Iraq: The Outlaw State ☀
In short, the country that is now Iraq—although alas not, perhaps, for much longer in its current shape—is no stranger to the ghoulish and macabre. The Mongols, famously, built pyramids of skulls when they pillaged and razed Baghdad in 1258 and again in 1401. It was in Iraq in the 1920s that Britain introduced newer, cheaper methods for keeping unruly natives under control, such as chemical weapons and aerial “terror” bombings. Saddam Hussein’s three-decade-long Republic of Fear, with its gassing of Kurdish villagers, grotesque tortures, and mass slaughter of dissidents, made the later American jailers of Abu Ghraib look downright amateur.
ISIS Attacks Baghdad ☀
This attack is very significant. It is the first infantry-like, complex, and penetrating attack in Baghdad city by ISIS since the fall of Mosul in June of this year. ISIS likely carried out the attack to release some of the pressure it is facing as a result of the recent U.S. air campaign targeting its positions. The attack also signifies that, despite the heightened defenses of Baghdad in the aftermath of the fall of Mosul, ISIS is still able to carry out attacks in an area where it is unlikely to have active sleeper cells given Kadhmiyah’s predominantly Iraqi Shi’a demographic. The mortars were likely launched from Taji due to ISIS’s historical presence in the area and its ongoing activities there.
As Obama well knows, ISIS is not, in fact, unique in its brutality. They are not the first actors in the region to execute prisoners, kill children, rape women, or threaten genocide. Saddam Hussein did all that. Bashar al-Assad turned chemical weapons on children. Is that somehow less brutal than beheading journalists? How can a man who regarded the Iraq War as stupid, despite the fact that the regime we overthrew was every bit as brutal as ISIS, now cite the supposed “unique” brutality of ISIS as a primary justification for taking America to war in Iraq? He was appealing to our fears and disgust, not our reason, much like his predecessor.
Obama Urges War in Iraq Despite Known Lack of WMDs ☀
The war-drums are beating. Hysteria is spreading across the nation and reaching fever pitch! Al Baghdadi and his hordes of masked men are on their way to kill us all! Nobody is safe! First Syria, then Iraq, next … Australia? Poor James Foley is the sign of things to come. Soon white men everywhere will be losing their heads!
Why Are We Worried about the Islamic State? ☀
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Eleven years after George W. Bush opened the Pandora’s Box of sectarian conflict in Iraq and 10 after he proclaimed it a “catastrophic success,” the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq (ISIS) has emerged with a vengeance. And ISIS owes its stunning battlefield victories to a deadly alliance of Al Qaeda fighters Bush admitted he attracted to Iraq, Sunni tribesmen alienated by his man in Baghdad Nouri al-Maliki and, is turns out, some of Saddam’s former officers who “should have surrendered or been done in.”
President Bush Declared Iraq a “Catastrophic Success” Ten Years Ago ☀
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Displacing the Believers: The Grim Realities of Iraq's Beleaguered Christians ☀
The American invasion of Iraq in 2003, and its subsequent occupation until late 2011, served as a major catalyst for a breakdown of that social order (such as it was, tightly controlled but presided over by a lawless regime). Within weeks of the fall of Hussein’s government, the policy of de-Baathification served to clear the country of virtually all leadership but its traditional tribal and religious framework. In the meantime, the proliferation of Shi’ite and Sunni militias combined with an influx of foreign mujahideen, a widespread atmosphere of anarchy, and a devastated economy to create an unpredictable and violent atmosphere throughout the country. That violent setting affected all Iraqis, of course, and it was particularly hostile to any perceived “other” in their midst—including Christians, whom many extremists labeled as natural collaborators with the American “Crusaders.”
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