Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Iraq:reasonable concerns

11 years after the American led invasion of Iraq the Chilcot Inquiry has not been published. The Inquiry was established to learn lessons from the 2003 invasion and the bloody aftermath. They were to look at the way decisions were made and actions taken.

Amongst the questions we can reasonably expect to be explored are; how clearly were the war aims agreed, what was the exit planning like, how effective were the various phases of the war, was there mission creep etc.

In addition have we a policy towards the Kurds? The Kurds appear to be the one coherent group in the territory of Iraq. Is it stills our policy to maintain the borders drawn up by Sykes Picot in the aftermath of the break up of the Ottoman Empire. If we are prepare to contemplate a redrawing of boundaries what do our allies in Turkey think and what impact does it have on the outcome in Syria?

It strikes me very forcibly that General Petraeus had all the combined might of the US armed forces, supplemented by his allies- including ground troops, and they could not suppress the uprising amongst the tribesman that are now supporting Islamic State. What hope is there for air power alone and does dropping bombs on innocent civilians win their hearts and minds? The US led coalition spent recession inducing sums of money equipping and training the Iraqi army. That strategy failed. Why will it work this time?

There are many other examples across the world of vile groups who torture and murder and who have the potential to strike the UK. Why are we not going after them? The insurgent group in Nigeria are clearly as unpleasant as Islamic State. What about the actions of Russia in mainland Europe invading other sovereign states and arming terrorists?

I fear that this comes under the heading of : 'it is so awful something must be done'. If the Chilcot Inquiry had been publish we could have learnt the lessons from the last war and sought to mitigate them-with all the information available we may even have concluded that this was not the best course of action. This war may not being begun with the contempt for international law which was the hall mark of the engagement under the Labour government, but it is hard to be re-assured that the lessons have been learned and that mistakes will not be repeated.

1 comment:

  1. Well said Iain. So often comment on Iraq is simplistic and ignorant.


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