Iraq: an unhappy 10th anniversary
Abdel Bari Atwan is a noted Palestinian journalist and author.
Ten years ago, as US troops occupied Baghdad and American tanks entered Firdos Square, a young Iraqi man named Kazem al-Jabouri laid into the monolithic statue of Saddam Hussein with a sledge-hammer. In front of a jubilant crowd of Iraqis and the world’s press, American soldiers completed al-Jabouri’s task, toppling the statue, in one momentous photo opportunity.
Although many rejoiced, just a few days later, the Iraqis launched their brave resistance against the American occupation.
General Paul Bremer became the Administrator of the Provisional Authority in Iraq and dissolved the Iraqi army. He established an interim coalition that included Iraqis who had collaborated with the US against their own country.
The Americans had two priorities: the first was to secure Iraq’s oil by putting it under the control of compliant officials; the second was to undermine Saddam’s political and military influence in the region which posed an ongoing threat to Israel. The US managed to achieve these objectives.
Western oil companies are expected to dominate Iraqi oil reserves for the next 30 years, having procured contracts to extract from and explore Iraq’s oil fields.