Iraq insurgency and the clueless West
Iraq insurgency and the clueless West

It is somewhat weird that no major media outlet prepared any special report about the fact that former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein was executed exactly 10 years ago, on December 30, 2006. His death was both cheered and mourned by millions, resulting mainly from either political blindness or religious frenzy. The Shia cheered, the Sunni mourned and the West tried to rejoice and look optimistic despite the growing number of American soldiers killed in Iraq.

Following the invasion of Baghdad, the whereabouts of Saddam became unknown. There were rumors about him finding refuge at the Russian embassy, more bizarre rumors about him fleeing to Russia and some military experts insisted on the story that he was in Iraq, controlling the insurgency and guerilla war that spread throughout the country after the American invasion.

In the end everybody turned out to be wrong: he was found hiding, but clearly not in a condition or position to supervise insurgency; hiding in a hole not far from Tikrit, armed with a pistol, an AK-47 and 750 thousand US dollars.

After his capture he was tried for crimes against humanity and other criminal charges and was sentenced to death by hanging in November 2006. His execution was outrageous: he was hanged by men loyal to Muqtada al-Sadr, the Shia cleric-politician-militia leader, who were mocking Saddam and chanting “Muqtada! Muqtada! Muqtada!” while tying the rope around his neck.

His death resulted in no positive change regarding the situation in Iraq which continued to worsen. The country fell apart, suicide bombings, beheadings and mass executions occurred on a daily basis, the government basically had no control on a number of areas where many religious and insurgent terrorist groups were operating and the most well-known terrorist group, ISIS, came out of the ashes of the former Iraqi army and other radical militant Sunni organizations.

After all, the bad dictator is defeated, so the people should be happy, elect a new government and live happily ever after, isn’t it that simple?
The West was clueless since the whole situation was unexpected; we all remember the citizens of Baghdad cheering the American troops and celebrating during the destruction of Saddam’s famous statue. Nobody thought that Iraq, a land with one of the biggest proven oil reserves in the whole world, would soon become a place thrown into a bloody civil war. After all, the bad dictator is defeated, so the people should be happy, elect a new government and live happily ever after, isn’t it that simple?

No, it isn’t and this is what the West still doesn’t understand. The fabricated states based on the pre-World War I colonial borders are in deep trouble especially where there is a mixed Shia and Sunni population. Iraq has become a failed state, so has Syria and the situation might seem to improve for a while, but without dealing with the root cause, no matter how many bombs are dropped on Homs and Aleppo, there will not be peace. The only thing today that unites Islam is the content of the last words of Saddam Hussein; just before his death he shouted: “Allahu Akbar” and “Palestine is Arab”.

The Shia-Sunni divide is deeper than ever and the insurgency erupting in Iraq following the American invasion was the first sign of the so-called Arab Spring, which is not about democracy and human rights but instead about refusal and rejection. Islamists are not willing to accept anything other than their own beliefs, not even the other branches within Islam. They, of course, reject Western values, but this is something that it is considered not polite to admit so nothing is about to change. And the UN, a powerless and impotent organization preoccupied with putting the blame on Israel for everything, will continue to be a useless joke.

The West learned nothing since the execution of Saddam despite the fact that, unlike 10 years ago, today terrorism is clearly present in Europe and will continue to worsen.