Spotlight: US, Britain sinning for mess, tragedies, terror spillover in Iraq

2016-07-09 22:39:51 GMT2016-07-10 06:39:51(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

BAGHDAD, July 9 (Xinhua) -- The Iraqi people demand apologies from the U.S. and Britain for their war crimes against the country, as the 2003 invasion has left hundreds of thousands of civilians killed and millions displaced, experts said Saturday.

A long-awaited report by Sir John Chilcot was released on Wednesday, which revealed that the invasion led by the U.S. and Britain was planned on flawed intelligence and lack of adequate preparation for the post-war governance.

In response to the highly critical report, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair said he felt "deeply and sincerely the grief and suffering of those who lost ones they loved in Iraq," referring to 179 British personnel killed in the war, and will "take full responsibility for any mistakes without exception or excuse."

"He expressed his apology to Britain, its military and people, but what about the victims of the Iraqi people?" Sabah al-Sheikh, an expert on politics based in Baghdad, told Xinhua.

"There is no clear apology by Blair or any American official to the Iraqi victims as hundreds of thousands of innocent people were killed and millions displaced both inside and outside the country," he added.

The country has seen deepening ethnic and sectarian divisions, broken health and education facilities, displacement and indiscriminate killings, and massive bomb attacks against civilians during the past 13 years.

LIES AND STRATEGIC FAILURE

Britain followed the U.S. to invade Iraq in March 2003 on two allegations: first, the war on former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was a reaction to the 9/11 attack as Saddam had relations with the al-Qaida; second, Saddam was developing weapons of mass destruction (WMD) which could threat the Middle East and the whole world as well.

However, the seven-year inquiry by the British team and similar investigations conducted by U.S. experts after 2003 concluded that there was no evidence of Saddam possessing any WMD.

Former U.S. President George Bush and Blair admitted the fact, blaming "intelligence failure." However, Chilcot's report revealed that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) had reported to the UN. Security Council "there was no indication that Iraq had resumed its nuclear activities."

However, the U.S. and British authorities refused to recognize the IAEA report. Blair said in his speech on March 18, 2003, one day before the invasion, "We are asked now seriously to accept that in the last few years - contrary to all history, contrary to all intelligence - Saddam decided unilaterally to destroy those weapons. I say that such a claim is palpably absurd."

The report also cited several assessments of Britain's Joint Intelligence Committee, which said "there is no evidence Usama Bin Laden's organization has ever had a presence in Iraq" in 2011 and "there was no intelligence of current cooperation between Iraq and al-Qaida" in January 2003.

"Chilcot confirms what millions of us knew in 2003 that the war on Iraq was not a right decision. It was an unnecessary conflict, waged on the basis of flawed intelligence and with no sound legal basis," Sabah al-Sheikh said.

"The U.S.-led invasion on Iraq has cost hundreds of thousands of lives of innocent people, and made both the Middle East and the wider world less secure," Sheikh said, adding that the bloodshed in the country perhaps would continue for decades.

Bush also said he wanted to set the Iraqi people free and secure them from the "evil" of Saddam Hussein, "but is it true? We have seen that Iraq itself as a state was the target of the invasion," Sheikh said.

DEVASTATED CONSEQUENCES

"The invasion and subsequent instability in Iraq had, by July 2009, also resulted in the deaths of at least one hundred and fifty thousand Iraqis - and probably many more - most of them civilians. More than a million people were displaced. The people of Iraq have suffered greatly," Chilcot said after he published his report.

However, according to Iraqi government data, hundreds of thousands of civilians were killed in conflicts after the 2003 invasion, while unofficial tallies put the toll from military actions and sectarian strife at over one million.

The war also left some 3.4 million people displaced inside Iraq and more than two million outside a country with a population of over 34 million.

The invasion completely destroyed the system in Iraq, and the hasty withdrawal of U.S. and British forces created a power vacuum exploited by terrorist groups.

On July 3, three days before the British reported was released, the Islamic State (IS) group conducted a suicide bombing attack outside a shopping center in Baghdad, killing at least 292 people and wounding 200 others, the deadliest terrorist attack in Iraq since 2003.

There are some 40 organizations classified by the U.S. as terrorist groups, and more than half of them appeared after the U.S.-led invasion.

Compared with the al-Qaida, IS appeared to be more powerful and brutal, Sheikh said, adding that the terrorism of IS spilled over the whole region and the world and we are witnessing terrorist attacks in several European countries, Middle East and other areas across the world.

Chilcot said "despite explicit warnings, the consequences of the invasion were underestimated. The planning and preparations for Iraq after Saddam Hussein were wholly inadequate ... The government failed to achieve its stated objectives."

Najib al-Jubouri, an analyst on politics based in Baghdad, told Xinhua "there were no clear plans and preparations on how to oversee Iraq after the invasion, including the involvement of the United Nations, the control of Iraq's oil money, in addition to the mistake of dismantling of Saddam Hussein security apparatus and army."

"We only can hope that such report would let the world reconsider such decisions of invading any country, and have the bravery to admit mistakes," he said.

"The U.S. administration is demanded to apologize to Iraqi people on its policy toward the country, because the Americans are responsible more than the British for the tragedy of Iraqis," Sabah al-Sheikh said. Enditem

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