Story of oil, money and blood

By : Abdulateef Al-Mulhim

Back in 2013, in one of my articles published in Arab News titled “Republic of Iraq — rich and fractured” I tried to analyze the Iraqi situation. I believe that Iraq is not only rich in oil, fractured but also the land of the most violent and prolonged sectarian war in the history of mankind — a war that has been going on for several centuries.

Iraq has bore the brunt of many foreign interventions in its known history. At the end of the day, it is the internal strife that makes it easy for foreign powers or terrorist groups to take over the country.

Observers may recall that the United States successfully invaded Iraq in 2003 utilizing a force of only 100,000 troops. That was the time when Iraq boasted of having the fifth largest army in the world. Only a decade later, the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) conveniently seized control of major Iraqi cities with only few thousands militants. In terms of area, Iraq is no small country but it is fractured.
Despite being rich in natural resources and manpower, stability in this great country remains elusive. Due to disunity, Iraq and Iraqis have yet to exploit their true potential.

This country has the potential to emerge as one of the most developed countries of the world. Ironically, its capital Baghdad remained a seat of learning for many centuries. Muslims, Christians, Jews, Greeks and many others lived side by side. And until 1958 and just before the bloody coup by Abdul Karim Gassem, it was common to see Sunnis, Shiites, Kurds, Christians, Jews, Ashorians and many others living harmoniously.

The country was known for producing highly educated science and math teachers in the region. The 2003 invasion of Iraq is debatable but at least Iraq got rid of a dictator. Unfortunately, instead of forming an all-inclusive government that would introduce social equality, the new leaders proved more corrupt and power hungry than their predecessors. Their divisive policies drove a wedge between the people of Iraq and provided foreign elements — mainly Iran — with a chance to control Iraq.

It is indeed sad that trillions of dollars that could have helped built a more beautiful country have been wasted on wars. The uncertainty and instability has triggered an irreversible brain drain. In the wake of the recent developments, it seems that stage has been set for a sectarian war between Sunnis and Shiites. It is a war that does not differentiate between men, women, old and young.

This sectarian rift is wreaking havoc on Iraq and the losses are much more than those incurred in any past wars Iraq was engaged in. The intolerance in Iraqi society is unprecedented. Iraq is now on an endless bloody path of civil war. Ironically, it is all done in the name of religion.

Many experts are of the view that a conspiracy is being hatched to divide Iraq. This writer, however, believe that no one needs a conspiracy to divide an already divided country. It is a never-ending story of revenge and counter-revenge. Isn’t this strange that mosques, churches and temples are being destroyed in the name of religion.




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