Iraq: Violence, Incompetence, Instability

Feeling the presence of local hostility, the occupying power in Iraq empowers those it sees as an influential and withdraws soon than planned. With shallow democratic foundations, subsequent governments have to use violence to avoid being toppled. This is not 2003 but the 1920s, when the British were making the nation-building mistakes that could be avoided today.

The World Today Published 1 October 2003 Updated 21 October 2020 6 minute READ

August was a disastrous month for the United Nations, the American-run Coalition Provisional Authority, and especially the Iraqi people. A violent insurgency against US occupation escalated into an all-out campaign of sabotage and terror. On August 7 a car bomb outside the Jordanian embassy killed seventeen people and injured fifty. A week later Iraq’s main oil pipeline, the economic lifeline of the country, was blown up two days after its post-war return to service.

On August 19 a lorry packed with over a thousand pounds of explosives detonated below the office window of the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative Sergio Vieira de Mello, killing him and twenty two others. De Mello was not only one of the most talented diplomats of his generation, but the man in whom the UN had invested its hopes and plans for the regeneration of Iraq, a country wracked by forty five years of dictatorship and three wars in two decades.

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