Thursday, 13 May 2021
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Camp Ashraf

March 2003. In coalition with the UK, on the strength of their avowed belief that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction, US President George W Bush gives Saddam Hussein and his sons 48 hours to leave Iraq or face war. The Coalition then invaded Iraq and toppled Saddam Hussein's government.

The apparent victory of the Allies was extraordinarily swift and decisive. The battle to instal a Western-style democracy, quell the insurgency and unite Sunni, Shia and Kurd under one central government has been quite another story, and one which slipped from the pages from the Western media as Allied troops withdrew and attention turned to the 'good war' overlapping in Afghanistan.

In April this year, against a background of bombings and mass casualties, Iraqis voted in first parliamentary election since 2011 withdrawal of US troops. In the UK, Conservative MP Bernard Jenkin said the report of the Chilcot Inquiry, which began in 2009, was "at least four years overdue", reportedly due to discussions between the Inquiry and Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood over the publication of classified notes and conversations between Prime Minister Blair and President Bush; Prime Minister Cameron promises it will be published by the end of the year. In the Hague, the International Criminal Court is looking at fresh allegations that British soldiers in Iraq tortured and abused civilians during the occupation, and may be called to account for it.

It seems timely for Defence Viewpoints to launch a new monthly bulletin on the situation in Iraq; gathering news and comment from the heart of the country on the killings, the reconstructions, the hopes and fears of a traumatised population.

Here's a quick reminder of key events over the past eleven years:

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An index of U K Defence Viewpoints SixtySecondSoundbites (video clips) on Youtube (filmed by 17dragonsphotography )

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