The Region of Iran and Iraq Cannot Afford Another War

Aftermath of ISIS bomb attack near Baghdad, 2016

By Arian Mufid:

When the American administration made a political decision to invade Iraq militarily, they never fully calculated the consequences and how bloody that war would be. The USA acted largely on the advice of the Iraqi National Congress leader Ahmed Chalabi who helped imbue their invasion plans with false optimism as to medium and long-term results. In the wake of the invasion and toppling of Saddam, conflict engulfed much of the country, resulting in thousands of US military dead and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilian casualties. Iraq became the one of the most unmanageable areas of the world for controlling terrorism. In early 2003, Al Qaida and other terrorist elements had small cells in Baghdad and areas of Tikrit and Anbar province. By 2012, ISIS was operating across Iraq with the support of substantial elements of the old Baathist regime. Iraq up to now still endures an unfinished and futile war. The American administration knows there is no way it can win a war in the Middle East. David Petraeus, the famous US General during the Iraq insurgency war, advised one of his lieutenants to go and study for a PhD as he believed “… counterinsurgency is the future, and the military isn’t ready for it, We’re not going to be fighting states, or people who fight like us” (McFate, 2019). The USA lost the Iraq war on the ground and paid a heavy price for this. Up to now, except for the areas controlled by the Kurdish Regional government, Iraq is a highly unstable area.

The USA has made another great mistake by abandoning the nuclear agreement with Iran which was previously reached under the Obama administration. Iran is not Iraq and the people of Iran know too well the consequences of Western intervention, for example, in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Egypt. Any intention of war by the UK and USA will be the biggest mistake and the region cannot afford another futile conflict. The Iranian regime and its Mullahs cannot be contained by war. Any military provocation against Iran in the area of the Gulf states will be catastrophic for the whole world and as well as heaping more tragedy onto the peoples of Iran and Iraq.

The next question is: what are the differences between 2003 and 2019? It’s time for the USA and UK to take a step back and acknowledge that 2019 isn’t 2003, not least because of the profound economic, social and cultural entanglement of the Western world and Iran. On the same basis, today’s world is not bipolar. America can tell others to boycott Iran, but not all European and other states will comply. Iran is a huge territory and has long borders with Russia, Turkey and Iraq. Sanctions and war will starve the Iranian masses but not the Mullahs. Only the democratic forces of the Iranian people can topple the Iranian regime.

McFate, S “Why the west doesn’t win wars. And what we need to do about it” 2019

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