Iraq: 10 years after the illegal Anglo-American invasion and occupation

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This week, the world has been remembering the tenth anniversary of the illegal Anglo-American invasion and occupation of Iraq. The invasion was one of the greatest crimes of the beginning of the 21century; an invasion/occupation which violated the UN Charter and was conducted on the basis of lies, about alleged Iraqi possession of weapons of mass destruction and the even more absurd lie of an Alqaeda presence in Iraq. George Bush and his sinister poodle Tony B-Liar, cobbled together what they called a ‘coalition of the willing’ to invade Iraq and in the ten-year occupation, destroyed the fabric of Iraqi society.

The country with the oldest civilisation and nationalism on earth was systematically dissembled and turned against itself. Iraqis were proud of their country; its old civilisation; high level of education and a huge reserve of scientists, men and women. The invasion turned Iraq against itself and the confessional differences were played up: Sunni against Shia; Arab against Kurd, Turkoman and Jew; Muslim against Christian.

On the eve of the Anglo-American invasion, I was editor of DAILY TRUST newspaper and I had been the only Nigerian journalist invited along with other media representatives from around the world, to travel extensively in Iraq. The country had been under a UN flight embargo, and arriving in Baghdad was some experience; we travelled through Egypt and Syria and then joined a group of Shiite pilgrims from Iran, visiting the holy cities of Najaf and Karbala, and using an unreliable, Soviet-era aircraft from Damascus to Iraq.

Our fifteen-day sojourn in Iraq took us to Baghdad; Samara; Ur; Nineveh; Babylon; Najaf; Karbala and Basra. It was clear that the invasion was inevitable and while Iraqis detested the Saddam Hussein dictatorship, they hated even more the imperialist powers, USA and Britain, who had imposed the punishing sanctions that had killed half a million Iraqi children, a crime that the American Secretary of State Madeline Albright, had described as justified!

The invasion led to the death of over 120, 000 Iraqis, the displacement of millions and the systematic assassination of Iraqi scientists, especially when they refused to go work for imperialism. These killings, according to an international conference on the assassination of Iraqi scientists, were systematically carried out by the Zionist secret services. Before the war, Iraq’s oil industry had been nationalised and out of the claws of the western oil monopolies; but one of the outcomes of the war, is the opening up of Iraqi oil to imperialist oil monopolies.

As Editor of DAILY TRUST, I authored a frontpage editorial condemning the illegal invasion/occupation of Iraq, and while most Nigerian newspapers moved on to other stories, I feel proud to say that we kept up an anti-imperialist coverage of the crimes being committed against Iraq for years.

It is the crime committed against Iraq that hurts me very deeply everytime the war monger, Tony B-Liar saunters into Nigeria, pretending to be a “do-gooder” statesman. Tony cannot even walk freely on the streets of London and yet, he is received as some kind of international superstar in Nigeria; he comes to do deals here when the most decent thing is either to arrest or bar him from entering our country.

Nduka Obaigbena’s THISDAY newspaper has been responsible for some of the invitations as well as that of the other war monger, George Bush! Such invitations always call to question the consciousness of these individuals and institutions. But ten years down the line, it is gratifying to note that the world continues to condemn the illegal invasion of Iraq by the USA and Great Britain. What remains is for the war mongers, George Bush and Tony B-Liar to get their day in court and their time in prison for the crimes they committed against Iraq and all of our humanity!

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