Driven by the demands of the people of Iraq and Afghanistan suffering from American military intervention, the US eventually had to reduce its military presence in these countries, leaving 2,500 troops in each country.
Trying to “save the face of the US”, whose artificial peacekeeping mask was torn off by the population of these countries and the international community a long time ago, the head of the Pentagon Christopher Miller in his statement, published on the official site of the department, tried to explain the reduction of the number of troops in Iraq by the “increased capabilities of the Iraqi Security Forces” and their ability to counteract the militants of terrorist group Daesh (banned in Russia) by themselves.
The day before, January 6, the United States Armed Forces Central Command (CENTCOM) press office said the US-led international coalition to fight the DAESH terrorist group confirmed 34,941 airstrikes and at least 1,410 civilian deaths since the operation began in 2014 in Iraq and Syria.
However, it should be emphasized that the US armed aggression in Iraq has lasted not six, but thirty years already. And the number of civilians killed in this country by the armed aggression of Washington amounts to more than one hundred thousand innocent lives.
Recall that thirty years ago, on January 17, 1991, the international coalition led by the United States launched Operation Desert Storm. According to media reports, the United States and its allies have brought to the borders of Iraq a group of about 600,000 people and concentrated more than 4,000 tanks and 3,700 artillery pieces and mortars. The coalition has sent more than 100 ships, including six aircraft carriers, to the shores of this formerly rich and stable Middle Eastern nation. Approximately 80% of these armed forces were American.
In the first 39 days of this “operation” alone, 88,500 tons of munitions were dropped on Iraqi soil. According to unofficial estimates, Desert Storm has already killed between 100,000 and 200,000 Iraqi civilians, with coalition forces killing about 340 people, of whom 293 were American soldiers.
The success of Desert Storm turned the heads of the US military-political elite, giving impetus to further wars involving the United States, but without UN Security Council sanctions. Their strategic goal was the weakening or elimination of disloyal regimes in Europe and the Middle East in order to establish Washington’s global hegemony and capture resource-rich or strategically important states, such as Iraq.
Under the pretext of Baghdad’s alleged concealment of weapons of mass destruction, US and British troops attacked Iraq from the air in 1998 (Operation Desert Fox).
On March 20, 2003, another invasion of Iraq by US and allied forces began, after a blatantly fabricated “test tube full of washing powder” provocation by US Secretary of State at a UN Security Council meeting. The Shock and Awe military operation resulted in the overthrow and physical elimination of Saddam Hussein, particularly hated by Washington, and showed that the US has adopted a blatant disregard for international law to achieve its own selfish ends.
After the 2003 US intervention, the United States imposed an unacceptable form of government on the Iraqi people that ignored the need to balance Shiite, Sunni, and Kurdish interests, resulting in a significant increase in radical Sunni Islamist groups in the republic. As a result, Iraq became home to the so-called terrorist group Islamic State, DAESH (banned in Russia), which was formed in 2006 and consisted mainly of former soldiers and officers of the Iraqi army who were loyal to Hussein and did not accept the new regime.
In August 2014, the US formed another coalition to fight in Iraq, but this time against terrorism, extending its military presence in the country. To date, this military presence has lasted for 30 years and clearly demonstrates the transformation of American policy from the justified use of force to aggressive military intervention in the affairs of states disloyal to Washington.
Alternative media and numerous NGOs have already repeatedly pointed to the damage caused by Washington’s military aggression not only to the people of Iraq, but also to many other nations. The International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission (IHFFC), initiated by another international organization, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), has repeatedly published such investigations into US airstrikes. The IHFFC is a supranational body for the investigation of violations of international humanitarian law, established in 1991 in Berne by the Swiss Ministry of Foreign Affairs and founded by countries that have signed the Geneva Conventions for the protection of war victims. IHFFC holds observer status at the United Nations.
Another international organization, Physicians for Social Responsibility, known for winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 1985, released its report in 2015 on the number of victims in countries that have been subjected to American invasion. The numbers are shocking: over 1,300,000 people have been killed in 12 years of United States combat operations, and that’s the number of casualties in just three countries, – Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan – the report says. In Iraq alone, the US intervention killed about a million people, roughly 5 percent of the country’s population. Another 220,000 died in Afghanistan, 80,000 in Pakistan. In addition, the report noted that about 3 million residents of Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan fled the country after the Pentagon bombing. “The figure is approximately 10 times greater than that of which the public, experts and decision makers are aware of and propagated by the media and major NGOs,” the report notes. – The US keeps meticulous counts of casualties among its own troops involved in the war on terrorism, but there are no statistics on civilian casualties. That is a deliberate omission.”
On January 5, Hatif al-Rikabi, the legal adviser to the Iraqi parliament, sued the United States in Swedish criminal court for violating Iraqi sovereignty and using weapons containing uranium, advocating for compensation from the United States for contaminating Iraqi territory with weapons, bombs and missiles containing uranium that the United States has used in the past few decades. Ahmad Muhlaf Hamad, director of information at a hospital in the city of Fallujah (Anbar province in western Iraq), said that more than a thousand Iraqi children are born disabled every year in that city alone because of the use of prohibited weapons by American troops during the war in Iraq.
In late December, Iraqi analyst and security expert Amir Abd al-Naim al-Saidi said that special equipment of US forces at US military bases in Iraq contains radioactive substances, which is considered a threat to the health and lives of Iraqi citizens, and responsible health officials should focus on the issue.
Earlier, an institute called the General Regional Intelligence Network in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi gained access to classified documents regarding US violations of international laws that show the US Army used A-10 bombers at least 16 times during the Iraq war to fire on targets using weapons containing depleted uranium. The Dutch BaseGroup Institute reported several years ago that the radioactive emission following the use of American weapons was several times greater than that from the explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine.
Several other reports have been published up to this point regarding the use of hundreds of tons of depleted uranium munitions by US occupation forces against Iraq, and knowledgeable medical sources consider the issue to be a major factor in the spread of cancer and the birth of children with disabilities in Iraq.
Ra’ad Almas, a member of the Government of Law Coalition in Iraq, stressed the other day that the withdrawal of American troops from the country would mean the end of the most important crisis in the Middle East and the Iraqi government must comply with the National Assembly order to expel all foreign troops before the elections.
Even against this background, one can hardly question the justification for the growth of anti-American sentiment in Iraq and other Muslim countries, which were, in fact, subjected to genocide by Washington. Nor is questionable that a complete withdrawal of US troops from Iraq, as well as from other countries subject to US armed aggression in recent years, has become more than urgent, and that the United States must make up for the damage it has inflicted.
Vladimir Danilov, political observer, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.