor are they ready for it. Accordingly, Iraqis will have to be led by force not by choice, hence the need for a dictator.
Short of such an intricate arrangement, Christians of Iraq (and eventually of the whole Middle East) will eventually all leave Iraq, sooner or later. Those who cannot or will not probably will convert to Islam.”
While I certainly hope that stability will come to Iraq, the words of Bishop Soro leave me with much doubt. And President Obama’s recent statement that it is really up to Iraq as an independent nation leaves me deeply concerned about the future.