Monday, August 29, 2011

Saddam's Legacy In Iraq

When thinking of Iraq, people are obviously focused upon the United States because of its 2003 invasion, and the fact that it still has a military presence there eight years later. That often leads people to overlook what Saddam Hussein did to the country. He killed thousands of Iraqis, and displaced even more in his campaigns to suppress internal dissent. He started two misguided wars, first with Iran, and then Kuwait, which bankrupted the country.

Starting in 1980 he began his foreign policy foibles by invading Iran. He believed that the country was weak after the 1979 Iranian Revolution, but his decision led to an eight year war with huge casualties, and the use of chemical weapons. In a lull in the fighting towards the end of the conflict, he took the time to attack the Kurds in the Anfal campaign, which destroyed hundreds of villages, displaced thousands, and was marked by more use of weapons of mass destruction. In 1988 the war finally ended, and although Iraq achieved none of its goals, Saddam declared victory. He was left with a shattered economy. Many of the southern oil fields, which contain the bulk of the country's reserves were damaged, and he owed billions of dollars in debt. That would lead to his second major foreign mistake, the invasion of Kuwait in 1990.

In the next several days Musings On Iraq will try to cover some of these crimes committed by Saddam. The first, is the Iran-Iraq War where Saddam's military incompetence came out, and the huge debt leftover led to his invasion of Kuwait later on.


Iraqi Mojo said...

I think you mean "and although Iraq achieved none of its goals"

Looking forward to your reading your writings on the crimes committed by Saddam's regime.

Harry Barnes said...

And currently -

Joel Wing said...

Thanks Mojo. Fixed!

Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi said...

Harry, thank you for drawing attention to my article for the MERIA Journal (Joel gets quite a number of citations)!

Meanwhile, I share Mojo's eager anticipation of what Joel will have to say about Saddam's legacy. I will begin by noting that the state-run command economy is inherited from his rule; and it's not entirely the fault of Iraq's politicians that the system cannot undergo major liberalisation and reform.

Also, I feel that his totalitarian regime eroded a sense of trust among Iraqis, hence why, for example, many informed on their compatriots to U.S. forces, leading to the wrongful detention of many innocent Iraqis on allegations of links to terrorism and the insurgencies.