Monumental Disrespect

by Sinan Antoon
published in MER228

Somewhere in east Baghdad there is a brick wall bearing the names of the Iraqi soldiers who died in the Iraq-Iran war, launched by the regime of Saddam Hussein in September 1980. There is no reliable tally of the casualties to date, but the number of dead is estimated to be between 500,000 and 800,000. The wall surrounds, and is part of, the Martyr’s Monument, completed in 1982, six years before the war itself would come to an end. The names were engraved on the wall later, after the 1991 Gulf war.

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"Iraq Is Not a Lost Battle"

An Interview with Isam al-Khafaji

by Paul Aarts
published in MER228

Isam al-Khafaji, a contributing editor of Middle East Report, is an Iraqi social scientist. As a young faculty member and a left-wing intellectual, he was forced to leave Iraq in 1978 during campaigns of forced Baathification in higher education and repression of the left. Between that year and the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime, al-Khafaji entered Iraq several times clandestinely, but never his native Baghdad. He taught at the University of Amsterdam.

Multiplier Effect

War, Occupation and Humanitarian Needs in Iraq

by Sarah Graham-Brown
published in MER228

Despite continual White House assurances in 2002 and early 2003 that “war is a last resort,” the key advocates of invasion in Washington gave a good deal of forethought to the US-led war with Iraq. The Iraq hawks had been considering the military option for years. the option became feasible after the September 11 attacks created a climate in which regime change in Iraq gained wider political appeal.

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From the Editor

published in MER228

August 2003 was a cruel month. Parties still unknown detonated a car bomb outside the Jordanian embassy in Baghdad, killing 17 Iraqis. Two weeks later, an unclaimed truck bomb devastated the UN headquarters in the Iraqi capital, killing 23 people, including UN Special Representative Sergio Vieira de Mello. On the same day, a Hamas suicide bomber destroyed a bus in Jerusalem, leaving 23 Israelis dead. Israel picked up the pace of the assassinations it had been carrying out throughout the summer, and the always sputtering US-sponsored “peace process” stalled, perhaps for good.

From the Editor

published in MER227

Two months after the welcome demise of Saddam Hussein’s regime, it has become customary to say that the US won the war and is losing the peace in Iraq. This formulation, coined to describe US neglect of Afghanistan following the fall of the Taliban, gives the Bush administration too much credit. There were never any serious plans to “win the peace” in Iraq, as is obvious from the chaotic aftermath of the large-scale combat.

Forecasting Mass Destruction, from Gulf to Gulf

by Sheila Carapico | published September 29, 2005

While internally displaced Americans were piled into an unequipped New Orleans sports stadium, the question on everyone’s lips was: where were the Louisiana National Guard and its high-water trucks when Hurricane Katrina struck? One answer, obviously, was that at least a third of the Guard’s human and mechanical resources were deployed to Iraq. Anti-war protesters demonstrating in Washington on September 24, 2005 as a new storm battered the Gulf coast turned the question into a new slogan: “Make Levees, Not War.”

Another "Historic Day" Looms in Iraq

by Chris Toensing | published January 28, 2005

Yet another "historic day" will dawn in war-weary Iraq on January 30. As interim prime minister Iyad Allawi told Iraqi television viewers, "For almost the first time since the creation of Iraq, Iraqis will participate in choosing their representatives in complete freedom." Not to be outdone, President George W. Bush used the first news conference of his second term to herald the "grand moment in Iraqi history" that the world will witness when Iraqis go to the polls.

The IMF and the Future of Iraq

by Zaid Al-Ali | published December 7, 2004

On November 21, 2004, the 19 industrialized nations that make up the so-called Paris Club issued a decision that, in effect, traces the outline of Iraq's economic future. The decision concerns a portion of Iraq's $120 billion sovereign debt—a staggering amount that all concerned parties recognize is unsustainable. In their proposal to write off some of the debt, the Paris Club members took advantage of the opportunity to impose conditions that could bind the successor government in Baghdad to policies of free-market fundamentalism.