Thursday, July 7, 2016

Iraq - Discussion On Channel 4 News last night 7 July 2016

Discussion led by Matt Frei - with Emma Sky, who governed the Iraqi province of Kirkuk and served as a political adviser to the US military, Colonel Tim Collins, British Army Commander in Iraq 2003-4, the Iraqi journalist Nermeen al-Mufti, from Kirkuk, and Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman, a Kurdish diplomat.

Matt Frei putting to Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman, Kurdistan Regional Government Representative to the United States, that she saw the Iraq War as a liberation.

Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman
We did see it as a liberation because Saddam was a warmonger. He created wars in the region. He was a destabilising factor. Eight-hundred thousand, maybe a million people died in the Iran-Iraq war. He invaded Kuwait. He killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, many of them Kurds. He used chemical weapons. Even today we discover mass graves going back to the 70s and 80s.So we see it as a liberation from a dictator.

Iraq as a whole could have been a winner. I don’t want to get into internal British politics and the debate over who said what in the UK context. But what hasn’t been part of the debate from what I have heard - and obviously I am in Washington - but I have been following events on the internet and on television - what I haven’t seen is that the Iraqi leadership needs to take a great deal of responsibility for what has happened.

Also, many of the Regional players in the Middle East did their utmost to make sure Britain and United States failed. Perhaps that is in the Chilcot report, but I haven’t seen that being reported by the Media.

Colonel Tim Collins
We had advisers who were targeted by Baathist militias and we dealt with them.
In the end the failures came down to disbanding the army and not listening to Iraqis who knew what we should have been doing.

Emma Sky
I don’t believe that any of this was inevitable. As Bayan said, there really was hope for a world without Saddam Hussein. The big mistakes in 2003 were dissolving the Baathist Party and the military, which collapsed the State and led Iraq into civil war. From 2007-09 was the only time in the whole war that the coalition had the right strategy, the right leadership and the right resources and helped bring all Iraqis together and tool Iraq out of the civil war.Iraq went back into civil war after the 2010 elections were so tightly contested. It is all about Iraqi politics and the Iraqi political elites themselves must take huge responsibility for what we see today

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