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Baghdad: What's Next? - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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What does the future hold for Baghdad after all it has been through in the last four years?

Eighteen years ago, after its senseless war with Iran ended; Saddam’s regime was looking for a new crisis, and strangely enough its first target was its ally Jordan, in response to Amman’s demand that Saddam pay for the logistical support it provided Iraq during the war.

Later, it turned around and engulfed Kuwait. It was evident to everyone at that time that Saddam thrived on conflict, and would pursue confrontation anywhere, which was evident in Kurdistan and later in the south and so on.

The Iraqis had continuously lived in panic, engaged in either deliberate wars or internal turmoil which was mainly created by the regime.

Since the fall of Baghdad, this wounded nation has not fared any better. Saddam left behind many diseases that have led to this accumulation of hate and willingness to go to war.

The crisis in Iraq begun long before its war with Iran, Kuwait’s invasion, or the arrival of the Americans.

We predicted that Iraq would give birth to a deformed baby, which is what wee see today. Therefore, those who talk about the fall of the Saddam regime as a big mistake do not appreciate the fact that it was on the verge of collapse because of its individual composition, mounting enmities and the alienation of all its allies. The fall of Baghdad was inevitable, whether the Americans or others came and whether on account of an internal conflict or an external conspiracy. The fall would have taken place in one or ten years.

Back to our introductory question ‘What will happen to Baghdad?’,

I think there are few opportunities for reform, mostly in the hands of the Iraqi government and the Iraqi warring factions. Unless the Iraqis heal from the disease of hatred, the settling of scores and proxy wars on behalf of neighboring countries, they will remain in a long, dark tunnel for many years. If there is any hope, it is pinned on a system that brings the Iraqis together in the constitution, parliament and government. A system that is capable of saving the Iraqis against the dangers of fragmentation and civil war.