Sunday , September 24 2023

From Hammurabi to Iranian occupation … Iraq, history of blood, promising opportunity

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IRAQ, since the Hammurabi rule about 22 centuries ago, rarely enjoyed stability. It was either enduring fights among its states and emirates, or falling prey to foreign invasions. It seems that Iraq witnessed relative stability only three times throughout its history of over 2,200 years.

 The first time was when the Babylonian king, Hammurabi, united his conflicting states, worked to repel foreign invasions, and codified the laws of Sumeria and Mesopotamia, the most important legislation that is still a reference point to this day.

The second time was during the reign of the fifth Umayyad King Abdul-Malik bin Marwan, who ruled the country with iron and fire through his governor Al-Hajjaj bin Yusuf Al-Thaqafi, the author of the famous saying – “O people of Iraq … O people of discord and hypocrisy…”

The third time was during the reign of the fifth Abbasid King Haroun Al-Rashid, but it did not last for long, as the Mongols invaded and conquered it during the reign of Al-Musta’simBillah, the 37th and last king of the Abbasid Caliphate.

After that, the country was plunged into wars, intrigues and coups, even when the modern state was declared in 1921. King Faisal I tried to rescue it out of the tunnel of fighting and chaos, and he succeeded but only for a while despite some rebellions.

That state ended with the “July Revolution” in 1958 when a group of royal soldiers toppled the monarchy, and committed one of the most heinous massacres after dragging people on the streets.

Following that, coups – either peaceful or bloody – occured on a regular basis. This culminated in what is known as the Ba’ath Party Purge of 1979, when Saddam Hussein ordered the execution of dozens of officials of the state and the Baath Party in a bid to secure his rule. Despite his success in that, barely a year passed before he sparked an eight-year war with Iran.

It is true that this period witnessed internal stability, but the country was facing a series of crises as a result of the futile war on the borders. This led to Saddam escaping from facing his internal problems by invading Kuwait – one of the most heinous invasions and crimes against humanity in modern history.

Saddam’s crime took Iraq into the corridors of the international sanctions and hunger, and increased Baathist repression. After the fall of his regime in 2003, hundreds of mass graves of opponents and dissidents were revealed. It revived the social rift and the trend of playing on partisan and sectarian contradictions that led to Iran’s loyalists taking control of Iraq after the invasion of the US.

Iraq is ruled by Iranian puppets who sought to take revenge on the rest of the religious and sectarian components in order to establish hegemony based on the well-known rule of “divide and conquer”.

After 18 years of Iranian control, Iraq does not look better than it did in the past. Rather, it is closer to being a failed state, mired in creedal and sectarian divisions. The systematic looting of public wealth by Tehran’s agents has reached about $300 billion with the aim of supporting its economy, while the Iraqis are starving.

Indeed, Iraq needs a just dictator who can work on dismantling the system of corruption and criminality that Iran has established, as with its gangs in Lebanon and Yemen, to work on rescuing Mesopotamia from the clutches of the Persian beast, and to restore its Arab identity.

That is why the Gulf people particularly the Iraqis have pinned their hopes on Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kazemi, who has taken important steps since taking office for reform either internally or in his Gulf and Arab relations.

For this reason, observers view his recent visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as a correction of the compass that has been facing the wrong direction for the past two decades.

Perhaps this is the last promising opportunity for a country between the two rivers. If the Iraqis lose it, this means that they have no salvation. Either they will keep swimming in their blood in civil wars, or they will harm their neighbors … In both cases they are the losers.

By Ahmed Al-Jarallah

Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times

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